Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘Alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the worlds’ 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was “probably America’s most important environmentalist.”

Dr. Melvin T. Tyree is a Professor of Biophysical Plant Ecology and the winner of the Marcus Wallenberg Prize for pioneering research in forestry and forest products. Dr. Tyree’s work gives perspective on the evolution of wood structure and on the distribution of trees in forests around the world, focusing on the architecture and mechanisms of water transport.

Appointed by central government of China in their 1000-talents program, Mel was the first foreign professor to be appointed at Northwest A&F University. He has since moved to College of Chemistry and Life Sciences at Zhejiang Normal University in Jinhua, China. He graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Physical Chemistry and holds a Ph.D. in Plant Biophysics from Cambridge University in England.

His storied career includes having been a professor in the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, being a Project Manager for the US Forest Service in Burlington, VT., working as an adjunct staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and serving as Director of the Maple Research Center at the University of Vermont when they began the Adopt-a-Tree program to drum up grass-roots support.

Mel’s background in electronics and mass and energy transfer in plants had direct application to his home. He designed and built a net-zero energy house. His house in Ellenburg, NY, derives all its energy from the sun and wind to power his electric car, ground sourced heat pump for heating and cooling, and all appliances in his all electric house.

Naomi Bindman, Past President
Naomi first followed the little sun signs to Daisy Hollow in 1996 or ‘97 and has attended most of the SolarFests since, including three years as a volunteer. Graduating from Dartmouth College, and a Masters degree from Harvard, led to her professional career in education as a teacher, counselor and administrator. Since 2009 she has been performing and recording the songs of her daughter, Ellen Bindman-Hicks. Naomi is also an writer, published in VT Digger and Mothering Magazine, and a pretty good baker.

Steve Goldsmith, Past President
A native of New York, Steve escaped to Maine in the late ’80s, where he met his wife Michelle. They currently live with their two kids Sarah and Adam in New Hampshire. He is a technology consultant with a 30-plus year background in telecommunications, computer systems and networking, having spent much of the past 18 years building really big telecommunications networks throughout the northeast that are used by large municipalities, state governments, large institutions and major cellular and national communications carriers.

Bill Laberge, Past President
When he was still making custom furniture, Bill and his wife, Lisa, installed a 9.5 kW system on his workshop in Dorset. Soon thereafter, they bought an electric vehicle and began Grassroots Solar. Attending SolarFest since its earliest days, Bill offers a wealth of knowledge of the intricacies of designing and installing a system. He is a NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional and Vice Chair of the Bennington Community Market.

Melody Squier, Past PresidentMelody
Host of SolarFest at Forget-Me-Not Farm, Melody and her family have been involved with SolarFest since its early beginnings. Mother, equine specialist, animal communicator, farrier, firefighter, organic gardener, flower fanatic, gourmet cook, B&B and premier green wedding site proprietor, and of course wife of the wonderful Tinmouth luminary, Marshall Squier. Melody especially enjoys meeting and working with the Volunteers for Peace who come from all over the globe each year to help make SolarFest shine!

Steve Berry, Former Trustee
While serving as pastor to several inner-city and rural churches, Steve has been tirelessly involved in humanitarian, social, and environmental activism. An outspoken critic of the Iraq War and predatory neoliberal economic policy, in 2013 he was instrumental in pushing the Vermont General Assembly to become the first state to adopt a resolution to reverse Citizen’s United. This success prompted his decision to seek office as a Vermont Representative in Bennington, District 4. In Montpelier Steve was soon regarded as a moral compass in the Vermont House of Representatives where he emphasized funding weatherization, the Vermont Veteran’s Home, and Let’s Grow Kids. His focus on supporting efforts to create a healthy environment, healthy citizens, a healthy economy and a healthy democracy led him to serve on the SolarFest board. Steve has a varied resume as an author, filmmaker, chaplain (LAPD), preacher, teacher and organizer. He has received numerous awards for community leadership including the United Nations Associations’ Ralph Bunche Peace Award.

Kevin Kiefaber, Former Trustee
Kevin fell in love with SolarFest the first time he visited, first for the music, then the community, and finally the vision.  He’s been a volunteer for more than 15 years, putting up tents, working backstage, helping kids build solar powered cars, putting up more tents, as volunteer coordinator, as workshop host, and putting up still more tents! As a proud father, school counselor, and clinical social worker, he knows the importance of community connections in bringing about change.  Working with SolarFest is a small way we can all work together to shape the future.