Herring Gut Learning Center

Board of Trustees

PHYLLIS WYETH (1940-2019)

Phyllis Wyeth had a longstanding and enthusiastic dedication to the environment, inherited from her mother, Alice Mills, an environmental activist who raised her to “leave the world a better place.” Mrs. Wyeth believed in the power of education to resolve environmental challenges. She founded Herring Gut Learning Center to teach local children about aquaculture and marine conservation to help preserve Maine’s traditional fishing communities and received the NOAA Fisheries Environmental Hero award in 2002 for these efforts. Mrs. Wyeth was active in conservation initiatives in Maine and the Brandywine watershed in Pennsylvania. She served as trustee to The Heinz Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Mary Chichester DuPont Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

PHILIP CONKLING, Co-Chair, Trustee since 2013

For the past 30 years, Philip Conkling’s life has been grounded by experiences among the 5,000 or so islands in the archipelago of Gulf of Maine where he has visited more than 1,000 islands for purposes of collecting and analyzing ecological information on behalf of island communities and owners. In 1983, he founded the Island Institute and served as its president for three decades. After stepping down from the leadership of the Island Institute, Conkling founded a consulting practice, Philip Conkling & Associates, focused on strategic communications and environmental management.

Conkling is the founding editor and publisher of Island Journal, the author of Islands in Time, A Natural and Cultural History of the Islands of the Gulf of Maine (1981, 1999, 2011) and Lobsters Great and Small (2001). He served as the editor of From Cape Cod to the Bay of Fundy – An Environmental Atlas of the Gulf of Maine and most recently helped write and edit The Fate of Greenland-Lessons from Abrupt Climate Change. He has also served for 20 years as the publisher and columnist for The Working Waterfront and is currently a contributing editor at Maine Magazine.


ED FREITAG, Co-Chair and Treasurer, Trustee since 2018

Born in New York City and growing up in Valley Cottage, NY, Ed attended Princeton University, majoring in economics and graduating with honors in 1968. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1972 after taking a year to work as an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Following law school, he was a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit before joining the law firm of Donovan Leisure Newton and Irvine in New York. In 1975, he joined MCI Communications Corporation as an Assistant General Counsel in its corporate law group, moving to Washington D.C. in 1976. When he left MCI in 1999, shortly after WorldCom’s acquisition of MCI, he was Vice President and Chief Corporate Counsel. In 2000, he joined NeuStar, Inc., serving first as General Counsel and then becoming a senior advisor to the company before retiring in 2008. Since then, Ed has been active with the Annapolis Yacht Club Foundation, serving on its board and, for two years, as President.

Ed and his wife Molly live in Annapolis, MD and Tenants Harbor. They began coming to Maine on their sailboat in 2007, spending their summers on their sailboat and exploring the coast. In 2013, they purchased a cottage in Tenants Harbor, but still spend time on their boat. They have traveled extensively and, until recently, raced their 40- foot sailboat DownTime.


SUSAN SCHORIN, Trustee since 2017

Susan was born and raised in Alexandria, LA, the third of three daughters. She attended Newcomb College, Tulane University and got a masters degree in Social Work at Tulane School of Social Work. After a one year fellowship in child psychiatry at Tulane Medical School, she sought specialized training in treatment of eating disorders at St. George’s Hospital Medical School at the University of London. In 1982, she joined the faculty of the departments of psychiatry and pediatrics at Tulane Medical School and opened an eating disorders clinic at Tulane Medical Center. She later started and was clinical director of an inpatient acute eating disorders treatment center associated with the medical school, a program which drew patients from all over the country.

Working her way up the academic ladder, Susan was promoted to Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics in 2006. Over her 27 year career, she published twenty journal articles and a book entitled WHEN DIETING BECOMES DANGEROUS: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Anorexia and Bulimia (2003, Yale University Press). She taught hundreds of psychiatry residents, psychology interns, and medical students and lectured around the country and the world. She also devoted herself to speaking in schools to students and parents, with the intention of prevention. She was an outspoken advocate for making insurance coverage available for treatment of eating disorders. In 2002, she was featured in a NOVA (PBS) documentary on eating disorders entitled “Dying to be Thin”.

Some of her honors and awards include:
1997 Newcomb College Tulane University, Alumna of the Year
2005 Lifetime Achievement Award, bestowed by the National Eating Disorders Association
2008 international Academy for Eating Disorders Outstanding Clinician Award

Because of Hurricane Katrina, Susan and her husband Marshall had to move from New Orleans, their home for decades. As a result of their relocation, with great sadness, Susan retired from her life’s work. She is now a political activist in Northern Virginia (and closer to Maine and to her beloved grandsons in Massachusetts). That’s the silver lining.

LORI BETH SCHWARTZ, Secretary, Trustee since 2019

Lori Beth Schwartz was born in Queens, New York, into an entrepreneurial immigrant family. She is the proud mother of Kalli Ruth and Reuben Shae and the proud wife of David H. Schwartz. The family has fond memories of attending Herring Gut’s summer programs.

Lori Beth attended New Paltz University, and in 1983 started her own business which manufactured custom embroidered jackets and other premium items. With offices in New York and LA, Identity, Inc. soon became the gold standard for cast and crew jackets for movies and Broadway shows, as well as for tour jackets for the music industry. Eventually, Identity Inc. held licenses from The Atlanta Olympic Committee, Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball League, National Hockey League and various schools. Selling the business in 1996 to Swingster Inc, she continued to work as Vice President of New Business Development, making presentations to major clients and helping to steer the company through a fascinating time of industry consolidation due to the advent of the internet. Lori Beth retired in 2001, and turned her energies towards raising her family and helping the community.

Lori Beth developed a deep sense of appreciation for the difference a good education can make when she traveled to Harlem weekly to tutor children while living in Manhattan. She went on to serve on the Board of Directors of East Harlem Tutorial Program for 18 years, where she helped see the organization through tremendous growth, from a small after school program to a full service partnership with the local public school to run their after school program. After serving on all executive boards of six schools, she was elected to serve as President of The United Parent Teacher Council of Great Neck and worked side by side with the Board of Education, central administration, teachers, parents and students on district committees.

Lori Beth also devotes her time to building bonds within her multi-cultural community, encouraging more people to volunteer and opening up new pathways for communication and harmony. She was proud to be recognized for those efforts and receive the following awards and honors:

2015-Presented with the COPAY Community Leader Award, “In recognition of exemplary service to the children and youth of our diverse community”

2016-Inducted into the North Hempstead May W. Newburger Women’s Roll of Honor, an award given for dedication and exemplary service for the benefit of all.

2017-Awarded The Lily Wang Community Service Award from the Great Neck Chinese Association, for her exemplary role in community relations.

Lori Beth and David are part of the extended Zwecker Family that has multi-generational roots in Port Clyde and Maine. Herring Gut was once home to the family’s herring and shrimp businesses. Port Clyde Foods was one of the largest producers of sardines in the United States from the1950’s through the1980’s, and Sam Zwecker was involved in the early stages of sardine preservation legislation in the state of Maine.


WENDY MAKINS, Trustee since 2010

Wendy W. Makins, resides in Washington D.C. and Cushing, ME. Wendy brings years of experience serving on boards and working in collaboration with institutions focused on education, art, science, and the natural world. Trained in art history, she’s a graphic and botanical artist as well as a natural science photographer.


MARGARET T. MCFADDEN, Trustee since 2017

Margaret T. McFadden is provost and dean of faculty and professor of American studies at Colby College, a private liberal arts college in Waterville, Maine. Colby’s 2,000 students come from nearly every state and more than 70 countries to take advantage of renowned academic programs and a curriculum that encourages educational exploration and collaborative learning experiences.

McFadden joined the Colby faculty in 1996 and was previously the Christian A. Johnson Professor of Integrated Liberal Learning. She has chaired and served on major College committees, and led numerous initiatives including the establishment of the Center for the Arts and Humanities, the program in environmental humanities and the Cinema Studies Program.

A scholar of American popular culture with interests in gender and sexuality, media and comedy, McFadden won teaching prizes at Colby and at Yale, where she earned her Ph.D. after completing her undergraduate work at Wells College. In 2001, she was awarded Colby’s highest faculty prize, the Charles Bassett Teaching Award, given annually to a professor chosen by a vote of the senior class.

Her most recent book, The L Word, was published in 2014. The work explores the Showtime TV series of the same name, which debuted in 2004. The book explores representation and misrepresentation of lesbians in popular media and the show’s inherent critique of Hollywood. In 2015 McFadden taught a course on the TV show and its place in American popular culture.

MERRITT CAREY, Trustee since 2018

Merritt grew up spending summers in Tenants Harbor, a small fishing village on the western edge of Penobscot Bay. “My father was a college professor, we would land in Tenants Harbor in May and leave in September. I was an only child and I spent a lot of time down at the shore, hunting for crabs or tooling around in a skiff by myself,” Merritt recalls.

Merritt’s first job was delivering freshly cooked lobster to cruising boats in the harbor. “My father had given me a 13ft Boston Whaler when I was about 9, but he made sure I was going to earn some money with it. It was working for Mrs. Miller that Merritt met the rest of the Miller family, Red, her husband, and their 9 children, the boys all fishermen.

Merritt attended Brown University and then, facing a dismal job market, and with itchy feet, jumped aboard a sail boat headed to Antigua. Merritt wound up sailing on the second all female team to compete in the Whitbread Around the World Ocean Race (now the Volvo Ocean Challenge); and was then selected to be a member of the first all female America’s Cup team. Following her sailing adventures, Merritt settled in New Zealand where she enrolled in law school.

After a few years in New Zealand, Merritt returned home, and finished her law degree at University of Maine School of Law. “After all my travels and time away; I wanted to come home, back to Maine. I like to tell people: I’ve been all around the world and I can say Maine is the best place on earth.”

Merritt practiced law for a few years and then went out on her own as a consultant; over time her consulting practice increasingly involved fisheries and rural economic development. A few years ago, hauling with Peter Miller, one of Mrs. Miller’s sons, for a piece she was writing for the MLMC, Merritt learned there was a possibility of the Miller family wharf (where she had worked as a girl). One thing led to another and, with other local fishermen in the area, and Luke Holden from Luke’s Lobsters, they formed the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op; a vertically integrated co-op that works collaboratively with its downstream partners, Cape Seafood and Luke’s Lobster.

Merritt lives in Yarmouth, Maine with her husband and three children  Merritt consults on a variety of fisheries related projects and, with a group of fishermen, helped found the Maine Aquaculture Co-op, Maine’s first and only aquaculture co-op, which focuses primarily on scallop aquaculture.

DAVID BRAKKE, Trustee since 2020

David grew up in southwestern Minnesota in the only county in the state that does not have a natural lake. He attended college in Minnesota and completed his Ph.D. in limnology/ecology at Indiana University. He did research at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, where he met George Jacobson, a paleoecologist at the University of Maine.  David spent a year at the University of Maine as a faculty research associate on a National Science Foundation grant doing paleolimnological reconstructions of lake acidification.  David was a coordinating member of the U.S. delegation for the U.S.-Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Trans-Boundary Air Pollution and then served on the Management Team for the Eastern and Western Lake Surveys conducted in the U.S. in the mid-1980s.  The surveys were very large and the first statistically designed surveys of lakes.  After the completion of those surveys he spent a sabbatical year at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), on the outskirts of Oslo, on a Royal Norwegian Academy of Sciences Fellowship.  He completed a chemical and fish survey of 1000 lakes in Norway and did other comparative and experimental work that has been widely cited.  The survey work appeared in the journal Ambio, which is a journal on the environment published by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. 

David is a member of the Associated Societies of Limnology and Oceanography and the Ecological Society of America. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is affiliated with three sections – Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences, Biological Sciences and Education.  David has been a frequent reviewer for several funding agencies, especially the National Science Foundation (ecosystem research, climate change, teacher preparation, graduate student fellowships and undergraduate science and mathematics), and for a wide range of journals. He served as an Associate Editor for 8 years for the leading journal Limnology and Oceanography and co-edited a special issue on Climate Change and Freshwater Ecosystems.  For over 10 years, David wrote a column on Science and Society for the Association of Women in Science Magazine and served as an elected Councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) for 20 years. David’s publications and presentations related to CUR have been mostly on the assessment of undergraduate research experiences and on fundraising for undergraduate research.  During those periods of time David served as Dean of a College of Science and Mathematics with roughly 200 faculty and staff.  The faculty was greatly expanded under his leadership, made more diverse and included a noteworthy and very significant increase in the numbers of female faculty members who progressed successfully in rank. 

As of fall 2020, David and his wife, Mary Anne Mason, live full-time in Port Clyde, Maine.