Bonnie Van Slyke

Bonnie cherishes Charlestown’s rich history, its historic villages, and its rural lifestyle where people know each other and where one can see and smell the ocean, view serene fresh water ponds, hike through woodlands, and gaze at stars in our amazing dark sky. Bonnie has known Charlestown all her life. She had a front-row seat as citizens defeated the plan to build a nuclear power plant on the Navy base and as her father, George Bliven, led the creation of Ninigret Park in its place. Bonnie’s vision for Charlestown is inspired by her father’s work with the community. She sees the collaborative work on the park as an example of the stewardship needed to advocate for responsible development while preserving our town’s rural character.

Bonnita B. Van Slyke – Town Council

Elected to the Town Council in 2014, Bonnie is dedicated to open and transparent government that represents all of Charlestown’s residents and is committed to fiscal responsibility.

Because Charlestown’s natural resources are treasured assets that distinguish our town and are important for our economy, Bonnie works to protect our natural environment, including our dark sky, coastal ponds, aquifers, and open space. Bonnie will be guided by what our citizens say is their vision for the town as they write Charlestown’s Comprehensive Plan, a plan for the next 20 years. She pledges to honor the town’s commitment to develop the town’s Ninigret Park in a manner consistent with the mission of the adjacent Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.

Bonnie brings a combination of perspective and skills to the task. After 35 years in Harvard, MA, where she served as chair of the zoning board and a trustee of a local land trust, Bonnie returned to Charlestown 10 years ago. She is a past director and treasurer of the Frosty Drew Memorial Fund, the educational nonprofit that operates the Frosty Drew Nature Center and Observatory in Charlestown, and is currently a member of the Town Council. Bonnie has a BA in economics from Wellesley College.


  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics (cum laude), 1985, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

Professional Experience

  • Freelance editorial and composition services, 2014– present
  • Prepress services as copy editor and page layout artist to Thompson Steele Production Service, Harvard, MA, 1993 – 2013
  • Copy Editor, Technical Writer, and Publications Specialist for Alta Research, Inc., Concord, MA; American Management Company, Bedford, MA; and Manderson Associates, Groton, MA
  • Executive Assistant to Senior Consultants, Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA
  • Legal Secretary for law firms in Newport, RI, and Providence, RI

Public Service

  • Charlestown Town Council 2014 – present
  • Town Council Liaison to the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Friends of Ninigret Park
  • Board of Directors (for 11 years) and Treasurer (for 8 years) of the Frosty Drew Memorial Fund, which operates the Frosty Drew Nature Center & Observatory
  • Member of the Harvard, MA, Zoning Board of Appeals for ten years (five as Chair)
  • Member of Harvard Bylaw Reorganization Task Force, Harvard, MA
  • Board of Trustees, Harvard Conservation Trust, Harvard, MA
  • Board of Directors of Harvard League of Women Voters, Harvard, MA, running its fundraiser, the Harvard Flea Market


  • Bonnie has a son, John Van Slyke III, who is Marketing Director of Redfin and lives in Seattle, Washington. Her husband John has had an extensive career in business and is an author of books on business and personal finance.
  • Bonnie enjoys sailing, biking, hiking, and skiing. She was a ski instructor, Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, MA,; was a coach of the Alpine Race Team, Bromfield High School, Harvard, MA; and vounteered in school parent organizations and as Cub Scout den mother. She and her husband restored an antique colonial and had a small flock of sheep for 20 years.


  • Bonnie fully supports the CCA Platform for the 2016 election

On November 8 2016, you elected Bonnita B. Van Slyke to Charlestown Town Council