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“It is, by common consent, a good thing for people to get back to nature”: The simplicity of this classic Leopold quote has always resonated with me and continues to inform my professional pursuits in philanthropy. I’ve spent much of my career focusing on the importance of maintaining connections to the land and, in tandem, human connections to one another. My position at the foundation allows me to do just that, uniting our inspirational donors with methods of sharing and spreading the land ethic. Collaborating with supporters in ways that bring their vision and dedication alive is one of the most gratifying experiences I know.
Before arriving at The Aldo Leopold Foundation in June 2019, I spent several years as the development director for the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. Prior to that, I worked as a research social scientist for the United States Forest Service in Seattle, Washington, where I led projects designed to incorporate public values into land management practices. In other adventures, I co-owned a successful education consulting business, spent time as a wilderness therapist, tried my hand at instructing university courses, and occasionally (and continue to) moonlight as a band relations liaison for the music industry.
Growing up in rural Massachusetts and New Hampshire, gaining an appreciation for the outdoors was natural. Childhood memories of places such as Laurel Lake State Park, the White Mountains, or my own home with its frog-friendly pond, large garden, and resident whippoorwill solidified my appreciation for the land at an early age. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many areas in America and around the globe, exploring different natural areas and cultures (and the relationship between the two); what I’ve experienced as a result of these journeys continues to motivate me to do my small part in making our world a better place.
I hold Masters’ degrees in two disciplines, one related to educational leadership and counseling and the other in recreation and tourism. I attained a Ph.D. in conservation social sciences and still feel grateful that I was able to write a dissertation by rafting the Salmon and Arkansas rivers.