Education Session Information - Wednesday, September 27th 

Thank you room sponsors!!!



Session Description + Speaker Bio

Block 1

9:00  - 10:10 am

Gateway I

Northstar II

Gateway II

Northstar II

Striking A Balance: Planning + Designing Network Capacity

"Kingdom Trails is deeply intertwined with the communities of the Northeast Kingdom, with over 100 private landowners allowing 100+ miles of trail to pass through their properties. The user experience extends well beyond the trail network itself to the surrounding community fabric and tourism infrastructure. Users drive and ride along local roads, visit lodging and restaurants, and can frequently overflow the East Burke village center. In this session we will explore how KTA partnered with its host communities to study visitation patterns and find solutions that balance parking, recreation assets, and community/tourism capacity. Join us to learn how KTA and the local community are working together to create improved village infrastructure, enhanced road/trail crossings, and an accessible and inviting Welcome Center and Community Recreation Hub."
Drew Pollack-Bruce, Senior Recreation Planner, SE Group | Abby Long, Executive Director, Kingdom Trails Association

Drew Pollack-Bruceis a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and holds a Master’s of Regional Planning from Cornell University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has worked as a professional planner, advocate, and journalist for over 20 years often focusing on the confluence of recreation, communities, and economics. He is the President of the Board for the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals—the organization that puts on the National Outdoor Recreation Conference each year—and sits on the Executive Committee of the VT Recreation and Parks Association and the VT Community Development Association.

Abby Long holds a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Service, Leadership & Management from the School for International Training Graduate Institute as well as a B.A. in Public & Community service from Providence College. She serves as the Executive Director for the Kingdom Trail Association where she is motivated by her passion for outdoor recreation and abiding interest in the health and wellbeing of her community. She is committed to providing a safe, inspiring trail network to elevate the economic, social, cultural, and environmental vitality of the beautiful Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Abby is Vice Chair of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative, on the Board of Directors for Vermont Trails & Greenway Council, Committee Member for VOREC, Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative, and Advisory Panel member for Vermont's Forest Future Strategic Roadmap.

Volunteers: Heart of the Community

Volunteers make the world go 'round when it comes to community events and engagement. During this session we will discuss recruiting, engaging and retaining volunteers of all ages and abilities.
Jazmin Averbuck, Alzheimer's Association - Vermont Chapter

Jazmin Averbuck has been working in event management and community engagement in one way or another since 2007. Currently, she works with volunteers specifically across many platforms including strength athletic events and through the Alzheimer's Association. You'll find Jazmin floating around your community, often, as a volunteer herself.
Deep Dive: A Study of Water Safety in Vermont

Members of the Water Safety Action Plan Committee will review the history of water safety in Vermont, describe results of a survey on current practices and discuss goals and initiatives for state wide improvement for aquatic professionals and the communities they serve.
Jess Lukas, Director of Aquatics & Family Programs, Greater Burlington YMCA | Abby Beerman, Injury Prevention Coordinator, UVM Medical Center

Jess Lukas began her career with the White Plains, New York YMCA working as a lifeguard and swim instructor, gaining the passion that drives her work to this day. Vermont ties from her childhood continued throughout her time at the University of New Hampshire where she worked with the Greater Burlington YMCA’s Camp Greylock on Lake Champlain in the summer. After some time in Franklin, MA rising to the Aquatics Director of the Y, Jess moved to Burlington – home for 13 years now as the Director of Aquatic & Family Programming. For most people, pools don’t sound very interesting. For Jess, aquatics is a passion she’s been chasing since she could swim at 2 years old and for 18 years professionally. Spending this time learning everything there is to know about natatoriums – that’s right, pools! is a path that she expected to be on looking back on her childhood. Most recently here in Vermont, Jess landed the opportunity to focus on community. From how to schedule a staff of 100 full & part time leaders, giving high schoolers their first jobs, balancing chlorine levels and singing “Wheels on the Bus” to 6 month olds is all part of a days’ work. Preparing families to enjoy water safely 12 months out of the year, teaching CPR classes, collaborating with other local entities such as the Cities of Burlington & Winooski and the University of Vermont Medical Center to provide free safety education classes, serving over 300 children a week in swim lessons, STEM programming and dance lessons is what drives Jess to live her dream. Jess is also on the board of Leadership Champlain and a 2020 graduate as well as a founder of the Aquatics Committee of Safe Kids Vermont, working to create safe swimming through the state.

Abby Beerman is the injury prevention coordinator for the University of Vermont Medical Center and State Coordinator for Safe Kids Vermont. She is passionate about reducing the rate of traumatic injuries for all Vermonters, especially children. She applies best practices to her own life so she can share her personal experience with the community. She loves working with community partners to implement injury prevention practices in new and unique ways. User Group

Software that Simplifies your Recreation Management This session for current users will cover all features of the software including important updates since we last met. We will highlight our newest features, demonstrate how you could and should use the system while giving you tips and tricks to make your life easier. There will be a question/answer period for all involved. Let us share how you simplify your recreation management!
Carla Bearup, | Tracey Rivera-Cooper,

Carla Bearup and Tracey Rivera Cooper started in the recreation field with a combined experience of 24 years using various computer software, including Now, as the Chief Operating Officer for, Carla is responsible for planning and implementing business operations, establishing policies that promote company culture and vision, and overseeing the operations of the company. As the Director of Marketing, Tracey is responsible for enhancing and promoting the brand, managing social media accounts, and putting client retention at the top of her priorities providing user groups and webinars (in-person and virtually) to our many clients across the country.

Block 2

10:30 - 11:40 am

Gateway I

Northstar I

Gateway II

Northstar II

Using Social Media to Grow Your Movement

Recreation organizations and departments benefit from broad community support of their work. Luckily, Vermonters are eager to align themselves with projects and initiatives that have positive impacts on their community. The question is: are you making it easy for your community to learn about and align with your work? In this session we’ll explore how strategic use of social media graphics and content can help you educate, engage, and grow your community of supporters. We’ll discuss traditional marketing philosophies, behavioral change psychology, effective strategies, and emergent media types that can make your social media content one of your greatest tools to growing your movement.
Christine Hill, Marketing & Communications Director, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vemont (NOFA-VT) & Primary at TenderWarrior LLC.

Christine Tyler Hill is the Marketing & Communications Director for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) and creative marketing consultant at Tender Warrior Co. She works with community-based organizations to tell stories, drive change, and build movements. Her approach to creative marketing draws on the behavioral sciences, traditional marketing concepts, and anthropological approaches to storytelling. Christine is both a strategist and a creator, working with organizations to outline their goals and articulate key messages while using her illustration, graphic design, and short-form video editing skills to create content that drives engagement. You can follow her on Instagram at @tenderwarriorco.
Outdoor Recreation Development: Looking Back + Planning Ahead

Formative members of the Ridgeline Outdoor Collective (Formerly Rochester/Randolph Outdoor Trails Alliance, R.A.S.T.A.,) will look back at the last 10 years of growth and development of trail networks and backcountry glades in Central Vermont. They will cover what they have learned over the last decade starting with the development of backcountry glades and multi-use trail networks, working with different stakeholders and municipalities in the process, youth programming, fundraising, and administration. They will also discuss the future vision of the club in sustaining what has been established in the last decade as well as looking forward to the integration of the Velomont Trail Collective project.
Morgan Easton, President, Ridgeline Outdoor Collective | Angus McCusker, Executive Director, Ridgeline Outdoor Collective | Zac Freeman, Owner, Apex Trailworks

Morgan Easton was raised in Randolph, VT where she attended Vermont Tech after highschool. In 2015 she learned to ski and mountain bike and at the same time got involved with the Ridgeline Outdoor Collective becoming an active volunteer leading group rides, organizing trail work days, and coaching with the youth summer bike camps. More recently she settled in Braintree at the base of the Braintree Mountain Forest, one of Ridgeline’s managed backcountry zones. In the last few years Morgan has joined the Ridgeline Board, focused on growing and sustaining the youth programming opportunities offered through Ridgeline in partnership with local recreation departments and school systems. More recently she has taken on the role of the club president and deals with many aspects of outreach and communication for the club. Morgan has found great joy in watching the development in outdoor recreation in her hometown area as well as participating in the process. She looks forward to continuing the work to grow and sustain what has been established over the last 10 years in these Central Vermont communities.

Angus McCusker is a founding member and Executive Director of Ridgeline Outdoor Collective, a non-profit chapter of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association and the Catamount Trail Association. Ridgeline Outdoor Collective is an outdoor recreation based organization serving the towns of Rochester, Randolph and surrounding towns in the upper White River Valley. Angus is also a founding member and Executive Director of the Velomont Trail Collective and is currently working with the Vermont Huts Association in a Joint Venture to create what will be one of the longest hut to hut trail networks in the U.S. The Velomont Trail is a proposed mountain bike trail connecting existing mountain bike trail networks across the length of VT from the Canadian border to Charlemont, MA. Through his work with these two organizations over the years, Angus has worked closely with private landowners and many public land managers including the United States Forest Service, the State of Vermont, and local municipalities.

Zac Freeman is a born and raised Vermonter. His roots run as deep as the trails he built around Randolph starting in his young teens in the early 1990's. He built singletrack that thousands rode during the run of mid-90's New England Mountain Bike Festivals. Mt. biking and backcountry skiing have always been a solid part of his life and are the foundation on which he has now built his professional career around.

Prior to trail building and community development work, Zac had a successful 20-year career in his family's jewelry business. They designed and manufactured high-end gold jewelry for over two hundred retail jewelers around the USA. Zac's attention to detail and fine craftsmanship were key attributes to the success of the business. In addition to his trail-building passion, he is an accomplished builder. His eye for design/build and timber framing is apparent in the home that he hand-built, which he shares with his lovely wife Shannon, and adventurous son Asher.

Zac has devoted the last 8 years to helping build the Rochester/Randolph Area Sports Trail Alliance (now Ridgeline Outdoor Collective) into an iconic trail organization that has multiple first-of-their-kind projects across Central Vermont. From backcountry skiing zones on USFS & conserved lands, mt bike trails, and community events. Zac has a solid record of helping vision, shape & build some very prominent projects. Over that time, he has also launched many community events, like the Braintree Bluegrass Brunch, a gravel bike race Braintree 357, RASTA Outdoor Hub Series. In addition, he envisioned and built-out the Ridgeline Outdoor Collective Trail Hub in Randolph funded by the first-ever VOREC grant, and secured a new bike shop in the building, The Gear House which is a center point for Randolph's outdoor recreation community. He has also paneled for many Vermont Council on Rural Development's community projects centered around recreational enhancements.

At 45, he is focused on building Vermont's (and beyond) recreational economy and strengthening community recreational resources through quality trails and infrastructure improvements. He has done his part to help build his hometown of Randolph/Braintree into a happening Vermont small town. His heart and home will always be there, but now it is time to help the rest of Vermont!

Bridges and gaps between recreation and health

Recreation management intersects with public health in many expected and unexpected ways. Our presentation explores a few of these intersections, drawing on research about (a) partnerships between public land managers and healthcare professionals to promote the therapeutic benefits of outdoor recreation, (b) stewardship of trail systems to promote ecosystem and human health, and (c) approaches to managing the dynamics of unsheltered homelessness in parks, forests, trail corridors, and greenways. We draw connections between successful programs and approaches that help build bridges across disciplines and sectors, describe opportunities for recreation and trail managers to collaborate with those working in healthcare and social services, and articulate the challenges that remain unaddressed to understand and support the functioning of social-ecological systems.
Dr. Monika Derrien, Research Social Scientist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Monika Derrien is a research social scientist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. She studies the human dimensions of natural resource management, with a focus on outdoor recreation. She is especially interested in the social, cultural, and health aspects of public lands management. Monika serves on the board of the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals. She earned a B.A. in history from Cornell University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in natural resources from the University of Vermont. For fun, she enjoys playing outside in all seasons (generally on foot, ski, or bike) and jumping in cold water.

Universally Accessible Trail Design + Construction

Universally Accessible Trails are intentionally designed and constructed to be welcoming to all. Sustainable building practices combined with a keen eye towards enhancing user experience, allow these trails to provide equal recreational opportunities to all users.

This workshop will introduce the Federal Guidelines for Universally Accessible Trails located in remote areas. Previously built boardwalks, stonework, and naturally surfaced trails will be visually presented and their unique construction challenges and rewarding stories will be shared.

This workshop will highlight projects that Timber & Stone, LLC has built throughout VT over its 20 year history as a professional trailbuilding firm.

Josh Ryan, Principal, Timber & Stone LLC

Josh Ryan is Principal of Timber & Stone, LLC, a recreational trail design and construction business based in East Montpelier, VT. Since 2004, Timber & Stone, LLC has offered a full range of services to land managers and entities throughout the Northeast who seek a sustainable approach to recreational trail construction. Previous to founding Timber & Stone, LLC, Josh worked for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Maine Conservation Corps, Student Conservation Association, and the US Forest Service. He completed his graduate coursework in Environmental Education at Antioch University in Keene, NH and received his undergraduate degree in Recreation Management from the University of Maine. Josh is an active member of the Professional Trailbuilders Association, the local East Montpelier Trails Committee, and is a Governor appointed member of the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative task force.

Block 3

2:00 - 3:10 pm

Gateway I

Northstar I

Gateway II

Northstar II

We ARE Strong Together, SAR in the State of Vermont

Learn about how Search and Rescue works state wide as well as gain insight into how Search and Rescue folds into your recreation planning.
Drew Clymer Search and Rescue Coordinator, State of Vermont

Drew Clymeris the Search and Rescue Coordinator for the State of Vermont Department of Public Safety. He originally moved to Vermont in 2008 with his wife and 2 daughters. An avid outdoorsman, he spends as much time as he can exploring the backcountry surrounding Stowe. When not working you will find him hunting, fishing, hiking, snowboarding, mountian biking, backcountry skiing or volunteering on a variety boards in the community.


Small cities and towns near significant natural amenities such as national parks, public lands, ski areas and scenic rivers throughout the Western United States are becoming popular destinations to visit and live. These gateway and natural amenity region (GNAR) communities- like Moab, UT, Aspen, CO, Jackson, WY- are having to grapple with “big city” issues, including lack of affordable housing, concerns about sprawl, and conflict over public lands. The GNAR initiative exists to support western GNAR communities identify, work through, and help solve their current issues. A collaborative team of researchers and practitioners are working together to help provide GNAR communities with resources and education to enact effective and proactive planning. The initiative helps communities through three pillars: education, capacity building, and research. Educational resources are provided to GNAR communities through webinars, shared research platforms and blogs. The initiative provides a range of toolkits and networks to help build capacity in these communities. The initiative also serves as a hub to foster and support multi-university and trans-disciplinary research aimed at better documenting and understanding opportunities and challenges in GNAR communities. The initiative is maintained and managed through the shared interests of university faculty, government and state agencies, non-profit organizations, and community leaders. A great opportunity to share with and collaborate with the East Coast, which is facing similar challenges.
Tara Hetz, GNAR Initiative University of Utah

As a young girl growing up in East Africa, the allure of charismatic megafauna was inescapable. It was my dream to save the elephants and rhinos of the world. I was introduced to ecosystem conservation at a young age and continued my studies in Conservation Biology at St. Lawrence University in Northern New York. My desire to save the world’s wildlife gave way to identifying why biodiversity is important and how to integrate people in conservation actions. I am interested in investigating community-based conservation initiatives and how tourism plays a role, especially adventure-conservation tourism. I have a Master of Science from the University of Utah in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with a focus on sustainable tourism and Destination Stewardship. I want to contribute to the development of interdisciplinary conservation science with a comprehensive understanding of social-ecological interactions. I want to help better engage communities in protected area conservation design, custodianship of natural resources and improvement of livelihoods.
Regional Collaboration for Sustainable Mt. Biking

The Bike Borderlands initiative brings together nine unique trail organizations to strengthen and promote mountain biking in the Northeast Kingdom, northern New Hampshire, western Maine, and southern Quebec. This group has long recognized that collaboration toward a shared regional vision makes all their networks stronger. This workshop will discuss how Borderlands started and operates, what collaboration looks like, and how the groups and region have grown since they started working together. It will also present the “Ride With Gratitude” campaign that the Bike Borderlands developed to build a more respectful mountain biking culture.
Maura Adams, Director of Community Investment, Northern Forest Center | Lil Ide, Director of Communications, Kingdom Trails Association

Maura Adams is the Director of Community Investment for the Northern Forest Center, a non-profit organization advancing innovation and environmental stewardship across the Northern Forest region of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Her team focuses on capacity building and revitalization in ten focal communities, including housing investment and outdoor recreation amenity development.

In 2017, Maura co-founded the Bike Borderlands initiative to strengthen and promote mountain biking in a region spanning northern New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Quebec. Facilitated by Center staff, the nine member organizations collaborate on events, promotion, peer learning, and program development. Together they created the “Ride With Gratitude” campaign to build a more respectful mountain biking community. Today, hundreds of people have taken the Ride With Gratitude pledge and dozens of other organizations and businesses have signed on as partners.

Before joining the Center team in 2013, Maura built an environmental stewardship program at St. Paul’s School, consulted on green building projects for the Jordan Institute, led a campus energy reduction program at Harvard University, and researched ecological restoration. Maura has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of the Environment.

Maura spends her free time trail running, mountain biking, cooking, and reading. She lives off-grid in Deerfield, NH with her husband and rescue dog.

Lilias Ide is the Education and Communication Director for the Kingdom Trail Association (KTA,) a non-profit organization located in East Burke, VT. with the mission to provide recreation and education opportunities by managing, maintaining, and building non-motorized recreational trails to foster the health of the local community, surrounding environment, and regional economy.

A founding member of the Bike Borderlands initiative and driving force behind the Ride With Gratitude campaign, Lilias has worked in the nonprofit sector for 18 years and has been with KTA since 2009. During her time with KTA, Lilias has been instrumental in establishing Kingdom Trails as an international mountain biking mecca and the KT brand as a quality standard.

Lilias has a BAFA from Alfred University and prior to joining KTA, traveled to and lived in many outdoor recreation-based communities worldwide. Having grown up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont as an avid trail user, Lilias has witnessed the transformative powers of trails in the health and vitality of a community. She is honored to work with the KT team to serve her community by promoting and advancing outdoor recreation opportunities and destination stewardship.

Trail Cache- Insights into Building and Maintaining Community Trails

Build sustainable and enjoyable trails and strengthen your community. Learn tips on trail layout, design, construction, and maintenance as well as the essential tools used for cutting, clearing, grading, and constructing trails. This workshop will cover basic trail concepts, offer insights from trail professionals, and provide a detailed and hands-on introduction to the trail builder's tool cache. Participants will learn about safe tool use, care, and maintenance and gain insights into the efficiencies of trail building. Find out why trail builders say 'use the right tool for the job!'

Luke O'Brien, Forest Recreation Specialist, VT Dept. of Forests, Parks & Recreation

Luke O'Brien brings over 20 years of trail building experience, with a background in trail design, layout, construction, maintenance, restoration, and management. As Forest Recreation Specialist with Vermont's Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, he manages trails and access to state lands in the Northeast Kingdom. Luke served as the Trail Director for NorthWoods Stewardship Center and coordinated the NorthWoods Conservation Corps for 19 years, where he helped manage many of the trails in northern Vermont and adjacent New Hampshire.

Block 4 

3:30 - 4:40 pm 

Gateway I

Northstar I

Gateway II

Northstar II

Recreation for Our Aging Community

Heart health is at the center of brain health for our aging bodies. Recreation is the catalyst of both heart and brain health for so many members of the communities. Between cardiovascular movement and chatting amongst friends; we will discuss best practices for communities to serve those that are 55+ with emphasis on brain and heart health.
Jazmin Averbuck, Development Manager, Alzheimer's Association - VT Chapter | Jordan Catto, Program Manager, Alzheimer's Association - VT Chapter

Jazmin Averbuck has lived in Vermont her entire life (minus a 6 year stint away in her 20s) and spends so much of her time within many communities throughout the state; both enjoying the facilities and volunteering at events. Currently, Jazmin promotes strength events throughout the state which promotes healthy movement for people of all ages and abilities. She also works as the Development Manager for the Vermont Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association working to help those in the community be more involved in the cause through fundraising and engagement.

Jordan Catto joined the Vermont Chapter in October 2021, bringing a strong passion for recruiting, training, and education. Jordan is thrilled to be a member of the Vermont Chapter in the fight to cure Alzheimer's, a cause very near and dear to her heart. In 2005 Jordan moved to Seattle, WA and worked for PROVAIL in Supported Employment as an Employment Consultant and later Program Manager, supporting individuals with developmental disabilities with employment and retention. Jordan started a mentorship program that worked to connect new employees with tenured employees in cohorts. Jordan was also involved in several collaboration opportunities on a county and state level to support businesses with hiring diverse staff utilizing the supported employment model. In 2016 Jordan, her husband Matt, and son Vincent, moved back to Vermont to live closer to family. Jordan worked at Howard Center as a Program Manager and Team Lead, supporting individuals with dual diagnoses mental health and developmental disability with accessing resources for housing, community support, medical needs, clinical, and transportation needs. Jordan started Lunch Buddies, which worked to connect employees and increase connectivity. Jordan co-facilitated a committee that started a new onboarding and training program for case managers. Jordan was born and raised in Fairfax, Vermont and resides in South Burlington. She enjoys spending time with her boys, Quinn and Vincent, and her husband, Matt, and spending time with friends, and with a very large family in Vermont and Massachusetts. Jordan enjoys walking and yoga, writing, hikes, and loves the beach.

The Power of Stories

“If you want someone to remember your message – in a presentation, an article, or a report – tell them a story.” Rachel Gillett, Fast Company. In this session, discover how impactful stories can be. Stories can open windows to new ways of thinking, help your content connect to an audience, and most importantly - reveal meanings. It is through these meanings and connections that a presentation truly becomes memorable. If you present to elected officials, the public, to coworkers, or even friends, and you want to become a more effective presenter, this session will illustrate and provide you with a powerful technique for ensuring your presentations are unforgettable.

Michael Kirschmann, Director, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation

Michael Kirschmann, CPRP, is Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Virginia Beach. The department manages 293 parks, over 7,000 acres, seven large recreation centers, provides childcare at all 56 elementary schools, and maintains all city and school properties with 1,400 employees and a $79M budget. Prior to Virginia Beach, Michael spent 12 years at Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation, serving a population of one million and the City of Charlotte NC and six towns. He also worked for park districts in Illinois and Ohio, consulted for the National Park Service, and started his career as a Soil & Water Conservation District educator over 30 years ago. He speaks extensively throughout the country on P&R topics, and has instructed at the NRPA Director’s School, Supervisors Management School, and Green School.
Trails: We Get What We Plan For (Together)

Are you looking to be part of creating a great trail experience? Join this workshop to learn about how to plan and prepare for making a trail project happen. Understand what it takes to develop community support and a sustainable stewardship plan. Learn from a professional trail planner and designer about the steps and process before you put a shovel in the dirt. Hear about case studies and tips/tricks for planning for partnerships to ensure a successful project. Come ready to work with your questions and ideas, and leave with tools and resources to help you get started along the path of planning to get the trail you want.
Mariah Keagy, Trail Designer & Planner, Sinuosity LLC | Nick Bennette, Executive Director, Vermont Mountain Bike Association

Mariah Keagy is Trail Planner/Designer and co-owner of Sinuosity, a Vermont based firm that provides professional trail services for every aspect of a trail project. Sinuosity was founded in 2006 by Brooke Scatchard, co-owner, construction manager, and winner of several Vermont “builder of choice” awards. Sinuosity’s mission is to plan, design, and build sustainable trails that highlight the landscape and promote enjoyable user experiences. Sinuosity is proud to be a member of the Professional Trail Builders Association (PTBA). Mariah Keagy joined the Sinuosity in 2013. Mariah Keagy began her career in trail construction and reconstruction in the GreenMountains of Vermont in 1996. She has extensive knowledge of multi-use trail design and management and diverse experience in natural resources, specializing in the New England landscape. Before returning to Vermont in 2010, Mariah worked throughout the U.S. learning about multi-use trails (hike, bike, motorized, pack and saddle, ski, and water) from the Everglades in Florida to the coastlines and peaks of Maine, to the Chugach in Alaska. She returned to New England as the Trails Supervisor for the Appalachian Mountain Club, where she managed the White Mountain trails and developed a contract crew, designing and building trails throughout New England. She has a M.S. in Environmental Studies from Antioch New England and currently servesas a Co-Vice Chair on the Vermont Trails and Greenways Council, her local Conservation Commission, and a board member of the Green Mountain Club and 10 year member of its Trail Management Committee. Mariah recently completed a Wetland’s Delineation course to assist in trail design and planning projects, and is currently working to refine portions of the new PTBA/American Trails “Trail Competency Framework.”

Nick Bennette has been the Executive Director of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association since 2021 and currently also serves as the Co-Chair of the Vermont Trails & Greenways Council. Nick is a dad, environmentalist, recovering consultant, passionate mountain biker, and trail evangelist. He’s most happy out in the woods, popping off roots and rocks and searching for fun lines on the trail. Outside of work, Nick is either keeping up with his 9-year old or out in the woods, typically combining those things as much as possible. Once the weather turns, Nick tries to get in as much skiing and fat biking as he can, and his family has (mostly) converted him into a cozy-weather board gamer. Nick’s favorite thing about working for VMBA is the people. “Every single person in our organization is passionate about strengthening access and sustainable stewardship. It’s awesome to work so closely with Chapter leadership, partners, and volunteers rooted in that same passion.” Most importantly, favorite trail snack. There’s no one answer for Nick, regardless, he strongly prefers ‘real’ food and the default is to whip together a ‘mega sandwich’ – peanut butter, banana, honey, and chia seeds.

3:30 - 4:05
Better Together: Community Led Health Programming

When we work together, we grow together. Come Alive Outside collaborates to build capacity with a wide network of community partners to achieve meaningful impact and reach.

The same populations that face the highest health inequities are the same populations who are underserved in outdoor recreation. Over the past 2 years, Come Alive Outside has shifted our approach to programming to meet folks where they are at when it comes to engaging in nature-related programming. With over 100 partners in Rutland County working with us to get priority populations outside, we are seeing these populations connecting with nature for health, wellness, and joy.

Haley Rice, Program and Outreach Manager, Come Alive Outside

Haley Rice is the Program and Marketing manager for Come Alive Outside. Haley is a writer, a student and a performing artist who has been actively involved in non-profits for ten years. She also spent seven years as a college professor, teaching theater in the deep south. She loves bad jokes, good sushi and outdoor adventures.
4:05 - 4:40
Working Together to Cultivate Healthy Communities

Health is shaped by where we live, learn, work and play. Public health and recreation and parks professionals can work together to improve the built environment to strengthen the overall health and wellness of the community. This session will introduce participants to the Vermont Department of Health’s (VDHs) Healthy Community Design program. Through this program, community leaders can access tools and resources to support planning and implementation of strategies to increase access to physical activity and nutritious food in the community. Strategies focus on improvements to bike and pedestrian infrastructure, parks, recreation and open space, and healthy food access. In the past year, VDH led two Healthy Community Design initiatives centering equity. Resources and local examples from these will be shared.

Suzanne Kelley, Healthy Community Design Program Coordinator, State of VT - Agency of Health

Suzanne Kelley manages the Healthy Community Design Program for the Vermont Department of Health, providing support to state and community-based health, planning, and municipal leaders to increase access to healthy food and places to be physically active for all Vermonters. Suzanne also manages Vermont’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), a USDA obesity prevention program for people who are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. Suzanne is dedicated to promoting physical activity, healthy food access, and supporting vibrant, livable communities through programs, polices and systems changes where all people regardless of race, gender, economic status, or ability, can thrive.
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software