Education Session Information - Thursday, September 28th 

Thank you room sponsors!!!


Room Name

Session Information + Speaker Bio


10:00 - 12:30 pm

Gateway II

Strategic Planning

We've all been there. A place and time in your life when you are questioning whether the work you do is valued by those around you, and you're thinking "I wonder if there is something better out there for me?" Or maybe you have a skill set that you are not able to showcase in your current position which has you thinking "should I stay with this organization, or should I take a chance and pursue my passion?" Understanding the important questions to ask yourself and chasing the right opportunities is the key to getting to a place that feels productive and that is validating. This session will identify and define ways that participants can either “grow in place" or intentionally seek other outside opportunities that could provide a more fulfilling career path.
Lisa Paradis, Recreation Consultant, BerryDunn

Lisa Paradis Coming Soon

Block 5

10:00 - 11:15 am


Gateway I

Northstar I

Northstar II

A Roadmap to VT's Outdoor Recreation Economy

The Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) is a collective impact network of public/private partners organized through the State. After five years of work and large-scale changes happening in the state due to the pandemic, the VOREC program is assessing its 2018 Action Plan, prioritizing work for the next 5-10 years, and building stronger relationships with partners statewide. This session is an opportunity for idea sharing and to learn about the VOREC program and what is coming out of these planning conversations. Come learn and help us shape the future of the outdoor recreation economy in Vermont!
Jackie Dagger,Program Manager Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative, VT Agency of Natural Resources (ANR)

In April 2021, Jackie Dagger was hired to build the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) Program and facilitate cross-agency collaboration between the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Jackie holds an Anthropology undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC and a master’s degree from Antioch University Seattle’s Center for Creative Change in Environment and Community Planning. Jackie is a native Vermonter but moved to Washington State early in her career. There she worked in outdoor retail on the sales floor at the REI Flagship store and then the North Face Store in downtown Seattle. She also honed skills in municipal planning while working as a consultant specializing in multi-stakeholder facilitation and developing meaningful public engagement processes. She’s worked on projects that improve wastewater treatment facilities, design safer bike and public transportation systems, and bring public and private partners together to work on environmental conservation. She is an avid outdoor recreationalist and finds her happy place backcountry skiing in the mountains, jumping into one of Vermont’s many good swimming holes, climbing up rocks or traversing a good backpacking trail.
Both Sides of the Desk: Mutually Beneficial Staffing

Are you responsible for hiring and promoting the next generation of leaders? Are you frustrated by the lack of engaged staff? This session explores diverse training opportunities for your staff that are engaging and focuses on each team member's strength. We will also discuss retention and training challenges as we experience higher rates of turnover. You will have an opportunity to share your stories and gain insight from others.
Kelly Lehman, Assistant Director, Burlington MA Parks & Recreation | Emma Jones, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Burlington MA Parks & Recreation

Kelly Lehman, CPSI, AFO is currently the Assistant Director for the Burlington, MA Parks & Recreation Department. Kelly has worked in the recreation field for over 20 years. She received a degree in 2006 from the University of New Hampshire in Recreation Management and Policy with a concentration in Program Administration. Prior to arriving in Burlington, MA, Kelly served as Assistant Recreation Director for the Town of Raymond, NH.

Emma Jones, CTRS serves as the Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for the Burlington, MA Parks & Recreation Department. Emma received her Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management and Policy: Therapeutic Recreation option from the University of New Hampshire. She completed her internship at Burlington Parks and Recreation and then passed the National Board exam, obtaining her NCTRC certification as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.

Planning Together; Trails & Wetlands Can Co-exist

Trail systems connect communities and individuals with nature, and hiking and walking experiences can be enhanced with trailside wetlands. Trails that offer a glimpse into these unique ecosystems can be an exciting segment for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. However, careful consideration should be given to placement and construction of trails to protect and maintain these fragile ecosystems, wildlife habitat, and water quality. There are several activities associated with trail building that may require wetland permitting, and some activities that can occur without the cost and time of the permit process. This presentation is intended to explain wetland regulatory requirements primarily for non-commercial trail building and trail upgrades. By planning together, we can have strong trail systems, connected communities, and wetland protection.
Zapata Courage, District Wetland Ecologist, VT Dept. of Environmental Conservation | Shannon Morrison, District Wetland Ecologist, VT Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Zapata Courage is currently a Wetland Ecologist for the State of VT. She works with landowners and consultants reviewing wetland delineations and providing technical assistance. She manages permitting, regulatory, and compliance issues related to wetlands in her region. Prior to working at DEC, Zapata worked as a consultant, field biologist, and as an environmental outdoor educator. Most recently, she has helped develop a new non-profit organization, The VT Association for Wetland Science (aka VAWS). VAWS focuses on wetland science and will offer Vermont specific training, discussions, and opportunities to those who work with or enjoy wetlands. Zapata lives off-the grid in Ripton, is slowly completing the Long Trail in sections, and is a life-long learner of traditional crafts and skills, taking classes during VT’s winter season.

Shannon Morrison has been working as a District Wetlands Ecologist for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation since 2000. She provides technical assistance and regulatory services administering the Vermont Wetland Rules in Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom. In addition to regulatory work, Shannon also specializes in policy development, forestry practices, and outreach for realtors, foresters, and trail builders.

Block 6

11:20 - 12:30 pm

Gateway I

Northstar I 

Northstar II

Sustainability: Contribute to Lower Carbon Emission Playground Design

We all have a responsibility to care for the environment if we are going to grow strong together. Caring for our ecosystems involves personal choices and daily activities, a focus on health, as well as attention to the materials we use in the spaces we create. In this session, participants will learn about new materials suitable for designing outdoor play spaces that will lower carbon emissions. We will discuss the motivation to lower carbon emissions as a sustainability strategy aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, how CO2 footprints are documented and verified, and how the properties of the new materials are suitable for outdoor solutions, based on play value. We will discuss the trends in outdoor play design and discuss the importance of active outdoor play and fitness as an overall public health strategy.
Dr. Suzanne Quinn, KOMPAN Play Institute

Suzanne Quinn, PhD, FHEA, CPSI is the manager of the KOMPAN Play Institute, North America. In this role she monitors trends in active outdoor play and fitness and conducts research that informs design. This includes testing playground equipment with children and conducting post-occupancy studies of outdoor play and fitness sites. Before joining KOMPAN, Suzanne was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Roehampton, London, Froebel College, lead researcher for funded projects, author of peer reviewed publications and author/editor of 2 international handbooks on child development for Routledge.
Partnerships - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

It is impossible to be everything, for everybody, all the time, everywhere – and yet that is frequently the expectation for P&R agencies. It is only natural then that we frequently partner with outside orgs to deliver services. Typical partners include non-profits, schools, other government agencies, the private sector, and faith-based organizations. But from the first thought of “hey, we should partner” to the eventual signed MOU or partnership agreement, the success of the partnership is far from guaranteed. In this session we will explore WHEN we should partner, WHY we should partner, pitfalls and challenges to successful partnerships, and explore numerous examples ranging from “one and done” programs to multi-million-dollar capital facilities.
Michael Kirschman, Director, Virginia Parks & Recreation

Michael Kirschman, 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.
Connecting Parks + Trails Through Design

Outdoor adventure and connection to nature are deeply rooted in the spirit of Vermont and the number of trails and parks across the state reflects this fact. Often trails, parks, and open spaces are treated as separate entities during planning, design, and funding phases, and yet as a user, they are often experienced together. What opportunities are revealed during planning and design when the relationship between trails, parks, and open space is emphasized? Parks cater to a wide demographic and can be a gateway for users to experience passive recreation. Conversely, parks can be nodes and resting points for trail and path users, providing amenities a relationship with local communities. The session will use project examples from Vermont and beyond to explore these design opportunities.
Elena Juodisius, Landscape Designer, SE Group | Kelly Stoecklein, Landscape Designer, SE Group

Elena Juodisius is a landscape designer at SE Group who works on parks, playgrounds, and other site planning and design projects. She holds a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the State University of New York - College of Environmental Science & Forestry, where she worked for the Center for Community Design Research. She is an active community volunteer and currently serves on the Executive Board of the Vermont Chapter of ASLA.

Kelly Stoecklein is a landscape designer and holds a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Oregon and a BA in Psychology from Lewis and Clark College. Over the past 6 years she has worked on a range of project types ranging from planning and site scale including public park design, open space plans, trail system design, street improvement projects, and ski resort design. Prior to becoming a landscape designer, she worked in marketing for outdoor brands.

Block 7

2:15 - 3:30 pm

Gateway I

Gateway II

Northstar I

Northstar II

Panel: Health Promotion and Wellness for Older Vermonters

A panel with representatives from Age Well, Senior Solutions and Southwest Council on Aging to present about the work of Area Agencies on Aging, who we serve, our programming, evidenced based programs and successful relationships throughout the state of VT.
Chris Moldovan, Nutrition and Wellness Director, AgeWell | Thomas Simmons, Senior Solutions |Madison Gardner, Southwestern Council on Aging

Chris Moldovan RD,CD, FAND is a Registered Dietitian with years of experience in various roles within the Dietetics profession. She has served three terms as President of the Vermont Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and was awarded Outstanding Registered Dietitian of the Year in 2018. Currently she is serving as a Dietitian Consultant to the Vermont Secretary of State in the Office of Professional Regulation. Chris is recognized as a fellow of the National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognizing her many contributions to the profession. Additionally, she is the 2022 recipient of the Vermont Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Karen Newman Award. She is currently the Nutrition and Wellness Director at Age Well, the largest of the five Area Agencies on Aging in VT. Chris oversees the Meals on Wheels and Community Meals Nutrition programs for Chittenden, Addison, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties in VT, serving nearly 300,000 meals per year and oversees Age Well’s robust suite of Health Promotion and Wellness activities to enable older Vermonters to gain skills and support required to manage their personal health concerns in conjunction with their medical team.

Info coming soon

Trail Maintenance

Learn to take care of trails once they are finished being built. A finished trail means maintenance has just begun! Trail maintenance is a daunting term and covers a lot of potential trail projects. Learn the seasonality of maintenance, the various pieces of trail maintenance that anyone can do as well as some more specific items for bridges, berms, and other specialty trail features. Grady will also present examples of common trail maintenance issues, how to fix them, and when it is time to call a professional for help.
Grady Vigneau, Trails Manager, Stowe Trails Partnership

Grady Vigneau grew up in Stowe, VT and got started on trails at a young age, hiking, mountain biking, and skiing whenever possible! He served on Stowe Mountain Bike Club board in 2013-15 and ended up turning trail maintenance into a job when he relocated to Colorado for about 5 years. After serving as the Land & Trails Manager for Devil's Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, CO he returned to VT to work for Stowe Trails Partnership as the Trails Manager.
The Power of Collaboration to Create Accessibility

Through collaboration efforts with multiple partners in adaptive sports, Kelly Brush Foundation, Adaptive Sports Partners, and Vermont Adaptive; Kingdom Trails has been able to make the trails on the network, and the programming, more inclusive to all user types. This session will highlight the various ways collaboration allows Kingdom Trails to provide recreation for all trail users. We will provide information and resources for you to take back to your trail and recreational communities, encouraging you to create opportunities for all.
Kelly Starr, Executive Director, Adaptive Sports | CJ Scott, Trails Director, Kingdom Trails Association | Felicia Fowler, Program Manager, Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports

Kelly Starr is the Executive Director for Adaptive Sports Partners. She earned her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and a Master’s degree in Recreational Therapy from Indiana University. She has a deep background in adaptive sports as well as significant experience leading and growing high-quality recreational programs. Kelly holds various certifications including being a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Certified Adaptive Recreation and Sport Specialist, a Level 1 Adaptive SUP Instructor, and a PSIA Level 1 Adaptive Ski Instructor. Kelly is an avid skier, ultra runner, Ironman finisher, as well as a mom of four, including her son who has a disability.

CJ Scott, Trails Director for Kingdom Trail Association, earned his degree in Recreation Resource Management & Programming from Lyndon State College and brings over 20 years of trail building & maintenance experience. Working closely with over 100 private landowners, stakeholders, and community members, KTA looks to provide recreation and education opportunities by managing, maintaining, and building trails to foster the health of our local community, surrounding environment, and regional economy. KTA strives to accomplish this mission by offering 100+ miles of quality non-motorized, multi-use, all four seasons, and all levels of ability trails. CJ is an avid jack of all trades outdoor enthusiast. He lives in Wheelock, VT with his wife and two daughters.

Felicia Fowler, Bio coming soon.

Partnership Building with UVM's Rubenstein Shool

Learn how the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at UVM centers and supports experiential learning for students through an intentional and scaffolded approach bridging in-class experiences and internships to career development and readiness. We will provide an overview of our department’s structure and goals to meet student needs, a description of how we meet our goals, and a brief introduction to our college’s inclusive excellence objectives in relation to experiential learning and career development. This session will also focus on community partnership building and the how-tos of getting involved with Rubenstein undergraduate students and alumni at various levels from getting connected to a class project, to hosting an intern, to recruiting for jobs.
Meghan Young, Experiential and Community-Based Learning Coordinator, UVM Rubenstein School | Emily LeForce, Senior Professional Advisor for Experiential Learning, UVM Rubenstein School

Meghan Young (she/hers) serves as the Experiential and Community-Based Learning Coordinator for the Rubenstein School. In this position, Meghan brings skills in environmental education, culturally relevant pedagogy and curriculum development, outdoor leadership, community partnership development, data analysis, and holistic student support to this work. Meghan graduated from UNH in 2009 with a degree in Microbiology, a minor in French, and a focus in Pre-Med. During her undergraduate experience, Meghan was involved with research within fields of epidemiology, virology, bacteriology, and genetics, and she worked for three years in a clinical microbiological laboratory. After UNH, Meghan farmed full-time and began to focus on soil health, regenerative practices, food justice, and youth education. This led to five years of teaching high school science and math in both Vermont and Maine, where Meghan was able to experiment and test out various experiential practices and direct applications of student learning. In 2018, in tandem with teaching full-time, Meghan joined the Rubenstein School community as a member of the Master’s in Leadership for Sustainability (MLS) program. Meghan graduated from this program in 2020, spending much of her capstone experience focused on culturally relevant pedagogical practices and curriculum development in environmental education for K-12 students. This experience created expansive and robust opportunities to engage with community partners and develop cross-sector relationships and led to a state-wide consulting position with the Maine Environmental Education Association. Meghan returned to UVM in 2021 as Associate Director and Academic Advisor in the College of Education and Social Services and is currently enrolled in the UVM M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Meghan spends as much time as she can outside in the woods—running around, playing, and exploring with her partner and pup on foot, bike, or skis.

Hello! I am, Emily LeForce, a Senior Professional Advisor for First Time First Year and Sophomore students at the Rubenstein School. I also coordinate career development programs and alumni engagement. I worked with middle school special education students before earning my M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration with concentrations in counseling and social justice. Before coming to UVM, I spent the last few years working in outdoor recreation in the college setting, and I am passionate about supporting students' academic, professional, and personal goals and interests through experiential learning opportunities. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, reading, cooking, and traveling.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software