By Cold Hollow to Canada
CHC is delighted to welcome Jenny Goyne and Greg Mikkelson to serve on the CHC Board. Jenny and Greg both have strong ties to the CHC region, as well as a enduring commitment to conservation. We are honored to introduce them and grateful for their service to forest stewardship and conservation in the Cold Hollow region. Meet Jenny and Greg in their own words:
I grew up in South Richford on my parents’ fifty acres, in a rustic home with a view all the way to the Adirondacks on a clear day. Surrounded by fields, woods, and a brook down the bank, it was an idyllic place for a child to grow up. Of course, that is, until I reached adolescence and wanted nothing more than to be “in town” near friends. I yearned to go away to Boston, to see the world, as many rural kids do.
However when the time came, the most economical choice was UVM, and so I didn’t venture far for my nursing degree. It was here that I began to fall in love with mountains, specifically by hiking and camping among them. In high school I had viewed these activities as a chore, as every Wednesday for several summers I climbed up Burnt Mountain in Montgomery with a group of Hazen's Notch campers, and slept in a teepee by a pond. I was working for a nature camp and that’s how I viewed it: work. Little did I know that one day I’d look back on that time and think it was the best job there was - working outside every day, teaching kids about beavers and kayaking in the great outdoors.
After college I went on to work as a nurse at UVM Medical Center, with many trips west to explore and hike on public lands. I travel nursed in California and Kodiak Island, Alaska, through-hiked the Oregon section of the Pacific Crest Trail, and trekked to Machu Picchu in Peru. But after each adventure I kept returning home, to the northern Green Mountains. Whether it was catching six inch brookies with Dad, jumping into icy cold swimming holes, or watching sap drip into a bucket - I couldn't help but miss these experiences when I was away.
Three years ago my partner Karl and I bought our own piece of land in Underhill, a literal stone’s throw from Mount Mansfield State Forest, and just south of the Cold Hollow Region. We ski and hunt out our front door, and the value of the greater ecosystem we are a part of is not lost on us. We have begun managing for wildlife, and hope to do some sugaring while managing for resiliency in the years to come.
As it has for many, the past decade has brought climate change and the importance of healthy ecosystems to the forefront of my mind. I’ve seen how my parents have sought out information to improve their land, working with Cold Hollow to Canada’s Woodlots program and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). I’ve watched and learned as they’ve increased their knowledge and made enhancements to their property. I still love visiting my childhood home. Mom continues to teach me about birds I never knew existed, and Dad still quizzes me on all the trees.
Looking to the future, my sister and I hope to keep my parents’ property intact for generations to come. I want to protect this spot in the world that I hold so close to my heart within the Cold Hollow Mountains. I wish for this landscape to remain intact, healthy, and productive in the years ahead. These goals cannot be realized by managing a single parcel, yet a joint effort by many landowners can make an impact in the long run. As a board member for CHC I hope to help others who are invested in the land that makes up this region. We live in a special place, and I want to do my part to keep it that way.
- Jenny Goyne
The seeds of my involvement with CHC got planted many decades ago, as I ran with my brothers through the North Woods of Wisconsin. My family summered at our "country house" there, on land where my great-great-grandparents had migrated from Denmark. A course I took my senior year in college rekindled my interest in nature, and led me to earn a master's degree in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. Always a wanderer, I then moved from ecological science, to philosophy of science, to ecological economics, and finally to environmental ethics and political ecology. The unifying thread has always been a fascination with and love for biodiversity.
After moving to Montréal for an academic job in 2001, I bought some land in the western foothills of the Green Mountains, east of Richford, in 2009. This stretch of forest, field, and stream has greatly enriched my ability to both experience and act on behalf of our fellow species. I quickly enrolled the land in Vermont's Current Use program and the US Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, and started volunteering for the Missisquoi River Basin Association and attending CHC's awesome natural history events. I learn something precious every time I get to walk "my" land with Nancy, Charlie, or any of our many other local, state, or federal nature experts. Most recently, I have joined the Richford Woodlots group, a vital combination of conservation and community-building that has acquainted me with my wonderful neighbors.
I am thus honored to join the CHC board. I find both the goal and the methods of this organization tremendously inspiring, and look forward to contributing what I can to furthering them.
- Greg Mikkelson