Northeast Wilderness Trust is delighted to welcome Hannah Epstein to the team as our new Stewardship Coordinator. Hannah enters this position with a wealth of knowledge and experience, as our former Stewardship Coordinator, Shelby Perry, moves into a new role as Wildlands Ecology Director. We sat down with Hannah to learn a bit more about her background and her love for wilderness and the Northeastern landscape. Get to know her through the interview below!
NEWT: Tell us a little about your love of the outdoors. Was there any particular place or experience that was foundational to your relationship with nature?
Hannah: I attribute my early curiosity about the natural world to my mother and grandmother. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother pointing out different plants on our daily walks with our dogs in the woods and my grandmother identifying the songbirds at her bird feeders to mark the changing of the seasons. I grew up in New Hampshire and spent a lot of time in the White Mountains, along the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine, and visiting the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont. Spending time outside has always been a huge part of my life and so it was only natural that I was drawn to a career that would allow me to work outside and protect the forests, waters, plants, and wildlife that I felt connected to.
My fascination with ecology and exploring different landscapes has led me to many places beyond the northeast. I am excited to return to the region where I have spent the majority of my life to work with Northeast Wilderness Trust to steward the lands where I feel the strongest sense of place.
NEWT: What was your career path leading up to your role as Stewardship Coordinator at NEWT?
Hannah: I began my career with land trusts with the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire where I worked for the summer as a land steward after graduating from the University of Vermont. Following that summer, I served two terms through the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board AmeriCorps Program as the Northern Vermont Stewardship Assistant at the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Immediately prior to joining NEWT, I worked for a seasonal term with the National Park Service in Nevada and Arizona as a Vegetation Technician, where I surveyed rare plants and worked at a native plant nursery. My work in these roles has involved a variety of on-the-ground management including restoration, invasive plant management, trail work, plant surveys, and conservation easement monitoring. I am especially excited by NEWT’s mission for the climate resilience, biodiversity, and connectivity that conserving lands as wilderness protects.
NEWT: What are you looking forward to in your new position?
Hannah: I am looking forward to becoming acquainted with the lands that NEWT protects across the Northeast and learning more about the habitats, plants, wildlife, and people in all of those places. Through my experience in land conservation and management, I have learned that acquisition on its own is not enough to ensure the long-term protection of the land; thoughtful management and devoted stewardship are critical components of conservation. In this role, I am excited to continue the perpetual stewardship of the wild places NEWT has committed to protecting.
NEWT: How do you connect with nature, and what species are grabbing your attention these days?
Hannah: My favorite ways to connect with nature are exploring places on foot, skis, or canoe with my dog, Ziva, by my side. I am especially fond of trees and have an affinity for paper birch, the smell of balsam fir in high-elevation forests, and witch hazel’s bright yellow flowers in the fall.
Hannah will be meeting with landowners, volunteers, and our conservation partners in the coming months. You can contact Hannah and join us in welcoming her at hannah [@] newildernesstrust.org or 802.224.1000 ext. 109.