NORTHEAST WILDERNESS TRUST
17 STATE STREET, SUITE 302
MONTPELIER, VT 05602
info [@] newildernesstrust.org
Northeast Wilderness Trust is thrilled to continue working with Eric Bailey in his new role as Wildlands Ecology Fellow. Eric served as the Wildlands Ecology Intern during the summer of 2022.
Eric is a recent graduate of Sterling College with a B.A. in Ecology, with a focus on the intersections between recreation and ecology. He has always had a deep appreciation for outdoor spaces and conservation, and finds interest in studying how human recreation can impact natural spaces and alter their functionality. For his capstone project he assessed impacts of recreation along a stretch of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in order to understand how paddling is affecting the ecology of the area. In his free time, he enjoys wandering through the woods, swimming, paddling, painting, tending to his garden, singing and playing his guitar.
We sat down with Eric for a Q&A to learn more about his feelings and passion for land with the Wilderness Trust community.
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?
Eric: As a kid, I spent a lot of time with my friends playing outside. I grew up in suburbia, so we played in ditches and wandered around the woods in our backyards. But I think as I got older, I sort of separated a lot from the outdoors, because I had a lot going on in my childhood. I was fortunate to be able to take a trip out to Wyoming when I was 14 or 15, and we went to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. I was out there camping for two weeks, and it really changed my perspective and opened doors for me, to be able to have those experiences. It really brought me a sense of groundedness that I hadn’t really found before, and a sense of comfort.
I grew up and decided that I wanted to go to college in Vermont, and that was a big move for me, but I was really excited to be able to live in the mountains because I grew up in Cleveland. The longer I’ve lived up here, the more my appreciation for nature has grown.
NEWT: What makes you excited to work at Northeast Wilderness Trust?
Eric: There are many different kinds of conservation work, and I think that what NEWT is going for is a lot different from what a lot of other organizations are doing. It’s important that NEWT is stepping up to the plate and protecting places not just for people but for everybody and everything. In college, I found myself aligning with the deep ecology way of thinking, and I think that is what NEWT is aiming at: shifting people’s perspective on how we view the outdoors and nature. That’s something I really resonate with. The mission of NEWT is something that’s near and dear to my heart.
NEWT: What are you looking forward to in your new role as Wildlands Ecology Fellow?
Eric: In this role, I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to learn more about conservation work and ecology. During the fellowship, I will be assisting with the teaching of a North Branch Nature Center course about old forests, working on writing articles and research papers about rewilding that (hopefully) will be published, engaging with the land trust and ecology community at multiple conferences, and spending many days in the field getting to know NEWT properties on a deeper level.
With the ecology research sector of NEWT being somewhat new, it is exciting to be involved in the beginnings of the important studies being done, including long term forest monitoring, wildlife camera studies and baseline soundscape recording. I am grateful to have the opportunity to engage with nature and community in this way, and I am excited to see what else this role has in store for me as I continue!