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Q&A with Tricia Bhatia, Carbon and Transaction Specialist

Northeast Wilderness Trust is thrilled to welcome Tricia Bhatia to the team as Carbon and Transaction Specialist. In her new role, Tricia will manage Northeast Wilderness Trust’s Wild CarbonTM credits and Wildlands Carbon Program.

We sat down with Tricia for a Q&A to learn more about what brought her to NEWT, and her excitement about working on natural climate solutions through wilderness conservation.

NEWT: Tell us a little about your love of nature.

Tricia: My childhood was spent in the Bay Area, and then we moved to the suburbs of Boston to be closer to my mom’s family in the Adirondacks, where I spent summers on Lake George. The wild central California coast certainly left its imprint on me, but the Northeast won. When I lived in California for a time as an adult, I found myself longing for the lush New England summers full of fireflies, thunderstorms, and abundant freshwater.  Coming back to the East Coast, I knew I would have to land somewhere where nature felt more immediate and integral to life. Vermont and the Adirondacks have nourished that feeling of wilderness at my doorstep.

NEWT: What motivated you to pursue a career in conservation?

Tricia: Conservation has always been a calling for me—whether it’s my almost annoying predilection for recycling and composting and telling my friends and family about energy conservation, or my desire to explore and conserve wild places on our Planet. Before joining the Wilderness Trust, I was reading up on E.O. Wilson’s Half-Earth concept and the resulting 30×30 movement, which aims to protect 30% of the planet for nature by 2030. It feels as though our planet is hanging by a thread, so these visions—and the inspiring work that’s happening right now to make them happen—captivate me and give me hope.

NEWT: Was there a particular experience that shaped your relationship with Nature, conservation, and wildness?

Tricia: In 2015, I lived on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, where I was taking marine biology classes at the University of Alaska and interning at the Natural Estuarine Research Center. Living in a landscape with carnivores like grizzly bears, and massive moose, gave me the experience of a place where people aren’t always in charge. It also showed me how people can co-exist with apex predator species. This was such a crystallizing moment—it shifted my view of wilderness because I could see this complex web of life existing outside of human control. This place is so abundant, so rich in life and sustaining of both wild and human beings; it self-regulates and balances. That sense of awe and wonder has stuck with me ever since, so it’s exciting to be part of NEWT and help conserve places where Nature’s freedom is protected.

NEWT: What are you looking forward to in your new position as Carbon and Transaction Specialist at Northeast Wilderness Trust?

Tricia: I’m looking forward to using my natural talents and interests to move NEWT’s carbon program forward. The forest carbon offset market represents a new funding opportunity for land trusts that have always been underfunded to achieve their ambitious goals. This is, particularly true for organizations like Northeast Wilderness Trust that cannot rely on federal or state funding streams.

NEWT: How do you connect with nature these days?

Tricia: These days, it’s mostly walks with my high energy puppy, Winnie the Pooch, around Burlington Parks. I always love long saunters in the woods and quiet paddles.

NEWT: Do you have a favorite wild plant, animal, or fungus?

Tricia: Every time I saw a sea otter in Alaska or California, I would just want to fling myself into the sea and be one with their world. I find sea otters cute and also fascinating, because they are a keystone species. They shape the coastal ecosystem by predating on the sea urchin, which, without the sea otter to regulate their numbers, can eat all the kelp and throw a kelp forest ecosystem out of balance.