Northeast Wilderness Trust is delighted to welcome Lillie Howell to the team. Lillie joins us as the Wildlands Partnership Intern, helping to connect more land trusts with wilderness conservation to accelerate the pace of protecting wild places across the Northeast. She is a student at Vermont Law School and University of Vermont. We asked Lillie about what motivates her to connect to and protect wilderness.
What makes you excited about the Wilderness Trust’s mission?
Northeast Wilderness Trust’s mission excites me because it is a refreshing antidote to the norms and values that control our culture, economy, and prevailing land management regimes in the United States. While humans certainly benefit from wildlands in many ways, the Wilderness Trust’s mission of protecting nature for nature’s sake takes us out of the spotlight and places us back where we are meant to be: one species amongst an interconnected ecosystem, rather than a dominant species in control.
Tell me about a formative experience that seeded your love for nature/the wild.
The most formative moments I had when I was young were not grandiose experiences in a National Park or on an extended backpacking trip, but when I was growing up in Nashville. At one point my dad lived across the street from a Civil War battle site which had been protected as a public park. It was a small property surrounded by development and consisted of a short forested trail. This park wasn’t advertised and there were no signs, so almost no one knew about it. I would go there all the time and wander around in the woods by myself and sit next to this one fallen log for hours at a time. It has helped me to remember even today that our love of nature can happen in unexpected places; it doesn’t always have to be an expansive wilderness for us to feel connected or inspired.
What parts of your work are you looking forward to tackling?
I am looking forward to forging relationships with land trusts throughout the region and to hopefully foster a sense of community between the many organizations that are dedicated to wilderness conservation in New England. I think the Wildlands Partnership is an amazing opportunity to expand the Wilderness Trust’s reach and to bring a diverse array of stakeholders together to achieve a common goal. I also think it is important to be reminded of the bigger picture and to see how what I’ve learned thus far in graduate school is applied in “the real world.”