In Vermont, the term “spring” Interim is a misnomer, since, at the time of writing this, it’s a winter wonderland with about a foot of freshly fallen snow. The first of our lambs have been born, signaling that yes, spring will come! This winter was filled with many highlights including the celebration of our 40-year partnership with the 1199 SEIU in NYC. We also recently celebrated Sam Arfer’s 10th year working at F&W year-round, and this will be his 30th summer cooking at Saltash Mountain Camp (I can almost taste his chili). Farm & Wilderness is also celebrating an exciting milestone – 80 years of life-changing camp experiences!

Farm & Wilderness Summer CampsOur conversations this fall and winter have centered on what social justice means at F&W as well as how to be more transparent in our processes, practices, decisions, and changes. In this year, we are beginning a strategic planning process and will engage the Farm & Wilderness community at large as an essential part of this work.

As we work towards identifying core goals and priorities for the next 5 years, we are excited to assess the climate within our organization and among the constituent groups at F&W. I hope you will participate in the conversation.

We are sad to say good-bye to Amy Bowen, Tulio Browning, Megan Chamberlain, and Sarah Maney. All four of these dedicated camp directors gave almost three decades of combined service to Farm & Wilderness. Our gratitude is mixed with sadness and excitement for what they all have planned for the future.

Good-byes, as sad as they are, do offer the opportunity for a hello. We are excited to re-introduce Michelle Golden as Program Director, Jarod Wunneburger as Timberlake Director, Andrea Breen as Interim Tamarack Farm Director, and Tori Heller as Red Spruce Grove Assistant Director. There is a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge that these F&W superstars bring to our year-round staff. And we have one new person to introduce, Theresa Serr with over 30 years experience in the camping industry will be the Indian Brook Director.

Work projectsThis fall, the camp directors and Michelle Golden, will evaluate the work projects area of camp, looking for ways to improve upon staff leadership in this area, camper interest in larger building projects (like kybos) and how to progressively build campers’ skills from the Barn Day Camp to a complex capstone project at Tamarack Farm. Maybe you remember a project you shingled, framed or had a hand in constructing? Camp reunion attendees often seek out a cabin or bunk to see if they recognize their talented work. And speaking of, Timberlake will be hosting their 80th-anniversary reunion in the fall.

It is exciting to focus our attention on conservation this year, as this is at the core of the Farm & Wilderness experience. We are looking at the possibility for more local trips for campers that don’t require vehicles, and to embrace our surrounding wild spaces. That means improving our local trails and shelters. We’ve stepped up our composting and the monitoring of invasive plants around our property. This summer, you can check out our 10th annual Greenhouse Gas audit in our Annual Report to review our progress. Your support and efforts in this work is critical to sustaining the stewardship and conservation of our land and water.

As we reach out to hear your thoughts on what we are doing, what we should consider addressing, and what are opportunities for our future, I hope you will share your perspective, feedback, and ideas. At Work Weekends, Fair, and regional events, there will always be space and time to listen to your suggestions and voice. I welcome the chance to hear from you! Until then, wishing you and yours a smooth transition into spring, good health, and joy.

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