Our stewardship season is officially underway. Two weeks in, projects have been completed in Vermont along the Mad River in Waitsfield and the North Branch Cascades Trail. Under the direction of NFCT Stewardship Director Noah Pollock, the team will tackle more projects in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Click here to read more about this season’s work.
This year’s crew includes Field Coordinator Phineas Peake and interns Rachel Hatheway, Adam Blachly, MacKenzie Michaels and Kacy Connolly — read on to learn more about them!
Phineas Peake grew up on the coast of Maine and learned to enjoy canoes on the streams and ponds of Hancock and Washington counties. He graduated from the University of Maine-Farmington in 2010 with a degree in English, and has since pursued a career as an itinerant laborer. His travels have taken him back and forth across the northern U.S., and he currently lives mostly in Maine. He started building trails in 2013 with the Wyoming Conservation Corps, and later spent four seasons working for the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. He is excited to unite his interests in paddling and trail work, and looking forward to exploring and improving the canoe trail this summer.
Adam Blachly is a Vermonter, born and raised. He grew up exploring the woods, streams and rivers of his hometown, captivated by everything outdoors. He currently attends Middlebury College, studying conservation biology. He loves hiking, paddling, playing ping-pong, making music and studying maps. Adam is psyched to be a part of the NFCT team this summer, working to make the outdoors more accessible through community stewardship.
Rachel Hatheway is originally from the Boston area and is now a freshman at Colby College, studying environmental science and anthropology. She is passionate about outdoor experience as a solution for the climate crisis and hopes to work someday in a field that will allow her to work on making natural spaces accessible to everyone. On campus, Rachel is on the woodsmen team — lumberjack sports! — and plays saxophone in the jazz and wind ensembles. Besides academics and extracurriculars, Rachel enjoys cooking, riding her bike, canoeing, going on hikes with family and friends, and her favorite new activity: figure skating classes. Growing up, she spent her summers at a canoe-tripping camp in Ontario, where she developed a deep appreciation for travel by canoe and the incredible experiences a summer in the outdoors can provide. Rachel is excited to be working with the NFCT this summer, and can’t wait to work with fellow canoe-lovers to care for this area of wilderness!
Kacy Connolly, GIS analyst EN Engineering, joined the NFCT community as a volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic while looking for ways to use her GIS skills in a recreation and conservation field. She earned her bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2016, and a graduate GIS certificate from George Washington University in 2020. Kacy helps the NFCT with data maintenance and cartography, and is looking forward to doing some paddling this summer to help improve the new trail app!
MacKenzie Michaels was born and raised in Deerfield, Ill, and moved to Vermont five years ago to attend UVM, where she studied environmental science and food systems. She has since fallen very deeply in love with the Northeast and its forests and rivers. As a student, MacKenzie led backpacking and canoe trips for other students and spent a lot of time finding new ways to be active in the greater Burlington community. She is extremely passionate about increasing accessibility to the outdoors so that more people are able to learn about, understand and care for all that the natural world has to offer. MacKenzie is always looking for ways to decrease her environmental impact and loves learning about Northeastern forests and watersheds. She can’t wait to spend the summer sleeping under the stars and getting to explore more sections of the NFCT! She hopes to spot a moose in the flesh, perfect her J-stroke and continue to learn about the needs of the river ecosystem and its surrounding habitat.