Meet the 2022-2023 VHCB AmeriCorps Members

  • A photo of Mark.

    Marek Zajac (he/they)
    Farm & Forest Community Coordinator
    Montpelier Parks

    Mark is a Midwesterner by nature, a Pacific-Northwesterner in spirit, and a Vermonter at heart. Throughout their experiences living and exploring across the United States, Mark has found the natural world where they feel most at home. Now serving with the Parks & Trees Department in their hometown of Montpelier, Mark’s dreams of supporting the local community while tending to the needs of our shared lands happen everyday. In addition to conservation, Mark is passionate about aesthetic expression and emotional learning. Their background in both areas come out of a Fine Arts education from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where Mark found a love for community care and education through shared teaching. Mark is excited to bring to life expression in conservation on the forest trails, in the care of our trees, and through the food grown in community gardens during their service.

  • An image of Sarah BayerSarah Bayer (she/her)
    Community Energy Coordinator
    VT Natural Resources Council

    Sarah is excited to be serving as the Community Energy Coordinator with the Vermont Natural Resources Council, during which she supports Vermont’s 120+ Energy Committees and other grassroots leaders through technical assistance, networking, information-sharing, and capacity building. Her interest in community-level sustainable development was sparked during her undergrad at the University of Vermont. She graduated in 2021 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a focus on Community Development and Applied Economics. She is deeply inspired by the countless individuals devoted to the vision of sustainability, equality, and accessibility across Vermont. This is her second term as an AmeriCorps member, as she recently finished an Elementary School Garden Educator position in San Francisco, California. Teaching children about sustainability and holding space for them to connect with the environment further developed her passion for tackling environmental challenges from the ground up at a local scale. As a former volunteer member of her New Jersey hometown’s Environmental Commission, she is thrilled to be working with the critically important Energy Committees across Vermont. Outside of her service, you can find Sarah exploring Vermont's natural landscapes (especially swimming holes and waterfalls in the summer!!), cooking, practicing yoga, enjoying music, and gardening. 

  • An image of Rebecca Bingham.

    Rebecca Bingham (she/her)
    Resident Engagement Coordinator
    RuralEdge

    Rebecca is serving her first term with AmeriCorps as the Resident Engagement Coordinator at RuralEdge. She first heard about AmeriCorps when she was serving in her alternative breaks program at college. Rebecca has always had a passion for serving and giving back to communities in need. “Service is so important to me! It is my way to give back to a community that helped me greatly when I was in need.”

    Rebeca was born and raise in the beautiful state of Vermont. Growing up in Vermont gave Rebecca a love for nature and astrology. Through that love she found some of her hobbies such as stargazing, nature walks, and kayaking. She also enjoys being creative and making art. Recently, Rebecca moved to the White Mountains with her partner and two cats, Soup and Noodle. Even though she now lives in New Hampshire, Vermont will always have a very special place in her heart. 

  • A photo of Dany Boyle

    Dany Boyle (she/her)
    Youth and Volunteer Projects Coordinator
    Stowe Land Trust

    Dany is currently serving with the Stowe Land Trust (SLT) as their Youth and Volunteer Projects Coordinator. Growing up along the Appalachian Trail in New Jersey’s only ski-town cemented a deep relationship of respect and gratitude between Dany and the natural world. Dany is a nature enthusiast with specific interests in the relationships between agriculture, community, and climate resilience. She is excited for the opportunity to build relationships with the Stowe community through a shared love of nature and mutual goals to build a sustainable future. Dany arrived in Vermont in 2021 after completing a B.S. in Biology at Fairleigh Dickinson University then an M.S. in Neuroscience at The Ohio State University. Determined to utilize the biological systems knowledge gained during her academic career in the context of the climate movement, she sought out opportunities to learn local-level land management strategies. This is what began her AmeriCorps service with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board at SLT. The many natural wonders of Vermont continue to inspire her towards aspirational goals to conserve land and resources in a synergistic fashion with social and food systems justice. Outside of AmeriCorps service Dany can be found hiking The Long Trail, snowboarding, chasing local waterfalls, and teaching science courses with the Community College of Vermont

  • A photo of Jacob Crawford.Jacob Crawford (he/him)
    Community Science and Chapter Engagement Member
    Audubon Vermont

    Jacob recently graduated from the University of Vermont (UVM) with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and minors in Forestry and Geospatial Technologies. His experiences growing up as a hunter, angler, and nature explorer in Jericho, Vermont fostered a deep appreciation for the Vermont landscape and the complexities of the natural world. In 2018, during his freshman year as a student in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at UVM, Jacob’s passion for birds and birding took flight. Around ten years of creating homemade bird feeders from everyday recycling, filtering through his grandmother’s field guide, and attending birding walks at his local park had finally come to a head! This summer, Jacob had the opportunity to combine his ornithological expertise with his knowledge of forestry and silviculture as Audubon Vermont’s Forest Conservation Intern. Jacob worked together with private landowners and county foresters to influence the management of Vermont’s forests for the benefit of Vermont’s diverse breeding bird communities. Today, Jacob leads bird walks in his community, is on the board of the Green Mountain Audubon Society, and volunteers as a regional reviewer for eBird.org. Through his new role as an AmeriCorps service member with Audubon Vermont, he hopes to share his passion for community science and nature and to foster a sense of place, belonging, and wonderment in the outdoors with those around him.

  • A photo of Braden outdoors.

    Braden Deforge (he/him)
    Conservation and Outreach Field Specialist

    Winooski Valley Park District/Burlington Wildways

    Braden is serving as a Conservation and Outreach Field Specialist at Winooski Valley Park District and Burlington Wildways. He grew up in central Vermont, and has lived in Burlington since graduating from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in plant biology and a B.A. in studio art. Braden is interested in the natural history of landscapes, and the plants, people and wildlife that occupy them. As an AmeriCorps member, his service is focused on educational and outreach initiatives, as well as conservation efforts around the city with Burlington Wildways’ partner organizations. He is excited to be involved with an up and coming organization known as Grow Wild, who is partnered with Burlington Wildways and focuses on education and increasing access to native plants and seeds for local residents. Other focus areas include: support for a native tree nursery and nature education program at a local elementary school, growing access and involvement for the Burlington Wildways trail stewardship program, and organizing the Burlington City Nature Challenge- part of a global bioblitz event. In his free time, Braden can be found gardening, making art, and enjoying many outdoor activities."

  • A photo of Jaden HillJaden Hill (she/her)
    Education & Outreach Assistant
    Northeast Organic Farming Association of VT

    Jaden Hill grew up in rural Pennsylvania where she spent her time exploring the surrounding rivers, fields and forests with her family. If she had to draw a line through everything she does, she’d use the word interconnectedness, whether that be farming, studying ecology, making art or community organizing. After finishing a degree in Conservation Biology at Middlebury College, she’s delighted to serve with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and connect more with local communities. She’s also looking forward to playing with kids, playing outside, cooking and reading.

     

     

     

  • A photo of Annie Jackson with a dog.

    Annie Jackson (she/her)
    Naturalist Education
    North Branch Nature Center

    Annie is excited to be serving as a Naturalist Educator at North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier. Her passion for exploring and sharing the wonders of the natural world started at a young age, growing up in Vermont and spending as many hours as possible outside, adventuring through the forests, mountains and rivers. Annie is returning to Vermont after many years of exploring the different (but equally stunning) ecosystem of Coastal Maine. While in Maine, Annie pursued a degree in Elementary Education and became very involved in community service and conservation work. She is excited to be combining her passion for service work with her interest in conservation and education at her Americorps position at NBNC! Annie strives to live simply and mindfully and loves engaging in meaningful conversation, playing music, hiking, gardening and sharing meals and laughter with friends. 

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    A photo of SamiSami Jarjour (he/him)
    Shared Equity Program Coordinator
    Champlain Housing Trust

    Sami is serving as the Shared Equity Program Assistant at the Champlain Housing Trust (CHT). CHT’s Shared Equity Program (SEP) makes homeownership possible for hundreds with down payment assistance. This model creates permanently affordable homeownership options. Sami supports the Shared Equity Program team and works with potential buyers and current homeowners by leading educational meetings and providing one-on-one customer service. Sami serves with AmeriCorps because he supports the work of community land trusts like the Champlain Housing Trust, which is providing affordable and quality housing for the wider community. Sami grew up in the state of Georgia and has found Vermont to be his new home. He first moved to Vermont in the Fall of 2016. He has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Georgia and is completing his thesis for a Master of Science degree in Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. Sami worked for a public policy think-and-do tank in Washington DC from July 2019 to December 2020. Outside of service, Sami enjoys dancing, playing tennis, reading, and learning new skills.

  • A photo of Anna Johnson outdoors.

    Anna Johnson (she/her)
    Community Conservation Coordinator
    South Hero Land Trust

    Anna was born and raised in North Carolina, where she earned a BA in Environmental Policy and Justice at Warren Wilson College. While at college, her passions for environmental justice and social equity deepened. She admires using an intentional and empathetic approach when engaging in advocacy work; one that amplifies the lived experiences of its community and provides a service that is both dignifying and empowering to them. As someone who has grown up admiring the beauty of natural landscapes, she feels intrinsically drawn to the critical need for its conservation that is not just sustainable, but regenerative. Anna was thrilled to come across an opportunity to join a non-profit that aligns with her dedication to community engagement and environmental stewardship, with a strong focus on intersectionality. Anna enjoys just about all that nature has to offer: basking in the sunshine, swimming in lakes and rivers, and hiking through the forest (making sure to marvel at all the moss, lichen, and mushrooms along the way)! The mountains are where she calls home, and she can’t wait to explore more of Vermont’s immeasurable beauty.

  • Image of HaileyHailey Lynch (she/her)
    Outreach & Field Coordinator
    Green Mountain Club 

    Hailey is currently serving with the Green Mountain Club as their AmeriCorps Outreach and Field Coordinator. The Green Mountain Club’s mission is to make the Vermont mountains play a larger part in the life of the people by protecting and maintaining the Long Trail System and fostering, through education, the stewardship of Vermont’s hiking trails and mountains. Hailey started with the club in 2021 as a Backcountry Caretaker, after earning her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. It was through this position while living on top of one of Vermont’s most popular and fragile mountains, Mt. Mansfield, that Hailey realized what an impact one environmental educator can have on the behaviors of thousands of hikers. She talked with them about low impact camping, environmental conservation, and ecological interactions on the mountain. The following winter, Hailey started a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail as a way of escaping Vermont’s cold weather. Throughout the hike, she enjoyed the scenery, but couldn’t help but notice how much overuse the trail was experiencing and how some hikers knew little about the environments they were hiking in. That inspired her to serve with the Green Mountain Club, and in a gross motel in southern PA, she applied for the VHCB AmeriCorps position they were hiring for. Now Hailey leads service trips with college groups, camps, and high schoolers, continuing to protect and maintain Vermont’s trails. She also provides them with Leave No Trace education, which will provide trail users with enough information to plan a trip safely, minimize environmental impact, and have fun outdoors. In her free time, Hailey enjoys hiking, trail running, petting dogs, and solving crossword puzzles.

  • Jackson and his dog Mabel on a hammock in the woods. Jackson Moody (he/him)
    Community Engagement Coordinator
    Middlebury Area Land Trust

    Jackson just moved to Vermont from North Carolina, and he is excited to live in a place where it gets a little colder. Jackson graduated from Appalachian State in 2017 with a degree in recreation management. During his time there he led numerous college and high school students on caving, climbing, and hiking trips. For the past few years Jackson had been working as a carpenter, but he is excited to be back serving in the outdoors. Jackson has always believed developing and maintaining access to local natural areas is the best way to get people interested in conservation. For that reason, he is so excited to be serving at Middlebury Area Land Trust. When he is not doing trail work or helping elementary schoolers tie their shoes he enjoys cycling and going for walks with his dog Mable.

  • A photo of Helen RamspottHelen Ramspott (she/her)
    Land Management Coordinator
    VT Land Trust

    Helen is serving as the Land Management Coordinator at the Vermont Land Trust. She is serving out of the Brattleboro office, which is close to her home in Western Massachusetts. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Sustainable Foods and Farming. Growing up with conservation land in her backyard provided her with a reverence for nature and commitment to stewarding it for future generations. Her interest in providing community service stems from her educational background and work experience. After and during the pursuit of her undergraduate degree she worked in a variety of different service industry jobs, most recently as a co-manager at a farm store. Although working in the service industry has provided her with vital experience, she is looking to expand her knowledge in other areas. She is excited to learn more about land conservation, invasive species management, and much more through this position. In her free time Helen enjoys making art, going on evening walks, gardening, and laughing with friends and family.

  • A photo of SimonSimon Reed (he/him)
    Volunteer & Services Coordinator
    Groundworks Collaborative

    This marks Simon's second year in Americorps and his second year serving at Foodworks as a food access coordinator.

         Simon is responsible for gathering food donations from local grocery stores and stocking and maintaining Brattleboro's free food shelf.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • A photo of Conor TealConor Teal (he/him)
    Home Repair and Weatherization Assistant
    COVER Home Repair

    Conor is currently serving his first term as an AmeriCorps member as the Home Repair and Weatherization Assistant at COVER in White River Junction. He spent a large portion of his life around Eugene, Oregon and received an undergraduate degree in land use planning at the University of Oregon. After graduating, he stepped into the world of community organizing and labor rights activism. He eventually found a desire to explore a new region, deciding on Vermont in 2016. After settling into the Barre area, he shifted into mental health counseling at a residential treatment center for young adults. During this time, he served on the Barre City energy and tree stewardship committees to assist in energy planning and to help maintain the city’s urban forest. Conor was also able to fulfill a dream of designing and building his own tiny house on wheels to live in. In utilizing that experience, he hopes his service with AmeriCorps and COVER will help him expand his skill set in housing construction. He intends to foster relationships in the Upper Valley and organize resources towards the shared goal of a sustained system for constructing affordable homes for unhoused and housing insecure community members in the area. Outside of service, Conor enjoys: spending time on woodworking projects, jamming on his bass guitar with bandmates, or puttering around in his home garden in Randolph.

  • Abigail ice fishing!

    Abigail Youngless (they/them)
    AmeriCorps Service Leader
    VT Housing & Conservation Board

    Abigail was born and raised in the state of Florida, but has come to find Vermont as their second home. The friendly and innovative nature of Vermont fosters many qualities that make Abigail feel welcome. Abigail spent a term as Champlain Housing Trust's Home Eduction Coordinator before transitioning into the AmeriCorps Leader role with the VT Housing & Conservation Board.