Meet the 2023-2024 VHCB AmeriCorps Members

  • Kelly and her cat Naughty Pants!Kelly Burton (she/her)
    Children’s Services Associate
    Upper Valley Haven Children's Program

    My name is Kelly Burton and I am serving at the Upper Valley Haven Children's Program in White River Vermont. I began my first volunteer quest at age seven when I would go and pet the dogs at the local humane society. Since then I have earned a Bachelor's Degree from Castleton State College here in Vermont and am pursuing a masters degree from the University of New Hampshire in social work.. Along the way I have dabbled in public relations and journalism for local non profits and committees alike - however five years ago I served at a local after school program here in my hometown of Springfield Vermont as an AmeriCorps VISTA. I currently live in Springfield, Vermont  and enjoy my daily commute to my host site. My passion for volunteerism and giving back to underserved populations is my driving force. When I am not giving back to those in need I can be found chasing finish lines (#ichasefinishlines). I  found my love for running at age 45 and met my goal of completing one 5k only to go on and finish twelve in the first ten months of lacing up my sneakers and  using it as a method of self care.

    At the end of the day I count my blessings with my cats Bootsie (he was a gift from my first AmeriCorps assignment) and Naughty Pants who doesn't seem to have an off switch attached. Even when days are hard I somehow can find the silver lining. To quote one of the children at the Haven "I am so glad this is not a dream". It is a remarkable joy to be planting seeds of positivity each day. 

  • A photo of Sofie CarlsonSofie Carlson (she/her)
    Naturalist Educator
    North Branch Nature Center

    Sofie is thrilled to be serving as an AmeriCorps member with North Branch Nature Center in her beautiful home state! After receiving a BA in Environmental Studies and Economics at St. Lawrence University she spent the summer interning for Oregon State University Extension and got to experience life out West. Her love for travel and new adventure has made the last four years away from home fun and exciting, but she is looking forward to being back in the Green Mountain State for the next year. Sofie feels lucky to be combining the joy she finds in teaching and learning from children with her passion for the outdoors as a Naturalist Educator at NBNC. In her free time you can find her making jewelry, watching horror movies, and doing fun things outside like mountain biking, snowboarding, and Nordic skiing!

  • a photo of NicoleNicole Corriveau (she/her)
    Land & Trails Steward
    Stowe Land Trust

    Nicole is excited to serve her first AmeriCorps term in her home state. Nicole feels lucky to have grown up with endless opportunities to connect with nature, which has certainly influenced her career path. She is passionate about the conservation of working landscapes, avian ecology, and wetlands. 

    Nicole is looking forward to meeting the many volunteers at Stowe Land Trust and gaining trail stewardship experience. Nicole enjoys being by the water, either wading in Lake Champlain or jumping into one of Vermont's many swimming holes. In her free time, she can also be found skiing, fly fishing, or reading in a local coffee shop.

     

  • 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, Braden supports educational and outreach initiatives, as well as conservation efforts around the city with Burlington Wildways’ partner organizations. He organizes the annual City Nature Celebration, supports the Grow Wild initiative which focuses on native plant and pollinator education, and engages community volunteers in the Burlington Wildways Trail Stewardship program.

  • An image of Matthew Hallahan.

    Matthew Hallahan (he/him)
    Youth and Outreach Program Coordinator
    Catamount Trail Association

    Matt is serving as the Outreach and Youth Program Coordinator with the Catamount Trail Association. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Matt learned to cross-country ski when he moved to Minnesota for college. He developed his skills in outdoor education through a teaching year on the north shore of Lake Superior, and moved to Vermont last year in pursuit of new adventures. He spent his first AmeriCorps term in wildlife conservation with Audubon Vermont, and is excited to be heading into a second year with the VHCB program. When not maintaining trails or leading youth ski programs, Matt hopes to try bikepacking, master home brewing and finally get around to a winter polar plunge.

  • A photo of Addie Hedges

    Addie Hedges (she/her)
    Community Engagement Coordinator
    Vermont River Conservancy 

    Addie is serving at Vermont River Conservancy as their community engagement coordinator. Prior to moving to Vermont, Addie lived in Southwest Florida and the Midwest. She recently graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in geography and additional environmental studies and geology coursework. Addie has worked on water-related projects with state and federal geological surveys in Indiana and Vermont, bringing knowledge of hydrology and outreach to the team. As the Community Engagement Coordinator for VRC, Addie hopes to increase community knowledge of rivers and their importance. She wants to use her scientific knowledge and creative ideas to achieve goals and gain more understanding about Vermont ecosystems and human communities!

    Addie currently lives in Montpelier with her partner Luke and their dog Gus. While she isn’t serving at VRC, she enjoys trail running and exploring the natural beauty of her new home state.

  • Biz in front of a body of water

    Biz Heron (she/her)
    Field Research Specialist 
    Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS)

    Born and raised in Vermont, Biz has been bringing friends and family to VINS for years as she has always held a deep passion and respect for birds. Although Biz has a tremendous amount of field experience, she is still pursuing a degree in ornithology which started at Prescott College, AZ; and she hopes to become a full time researcher or professor within the ornithology field. During her free time Biz loves to birdwatch, kayak, paint, make beaded earrings & learn more about her Abenaki heritage with the support and guidance from an Abenaki elder - Grandmother Sasa. 

    Biz has joined the research team at VINS as a Field Research Specialist. Her primary role will be surveying and banding Broad Winged Hawks (BWH). The goal of this project is for other researchers and ornithologists to learn more about the BWH and to determine potential risk factors with the species. She will also be supporting the research team by installing and surveying American Kestral boxes, as well as banding adult and baby Kestrels. She will also be supporting VINS by collecting water samples with the Ottauquechee watershed to then send out to the lab to test for any water pollutants. 

     

  • A photo of Jaden HillJaden Hill (she/her)
    Local Foods Access 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. She's delighted to return for a second term with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont supporting their local food access programs.

  • a photo of CalebCaleb Kapp (he/him)
    Food Rescue & Procurement Coordinator
    Groundworks Collaborative

    Caleb is returning for a second year of AmeriCorps service at VHCB. He will be serving as Food Rescue and Procurement Coordinator at Foodworks, a program of Groundworks Collaborative.  He is passionate about working to address housing and food insecurity. Caleb grew up on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, where he spent time as a commercial fisherman and bicycle mechanic, while earning a degree in History. Caleb moved to Southern Vermont last year in order to spend more time outdoors, exploring the mountains and rivers of an area that he has always admired. 

  • Maddy in front of a body of water with a dogMaddy Kokot (she/her)
    Conservation Field Specialist
    Audubon Vermont

    Maddy grew up near Boston, and enjoyed camping and hiking in Vermont on the weekends. She recently graduated from American University with a B.A in Environmental Studies. While studying, she spent a few semesters abroad in Panama and Wales where she was able to explore various ecosystems and gain experience working with various species! After graduating she took a job in Colorado working with the US Forest Service on the Amphibians and Fisheries crew. In this position she worked with boreal toads, macroinvertebrates, and trout. She discovered her passion for restoration work, especially within riparian habitats and farmland. After completing her field work in Colorado, Maddy spent a few months traveling in New Zealand and Australia, visiting family and working on regenerative farms. Since returning she has moved to Burlington, Vermont and is excited to be working with birds! In her free time Maddy loves backpacking, cooking, farming, skiing, reading and listening to music!

  • An image of Kyra.Kyra Monsam (she/her)
    Education and Outreach Coordinator
    Audubon VT

    Kyra is originally from North Carolina, where she spent her childhood fishing, swimming, and exploring in and around Lake Norman. She has always had a deep love for the natural world, especially the animals that inhabit it. Kyra attended the Pennsylvania State University, where she first discovered her love for environmental education through a program known as Outdoor School. She was able to couple her love of the environment and her affinity for teaching with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and a minor in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management. Kyra first visited Vermont in early 2022 and immediately felt connected to the expansive views and incredible stars. She spent the summer on Lake Fairlee as a camp counselor, and was amazed by the vibrancy and beauty of the Green Mountain State. She is looking forward to spending her second summer in Vermont hiking, exploring, and brushing up on her knowledge of native species. Kyra is so excited to be serving the Green Mountain Audubon Center and building connections within the Huntington community and beyond.
     

  • A photo of Sophie PerrySophie Perry (she/her)
    Education and Outreach Assistant
    NOFA-VT

    Sophie is serving her first AmeriCorps term as the Education and Outreach Assistant at NOFA-VT. Passionate about all things food systems, she brings with her experience as a farm worker, scientific policy brief writer, soil carbon researcher, and most recently an educational events coordinator. After graduating from Scripps College in Southern California where she got a BA in Environmental Science, she moved to her home region in the Northeast to be back in the seasons and to live near an abundance of small farms. Outside of work, Sophie loves to explore Vermont's landscapes, create fiber art, and cook seasonal food with friends.

  • Photo of Alexia Smith

    Lexie Smith (she/her)
    Environmental Educator
    Vermont Institute of Natural Science

    Lexie is excited to join for her second term with VHCB AmeriCorps. Serving again with the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) as an Environmental Educator, Lexie gets to enjoy doing one of her passions in life, Conservation Education! Lexie joined AmeriCorps after graduation from Lees-McRae College in May of 2023. At LMC, she received a degree in Wildlife Biology with a concentration in Wildlife Rehabilitation. It was through this degree program that she discovered her love of working with educational ambassador animals and helping wildlife. Saving wildlife and informing the public on how they can help too has become one of her foundational morals in life. Through her service at VINS, Lexie hopes to continue to change people’s points of view for the better about the world around them.

    Lexie grew up in south central Michigan before moving to the mountains of North Carolina to earn her bachelor's degree. She’s excited to have moved to the green mountain state where she can enjoy the best of both worlds, the beautiful mountain and cold weather! In her spare time, Lexie likes to go hiking and snowboarding and Vermont provided ample spaces to let her enjoy these things.

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

    Conor is currently serving his second 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.

  • Quynh outside near a flowering tree.

    Quynh Vo (she/her)
    Conservation and Outreach Field Specialist
    Winooski Valley Park District / Burlington Wildways

    Quynh grew up in Vermont after immigrating from Vietnam at the young age of 4. During her childhood, she constantly watched Steve Irwin’s shows and documentaries narrated by David Attenborough. Her interest in learning about the wonders of nature led her to develop a deep passion for protecting the environment and the wildlife that relies on it. Quynh received a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Vermont, where she conducted research on humpback whales and their intraspecies interactions through drone footage, leading her to nurture the dream of one day making a significant impact in the field of animal behavior. She is currently serving her first year in AmeriCorps as a Conservation and Outreach Field Specialist at Winooski Valley Park District / Burlington Wildways. Quynh’s service includes outreach initiatives, supporting conservation efforts, supporting growth of native plants, and organizing the City Nature Challenge. Her service also includes creating educational materials on animals residing in Burlington! Outside of service, you can find her either birding, bee-watching, drawing, or watching her neighborhood squirrel scream at her from its telephone pole near her house. Quynh is excited to expand her knowledge through her experience in AmeriCorps and to share her love for the natural world.

  • A photo of Ada and her dog.Ada Wetmore (she/her)
    Program and Outreach Coordinator
    Willowell Foundation

    My name is Ada and I am serving at the Willowell Foundation in Monkton, Vermont. I received my bachelor’s degree at the University Vermont in Early Childhood Special Education and my Master’s degree at Goddard College in Education. After teaching in public schools for eleven years, I decided to pause my teaching career and take the opportunity to give back to my community while learning more about outdoor education and forest based learning. I feel so lucky to have grown up in the beautiful state of Vermont surrounded by nature and animals, and I am looking forward to helping instill a love of the outdoors in the young children at the Willowell Foundation. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, baking bread, and training my border collie, Nessie.

     

  • A photo of Elizabeth

    Elizabeth White (they/she)
    Community Engagement Coordinator
    Middlebury Area Land Trust

    Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Elizabeth graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in Environmental Studies before returning to their hometown to complete a six month Americorps term in salt marsh restoration. While they enjoyed their experience playing in the pluff mud, they are excited to be somewhere entirely new where they can grow as an environmental educator! In their free time, they love to play video games with their fiance and snuggle their cat children.

  • A photo of Mark.

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

    Marek 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, Marek has found the natural world where they feel most at home. Now serving with the Parks & Trees Department in their hometown of Montpelier, Marek’s dreams of supporting the local community while tending to the needs of our shared lands happen everyday. In addition to conservation, Marek 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 Marek found a love for community care and education through shared teaching. Marek 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.