After 30 years of teaching UVM Field Naturalist graduate students, Alicia Daniel has launched the Vermont Master Naturalist (VMN) Program to “advance conservation, build community and connect Vermonters to the wild heart of place.” Through VMN, Alicia has adapted her landscape-level approach to professional training to benefit Vermont communities and aid their conservation efforts. Since 2016, Alicia has been partnering with UVM Field Naturalist alumni, Vermont Master Naturalist graduates, field scientists and local conservation leaders to establish VMN chapters in towns across Central Vermont and the Champlain Valley. By 2022, over 300 people had completed the VMN training.
In each VMN town, a team of 12 to 18 naturalists attend a series of 5 day-long field workshops from September to May and apply their training to conservation projects in their town. Workshops build place-based natural history from the ground up exploring local geology, glacial history, plants, animals, natural communities, Native American land use, and European settlement history to the present.
In addition to teaching at UVM, Alicia is a Field Naturalist for Burlington’s Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department where she assists the city with conservation education, land acquisition, reforestation projects and managing conservation lands for wildlife and plant diversity.