“I want to continue to develop and practice my skills and I know that I do that best in this kind of learning environment. I also wish to continue to grow within a community of naturalists. It’s been a refuge to be in the Muddy Brook group and gather with like-minded people around a common love and cause. I also want to continue to contribute toward this work in our region. We are just in the beginning of producing our fieldwork and we are still working through the most meaningful and effective way(s) to deliver our results, and I am just in love with this process and happy to know that we are doing something tangible. I am very excited that the project for this upcoming group is coordinating and facilitating the Field Day in September. I fully intended on going but I know I would much prefer to have a hand in providing others a special, connective, important, and memorable day. I have a lot of experience coordinating events and facilitating experiences so I believe I would add value to the group with my expertise. I just want to keep going!!! Giving learning, growing, and giving back.”  Christine Badalamenti Smith, VMN Muddy Brook, 2023

“I have learned so much from you and Monica. During our weeks in Chile, Bill and I kept marveling about how much we could puzzle out and see and understand in that vast landscape due to our lessons with you. Our geologist and biologist guides were impressed! We were impressed!

What will stay with me even more than the actual details of Vermont’s natural history and the how-tos are your absolutely infectious joy and curiosity — your passion for learning! You both inspire me and make me a better student and budding naturalist as a result. Thank you thank you.”  Barbara Ganley,, VMN Middlebury Area, 2022

“Alicia, now that I have a little time, I really want to warmly thank you for the Vermont Master Naturalist program.  I admire the way you led it, with warmth and a wonderful relaxed attitude.  At the same time, you paid attention to the details, down to the rattles, hats and cupcakes at the end.  It seemed it went by so quickly.  I guess some part of me was thinking, and I was certainly hoping, it would go on forever.  I am glad that I have several videos still to watch.  You created a wonderful group and treated each of us like friends.   Your sensitivity to and knowledge of individuals while addressing the whole and sharing, with your vibrant enthusiasm, your knowledge of natural history was very enlivening.  Thank you for such a wonderful course.”  Merrily Lovell, VMN Hinesburg, 2021

“Thank you so much for your vision of Vermont Master Naturalist.  It is such a great way to bring the UVM Field Naturalist Program to the people!  I learned so much during our time together and really enjoyed meeting so many fellow naturalists.”  Jaime Cotton, VMN Winooski Headwater Chapter, 2020

“At the November 16, 2020 meeting, the Waitsfield Conservation Commission reviewed the Austin Parcel final report you prepared and passed a motion commending the Vermont Master Naturalist Austin Parcel team for its terrific work. On behalf of the Commission, I would like to extend a big thank you for your work stewarding the Austin Parcel.  Your efforts made it possible to both build on the good work accomplished in previous years and learn more about the floodplain forest and invasive species management on this important property.”  Phil Huffman, Chair, Waitsfield Conservation Commission, 2020

“The Vermont Master Naturalist Program in Williston established a cadre of local citizens who are engaging in activities such as leading public walks, stewarding streamside plantings, inventorying invasive plants on town natural areas, and helping to spread the word about pollinator-friendly landscaping practices. It is the sense of place that VMN cultivates that has increased public participation not only in conservation issues, but in broader town planning as well.”  Melinda Scott, Conservation Planner, Town of Williston, 2019

“For me, this has been a transformative experience, changing how I see the world, from the ground up to the sky (stopping at the barns now), and giving me new lenses to examine the natural world and our place in it. Not only do I feel like I gained a lot of in-depth knowledge about South Hero and the Islands, but also has helped me develop a skillset and framework for learning that I can take with me.  I think I speak for all of us when I say this was an amazing experience.”  Guy Maguire, Program Director, South Hero Land Trust, VMN 2019

“It has changed the way I understand what I see around me from a focus on details – what tree, plant, or animal sign is that? – to trying to understand what natural community I’m in and how it developed, from bedrock to soil, through natural processes and human influences. That’s a shift I’ve been trying to make on my own, unsuccessfully. Just this month I realized how fundamentally my awareness of where I am has changed, whether in a big city or in the woods in Vermont.”  Polly Darnell, Native Plant Trust Plant Conservation Volunteer,  VMN 2019

“What we’ve learned is both so specific and grounded in Burlington and totally universal—it’s a new way of looking at any landscape. So in pretty immediate ways, I feel much more familiar and at home in this city. On the other end, I feel like the whole natural world is opening up for me. I feel much more confident interpreting new landscapes because I’m worrying less about identifying each individual plant species and thinking more about communities, wondering why that collection plants and animals are coming together in that place.  I’ve been glad to join projects that have created opportunities for art, research, and writing as ways to share my experience of the master naturalist program. I see a role for citizen naturalists to provide grounded and rigorous thinking to engaged community groups.  This summer, I’m going to be doing the field research for a new edition of AMC’s Quiet Water New York paddling guidebook.  I’ll be approaching the lakes and ponds of the Adirondacks with the layer cake mindset!”  Will Lathrop, Environmental Philanthropy Associate, High Meadows Fund, VMN 2018

“I have truly enjoyed being able to apply all of the knowledge that I’ve gained to the place in which I live and that I love.  I have a much better understanding of the natural spaces of Burlington, the land use history, the geology, and the natural communities; put together, this enriches the experience of being in this place.  Further, I am much better equipped to have discussions with others that can potentially make them feel more connected to Burlington’s natural landscape as well. I am particularly excited about my project team’s art and storytelling event in September; I love the idea of allowing the greater community to share the ways in which the natural landscape of this city has inspired them, through photography, poetry, drawing, and stories.”  Elise Schadler, Vermont Urban and Community Forester, VMN 2017

“I have gained an appreciation for just how different, different parts of Vermont actually are – from a sand dune community on Lake Champlain to an alpine forest on the top of Camel’s Hump or Mt. Mansfield.”  Chuck Hulse, Board Member South Hero Land Trust, VMN 2017

“I’ve learned from Alicia to be an observer ‘with less of an agenda’: a more open mind and sensibilities when exploring the natural world. Though a naturalist all my life, I now observe at a deeper immersive level. With my VT Plant Conservation Volunteer work, I have helped Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront and Lone Rock Point map rare plants on Burlington lands to help them guide citizen use to appreciate and help steward these rare natural communities within our urban community.” Kate Kruesi, Native Plant Trust Plant Conservation Volunteer, VMN 2017 

“I moved to Burlington in September and the class has revolutionized my experience of the city…. From the bedrock to the mammals to the human interactions, I now understand so much more of what is going on and why..Also, some of the people in the class are so knowledgeable and they have really expanded my understanding of the natural world. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of this first cohort of amazing people.”  Jacob Holzberg-Pill, Branch Out Burlington Tree Keeper Trainer, VMN 2017