University of Vermont

Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

ecological planning curriculum

EP class 2012

Ecological Planning Class of 2012

  • 2012 FN and EP students 2012 Ecological Planning and Field Naturalist Team
    Audrey Clark (FN), Cathy Bell (FN), Rachel Garwin (EP), Emily Brodsky (EP), Danielle Owczarski (FN), Leah Mital-Skiff (EP), Doug Morin (EP),  Lindsay Watkins (FN).


  • Emily Brodsky Emily Brodsky

    Emily becomes fascinated with just about everything she comes across.  Consequently, she has collected quite an assortment of interests over the years: language, culture, travel, outdoor adventure, primitive skills, crafts, farming, field research, and above all, ecology and natural history (in that realm, she finds everything from birds to trees to rocks to fungi equally intriguing).  Ever since she received her B.S. in Environmental Education from Unity College in Maine, Emily has been on a quest to incorporate her wide-ranging interests into a viable career.  This quest has taken her to three states and six countries, where she has found herself doing such things as releasing leatherback sea turtle hatchlings into the sea, leading high school students on hikes through tropical rainforests, immersing herself in two foreign languages, planting and harvesting organic produce, pointing out migrating raptors to fifth graders on a mountaintop, sleeping amidst a roost of 1,500 Swallow-tailed Kites, and (slightly less glamorous but no less important) writing grant proposals for a nonprofit.  After six years of exploration, Emily has realized that her seemingly varied interests all tie into one underlying theme: the interface between humanity and the natural environment.  Through the Ecological Planning program, Emily wishes to develop a deep scientific understanding of how ecosystems function and how humans fit into the mix.  One day, Emily hopes to utilize that understanding to facilitate healthy relationships between human communities and the natural resources that support them.  She’s also very excited to be back in New England, and to spend lots of time outside!


  • Rachel Garwin picture of Rachel Garwin

    Despite growing up in the middle of Washington, DC, Rachel somehow managed to develop a strong connection to wild parts of the natural world. Maybe the epic cross-country road trip upon which her family embarked when she was eight years old had something to with it. Her love for wilderness deepened after she embarked on a few multi-week backpacking expeditions in the American West as a student with Outward Bound and NOLS.

    Influenced by such powerful experiences in the wild, Rachel chose to study a variety of environmental processes and problems as a student at Harvard University. After spending a lot of time contemplating New England forests, dams, wilderness, and the interaction between people and the environment, she graduated in 2007 with a degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy.

    Rachel's post-college life can only be described as a seasonally nomad wandering between environmental and outdoor education facilities. Falls and springs saw her living on the Maryland's Eastern Shore, teaching environmental education to groups of visiting middle school students at the Echo Hill Outdoor School. In the summer, the Boundary Waters of Minnesota welcomed Rachel's paddle strokes as she instructed canoe courses for Outward Bound. Winters saw Rachel in a variety of locations, including Alta, UT, and Bozeman, Montana. Her goals appeared to include skiing and living in as many "M" states as possible. She looks forward to attempting to fit at least a couple of her outdoor passions (hiking, backpacking, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, canoeing, rock climbing, wandering around aimlessly through woods, etc.) into her demanding life as an Ecological Planner.

    Rachel's experience as an environmental educator impressed upon her the importance of being able to communicate to others about the complexity of ecosystems. She seeks to use her time as an EP student to deepen her understanding of the processes at work within the natural world and how they interact with each other. Eventually Rachel hopes to use these tools to study, protect, and even restore wild and open spaces

  • Doug Morin Doug Morin

    Born and raised in Vermont's freedom-loving neighbor to the east, New Hampshire, I grew up playing outside and visiting the White Mountains. At Skidmore College, I took an introductory Environmental Science class and was hooked. I earned my degree in E.S. while spending my free time teaching hiking and climbing in the nearby Adirondack Mountains.

    After college, I spent three years at field stations and molecular laboratories around the country, studying the ecology, evolution, and behavior of a variety of birds. Between jobs, I visited the sights of the West (20 National Parks down, 38 to go!), but never found a place where I felt more at home than New England.

    Tiring of academic research with few applications, I have felt increasingly drawn to the practical issues of environmental conservation. Happily, I discovered the Ecological Planning program and now look forward to getting my hands dirty -- metaphorically and literally. In the future, I hope to address environmental issues at multiple scales with approaches emphasizing scientific analysis, community interaction, and education. In the meantime, when I am not working, I can usually be found hiking, climbing, cooking, reading, or listening to public radio.



  • Leah Mital-Skiff Leah Mital-Skiff

    I was born in love with the outdoors, as most of us are, and was lucky to have a childhood full of romping around the woods, tearing around on bikes and river rafting with my brothers and parents. Growing up in New Mexico, I got my first taste of backpacking in 6th grade on a 90 degree day in the desert and hated it.  By 8th grade, I loved it and went on to explore my hometown Rocky Mountains on my bike, in my hiking boots, on belay, and as a trip leader for younger students. I graduated high school and made my way to Vermont to attend Middlebury College with all intentions of returning in 4 years to the Southwest but loved Vermont immediately.  In college, I studied Sociology/Anthropology and Spanish and spent a year in Ecuador where I met my husband, Rob Skiff, in a gringo bar.

    After graduating, I co-founded Vermont Commons School, a place-based 7th-12th grade independent school in South Burlington, along with my husband and father-in-law.  Over 12 years at Vermont Commons, I taught Spanish, led backpacking and international trips, served as the Finance Officer, fundraised, wiped off tables, drove vans, and spent many hours laughing with my students in the classroom, on the trail and in the field.  During that time, I also became a mom of two boys, Austin and Anjay; I understand I will be the first parent in the EP program – wish me luck! 

    I am an outdoor junkie and educator through and through.  My life’s work is the convergence of local movements, the sharing of natural resources and developing place-based curriculum.  I spend my free time doing anything and everything outside with my budding outdoor junky kids.


Last modified February 08 1970 03:51 AM

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