Environmental Studies at UVM

Lou Borie '77

Executive Director, Vermont Natural Resources Board

For Lou Borie a core aspect of the Program that has stayed with him for 35 years is the way it allowed and encouraged people to pursue their environmental interests. “I think the program really empowered people to explore ideas and issues to find ways of expressing themselves that were not traditional.” Lou remembers investigating the Burlington landfill as a class assignment and taking photos of leachate running into local ground water. The resulting slide show provided a compelling illustration of the contamination.

Environmental communication became a theme of his academic studies and later professional career. Key to that was
the use of photographs to tell stories and illustrate issues of the environment. “The program made me feel like I could really explore different ways to talk about environmental issues. Staff and faculty were always receptive to ideas that did not fit the traditional academic type of pursuits.” Lou focused his thesis on photos of UVM’s natural areas, turning the results into a small book, University of Vermont Natural Areas.

Today, Lou serves as the Executive Director of Vermont’s Natural Resources Board—the state agency that administers Act 250, Vermont’s landmark development review law. Environmental communication remains very much a part of what Lou does, explaining and illustrating the laws his agency administers, and drawing on the different perspectives he was first introduced to in the Environmental Program. Lou lives in Richmond, Vermont with his wife Kathy and daughter Hannah.