Hard work is driven by the skill and energy of VYCC Crew Leaders.
VYCC carefully selects young leaders that ensure the safety of fellow crew members, effectively manage projects to meet the expectations and deadlines of project sponsors, and build a positive crew community that reflects VYCC’s values.
Meet the individuals who have dedicated themselves to completing vital conservation projects in 2022!
Now hiring Leaders for 2022! Visit our Leadership Positions page to learn more
Nick Hagen-Erickson (he/him) – Pro Build Crew
Nick is a new Crew Leader with a strong educational background and years of carpentry work experience. His specific interest is in sustainable construction and green building. He looks for people’s best qualities, maintains a positive outlook, and how to achieve personal growth. Having come from Minnesota, Nick is excited about being part of the VYCC community and learning more about the culture. His personal interests include skateboarding, soccer, running, movies, building houses, and spending time with friends and family.
August Tallmadge (he/him) – Pro Trails Crew
August returns to VYCC after leading the Survey & Inventory Crew in 2019, and graduating from Stonehill College with a degree in Economics and a minor in Arabic. August’s first year with VYCC was in 2013 as a Crew Member. This will be his fifth season with the Corps. His passion for the outdoors has been present throughout his life. His interest in youth development comes from working at VYCC and as a ski coach for Burlington High School. August is an avid runner, having competed in the 200 miles American Odyssey Relay. He is excited to bring his love of cooking and rock work to VYCC this season.
Ian Adler & Mac Bentley – Campus Crew
Ian Adler (he/him) – For Ian Adler, VYCC is a great opportunity to combine a passion for the outdoors & conservation with a passion for working with youth. A licensed science educator, he has taught in various capacities, advocating for and supporting students as a paraprofessional, leading hikes and outdoor activities as an environmental educator, and instructing in traditional classrooms in Pennsylvania public schools. Ian has also dabbled in conservation fieldwork, helping out on a restoration crew at the Palmerton Zinc Pile Superfund Site. He’s likely to be found with his fellow wooks and punks at shows in town, hiking Camel’s Hump, or refining endless quantities of lesson plans.
Mac Bentley (he/him) – Mac is entering his third season with the VYCC Conservation program, and second as a Leader. He’s excited to be co-leading the Richmond Campus Crew and to be able to sleep in his own bed after work! Mac grew up visiting Richmond, VT when he would come up from Nashville to visit family friends each year and ski, and is excited to serve the pleasant little town where many of his fondest memories were made. In the winter, Mac teaches ski lessons at Stowe, and loves to dip into the glades and side country whenever he can. In his free time, Mac loves to sing, run, and spend time with friends in the outdoors.
Sawyer Connolly & Jennifer Glover – Woodstock Crew
Sawyer Connolly (he/him) –Sawyer Connolly is back for his second season with the VYCC as a Conservation (Youth?) Day Crew Leader at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to share his enthusiasm for education and conservation efforts with his crew members. He has a strong focus on building an inclusive community where everyone feels comfortable being themselves and is extremely excited to teach members about the more technical aspects of conservation work such as trail building and maintenance, invasive plant identification, Leave No Trace principles and so much more. He aims to complete projects to the high standards set by the VYCC and NPS staff while having an absolute blast with the crew. So, get pumped up and ready to dig in, because this summer is going to be chock full of fun, challenge, and rewarding work!
Jennifer Glover (she/her) – Jennifer Glover returns to VYCC as a Crew Leader after spending her high school summers as a Crew Member. Jennifer spent a season with VYCC and two summers with NYC Northwest Conservation Corps. In 2019, Jennifer ventured. To the Pacific Northwest to attend the National Parks Law Enforcement Academy, but COVID had other plans and unfortunately had the program shut down. Jennifer came back home to Vermont and knew she wanted to be involved with VYCC again. In her free time, you will find Jennifer out hiking or out on her paddle board with her black lab, Roscoe, and her fiancé, David. In the winters, Jennifer, David, and Roscoe, take their RV to warmer weather for new adventures. Jennifer is so excited to be part of VYCC and to be working this summer in her hometown of Woodstock!
Julian Saavedra (he/him) – Parks Restoration Crew
After several years as both a Crew Member and Peer Crew Member, Julian starts as a Crew Leader in 2022. A self-described generalist, Julian graduated from Saint Olaf College in 2022 with a B.A. in Russian. In addition to his studies, Julian spent his time in college playing as a wing and outside center in the rugby club and danced swing and competitive ballroom dancing. He is a strong believer in the power of physical movement to improve and complement education. He is eager to bring his passion and experience to VYCC.
Anna Cockey & Nat Harmon – USFS Trails Crew
Anna Cockey (she/her): Be it extended kayaking trips along the winding Missouri River, participating in fieldwork in the midwest, or fighting invasive plants in Montana’s remote Bob Marshall Wilderness complex, Anna has always felt most comfortable in the outdoors. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. While studying she gained experience learning what it takes to be successful in the conservation world, from the tedium of data management and analysis to the thrill (and chill) of winter fieldwork capturing burbot in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Anna is passionate about the power of community building and empowerment that comes with accomplishing a task that once seemed unachievable. She is eager to bring her education and prior experience with the Montana Conservation Corps to VYCC along with an arsenal of word games and sporadic natural history facts!
Nat Harmon – bio coming soon!
Rio Daims & James Erdman – Parks Restoration Crew
Rio Daims (they/them): This is Rio’s first year at VYCC, leading a Forest Project Crew. They are currently a student at George Washington University in Washington, DC, studying political communication and have a leadership position at a student-led organization tackling fossil fuel corruption at the university level. Rio grew up enjoying outdoor recreation and, in recent years, has gone on multiple one to two month backpacking and river canoeing expeditions across the US. They spent the last two years leading backpacking and paddling trips in the Northeast for kids ages 9 to 13; love working and living in the outdoors; and are excited about continuing this passion at VYCC. Outside of being outside, Rio spends their time playing guitar, singing, watercolor painting and drawing, and coming up with fun recipes to cook. They are excited to start the season!
James Erdman – bio coming soon!
Nora Laymon & Sam Spence – Trails Crew
Nora Laymon (she/her) – Nora is a recent graduate from the University of Vermont with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. She has a passion for addressing environmental problems with hands-on work with her peers. Nora strives to find conservation work that involves community engagement and teamwork. In her free time, you can find her birding, cooking, or watching movies.
Sam Spence (he/him) – This is Sam’s second summer with VYCC and he is excited to be back! Sam likes rock work, forestry, and being outside. During the school year, Sam attends UMass Amherst where he studies Natural Resource Conservation. For fun Sam plays board games and reads science fiction books.
Claudia Sacks & Ihsan Abdussabur – Trails Crew
Claudia Sacks (she/her) – Claudia is elated to return to Vermont this summer to spend time giving back to the land as a Conservation Crew Leader. Passionate about ecology, she enjoys observing the relationships between the flora and fauna of the environments she explores and always takes time to listen to what the landscape has to say. Claudia’s spent time as a hawkwatcher, dairy farmer, and has a passion for leading students as they develop their relationships with the natural world. She’s a great listener and is always willing to give a helping hand to anyone who needs it. When she’s not on the trail backpacking, running, or adventuring, Claudia can be found crocheting, sewing, and testing her mettle at cooking and baking without gluten.
Ihsan Abdussabur (he/him) – is a passionate environmental steward from Connecticut and now is a few months away from Graduating from College with a bachelor in Environmental Studies in Arizona. He has been performing/leading environmental stewardship work and farm work for the past 5 years and is more than excited to continue this work through VYCC. From restoring polluted rivers in Connecticut through Common Ground since 2014 to backpacking in canyons of Arizona through Prescott College in 2021; Ihsan is more than excited to work with you.
Ihsan also has a history in professional photography, so if you are out in the field with him you will get some of the best photos taken of you ever.
Spencer McKenzie & Julia Narhi-Martinez – Trails & Water Quality Crew, LGBTQ+
Spencer McKenzie (he/him) – Spencer is an environmental steward who is deeply passionate about integrating environmentalism into his student leadership at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is new to the VYCC community and is excited to join such a close-knit community of people who are deeply passionate about conservation, environmental education, and spending time in the natural world! His environmental science and English majors have prepared Spencer to serve as one of Wake’s Environmental Justice Directors, for which he works closely with members of the Winston-Salem community and uses an intersectional approach to advocate for environmental justice within North Carolina. Spencer enjoys spending his free time hiking around North Carolina, reading Toni Morrison, and working in his pottery studio while listening to Maggie Rogers. As a crew leader, Spencer is super excited to work in a new environment, meet some awesome people, and hopefully have a fantastic summer!
Julia Narhi-Martinez (they/them) – Julia is joining VYCC for the first time this season before completing their senior year at Ohio State University. Originally from a second generation immigrant family in Iowa, Julia cultivated a passion for the outdoors to pursue degrees in Evolution & Ecology and Spanish. At OSU, Julia became exceptionally driven to work outdoors to restore and maintain a healthy ecosystem in the tropics or deciduous forests. On the weekends, Julia loves to level up their gardening and baking skills (in Sims and IRL) and has a lifetime goal to visit every National Park in the US. They were drawn to VYCC’s emphasis on gaining knowledge from the land and are excited to learn from the variety of projects this season, as well as gain insight from the rest of the Queer Crew!
Peer Pro Forest Projects Crew
Vi Holmes (they/them) – Vi is returning to VYCC this year after being a member of the first VYCC Queer Crew in 2021. They are on the peer-led Pro Forest Projects Crew this summer, then leading the Americorps Forest Project crew this upcoming fall. Vi has been a ski coach for six years at Sugarbush, and this past year led the four to six year-old day program, AKA the Mini Bears. Growing up in Vermont, they spent most of their time playing in the woods as a child and they plan to do the same as an adult.
Lilly Haley (she/her) – This is Lily’s first year with VYCC and her fourth conservation season. Her passion for forestry began with her position in the Student Conservation Association, where she was first introduced to chain sawing. She then went on to the Leadership Development Program with Northwest Youth Corps before leading a crew for the Idaho Conservation Corps. She is currently working on a degree in Arboriculture and Community Forestry at UMass Amherst. This season, Lilly will be on the peer-led Pro Forest Projects Crew. In her spare time, Lilly loves to run, read, and hang out with her German Shepherd, Cleo.
Griffin Steele (he/him)
ERIN LAVER (They/She) – FALL PARKS RESTORATION CREW
photo coming soon!
Erin Laver (they/she) – This is Erin’s first experience in conservation work. This fall season allows Erin to dip their toes in without their cat, who is at home, missing them for too long. Growing up in a low-income family, Erin was not able to travel or see new places. Since getting into the outdoors, they have been able to do that more. After seeing the leaves changing in the Adirondacks last fall, they knew that the leaves would be even better in Vermont and came here from Ohio to experience that! They are most excited to see the change of season from summer into fall and thinks they will never be able to leave.
Their goal this season is to eat cider donuts, make the outdoors more accessible, connect with their crew, live the uncomfortable moments together, and have nightly campfires.
JING REN (she/her) – FALL PARKS RESTORATION CREW
Jing Ren (she/her) – After spending her summer on a build crew working on projects at Groton State Forest, Jing joins us at VYCC for another season. Before VYCC, Jing spent her days riding her bike in Brooklyn and teaching toddlers. Before moving back to Brooklyn, she went to school in Boston where she studied Psychology and Neuroscience. Her favorite things about Vermont are the beautiful mountains and maple blackberry creemees. One day she hopes to integrate her love for cognitive neuroscience, education, and the outdoors.
TAYLOR ROSS (he/him) – FALL PRO STEWARDSHIP CREW
photo coming soon
Taylor Ross (he/him) – Taylor is very excited to be leading a crew for the fall. Hailing from the land of cactus, he found he loved conservation work when he joined the Idaho Conservation Corps after he graduated from the University of Arizona. A passionate musician and gardener, Taylor is happy to discuss travel experiences over a glass of kombucha.
MEGHAN O’NEILL (she/her) – FALL TRAILS CREW
Meaghan O’Neill (she/they) – Meaghan hails from the east coast of the United States, with a scholastic background in physics and art. An odd combination, but her love for nature led to an internship abroad at a conservancy. With a love for travel, she searched for a seasonal position that would involve a lot of outdoor work, specifically one that provided housing to make relocating easier. She is happy to learn more about camping, rock work, and trail maintenance, and spending six weeks alongside her crew, and perhaps share some knowledge of astronomy and the stars.
ERYN LIPPITT (she/they) – FALL TRAILS CREW
Eryn Lippitt is incredibly excited to start leading at VYCC this fall after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in Sustainable Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. She has always loved to camp but fell in love with trail work after being a part of her first crew last summer. Eryn is really looking forward to helping others discover/strengthen their passion and love for the outdoors. When they are not camping, Eryn can be found hanging out with her pet hedgehog (Oatmeal) cooking yummy food, and swimming in any lake they can.