We are excited to have a field naturalist joining us this year as part of the University of Vermont's Master's program. For his master’s project, Ben will be working on Hurricane Island for the 2015 summer season, completing an ecological inventory and asking some prodding questions about the role of fungi, lichens, and other small critters in the overall ecology of the island.
Ben grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city that is somewhere between mountains and coast, small town and big city, old-timey and new-fangled. Although deeply attached to his homeland, Ben happily shipped off to the Pacific Northwest for undergraduate studies at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. In college, Ben took the notion of "broadening your horizons" as literally as possible, traveling to India, banding birds in Mexico and Oregon, and sailing the Oregon coast aboard a tall ship as part of his studies. After graduating with a BA in international studies and a BS in environmental science, Ben returned to Ahmedabad, India, where he interned at an arts-for-social-change academy for a year: writing grants, gaining some web design know-how, and occasionally walking on stilts or singing a few lines in Hindi, as the day required. Returning to Charlotte, Ben did some freelance graphic design, helped start a yoga studio, and worked on the front lines of the budding vegan culinary scene in town.