Staff and Leadership

Staff Collective

 

Abby MnookinAbby@350vt.org

Abby joined the 350VT staff in 2015. She’s now a lead facilitator, spearheads fundraising efforts, and coordinates the Mother Up!: Families Rise Up for Climate Action program. She completed a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies and taught high school biology for many years before becoming a parent. She strives to integrate climate and justice into her various roles outside of 350VT, which include being an instructor at the Vermont Wilderness School, birth doula, and Vermont Public Radio commentator (2013 – 2019). Abby lives with her wife and their two kids in Brattleboro where they bicycle, upcycle, and pee-cycle.

 

Jaiel PulskampJaiel@350vt.org

From an early age, Jaiel Pulskamp, loved the outdoors. So it’s no surprise that she chose to become a farmer and works with 350Vermont as our (Re)Generate New Solutions Field Organizer. Jaiel is the owner of a small-scale organic fruit and vegetable farm, Kettlesong Farm in Worcester, VT and is excited to focus on building new alternatives to the fossil fuel industry.

 

Lily JacobsonLily@350vt.org

Lily joined the 350VT staff in 2017. She works with 350VT’s seven local groups, along with the statewide Writing for Climate Justice group; some of the other areas of focus in her work are the internship program, organizational development, justice and values, and supporting the staff and board. With background in and affinity for whole-systems tools and movements, like permaculture, intentional communities, nonviolent communication, and earth-based spirituality, as well as current graduate work focused on social change and collective liberation, Lily was drawn to 350VT’s embrace of both solutions and resistance, and the commitment to working to dismantle systems of oppression. Lily lives with her partner in Burlington and gets to the lake and into the woods as often as she can. She loves making music and is notorious for getting people to sing.

 

Sonia SilbertTrainings@350vt.org

Sonia runs 350VT’s training programs and works internally on organizational development and finances. She is an experienced trainer, facilitator, and organizer who prioritizes using experiential and popular education techniques to train activists and organizers. She has over 15 years experience working in social justice movements, including as the Executive Director of the Washington Peace Center in DC and board member of Training for Change. Originally from New York, she now lives in Brattleboro, VT, where she supports local racial justice organizing, plays in the woods, and tries to keep up with a very energetic puppy.

 

Vanessa Rule – vanessa@350vt.org

Vanessa has been organizing for climate justice since the fall of 2006 when she saw An Inconvenient Truth and decided to find people in her community of Somerville, MA who also wanted to do something about the problem. Since that time, she has connected with many passionate and dedicated people and worked with them to catalyze a just transition off fossil fuels. Her journey has included co-founding and co-leading Better Future Project and 350 Massachusetts and Mothers Out Front, a national organization focused on building the power of moms to address the climate crisis. She moved from Somerville to Strafford, VT 9 years ago with her two children Isabelle and Cedric.  She has a passion for ensuring all voices are at the decision-making table and for developing the leadership of others so we can build the collective power we need to create the change we want.

Other Staff

Heather Buckner motherupmontpelier@350vt.org

Heather is the organizer for Mother Up! Montpelier. She grew up in Minnesota, and has since lived and worked in many places both in the U.S. and abroad, finally settling with her partner in the beautiful mountains of South Royalton. She has spent much of her career creating and managing programs for young people centered around resource conservation, permaculture, social and environmental justice and building leadership skills. Heather currently wears many hats, including youth coordinator for Voices for Vermont’s Children, permaculture designer, gardener, herbalist student, and after the birth of her first child last November, mother! She is excited for the opportunity to help families find meaningful ways to connect to each other, heal, and make collective change.

Interns

Lillian Howard – media@350vt.org

Lillian Howard is a freshman at the University of Vermont in the Rubenstein School. She grew up on a farm in Maryland along the Chesapeake Bay, which incited a deep appreciation for the environment. Her family spends as much time as they can outdoors, and every summer she would notice the accumulation of trash along the beach from local boaters carelessly disposing of their trash onto the shoreline. To help solve this problem, she and her brother started bringing trash bags down and picking up all of the plastic, but wanted to make a bigger impact. They combined their passions for art and the environment and created a small business called Save the Wave, where they design and sell t-shirts and donate 40% of the proceeds to ocean clean-up organizations like Project Aware and Oceana. To date they have raised over $6,500 to support ocean clean-up efforts. Working with 350VT, Lillian hopes to continue advocating for the environment and inspiring others to do the same. Outside of work she enjoys skiing, painting, and music.

 

Kate Zoellersolutions@350vt.org

Kate is a junior at the University of Vermont studying environmental studies and food systems. Kate developed a love for farming and the environment at a young age and hopes to continue to cultivate this love and embrace their connectedness by pursuing a career in environmental justice, food sovereignty, and ecological restoration. Before joining the 350Vermont team she has spent time at the Intervale Center and co-led UVM’s chapter of the Slow Foods Club. In her free time Kate can most likely be found hiking, skiing, and swimming her way across Vermont!

 

 

A screenshot from our Staff and Board Retreat, May 2020.

Board

KC Whiteley, Co-Chair

K.C. is a long time activist who lives in Montpelier. Retired from a career working with child development and family support programs at the community and statewide levels, she has worked as a writer/editor/researcher, music and environmental columnist.  For the past ten years, she has spent winters in New Orleans, which has become her second home, working with 350NOLA, Louisiana Bucket Brigade and others on a variety of frontline Gulf Coast issues. After first working with 350VT on the Tar Sands Campaign in the Northeast Kingdom in 2013, she joined the board and is grateful to be part of 350VT’s mission to continue her commitment to climate justice. 

 

Alex Messinger, Treasurer

Alex lives in Burlington with his wonderful wife and two fantastic children. He feels incredibly lucky to be able to commute by bicycle to his job in information technology at the University of Vermont. His perfect weekend includes a pre-dawn hike in Vermont’s mountains. The high point of his climate change activism (thus far) was joining the crowd of 400,000 at the People’s Climate March in 2015, where he dressed up as a displaced penguin.

 

Danielle Laberge, Co-Chair

Danielle is Technical Designer and Head of Sales for Grassroots Solar, specializing in solar and battery installation for grid-tied and off-grid systems. Her background is in ecosystem restoration biology. After two terms with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps restoring Grand Canyon National Park and Hudson River Estuary flora to reduce impacts, she is using her environmental education and volunteer coordinating skills every day in her solar job and in her climate organizing work. Born in and recently returned to Vermont, she is happy to strengthen her connection to the home that instilled place-based values in her at an early age.

 

Andrea Stander

Andrea grew up in a family that was active in the Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam War movements so grassroots organizing is in her blood. In the past 25+ years she has worked with The Canyonlands Field Institute educating visitors about the fragility of the high desert in Utah; with The Northern Plains Resource Council in Montana organizing farmers and ranchers to resist the negative impacts on their communities and water quality caused by international mining companies; with the Vermont Arts Council advocating for the artists who power Vermont’s creative economy; as a regional field organizer for Bernie Sanders’ first Senate campaign in 2006; with VPIRG on energy and consumer protection issues; and for the past seven years for Rural Vermont, first as Executive Director and now as part-time policy consultant. Rural Vermont advocates for a just transition to regenerative agriculture in support of family farms and food sovereignty and security.  She lives in Montpelier.

 

Rick Barstow

I have been an off and on again activist since the late 60’s when I became aware of the insanity of the Vietnam war and knew it had to be resisted. Then 9/11 happened and W was preparing to attack Iraq so my wife and our two young people went down to D.C. to register our displeasure. It soon became clear that something was going on with our climate.  A sugar maker since the early 70’s, I had been able to observe how the season was beginning and ending earlier and earlier as well as the more erratic weather that made sugaring increasingly difficult. I heard about Bill McKibben’s walk from Middlebury to Burlington, action that would draw attention to the growing crisis. A friend and I heard that he (Bill) and Naomi Klein would be giving a talk in Boston in Dec. of 2012 what we needed to do as far as keeping fossil fuels in the ground. Before long I began to hear about a gas pipeline going through Addison county to Middlebury that needed to be stopped.  This is also when I heard about CVCA and its involvement as part of 350 VT in doing what it could to put a stop to this insanity. At this point, as I move deeper into my 70’s and the urgency of addressing the climate crisis, I see I need and want to find ways to scale back my physical work life on the land in order focus to the issues of climate justice.

 

Jesse Scarlato

Jesse lives in Montpelier and works in agriculture and food distribution. She has volunteered with 350VT since 2015, when she became a leader in the Montpelier node, Central Vermont Climate Action. Since 2019, Jesse has also actively volunteered and organized with Sunrise, a national organization of young people working for climate justice, and is the Montpelier Sunrise Hub coordinator and a member of the Sunrise Mobile Trainer Network. Jesse has also worked in an advocacy role at the Vermont Statehouse with an all-volunteer liaison team on behalf of the LGBTQIA Alliance of Vermont, and recently helped launch Citizens for Climate Action.

 

 

 

Divya Gudur

Divya is a senior at Middlebury College studying Environmental Chemistry and Global Health. She is passionate about the intersections of health, chemistry, social justice, and the environment, with a particular focus on combining toxicology into community organizing. At Middlebury she is involved in organizing around youth empowerment in issues of climate justice, inclusive environmental activism and education, and was a member of Divest Middlebury. She was first drawn into climate justice organizing in Vermont when she was on the organizing team for the Next Steps Climate Solutions Walk and now enjoys working with youth organizers across the state to advocate for just systems changes.

 

Connor Wertz 

Connor spends most of his time in Middlebury, Vermont, where he is a junior studying Environmental Justice. He has been part of the climate movement since high school, but through mentorships and friendships with both student and adult organizers (many from 350VT!) has deepened his commitment to climate justice. In the past few years, Connor has been a founding member of Sunrise Middlebury, worked with the college’s Sunday Night Environmental Group (SNEG), and served as a training and organizing intern last summer for 350VT. He is excited to work together to continue advancing movements for justice in Vermont!

 

Jessica Van Oort

Jessica is a writer and editor, and the social media coordinator for the Five Wits Press.