Nancy West

Nancy West hiking in Scotland

VCE Advisory Council member Nancy West. Photo by Geoff Feiss

After teaching high school chemistry and geology at the community college level and college level, Nancy evolved to teaching teachers. She taught at UNC—Chapel Hill, Duke University, and the College of William and Mary. She also developed science curricula in the earth sciences, featuring field studies, robotics, and high-resolution GPS data in the western United States. She coordinated the science and math curricula for a 10,000 student school system in Virginia. She has co-authored five books in earth science education. Her driving force has been to have students learn science by doing it: having them acquire and analyze data in the lab, in the field, and on maps—paper or GIS.

Not surprisingly, her background is in geology (A.B. Princeton, UNC—Chapel Hill), chemistry, and education (M.A.T. UNC—Chapel Hill). While her career has been in school settings, she’s interested now in fostering learning in the years beyond formal schooling. She is an informal advisor to the very local Cundy’s Harbor Library on citizen science projects. For two summers, she measured water quality biweekly in Casco Bay and is now monitoring seasonal development of rockweed, or knotted wrack.

Before moving to Maine in November 2015, she chaired the Board and then was Executive Director of Legacy Land Trust in Northern Colorado, setting it up for merger with Colorado Open Lands. LLT was responsible for ensuring the stewardship of 43,000 acres of conserved land—66 square miles. In Maine, she writes a column for Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, featuring a different preserve each month. She and her husband, Geoff Feiss, are also chipping away at a book for non-geologists to develop skills and insights needed to interpret geologic landscapes.

Nancy and Geoff enjoy skiing in the Green and White Mountains, kayaking and rowing on Casco Bay, reading, and laughing with family, including a super silly rescue dog.