Pete grew up in Michigan, where they had the simultaneous joys of a nearby swamp, and trusting parents to whom “in the swamp” was sufficient detail to feel confident in the geographic location and safety of their child. Every day in a swamp there’s something new to find, or watch, or poke. In a high school environmental science class, Pete learned that those puddle-crawling stick conglomerations were called caddisflies, and that one could study them professionally as an ecologist. An academic trajectory was sparked, plotted, and launched. They pursued their formal ecological education at Middlebury College, with study of the region’s natural communities and the analytical tools used to understand them counting towards a degree in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology. From there, they’ve measured trees in Panama and taught students on the Hudson River the absurd natural history of eels, consistently with an eye towards how cultural and natural history intertwine.
Pete joins VCE as the Mountain Ecology Technician, serving as an ECO AmeriCorps member. They’re focused on broadening participation in mountain ecology programs–from piloting study of different taxonomic foci to inviting community naturalist input in the planning and analysis of existing programs. If you have insight or enthusiasm for the study of mountain communities, please reach out!