Trevien Stanger Instructor of Environmental Studies and Science

Trevien Stanger


B.A. Saint Michael’s College
M.S. University of Montana

Areas of Expertise:

Environmental Writing, Ecological Restoration, Wilderness Ethics, Environmental Justice

Courses I Teach:

  • Environment and Society
  • Nature and Culture
  • Environmental Research Methods
  • American Wilderness
  • Environmental Justice

My Saint Michael’s:

Environmental Studies can be hard work at times –– there’s no shortage of bad news in the fields of wildlife conservation, agriculture, climate change, environmental injustice, water quality, etc., and it can seem like humans cause intractable problems wherever we go. But, as an ecological restorationist and environmental educator for many years, I’ve also seen first-hand that people can discover productive, positive roles in their towns, cities, and watersheds. I believe that with the right mix of scholarship, creativity, and passion, this generation of students I’m working with now can be one of the first to not only halt environmental and social problems, but also generate new and exciting ways to tackle these issues with grit, humor, community, and an authentic commitment to service.

Recent News

Trevien Stanger of the Environmental Studies and Science faculty coordinated in October with the campus environmental group Green Up to harvest trees from the Ecological Restoration Nursery in the center of campus this week and replant them in the College Natural Area. Also, Trevien got a nice shout-out by an environmental podcaster named Nicole Asquith on her podcast “In the Weeds.” She writes on the website introduction to the podcast that David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous and Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass are the two books that really kicked of the idea for In the Weeds. She continues to say about a recent episode, “To discuss The Spell of the Sensuous, I reached out to Trevien Stanger, instructor of environmental studies and science at St. Michael’s College in Vermont and all around smart and thoughtful guy. We examine the two influences that support Abram’s shift from a mechanistic to an animist view of the world: phenomenology, a philosophical movement started by the German philosopher Edmund Husserl in the early 20th century, and the teachings of indigenous shamans that Abram encountered during his travels as an itinerant sleight-of-hand magician in Southeast Asia. Most of all, we try to understand what it would mean to experience the world the way that Abram would want us to, as a dynamic and relationally-rich encounter with the more-than-human.”
(posted February 2023)

Trevien Stanger, Saint Michael’s College instructor of environmental studies and science, appears in a recent environmental film about Lake Champlain and talks about how societal despair can lead to the biggest moments of change. He and other Saint Michael’s College people are prominent in a new film about the lake that was featured in an article recently by Seven Days, the Burlington-area weekly newspaper and website. Says Trevien, “I am both featured in this film and mentioned in this Seven Days article, along with Saint Michael’s: The film also features recent graduate Anna Beach ‘22, as well as alumni Demery Coppola ’21.” The Seven Days article by staff writer Jordan Adams has the title “Short Film No Other Lake Asks Viewers to Get Connected to Their Environment.” The writer tells of the project by filmmaker Jordan Rowell, explaining, “Throughout the two-week journey, which was shot in August of 2021, he also embarks on a listening tour. He interviews scientists, educators, eco-warriors, recreation enthusiasts, farmers and others, each sharing their perspective on lake conservation and stewardship. He asks how regular people can protect the lake from ecological destruction, such as invasive species and poisonous cyanobacteria, to preserve it for future generations.”
(posted July 2022)

Trevien Stanger of the Environmental Science and Studies faculty helped organize a tree-planting event in September with biology colleague Declan McCabe and the campus environmental group Green UP, down in the College’s Natural Area. They took advantage of an Arbor Day Foundation tree-giveaway program surplus in Colchester and Winooski that provided the trees. Then in October, he and McCabe did another planting project on the newly created wetlands dug by Natural Resources Conservation Service Vermont, an event Trevien billed as “Restoration Generation” This was a youth-focused Ridge-to-River field trip in the name of restoring the ecological and cultural vitality of the Winooski River. For that activity on October 7, he led a student group from Marshfield before ending the day with a planting in the Natural Area. Also, Trevien has a beautiful new book out in collaboration with photographer Mike Sipe, titled Our Basin of Relations: The Art & Science of Living with Water.  It includes contributions from other Saint Michael’s people: Doug Facey (emeritus) and Declan McCabe of the biology faculty and Patrick Standen of philosophy. In November, Trevien spoke to more than 60 students for local Essex High School’s STEM Speaker Series, presenting on watersheds, river restoration, and cultivating an environmental ethic through the wedding of science and art. In December, he arranged for a giant watershed map of the Lake Champlain Basin to come to campus courtesy of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, enabling Saint Michael’s students in the Environmental Studies and Science Departments to interact with it and learn in a fun and unusual way. The Giant Lake Champlain Map Project is a partnership between Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Lake Champlain Basin Program, and Castleton University.”
(posted February 2022)

Trevien Stanger, instructor of environmental studies and sciences, recently was elected state director in Vermont for the Society of Ecological Restoration’s (SER) Northeast Chapter. Trevien was elected in large part due to his active participation in restoration efforts in the Saint Michael’s College Natural Area and throughout the Champlain Basin. SER advances the science, practice and policy of ecological restoration to sustain biodiversity, improve resilience in a changing climate, and re-establish an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture.
(posted July 2021)

Laura Stroup and Trevien Stanger of the Saint Michael’s Environmental Studies/Science programs learned in late January that they will be awarded money for the College’s Natural Area for supplies and conducting student projects. Pat Phillips, the Green Mountain Audubon Board member they have been working with (on biology Professor Declan McCabe’s recommendation) gave the good news. Reports Laura, “The money will be routed through the Environmental Studies/Science (ESS) Department, and will flow through both the ES 357 Environmental Restoration course (student proposed projects on the site) as well as volunteer and summer work with students to implement these projects as well as other initiatives on the site.” Recently the College reached a milestone easement agreement with the federal Department of Agriculture to preserve wetlands in the Natural Area in perpetuity, as ever more classes and community members make use of the beautiful tract.
(posted February 2021)

Trevien Stanger of the Environmental Studies and Sciences faculty recently authored a piece titled “What Happens When You Plant a Tree?,”  appearing on a website of The Center for Action and Contemplation, founded on the ideas of Fr. Richard Rohr, an internationally prominent Franciscan friar, with the mission to “Open the door for a critical mass of spiritual seekers to experience the transformative wisdom of the Christian contemplative tradition and nurture its emergence in service to the healing of our world.” The introduction to Trevien’s piece on the website states: “While we may continue to practice physical distancing from other humans, most of us can still safely spend time in nature. The Journal of Health Psychology confirms what Franciscans and mystics have long known: interacting with nature is a great stress reliever. Just thirty minutes of gardening lowers the cortisol released during stress-induced fight-or-flight responses. Today’s practice, written by poet, writer, and educator Trevien Stanger for the book Order of the Sacred Earth, invites us to make a very specific contemplative contribution by planting trees.” Trevien also had a piece about tree-planting published in this year’s Onion River Review, the student literary and arts journal at Saint Michael’s.
(posted June 2020)

Trevien Stanger of the Saint Michael’s Environmental Studies and Sciences faculty just completed his one year “Vermont Master Naturalist” training in Richmond, Vermont. According to a website for this training, “Vermont Master Naturalist” trains close-knit teams of naturalists in local natural history across the earth, life and social sciences who: Learn to interpret the landscapes of local natural areas from geology to plants and animals to land-use history and beyond; Partner with local organizations and town officials to design and implement volunteer projects in conservation education and stewardship’ Receive Vermont Master Naturalist certification and continue to serve as a citizen advisory group to local natural resource issues.”  Trevien said he is “sure that this knowledge and set of teaching skills will be appreciated by my Environmental Studies students as they explore the Saint Michael’s Natural Area and continue doing ecological restoration work down there.”
(posted June 2019)