The Center for the Environment seeks to create and support interdisciplinary, project-based, place-based, education in, for and about the environment. This work is done in collaboration with many groups and programs on campus, including the Eco-Reps, the Sustainability Committee, Green-Up, Environmental Studies and Science, Biology, Chemistry, Education, as well many other individuals and offices.
The Center for the Environment is directed by Kristyn Achilich, M.S. in collaboration with an advisory board and the Sustainability Committee is a key partner and encourages the integration of environmental, social, human, and economic goals into policies, activities, and operating practices.
Meet these individuals below:
Kristyn Achilich – Director, Center for the Environment; Director, Farm Program; Instructor, Environmental Studies & Science
Kristyn is the first Director of the Center for the Environment here at St. Michael’s. As director, she has begun work of forming the Center’s identity within the college and the community, coordinates learning opportunities across disciplines and sectors of the college and is working to build student opportunities on campus and within the community for years to come.
As Farm Program Director, Kristyn supports students, faculty, and community members who utilize the Farm at Saint Michael’s for educational and research purposes and carries on the Edmundite tradition of social justice and service as it relates to food issues in our surrounding community. She serves as a resource for faculty as they plan their own lessons in the outdoor classroom, and models skills that students need to be proficient in ecological farming practices and individual and community food security. She is responsible for the overall management and design of the Farm in an effort to maximize the student experience as well as the use of the space for research, teaching and community-engaged learning on campus.
In her role on the Sustainability Committee, Kristyn works to support institutional initiatives proposed by other stakeholders, ensures the Farm Program works meet advances in energy use, responsible packaging and reduced waste and is constantly looking for opportunities to cross pollinate and collaborate to best use our resources – natural, human and capital.
As an instructor, Kristyn teaches 5 courses a year – Food Systems & Sustainable Agriculture, Farm & Food Intensive I & II, Farm & Food –based internships and Environmental Education.
Members for the Advisory Board include:
Jeff Trumbower, Vice President of Academic Affairs
Doug Facey, Professor of Biology and Sustainability Committee Chair
Karen Talentino, Professor of Biology and Director of Health Sciences
Declan McCabe, Professor of Biology and Natural Area Coordinator
David Heroux, Professor and Chair of Chemistry
Richard Kujawa, Professor of Geography and Chair of Environmental Studies and Science
Nat Lewis, Professor of English
Trevien Stanger, Instructor of Environmental Studies and Science, Faculty Advisor to Green Up
Karen Popovich, Professor and Chair of Business Administration & Accounting
Valerie Bang-Jensen, Professor and Chair of Education
Brian Collier, Professor of Fine Arts
Jon Hyde, Professor of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts
Doug Facey, Professor of Biology and Chair of the Committee
Doug Facey has a particular interest in protection and conservation of natural resources. His research and some of the courses that he teaches are directly linked to local rivers and lakes, especially Lake Champlain. Doug’s personal connection to Lake Champlain goes back to the 1960s. In the late 1970s Doug did research on Lake Champlain fishes while pursuing his Master’s degree at the University of Vermont, and has continued his ties with the Lake since coming to Saint Michael’s in 1990. Doug lives in Burlington, where he does his best to minimize trash generation by maximizing composting and recycling, and maximize use of renewable energy from the solar panels on his home.
Richard Kujawa, Professor of Geography and Chair of Department Environmental Studies and Science
With training in Environmental Planning and Policy, and Geography Richard has been engaged with examinations of human-environment relations for most of his career. Environmental and Sustainability topics are blended into many of his classes at the College. Particular interests include water quality, energy and resource use, and sustainability at different geographical scales. His current environmental coursework includes Community and Environmental Planning; Environmental Policy; and Water Resources. Richard is currently part of an NSF-funded grant project focused on the impacts of climate change. His contribution hones in on questions of community and organizational resiliency in Vermont to extreme events like flooding. A native of the United Kingdom, Richard has lived in Vermont, working at Saint Michael’s, for more than 25 years.
Karen Talentino, Professor of Biology
I have been at Saint Michael’s for 11 years, primarily as an administrator, but have recently returned to fulltime teaching as a professor in the Biology Department, and am teaching environmental science as well as biology courses. I have always been interested in the environment, particularly how organisms are adapted to extreme conditions. I have been fortunate to have led a number of study trips with students to some amazing places, including Cuba, the Bahamas, and the southwestern deserts of the US, and love sharing my passion for the environment with students. I am also committed to trying to follow a more sustainable lifestyle, and have enjoyed working with the Eco-Reps this year to focus on reducing single-use plastics on campus.
Declan McCabe, Professor of Biology and Coordinator of the SMC Natural Area
In addition to teaching ecology and environmental courses in the Department of Biology and the Department of Environmental Studies and Science, Declan is also the coordinator of the SMC Natural Area, a 400+acre wetlands and forest that abuts the Winooski River. The college has made the decision to restore this area to its natural habitat, and to use it as an educational and recreational resource.
George Goldsworthy ’93, Manager of SMC Print & Mail
George began working in campus recycling efforts in 1989 as a freshman at SMC with the beginning of the CART program which was a student run first effort toward paper recycling. Three types of bins were placed in each building so that white, colored, end green bar computer paper were sent to be recycled and needed to be delivered as separate entities.
Others working toward a sustainable campus
Gabby LaRiviere, SMC ’20 and Eco-Rep
I’m a sophomore environmental studies and religious studies double major. I’m from Swampscott, MA. I think living sustainably is super important for the present status and future status of our planet. I ski, hike, enjoy playing basketball and golf. I like grilling, the beach, and museums. My favorite class thus far has been Buddhism with Professor Pascal and Environment and Society with Professor Stanger. This year, I’m working on promoting and supporting the college’s classification as a bee campus, and maintaining our positive relationship with pollinators in the future.
Gina Atkinson ’20
My name is Gina Atkinson and I am a sophomore environmental science major art minor. I’m from Canton, Conn. but have always been drawn to Vermont. I love art, recently joined the photo club, as well as outdoor activities like hiking and snowboarding in the winter. I’m so excited to get to work on sustainability driven projects this year as well as get to know so many people who share mutual interest in environmental issues.