Merck Forest and Farm Center Farm Management Rupert Vermont
Teaching and demonstrating the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland

Merck Forest & Farmland Staff

Melissa Carll Melissa Carll (Communications Coordinator)

The opportunity work for a historic, natural landscape where people can learn about sustainability is what drew Melissa to intern on the farm, then apprentice under the education director, and, currently, work full time as the Communications Coordinator for Merck Forest. Her undergraduate degree in historic preservation taught her how people have interacted with landscapes in the past, and she feels that historic uses of a landscape can help shape present and future land use decisions. After obtaining a graduate degree in ecological planning and design to learn sustainable methods for designing and caring for landscapes, Melissa began work at MFFC.

Melissa works daily on a variety of communications material, and the big project this year is designing new signage that enhances visitors' understanding of Merck's working landscape: the land's ecology, its history, and how we can all be a part of creating a resilient system.

Email Melissa at melissa@merckforest.org

Katie Connor Katie Connor (Visitor Engagement Specialist)

Katie grew up on a 95 cow dairy farm in Fort Ann, New York. She is the 2nd oldest of 5 kids and loved being homeschooled all the way through high-school. She has always enjoyed the outdoors and working with animals. On the farm she did anything from milking, delivering calves, herd health, driving tractors and any other heavy farm equipment. She also worked on a pig farm, where she delivered over a hundred piglets, managed the care of the all the pigs and did some of the field work.

In the Fall of 2011 and 2012, Katie got to experience working at her Aunt and Uncle's apple orchard in Middlebury, VT. She loved learning about all the different varieties of apples and working with the customers. Some of Katie's hobbies include: reading, riding horses, hunting, walking, playing guitar and singing with her siblings in her Uncle's bluegrass band. She also enjoys hanging out with her family and friends.

In 2013, Katie went to Cosmetology school to get her hairdressing license. She hopes to someday open up an organic salon with her mom, who is also a hairdresser, and have a little farm on the side. Katie is looking forward to building her knowledge of farming by working at Merck.

Email Katie at katie@merckforest.org

  Ethan Crumley (Forester)

Growing up in nearby Granville, N.Y., Ethan enjoyed visiting Merck and romping around the forest as a small child. Merck played a key role in inspiring Ethan's curiosity for the natural world and a love for the outdoors. In 2011, Ethan completed an A.A.S. Degree in Forest Technology from the SUNY- ESF Ranger School in the Northwestern Adirondacks. Two years later he completed a degree in Forest Resource Management at SUNY- ESF in Syracuse, N.Y. He has worked as a Summer Forester with Finch Forest Management in the Adirondacks. Most recently he has worked for Cersosimo Lumber Company in Brattleboro, Vt. as a Log Scaler (measuring and grading logs).

Ethan is excited to be back in the area and to take on the variety of forest management challenges that Merck offers. He hopes to continue to sharpen his own skills while inspiring the next generation of forest managers and stewards.

Email Ethan at ethan@merckforest.org

Chris Hubbard Chris Hubbard (Education Director)

Growing up in Salem, N.Y., Christine Ferris-Hubbard had Merck Forest in her backyard. Her early memories of Merck include hiking up the backside to settle into lean-tos for camping and roasting marshmallows with the Girl Scouts and climbing into the hollow tree.

Chris graduated from Green Mountain College with a BS in Elementary Education, and from the College of St. Joseph with a Masters in Literacy Arts. She has spent a number of years working with children, both in and out of the classroom. She is fascinated by science, and completed a 3-year science and technology resource program, and was involved in a teacher leadership program focusing on science in the classroom.

A traditional folk artist having over 25 years' experience in chair caning, Chris has given demonstrations at Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondacks through the New York State Council of the Arts, and has lead classes for their Intergenerational Grands camps. She has taught a variety of seat weaving classes, and is on the staff of the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne, NY. She especially enjoys weaving with locally gathered birch bark. Chris and her husband have a small farm with a growing flock of sheep, two alpacas, a flock of chickens, 3 cats, and their Border collie, Maisie. They enjoy visiting Maine and sea kayaking, as well as cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Chris is excited to join the staff at MFFC, and is looking forward to working with students in the sciences, helping them learn about the world around them.

Email Chris at christine@merckforest.org


Jonathon Kilpatrick (Assistant Farm Manager)

Bio coming soon...

Kathryn Lawrence Kathryn Lawrence (Assistant to the Director)

Kathryn joined the Merck Forest staff in October of 2010 as office coordinator and bookkeeper. Her professional experience includes book keeping for a local motel, a local contractor and most recently as office and finance manager for Riley Rink at Hunter Park, for six years. She has three married children, whom she home schooled while partnering with her husband Rick in the operation and management of a 90 cow dairy farm. Her farm responsibilities included farm bookkeeping, calf management, milking and driving tractor in whatever capacity needed. She has a love for farming and the outdoors, which attracted her to the opportunity at Merck Forest.

Kathryn grew up in Arlington, has lived in numerous places in Vermont and Pennsylvania but chooses to call the beautiful Mettowee Valley home. She and Rick live in Pawlet and have transferred their love for farming to a small farm with perennial gardens, a vegetable garden and five horses. Their children and grandchildren come to Vermont to play as often as is possible.

Email Kathryn at kathryn@merckforest.org



Tom Ward Tom Ward (Executive Director)

Tom is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University (BS, Marketing 1969) and The University of Vermont (MS, Forestry 1981). After graduation from undergraduate school he served as a Maintenance Officer with the United States Air Force and with the New Jersey and Vermont Air National Guard when a graduate student. On active duty he oversaw as many as three functional areas with over one hundred enlisted men and women under his supervision. He has prior experience in non-profit management as the Director of Smokey House Project in Danby, VT, and Executive Director of the Community Agriculture Center in Manchester, VT.

He has served on numerous non-profit boards of directors and chaired the Manchester, VT, school board for four years. Tom also has over twenty years' experience managing his own business as an investment advisor. He is an avid birder and gardener and enjoys hiking, biking and long winter walks with his wife, Jean.

Email Tom at tom@merckforest.org

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We are not affiliated with, nor do we receive annual support from Merck & Co. Inc.
We are not part of any government agency. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent
allowed by law and are greatly appreciated!

Banner photo courtesy of Dan Sullivan
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