FARM & FOREST
Fleet & Facilities Manager
Dylan grew up on his family’s dairy farm. As a farm kid, he learned all aspects of farm management, animal husbandry and crop care; he has broadened his skill set with experience working for an electrical and general contractor.
Dylan’s passion is to raise healthy livestock and to manage the land in a sustainable manner.
EDUCATION & PROGRAMS
Chris spent decades as an educator and traditional folk artist. She’s brought that experience to bear in expanding Merck’s educational programs.
Chris and her husband have a small farm and enjoy sea kayaking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
She lives in Manchester Center and enjoys long-distance running, cooking and experimenting with food, and finding new ways to have conversations about our relationship to the land and living things on which we all depend.
Elena studied Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Education at Green Mountain College and has worked on diversified farms and summer camps in southern and central Vermont and the Hudson valley.
She is excited to be working at MFFC where she can combine both focuses of her degree. Elena lives close to MFFC with her fiancee and a small flock of chickens. She loves identifying wildflowers, gardening, cooking and going for bike rides.
Liz Ruffa joined MFFC as Advancement Director in 2018. Previous to that, she launched and led Northshire Grows, a regional food system network. Liz has held leadership positions at Common Good VT, VT Arts Council and VT Sustainable Jobs Fund, among others since joining Vermont’s mission-driven sector. She serves on Vermont Foodbank’s Board of Directors, was appointed in 2017 to the Vermont Community Development Board, and is a member of the Town of Dorset’s Select Board. She lives with her family in East Dorset.
Rob has taught in a number of experiential outdoor programs, and his passion is to foster in our visitors the desire to connect in meaningful ways to the natural landscape at Merck Forest.
He and his wife Anna enjoy introducing their two children to new adventures in the outdoors.
Business & Systems Manager
Recycle/Reuse/Repurpose: Formerly our Communications Coordinator, Marybeth now maintains both the financial and information systems of MFFC.
In her free time she loves scuba-diving, woodworking and puttering in the garden.
COME WORK AT MERCK
Merck Forest & Farmland Center (MFFC) is an educational non-profit in Southwestern Vermont that is on a mission to inspire curiosity, love, and responsibility for working and natural lands. MFFC does this by annually welcoming over 15,000 visitors to its 3,500-acre sustainably managed farm and forest in Rupert, VT featuring 35-miles of trail and over a dozen backcountry cabins and lean-tos. Throughout the year, the organization hosts a variety of festivals, workshops, camps, and trainings focused on deepening visitors’ connection to, and understanding of, ecology, farming, forestry and outdoor skills. In addition to this main campus, MFFC operates a 144-acre satellite campus adjacent to, and in collaboration with, the Mettawee Community School (the public elementary school serving the towns of Pawlet and Rupert).
In the last 5 years, MFFC has seen significant growth in its educational programming, and the organization is looking for a Director of Education that can facilitate continued growth while supporting the Education Team in delivering high-quality, mission-aligned educational programs. As an educational land-management organization, MFFC is on the front lines of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Given this reality, MFFC’s educational programs build towards addressing the essential question: “How can we maximize the long-term viability, and habitability, of our home planet for all species?” While this exploration plays out in developmentally appropriate ways across the continuum, and is by no means explicit in all of our programming, it serves as a north star guiding our work.
The Director of Education will play a critical role on a creative and energetic team at an organization that is on a positive trajectory. A surge of prospective regional partners interested in new and innovative opportunities, combined with a resurgence of interest in MFFC’s traditional programming as COVID has abated, makes this an exciting time for the organization and one in which our Education Team is poised to both broaden and deepen its impact in our community and beyond. We are seeking a dynamic leader with experience managing place-based and/or experiential outdoor programs to shepherd this work.
Board of Trustees
Sue Van Hook
Vice President & Secretary
Jill Perry Balzano
Partners & Collaborators
Vermont Huts Association
Vermont Land Trust
Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association
Farm-Based Education Network
Connected Taconics Project
Northeast Woodland Training
Farm & Food Link
Solo Wilderness Schools
Vermont Certified Organic
Many people contributed photos for inclusion in this website: Darla Belevich, Tim Callahan, Melissa Carll, Chris Hubbard, Katie Connor, Ethan Crumley, Kat Graden, Angela Kilpatrick, Aaron Lamp, Kathryn Lawrence, Marybeth Leu, Heather Richardson, Anna Terry, Rob Terry, Karl Uy. We appreciate your contributions.