Gratitude from our Team

The staff at Wolfe’s Neck Center share a profound and meaningful commitment to our work, each other, and our community. On this day of Thanksgiving, we wanted to share with you our gratitude for being a part of this amazing place; looking at what brought us here and why being a member of the team is important to us.   No matter the season, we are grateful to work on such a beautiful landscape with talented co-workers toward a mission in which we are all deeply invested. And we are truly thankful for you, our wonderful community of friends and supporters who are helping to build a better future for food and farming.

Eliza Baker-Wacks, Fruit and Vegetable Production Manager & Educator

I came to WNC after having an amazing agricultural experience in Hawaii! I was excited to bring this experience back to Maine with me. I see the impact of my work in the farmers I train continuing to pursue agriculture and remaining passionate about this field!

Susan Connolly, Director of Finance & Administration

Six years ago, I was on a quest seeking a new chapter in my career path. I found that at WNC where I have been able to share my skillset in a small but meaningful way.

And here I am enjoying each day being a part of this fun and eclectic team.

It is challenging work for all, but being immersed in the day to day operations and programs including organic food and milk production and ensuring the well-being of our animals, the commitment to education, and the ambitious yet very real efforts to seek a healthier planet, surely nourishes me!

I am thankful to play a role in contributing to the future of this unique community here at WNC – a special place here on earth.

Molly Cooper, Farm Camps Manager

I stumbled upon Wolfe’s Neck about 2 years ago when I saw a posting for the Farm Camp Manager position. After looking at the posting and learning more about all Wolfe’s Neck Center had to offer, I knew I needed to be a part of this place. I grew up attending summer camp, and earned my degree in Outdoor Education at Sterling College in Northern VT. Sterling and Wolfe’s Neck have so many similarities — from being a working farm, to offering hands-on experiences to their surrounding communities, it was just the perfect fit!

I’ve been a part of the Wolfe’s Neck team for a year and a half now and am so excited for what lies ahead in my time here. The education department is growing, relationships are being built within our surrounding communities, and we are making positive impacts all around with our youth through experiential programming. Our vision for the future of these programs is great and will hold so much value to younger generations.

Ben Gotschall, Dairy Manager

I came to Wolfe’s Neck to combine my passions of dairy grazing, teaching and lifelong learning and because I want to raise my daughter to love and appreciate the natural world. I am thankful for the Wolfe’s Neck community because the people here are committed to research, education, and stewardship of the land and animals. I get to work with talented people and do what I love on a daily basis, and my family gets to live in a beautiful place. For that I am thankful.

Joe Grady, Deputy Director/Senior Director of Programs

I was brought to WNC by a desire to work with others in the pursuit of a local food system built on successful, diversified farms that can feed and nourish people. These farms can be the backbone of a genuine heath system supporting wellness in the land, the people, the community, and the region.

I think this work is helping lead me to a better understanding of the barriers in the way of this vision becoming reality and how to begin to approach those barriers.

Jim DeGrandpre, Director of Visitor Services

I came to Wolfe’s Neck Farm when my father was hired to manage the farm and develop its organic reputation in 1968.  I take away a great pride in the many positive environmental impacts Wolfe’s Neck Farm/Center has accomplished since its inception.  Examples are the first wood chipper in Maine, the first round hay baler, satellite farming (using fallow land around Maine to raise our organic animals), launching Open Team (international education around educating food system leaders), kelp cow food trials, all Center apprenticeship programs, youth camp experiences, and organic meat and vegetable production. Wolfe’s Neck Center speaks to the values I love and want my children and grandchildren to share.

Laura Demmel Gilmer, OpenTEAM Global Coordinator and Community Facilitator

I joined WNC over a year and a half ago now to support OpenTEAM, as Wolfe’s Neck Center has continued to expand its vision of what it means to equip the next generation of food system leaders. Digging into this work around agricultural data interoperability that can unlock incentives for farmers to make better soil health-related decisions has taught me a lot. We’re on the cusp of making an accessible technology toolkit that can enable farmers to not only get paid for products they create, but also be acknowledged for and incentivized to maintain the ecological services they create, like soil carbon, water quality, and biodiversity. It’s a paradigm shift that requires a ton of collaboration, of which we at WNC get the privilege of facilitating.

Dave Herring, Executive Director

Ten years ago, I was at a point in my career where I was looking for a new opportunity. The opportunity I have found at Wolfe’s Neck Center has exceeded my expectations by all measures. At that time, there just wasn’t the level of consciousness that there is now about the connection between agriculture/food and climate/environment.  We all have a role to play in this work and I love that WNC plays such a strong convening force in this movement.

Jeannie Mattson, Director of Development & Community Engagement

I came to Wolfe’s Neck for the first time pushing a stroller with my two then toddler boys. From the moment we moved in down the road from the farm, we were here every day – visiting the cows and sheep, saying hello to the farmers, and walking along the shore and through the woods.  Through my boys’ experience here, I came to understand the power of being immersed in nature and outdoor learning. I was thrilled when I was able to join the staff and be a part of connecting people of all ages to this extraordinary place.  Over the past several years as my boys have grown, WNC has grown and evolved in truly meaningful ways.   I was drawn to WNC for its place-based education centered around agriculture, and that rings even more true now, but I am so grateful to be a part of a place that is securing a better future for the planet through our innovative work around farming, soil health, and climate change.

Tom Prohl, Farm Operations and Systems Manager

Early in my career in agriculture I worked on a for-profit family farm which inspired a hunger to take a deeper look at farming and food production across the globe. I spent the following 5 winters traveling & farming throughout Latin America, Scandinavia and Ireland enjoying cultural exchange of ideas, food and different perspectives on food systems and food justice. I moved to Maine in 2014, searching for a career opportunity in agriculture that allowed me to farm, educate and engage with community . Seven years later the journey continues here at WNC. Working with Apprentices and seeing their growth over the course of the season fuels me in a way no other career could. Training farmers and engaging with my community leaves me feeling like I can make an impact on a daily basis, this gets me out of bed bright and squirrely every day!

Sienna Zuco, OpenTEAM Communications & Membership Coordinator

As a recent college graduate with a passion for the environment, I wanted to work somewhere that I knew was combating the climate crisis and leaving a positive impact on the world. At Wolfe’s Neck Center, I have the opportunity to use my skills to communicate our OpenTEAM initiative’s progress and connect our OpenTEAM community into the work and opportunities we have to improve soil health globally. Not only am I learning how to best support climate change research initiatives like these, but I am grateful to work alongside coworkers who are helping me to develop the skills necessary to drive that change forward elsewhere. If and when I leave this place, I look forward to sharing all that I have learned at Wolfe’s Neck Center and continue to leave a positive impact on the environment and the communities that inhabit it.

Let’s create a healthier future, together. Our members are the heart of Wolfe’s Neck Center. Your membership supports our work to connect people of all ages to food and farming.

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