I’ve been both looking for ways to explore the world through teaching, writing, running, and living an intentionally adventurous life for more than two decades. In my current roles as a professor at a small ecologically-focused college in Vermont, trail and mountain running coach, father, husband, and companion to two high-spirited dogs, I’m always seeking new ways to make sense of how we live on this earth for myself, for my family, and for my students.
At the moment, I have three main responsibilities—Associate Dean of Academics, Faculty of Environmental Humanities, and Athletic Director at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont.
For more than twenty years, I have been able to share a passion for place, the humanities, athletics, and outdoor skills by teaching courses from Literature of the Northeast and The Politics of Place and Identity to Adventure Literature to field courses in Iceland and Rock and Ice Climbing. In addition to journal articles and book chapters on regional and environmental literature, place, and pedagogy, I am also the author of This Vast Book of Nature: Reading the Landscape of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, 1785-1911 (Iowa, 2006) and editor of Nature and Culture in the Northern Forest: Region, Heritage, and Environment in the Rural Northeast (Iowa, 2010).
Over more than two decades as a teacher, writer, and runner, I have taught many hundreds of students, written books, raised animals, grown my own food, traveled, run among countless mountains, climbed crags and frozen waterfalls, competed in ultramarathons across the U.S., and shared a rich and intentionally adventurous life with my wife and son. But something is still missing—how can all that I do be of use to the larger world in this era of climate change?
By looking at the landscape at a small scale—something that running almost requires us to do—we begin to make our connection to place more solid, more concrete, more permanent. As I push my own body to the limits of what it can do, I feel the boundaries between myself and my own experience begin to blur, and the physicality, the consciousness that I bring into the landscape is paired with the land itself, and I go into a dialogue with the world. The world is no longer around me, I am no longer in it, but I find myself on a gradient between self and world.
I believe it is this boundary that we need to find in each of ourselves—whether through physical or mental means—in order to move us forward with intention on this planet we share.