Hailing from amongst the glistening lakes of Minnesota, Heather Buckner has called many places home over the years, including the calm north woods of New Hampshire, the lush cloud forests of Costa Rica, the lively Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, and the maple-covered peaks and valleys of Vermont, where she has been fortunate to settle with her family on a beautiful ten-acre homestead surrounded by woods, mountains, and idyllic farmland.
Heather’s passion for gardening developed from her general aversion to being indoors. For as long as she can remember, she has preferred tall trees to tall buildings, dirt to pavement, and streams to screens. She is one of those strange modern humans that loves spiders, snakes, and skunks!
Therefore, when she graduated from Tufts University with a BS in environmental science, instead of joining the ranks of her fellow classmates and pursuing a “typical” career, she decided to pick up and go live in the woods. After a brief stint as a counselor at a backcountry summer camp, she joined The Student Conservation Association as a member of the New Hampshire Conservation Corps. She spent a year living and working at an old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp hidden in the middle of a state park alongside thirty other young adults, teaching children and families about the wonders of the natural world around them, leading night hikes, splashing around in ponds to find salamanders, and building shelters out of sticks.
From there, she has traveled and worked in many roles at nonprofit organizations centered around resource conservation, food security, permaculture, and environmental education. She cofounded and ran Smoky Mountain Corps (SMC), a nonprofit residential leadership program that trained young adults in conservation skills, restoration of natural resources, organic gardening, and community living. Members completed service projects in state and national parks, schools, and community gardens in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. She has also worked for a number of nonprofits as a communications coordinator.
Currently, she is an organizer for 350Vermont, supporting families to build community and engage in climate action. She also has a small permaculture design and edible landscaping business, and is studying to be a clinical herbalist. Heather has held the position of website and blog manager for Smoky Mountain Corps since 2014, and for her new project, Sugar Mountain Center. This is an education center and residential facility that provides training, retreats, community events, and service learning programs in conservation skills, permaculture, sustainable agriculture, leadership development, and low-impact living.
Chances are, you will probably find Heather buried in dirt somewhere within her meandering gardens, perhaps nestled between a bright patch of calendula flowers, sprawling squash, and towering tomatoes, nibbling on some chives or sorrel leaves while she works.
On the rare occasion when she is not in the garden, you can find her exploring nearby parks, cooking up some freshly picked greens, or attempting to play the ukulele.
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