Whose Backyard? Trajectories of Land-Use and their Impact on America's National Forests

White Mountain National Forest

The White Mountains encompass land protected at the local, state, and national level and represents a highly-trafficked forest area as it is within a day’s drive from Boston and intersects many residential communities. These aspects of the area, as well as others, provide unique opportunities and obstacles to conservationists as they attempt to protect the land from misuse and development.  Thus, the White Mountains provide an ideal area in which to explore issues surrounding land conservation for public use which is increasingly becoming a more politicized and divisive topic. We hope to meet with local conservation groups, administrators and rangers within the US forest service, wildlife research institutions, local business owners, and community leaders to understand the importance of this protected area from a broad range of perspectives. We will also serve with local groups engaged in conservation efforts with the goal of understanding how individuals can positively impact and help to safeguard the wild world around them. Ultimately, participants will be encouraged to reflect upon their own connection with the natural world and to consider the impact of land usage within/around protected areas not only local ecosystems and communities, but also on the individuals who draw inspiration from America’s wild spaces. 


Katie Kavanaugh ‘18Katie Kavanaugh ‘18

Katie is a senior from Northport, New York. Currently, she majors in Molecular Biology and is conducting a senior thesis on the genetics of photosynthesis. In her free time she loves anything outdoor related and is an avid backpacker, runner, and climber. Katie spent most of her childhood summers exploring the beautiful trails and back-country of the White Mountain National Forest and she is extremely excited to have the opportunity to lead a breakout trip in such a special place. She is looking forward to investigating the intricacies forest conservation efforts with an amazing group of Princeton students! 


Sonia Howlett ‘18Sonia Howlett ‘18

Sonia is a senior from the small rural college town of Middlebury, Vermont. She is particularly interested in the interplay between agriculture and conservation, and is majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and getting a certificate in Environmental Studies. As a great lover of nature and the outdoors, Sonia is super excited to lead a breakout trip that investigates people’s connections to conservation in the White Mountain National Forest. 


Applications will be available in the Spring.