An Interview with Board Member Kristen Wilson

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Where are you from originally? 

I’m from Lake Placid, NY.

What brings you to the Hudson Valley?

I took a circuitous path to the Hudson Valley through Maine, Oregon, and Mexico. I never dreamed in my early life that I would come to live here. Being from the Adirondacks, my perception of the Hudson Valley was that it was flat, crowded, and “downstate.”  Haha! I came to work as an environmental educator at the Taconic Outdoor Education Center in Cold Spring, NY, and I was hooked to the beautiful scenery of the Hudson Valley. I experimented with living in many places – New Paltz, Red Hook, Rhinecliff, but Kingston always fascinated me and drew me in. I am so happy to have landed in Kingston where I can have an urban, car-less lifestyle if I choose, and at the same time I have immediate access to some of the most stunning open space one could find in New York.

How long have you lived here and are any areas of particular interest to you?

I’ve lived here since 2007. My favorite places are Hasbrouck and Kingston Point Park. I also completely love Spruce St. It’s a little road that traverses the hill on the West side of the Roundout. It starts across the street from my house. When I walk on it I feel like I am in Europe, it’s a wildlife corridor, and my daughter is learning to ride her bike on it!

Other Interests? Hobbies…Family…Pets?

I practice Ashtanga Yoga regularly, and I am about to start teaching a morning class at Mudita Yoga in Uptown Kingston. I LOVE riding my bicycle with my 3-year daughter in the seat on the back. I enjoy cooking, and just discovered a website called Cooksmarts.com, which is an amazing meal planning tool for busy parents. I have two cats, Zapote and Calcetina, who are from Mexico.

How does your professional experience serve the Board?

I work at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County in our Healthy Communities program. I have a Masters in Environmental Policy, and a lot of experience with transportation policy. My main interest is working to transform Kingston into a healthy community on every level – economically, environmentally and public health-wise. My passion is developing and coordinating the Live Well Kingston coalition – a collaborative of people and organizations working to make Kingston a better place to walk, bike, eat, and play.

How have you been active on the Board? Any recent work on projects or committees?

I am relatively new to the Board. I am on the Land Use committee, and recently started a little “book club” on the Board to develop our collective knowledge and capacity to understand open space acquisition and management. While I’m not officially on the Rail Trail committee, I coordinate quite a bit with them to advance the Greenline and Complete Streets in general in Kingston. Right now we are working together to plan the Ulster County Active Transportation conference on June 12th.

Why the Kingston Land Trust? Which issues do you feel most passionate about?

My father was a birdwatcher, the really serious kind of birdwatcher who would brag at the dinner table about the new “life bird” he saw that day. His passion for birds rubbed off on me. For a time I thought I wanted to be an ornithologist, and I did study biology. Open space is not only important for humans to utilize for recreation and nature therapy, but for non-human beings to survive and thrive. Part of me is always thinking about birds, even though, on a daily basis, I’m mostly thinking about streetscapes. Being on the KLT Board gives me an opportunity to dabble in efforts for open space preservation in an urban environment, and I also love being in the company of the other Board members who are an interesting and inspiring crew.

Kristen Wilson serves on the Kingston Land Trust Board of Directors and is a member of its Land Use Committee. She lives in Kingston with her husband and 3 year old daughter. Kristen is the Healthy Communities Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, and coordinator of the Live Well Kingston coalition. She also serves as co-chair of Bike Friendly Kingston. She has been on the board since early 2014.

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