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.

New KLT Board Member Takes on Fundraising Effort

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Originally from Binghamton, NY, Sarah Brainard has lived in the Hudson Valley for roughly 15 years. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, Ms. Brainard brings expertise in Graphic Design and a history of board service to the Kingston Land Trust’s Board of Directors. As one of our most recent additions, Sarah is excited to be re-joining her former New Paltz colleagues in a professional format, having worked at the School of Fine and Performing Arts with Tim Weidemann and David Cavallaro while she was a student.

Sarah currently works as Director of Client Relations for BlueMark, LLC, a New Paltz-based Software Company that specializes in healthcare technology. Sarah has been with BlueMark for 12 years while also maintaining her own freelance clients. She has also offered her talents pro bono to a number of organizations providing design assistance and serving as a Board Member for the Catskill Ballet Theatre over a period of 7 years and is currently on the Hudson Valley Chapter of the Healthcare Finance Management Association (HFMA) Board of Directors where she serves as the Communications Co-Chair.

Sarah lives in Rosendale and is excited to be on the Kingston Land Trust Board of Directors as she feels drawn to the area and is happy to have more opportunity to be involved with the community. She is serving as co-chair on the Fundraising Committee and was part of the team responsible for organizing the, “Gather” event at the Anchor this past January and promises there will be more events to come! She also hopes to, in time, play a role in helping the KLT achieve its goal of gaining accreditation through the Land Trust Alliance.

Sarah has also recently designed the logo for Lost Pets of the Hudson Valley! An animal lover, Sarah is often busy with her two dogs, Maggie and Petey and two laying hens, Gertie and Tator. She is presently helping a neighbor care for her hatchlings so there may be more chicks on the way!