Kim Barrett, a senior and native of Huntington, N.Y., found Green Mountain College while “looking for the next step,” she said.
A double natural resources management and environmental studies major with concentrations in environmental education, communication and natural sciences, Kim aspires to educate and inspire the public about environmental issues through her expertise in filmmaking.
Kim transferred to GMC in 2011 after attending New York University, studying biology and working in Alaska at Tongass National Forest. “When I left high school I studied film and television at NYU, I was making documentaries, but was also doing environmental conservation work,” she said.
“After NYU, I did environmental interpretation for the Fish and Wildlife Service and monitored Sockeye salmon for the Forest Service. I was using cameras to record the salmon’s spawning behavior and assisted in other projects to help subsistence hunters that rely on healthy salmon populations,” she said. “I went to Australia for a little over a semester. I lived and worked in the rainforest at the Centre for Rainforest Studies. I learned about rainforest ecology and rehabilitation while conducting my own research on a World Heritage Site monitored by Australia’s CSIRO. This opportunity was a direct result of having close relationships with professors. (President) Paul Fonteyn helped me write grants to fund the trip.”
“It’s been a very interesting ride. After working in Alaska, I knew I wanted to go somewhere with a career-focused major,” she said.
GMC had what she was looking for, and it also had an attractive community. “I really like GMC because you can dig in and create relationships. You can be the change you’d like to be. I wouldn’t be able to do that if it wasn’t for being here,” she said.
Kim’s Delicate Balance project reaches beyond campus borders. “My project is about raising awareness for Jamaican and Hispanic migrant workers in Vermont,” she said, “I’ve been traveling to Champlain Orchards and really getting to know the Jamaican workers there. I’ve been interviewing and taking pictures, and I’m hoping next semester we can have a photography exhibit to raise awareness.”
“For about 50 to 60 years, thousands of Jamaican migrant workers have been coming to Vermont. The apple and hard cider industry in Vermont would be nonexistent without them. I’m Jamaican, so it’s cool to have that connection to this group, but I want the GMC community to connect to them in some way as well.” she said.
Kim is a noticeable face around campus: she is on the Campus Programming Board, in which she helps to coordinate events, and is involved with Stream; and she sings in the a cappella group, about which she said, “Singing has been a big part of my life, but I haven’t been able to engage with people in this way on campus before. I love it!”
In the future, Kim would love to educate the public through combining her skills in research, ecology and film. “I want to be drawing from all my passions and utilize all of my skills to improve specific environmental and social problems,” she said, “I want to do work that combines my love for field-research, education and film.”