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Zach Behney '09

From Climbing to Ceramics

Imagine it: A 22-mile relay race across the Presidential Range in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in October. Temperature hover around freezing mid-day, and storms can change the landscape in a matter of minutes. In these conditions, runners race up and down rock faces and over roots and boulders in a competition so grueling that it is supposed to be run by three groups of three for a total of nine people. And yet, because they didn’t have a large enough group, senior Zach Behney ran the entire race with two fellow cohorts his sophomore year.

And though this year he won’t be doing the full 22 miles, he’ll be in the mix for the win again.

No doubt about it, this Lancaster, Pennsylvania resident pushes his body to the limits. He also has a way to keep an inner calm: Ceramics. When asked to describe his time at the wheel he could only respond with “meditative.”

With a major in fine arts and a minor in adventure recreation, Zach has pursued these vastly different interests during his years at college—and his next proposed step will help him continue them in the future. After graduating from Green Mountain College, Zach hopes to land a position as an artist in residence at an organic farm homestead near Rumney, New Hampshire. “My ultimate dream is to make pottery there, while exploring some of the best climbing and bouldering on the East Coast in my free time.”

Zach’s experience with Green Mountain’s Adventure Programming Office, through which he has led numerous adventure recreation expeditions, has him interested in becoming a wilderness leader as well. “There are just too many kids spending too many hours inside playing videogames,” he says. “I mean, I asked a kid the other day if he liked the outdoors and he responded: ‘I would, if it had electrical outlets.’”

His interest in this field goes beyond spreading his appreciation for the outdoors, however. “I’ll be teaching someone a skill—like rappelling—something that’s easy for me, but scary for them. It’s just amazing for me when I can finally help them through that, so that they, too, can have these powerful experiences.” Zach is specifically interested in working for Outward Bound, a non-profit educational wilderness organization.

Ultimately, Zach would also like to make it to Norway one day to check out its leading edge “ceramic scene” and to discover the beauty of the country from which his family originates.

By Nicole Ainsworth '09

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