Kris Ramsey '08
B.S., Environmental Studies Administrator of Orleans Conservation Trust, Orleans, Mass.
Recipient of a Sawyer Fellowship Award and the Environmental Studies Baccalaureate Award for demonstrating the highest degree of dedication and excellence in his field of study
I took honors classes at my Maine high school, but for a long time I had no desire to go to college. A friend went to Colby-Sawyer, though, and invited me to visit. It was beautiful, and I like small communities where you know a lot of people, so I applied.
I'm the administrator of the Orleans Conservation Trust, a nonprofit whose goal is to preserve open space. I'm the only full-time employee, but my work is overseen by a board of trustees. I write grants; raise funds; create land management plans; negotiate land acquisitions; work with local, state and federal agencies; clear trails, manage volunteers and steward the land. I'm proud of how our educational programs have grown and that our membership has doubled since I started.
I am always interacting with the public, and having a liberal arts education has been a real benefit. I used to question some of the required classes; at the time you can't envision how they might help, but in the end, you can communicate with people who have a wide variety of interests. Every day I use business skills, history, politics, economics, science, communications, even law. You have to be versatile.
With regard to the major, the third-year project is the heart of the program. My class conducted a year-long, community-based research project to develop a plan to green Colby-Sawyer. The work continues to influence the future of the college. All the pieces of my education have come together: My Capstone project was to develop a land management plan and now I often craft land management plans for properties that OCT intends to acquire.
I had some stand-out professors at Colby-Sawyer, like Professor Laura Alexander, who was also my advisor. She could see what would be best for me professionally. I remember complaining, Why do we have to do this GIS mapping course, I'm never going to use this. Well, guess whatI use it every day.
Looking back, the only thing I would have done differently is study abroad for at least a semester. I wish I'd done that. Make sure you do.