About Susannah's Work

Susannah McCandless received her doctorate in human-environment geography and political ecology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2010, and works with the non-profit Global Diversity Foundation (www.global-diversity.org). Her dissertation research examined labor, power, and conservation in Vermont's working landscape. She investigated whether conservation land trusts provide residents with equitable access to conserved lands, and how landowners' and migrant farmworkers' decisions and work have maintained the iconic appearance of Vermont. Her analysis combined participatory techniques with interviews, surveys, and satellite data. Susannah's background is in conservation: she graduated with highest honors from Swarthmore College, where she studied plant ecology and biodiversity conservation, with minors in Latin American and Caribbean Francophone studies. After college, she pursued a Fulbright fellowship near Monteverde, Costa Rica, looking at biological and social aspects of sustainable development in the buffer zone of conserved lands. While working closely with several area NGOs, she became interested in the potential of privately-owned lands to contribute to both biodiversity and livelihood maintenance. Susannah has worked for and with a variety of non-profits, including Vermont Family Forests, the International Society of Ethnobiology, the Worcester Roots Project, and Quaker Earthcare Witness of the Americas (QEW). For 5 years she chaired the QEW subcommittee that works with their project partners at her Costa Rican research site, and returned to the Monteverde area to continue to support community development work there. While studying at Clark and living in Worcester, Susannah co-founded a grassroots residential brownfield phytoremediation and environmental toxics education effort. The Worcester Roots Project is entering its 12th successful growing season in the lead-infested soils of several neighborhood sites, and supports an award-winning youth cooperative, the Toxic Soilbusters, which engages in education, outreach, and remediation. Susannah has designed curriculum, taught and mentored in settings ranging from the college classroom to an international socio-environmental graduate course, the Global Environments Summer Academy, to the inaugural year of a Worcester urban youth environmental education and social change program. She presently resides with her husband on a 3-generation sheep farm in Vermont.