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Farewell, Matt!

We will be saying goodbye to Matt Smetana, CCCD’s Community Engagement Coordinator, as he embarks on a new adventure. Matt will be stepping away from his role with the district to explore the vast public lands and ecosystems throughout South America and in the United States.


Both in and out of the office, Matt is known for his warmth, positivity, and dedication to our community. On Matt, CCCD’s Vice Board Chair Amy Bodwell shared, “One of the things that I enjoy about Matt is his smile and warmth. When he’s around, he always seems engaged and welcoming. I have watched him interact with all types of people, and they respond so well to him. His experience with NRCS has helped our Conservation Opportunity grant recipients as they create landscape improvements. I’ll miss him and wish him well on his next journey”.



Matt Presents at CCCD's Annual Celebration


Matt’s expertise was invaluable in assisting landowners and grant recipients in Cheshire County. 


Matt first arrived in the Monadnock Region through a position with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Prior to this role, he also worked in the environmental education field. His combination of experiences as a conservation planner and environmental educator, as well as his love for the community, brought new energy to CCCD programming and community engagement strategies. 



2024 Birding on the Farm Workshop


Matt’s love of community is clear to all who work with and collaborate with him. On his dedication to the community, Libby McCann, Core Faculty and Director of Environmental Education at Antioch University New England shared, “Matt is an utter delight to work and learn alongside. I'll miss his good energy, humor, follow-through, and depth of community-mindedness”.


In Matt’s time with the district, he took on a leadership role in Monadnock Outdoors, a regional partnership of community leaders representing municipalities, schools, businesses, nonprofits, coalitions, faith, and civic groups. 


The mission of Monadnock Outdoors is to foster connections to nature and improve community well-being through education and the promotion of active living through physical activity, active transportation, and recreation outdoors. This mission is close to Matt’s heart.


​Monadnock Outdoors proudly advances active living in the Monadnock Region and is made possible by Cheshire Medical Center's Healthy Monadnock Alliance.


Matt was pivotal in making the discussion of creating a Gear Library in our region a reality while ensuring that all partner voices were uplifted and supported. Terry Johnson, a member of Monadnock Outdoors and Senior Project Manager of the Southwest Region Planning Commission, shared, “I was honored to serve alongside Matt and to share our common interest to increase access to outdoor active recreation spaces and programs for children and people of all ages. His outstanding leadership and partner engagement skills helped to make Monadnock Outdoors one of the Healthy Monadnock Alliance’s most productive work groups. More importantly, his passion and commitment to the cause shined through each and every time I met with him one-on-one or as part of a group during Monadnock Outdoors meetings”.



Matt smiles with the participants and program partners at the 2023 Community Stroll Event


Matt’s dedication to collaboration, inclusivity, and engagement was echoed by members of Monadnock Outdoors. Magdalynn Gaul, Population Health Epidemiologist of Cheshire Medical Center’s Center for Population Health, shared, “Matt brings a considerate, curious, and compassionate heart to his interactions with fellow human beings. He makes you feel appreciated and included with his easy smile, and his thoughtful commentary and kind leadership style are a huge asset to our collective community work. Thank you, Matt!”



The first purchases for the Gear Library


In addition to facilitating meetings, workshops, and the creation of the Gear Library, Matt has been instrumental in guiding discussion for the future of Monadnock Outdoors through a collaborative Objective and Key Results process. Tammy Dwyer of Cheshire Medical Center shared, “Matt understands the power of creating and communicating a clear direction to engage community members and advance this important work”.


Matt’s passion for the wellbeing of the community and community opportunities for connection to nature is clear to all who work with him. Tricia Zahn, Senior Director of Population Health at Cheshire Medical Center’s Center for Population Health, shared, “Matt has been a pleasure to get to know and partner with to improve the health and wellbeing of the Monadnock Region. Matt is always ready to give something a try and approaches community work with authenticity and thoughtfulness. Matt is a great hugger and will be missed! Smooth travels and happy trails, Matt!”.


Talee Messenger, Marketing & Outreach Assistant at the Monadnock Food Co-Op shared, "Matt has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside with and see him lead various groups during his time with the Conservation District! He has brought such a positive, strong energy to the work, and met every person with kindness and patience. I wish him all the best on his next journey!".


CCCD is grateful for Matt’s dedication to our mission and his contributions to our community! We wish him the best on this exciting new adventure!


Benée Hershon will be stepping back into the role of CCCD Community Engagement Director. She can be contacted at benee@cheshireconservation.org or (802) 518-0993

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