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Jess Barnes

Natural Resources Specialist

A Walpole native, Jess grew up in Cheshire County and attended undergraduate and graduate school there. For the better part of the last decade, Jess has spent her time learning, sharing knowledge with others, and serving in and out of country with the United States military. She joined the Walpole NRCS team in the fall of 2022 following a deployment to Eastern Europe. In her position with NRCS, Jess is responsible for connecting with interested producers and helping them achieve their goals with conservation in mind.

Earning a B.A. in environmental studies at Franklin Pierce University in 2019, Jess’ early studies focused on environmental justice and building resilient communities via sustainable living and conservation minded agriculture. Jess graduated again in 2020, this time from Antioch University New England with a M.S. in Environmental Studies. There, she focused on ecosystem ecology and how best to cultivate stewardship with folks of all ages through voluntary and informal education.

Jess’ passion for the environment is intrinsic. Jess shares “Since I was a kid, I have always been outside. I admired everything from plants to bugs and bears, and assisted my mom as she tended her gardens.” During her studies at Antioch University New England, Jess first became involved with community agriculture through the Community Garden Connections team. She worked as a co-garden manager in Westmoreland to produce fresh food for the Keene Community Kitchen. It is this experience that drove her to seek a career working with agricultural producers and forestland owners to increase stewardship of their lands. She concludes, “I am excited to connect with folks, to help foster stewardship of our working lands and overall build conservation and resiliency in our communities.”

Jess Barnes
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