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Matt Smetana

Community Engagement Coordinator

Raised among the cookie-cutter houses, strip malls and manicured parks of the Chicago suburbs, Matt spent his childhood exploring his backyard and state forests, climbing trees, flipping over rocks and catching bugs. His curiosity in the natural world brought him east to Brandeis University near Boston. His studies focused on ecology, the relationships between beings and their environment, to study marsupials in the rainforests of Australia, native pollinators in the arid Central Valley of California and forest succession at Harvard Forest.

After school, Matt moved to the Hudson Valley to begin a forest and conservation program for special education students and the public. He remarked “It was incredible to see the immediate transformation in my students as soon as they entered the forest. Their stress melted away and was replaced by curiosity and confidence. Our world continues to be the ultimate inspiration and therapy.” This experience fostered a love for engaging others in conservation, and he moved to Keene during the pandemic to work as a conservation planner and LGBTQ+ liaison for our local USDA-NRCS office. This role allowed him to connect with our communities and New England agriculture. “I fell for New Hampshire and am constantly reminded how fortunate I am to call this place home, surrounded by fantastic people, landscapes and opportunities.”

Matt currently lives in Swanzey with housemates and their adorable blue heeler pup. He spends most of his free time exploring the beauty of our region. You can find him digging in the dirt, hiking, running, rock climbing and kayaking. He is also an amateur potter at a studio over in Brattleboro and finds the medium to be a fantastic way of exploring himself and creating gifts for others.

Friendly, empathetic and outspoken, Matt is excited to serve as CCCD’s new Community Engagement Coordinator. He is responsible for building partnerships with people and organizations across our region. He also helps support folks through our diversity of programs, and communicate stories of the Conservation District to our community.

Matt Smetana
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