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A Word From Kristen McEnroe, VNRC’s Legal & Policy Intern

Hi folks! My name is Kristen McEnroe, and I am very excited to be working with VNRC this summer as a Legal and Policy Intern. I graduated from the University of Delaware in 2019 with a degree in Philosophy and minors in Energy and Environmental Policy and Environmental Humanities. After graduating, I took a few months off in preparation to apply to law school, obviously unaware that the COVID-19 pandemic would wreak havoc on everyone’s plans. After finally taking the LSAT, I traveled back to Newark, Delaware to continue working as a barista at Little Goat Coffee Roasting Company. During the height of the pandemic, spending time outdoors was what kept me from going stir crazy. Whether it was walking around my neighborhood, going on solo hikes, or bouldering in nearby state parks, I developed an even greater appreciation for nature as the rest of the world was in total flux.

I began my studies at Harvard Law School in Fall 2021. I knew going into law school that I wanted to apply my legal skills to protect and improve the environment. Recognizing that pursuing environmental law and advocacy was one of the most direct ways to speak up for the voiceless natural world, I sought out VNRC as a summer internship. As I researched VNRC, it became evident that the staff was not simply full of knowledge and passion. Rather, I was drawn to the staff’s clear commitment to action. I grew excited about the prospect of working with a team who excels in every corner of nonprofit environmental work from litigation to public outreach to policy advocacy.

Since starting at VNRC, I have had the privilege of working alongside Jon Groveman (Policy and Water Program Director) and Jamey Fidel (General Counsel and Forest & Wildlife Program Director). So far, I have conducted legal research on Vermont’s existing combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and sat in on public meetings regarding Forest Service timber sales in the Green Mountain National Forest. Using the legal skills I have developed to analyze and help mitigate the environmental degradation that we can see with our own eyes has been more than an enriching experience. Working with VNRC has already transformed my familiarity with seemingly abstract legal principles and rules into hands-on, meaningful engagement with critical issues like water pollution, forest management, and climate change. I am looking forward to spending the rest of the summer alongside the VNRC team, learning how to be the best environmental advocate possible in the process.

—Kristen McEnroe