Jessica Crandell


Jessica Crandell

Applying for the James W. Dow internship was one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. There is no better way to spend my summer. Not only are the staff incredible people, but they are all devoted to their work and the mission of the Blue Hill Heritage Trust (BHHT). I aspire to work at a Land Trust that is as well organized and collaborative as this one.

Walking into the office on the first day, I was greeted with an overwhelming wave of welcome. Immediately I knew I was going to love working at the trust. When Merrin arrived a week later, I realized that they had hired someone with a skill set that complimented my own. Between the two of us, there has been some experience for all the projects we have done. This has made my time here so much more enjoyable.

This summer I gained experience with the BHHT that was both hands-on in the field and back at the office. Every day there was a different challenge to tackle. Throughout the weeks, Merrin and I got to work on various projects, learning valuable lessons from all the staff members. Out in the field, we worked with Sandy and George to make forest inventory plots, collect wetland inventory, operate a sawmill, create a new trail, and build implements for trail access. The equally important work behind the scenes at the office involved Chrissy and Beth, and included organizing farmers market merchandise, creating graphics for events, organizing community events, and event outreach. We truly got a taste of everything within the organization.

As the executive director, Hans showed me how to be patient and understand all aspects of conservation, including how it impacts indigenous people. His input on office conversations always taught me a valuable lesson. I could not picture a better person to lead this organization, and the same goes for every staff member. They are all well adept and suited to their job. No matter what conflict they faced, there was a way to solve it quickly and easily.


  • Sawmill
  • Farmers markets
  • Forest inventory plots
  • Wetland inventory
  • Trail creation
  • Graphics for events
  • PR
  • Nature Exploration Kits
  • maintenance

Lessons Learned:

  • Never underestimate beavers
  • When someone says, “Look at that!” chances are what they are looking at is not in the sky
  • Don’t be afraid to take the trail less traveled
  • Stop and pick the blueberries, raspberries, black berries, huckleberries, golden chanterelles, and black trumpets
  • Never be afraid to ask questions
  • Build positive relationships with community members, you never know who could lend you a helping hand

Read Jessica & Merrin’s Intern E-Newsletter & watch their Intern Video.

Jessica was one of two 2021 James W. Dow Interns along with Merrin. Originally from Virginia, Jessica is currently in her third year at Slippery Rock University double majoring in Geography with a concentration in Environmental Studies and Sustainability, and Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management. Jessica was funded through BHHT operations thanks to the generosity of our donors.