Contact Standing Trees

General inquiries:

Press inquiries or to reach Standing Trees Executive Director, Zack Porter:; (802) 552-0160

Facebook: @standingtrees  |  Twitter: @standingtrees_  |  Instagram: @standing_trees


Zack Porter, Executive Director

Zack Porter is a co-founder of Standing Trees and a passionate wild forests advocate who has dedicated his professional life to making North America a wilder place. Born and raised in New England, Zack's career in public land management and wilderness advocacy began with the US Forest Service in 2004 in the North Cascades. A graduate of the University of Montana, Zack worked for a decade, between 2008 and 2018, to protect wild rivers, mountains, and prairies in the Northern Rockies with Montana Wilderness Association (now Wild Montana) and All Against The Haul. Among Zack's proudest accomplishments was working with indigenous communities in the US and Canada to successfully block ExxonMobil from expanding Tar Sands strip mining operations in northern Alberta.


Returning to New England with his family in 2018, Zack spent three years working for Northeast Wilderness Trust and Conservation Law Foundation. Today, Zack is grateful for the opportunity to take Standing Trees to the next level as its first staff person. When not working to protect wild places, Zack can be found exploring them with his family.

Mark Nelson, Board President

Mark is a retired financial services executive who retired early to commit his time and energy to conservation, environmental, and social work. Mark works to raise awareness of the importance of letting our forests recover and become old, and to be the voice for those that have no say in decisions that have an impact on them – the wildlands and wildlife. Since retiring, Mark has dedicated much of his time to protection of Vermont forests and waters. He was Chair for the Vermont Sierra Club Executive Committee from 2014 to 2018. He is a founding member of Standing Trees Vermont and a member of Wild Forests Vermont. Mark is also Chair for the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions and the Ripton Conservation Commission, and is an Advanced EMT, Wilderness EMT and firefighter with Ripton Fire & Rescue, and Middlebury Regional EMS.

Rachel Smolker, Board Member

Rachel Smolker is codirector of Biofuelwatch where she works internationally to raise awareness and campaign on the impacts of large scale bioenergy on climate, the environment and human rights.  Her work has spanned from local grassroots organizing to participation in the United Nations conventions on climate and biodiversity. She is on the steering committee of the Campaign to Stop GE Trees, is a member (former board member) of the Global Forest Coalition, has served as a reviewer for the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and has engaged in various campaigns more locally in Vermont. Rachel has a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Michigan, and worked for many years as a field biologist prior to joining Biofuelwatch. She is author of numerous peer reviewed and popular articles, reports, and a book (To Touch A Wild Dolphin). Rachel lives in Hinesburg, Vermont.

Geoffrey Gardner, Board Member

Geoffrey Gardner is a writer and has also been a lifelong tenants’ rights, climate and environmental activist in Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Vermont. His poems, translations of poetry and essays have been published widely. Until retiring, he was a member of the English Department faculty at Tufts University from 1984-2014. He lives in Bradford, VT.

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"The English word 'lumber' has its roots in the pawnbrokers of Lombardy, Italy and once referred to stored and 'discarded household articles, furniture...' How did our ancient forests devolve, even in our language, from living elders to discarded lumber? How did Standing People lose their silent, soaring authority to fit our definition of a verb that means 'to move heavily and noisily?'"
- Brenda Peterson, "Nature and Other Mothers"