CHARLESTON, VT— Lyndon State College (LSC) business students are stepping out of their classroom into the great outdoors to consult with NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston.
Professor Mark Hilton’s students have developed a marketing strategy to help guide NorthWoods toward its 25th anniversary in 2014.
This real world experience for the Lyndon State students is a legacy of former College President Dr. Carol A. Moore. Moore was elected to the NorthWoods Board of Directors last year and facilitated a connection between NorthWoods and LSC’s business program.
Hands-on education is also central to the NorthWoods mission, making the partnership a perfect fit. Each year, NorthWoods offers summer jobs and training to more than 80 young people through its AmeriCorps, seasonal internship, and Conservation Corps opportunities, many of whom have gone on to establish conservation careers throughout New England.
“Many young people have gotten their start at NorthWoods,” says Operations Director Jayson Benoit. “As we approach 25 years of service, we’re very pleased to have a talented group of young business students helping us think about the next 25 years.”
After meeting with Mr. Benoit earlier in the semester, the business students set to work on a plan to guide NorthWoods on a growth course.
Toward this goal, students Shane Fleury and Patrick Hilton developed a public relations strategy with a strong social media component; Shawn Lonardelli, Dustin Ameden, and Amber Kreis outlined an ambitious five-year fundraising campaign; and Chelsea Smith and Elizabeth Marshall identified state-of-the-art software to track organization contacts and supporters.
The students presented their plan at a recent meeting of the NorthWoods Board of Directors, fielding questions and explaining their recommendations. Dr. Moore thanked her fellow board members for “giving students to the opportunity to sink their teeth into real world challenges.”
“As a small nonprofit, most of our resources are directed toward our programs,” concluded Benoit. “Marketing and PR can seem like luxuries, but if done strategically they help tremendously in connecting NorthWoods with the people who can benefit most from our programs. The students have done a great job in helping us to identify the best ways to accomplish this cost effectively."
A leader in education and conservation, NorthWoods Stewardship Center offers something for everyone who enjoys and values the outdoors. NorthWoods’ main facility, located off Ten Mile Square Road in East Charleston, is open to the public year-around. Visit www.northwoodscenter.org  to learn more about upcoming programs and events, including camps and school programs, paddling and hiking adventures, and landowner site visits by staff ecologist and foresters.