Hi, my name is Henry Freundlich. I grew up on Long Island, New York and developed a bond with nature through time spent on the water. Growing up fishing and exploring the natural areas in my neighborhood, I quickly realized that I had a thirst for being immersed in the outdoors. As I grew older, this drive matured into a passion for understanding the relationship that I had with the environment, which led me to pursue a degree in environmental studies at the University of Vermont.
Even though I knew UVM and environmental studies were the right fit for me, I did not know where they would take me. I found myself enrolling in courses that answered burning questions I had regarding the complex dynamic that exists between people and their surroundings. Additionally, I felt that it was necessary to challenge myself to seek out opportunities that took me beyond the classroom, to get into the field and understand the context through the eyes of those affected on the day to day. I was incredibly excited when I learned about WRFI and saw the array of programs they offered for students like myself, knowing that it would be an excellent opportunity.
I was fortune enough to be part of the 2018 Environmental Ethics Course. Having completed my degree this past May, nearly two years later, I still regard my WRFI experience as one the best decisions I have ever made during my undergraduate years. For one, getting to spend three weeks exploring the beautiful Montana landscape was nothing short of magical. Hiking, camping, fly fishing and driving through the countryside in our trusty van Dolly was just an unforgettable adventure. However, what sticks with me today was not so much what I saw but who it was I got to meet along the way. The course engaged us directly with people of Montana’s landscape that spoke deeply and passionately, in a way a textbook never could, about the places they called home, from farmers to indigenous peoples. Furthermore, it created an opportunity to connect with likeminded college students from across the country, some of whom I am happy to say I still am friendly with to this day.
I hold a lot of gratitude towards WRFI, the connections I have made thus far, and the places it has taken me. I would love to answer any questions about my experience and highly encourage everyone to engage in this tremendous field studies opportunity.