Wendy and Hans
Wendy grew up in a small, rural town northwest of Boston, spending much of her free time exploring the fields and woods behind her house and camping and hiking with her family. Her dad was an avid hiker and skier who inspired her love of the outdoors. She went to college on Long Island to study marine biology, including five weeks of travel study in Mexico. After her first year in college she took time off and became a gourmet cook and professional chef and worked at several well-known restaurants in the Boston area and Nantucket. Yet after working as a caterer and chef she realized she didn't want this to be a her career and turned to her other love—the environment—and discovered the Audubon Expedition Institute (AEI): an experience-based travel-study program. She enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities from biking, hiking, sailing, and kayaking to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as writing poetry, dancing, knitting, gardening, and of course cooking! She also has a background in medicinal herbology and attended the California School of Herbal Studies.
Hans grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. Inspired by a father who enjoyed orienteering and skiing while growing up in his native Sweden, Hans spent considerable time backpacking, skiing, and stargazing in the Sierras, which he considered his second home. He earned his commercial pilot’s license in California until a health problem arose that prevented him from flying. He, too, discovered AEI, which is where he first met Wendy. Hans is an avid walker, hiker, and skier, and likes making things with his hands, especially small woodworking projects and pottery.
As students at AEI they lived outdoors, traveling the US and Canada, studying, living, and learning from a community of students and faculty, as well as from the Earth and its inhabitants—both human and non-human. This was where their interest, love, and passion for community living was kindled. Another love is their corgie, Una, who loves kids and being social with everyone, as well as swimming and fetching sticks thrown for her—although her favorite activity is playing keep away with whatever is tossed!
After they graduated from AEI, Wendy and Hans settled in Northern California. They first lived and worked along a major fault line in the Northern coastal redwoods as camp counselors and farm managers at Plantation Farm Camp, tending a large vegetable garden and an assortment of farm animals: sheep, dairy cows, pigs, chickens, goats, horses, and rabbits. Wendy then managed several natural foods stores, worked on an organic farm, and with a wholesale medicinal and culinary herb supply company. Hans worked at a sustainable farm supply company, designing drip irrigation systems and selling a few wood stoves as well. After ten years on the West Coast, they decided to move back east to be closer to Wendy’s family and settled near Belfast, Maine. There Wendy worked for AEI for more than twelve years as office manager, expedition coordinator, and development director. Hans worked for AEI as an office assistant and equipment coordinator, and as an educational technician at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, where he got the Garden Project “up ‘n growing.” After that, he did sales at the environmentally focused Green Store. Wendy continues to work in nonprofit administration, currently for the Restorative Justice Project of the Midcoast.
They appreciate being able to once again live in community with others who share a passion for living a more ecologically sustainable lifestyle, being able to grow a big garden, putting food by, keeping farm animals, and tending an orchard with others in the community. Wendy especially loves cooking for a crowd and is looking forward to making and sharing many delicious meals in the Common House.