Josh Arnold is a uniquely determined, entrepreneurial young man with a steadfast passion for sustainable community building. Right in his backyard in Silver Lake, NH – that’s where Josh first developed a love for nature, for community, and outdoor creativity. Everyday as a boy was filled with adventures in the pine grove, balancing acts on the railroad tracks, acrobats off the rope swing, or escapes down by the beaver pond.After college where he studied “Global Sustainability”, Josh spent several years trying on various “hats” – recycling manager at some of the largest music festivals in the United States, youth delegate for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and various town committee roles related to energy conservation, agriculture, and historic preservation.
In 2006 he founded Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.) with the support from a wide network if friends, family, and colleagues. Josh currently resides in former Ossipee Mt. Grange Hall, more widely known as “Three Pork Hill”. Together, he and his wife Molly Messenger are revitalizing the space into a local foods coop, venue for arts, education, and advocacy, and green-job incubator.
Josh is a Youth Action Net Fellow, Whole Communities Fellow, Graduate of the Marlboro College Nonprofit Management Certificate Program, Granite State College Nonprofit Boot Camp, Advisory Board Member of the Graduation Pledge, Member of the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund (NEGEF) Grant-Making Committee, Certified in Permaculture Design, Carsey Fellow through NH Listens, Leadership NH class of 2017 alum, and a Commissioner for the Ossipee Corner Fire Dept.
Cheryl Walenty – Bookkeeper Accountant Extraordinaire
Cheryl grew up in Salisbury, MA on a 30 acre “hobby” farm. Her dad was an engineer and owned his own business in Newburyport and mom was a stay-at-home mom. Cheryl thanks her mother for her love of nature, digging in the dirt and growing things and her father for working so hard to give their family such an opportunity to grow up the way they did. Cheryl has two children, her son Matthew who is 27 and daughter Dallas who is 18. She has been a single mother for most of their lives, and now is a grandmother or “Babcia” (the polish term for grandmother) of three! Cheryl earned her Associates Degree as a Paralegal “too many years ago to remember” and her BS in Accounting & Finance is a work in progress. Cheryl has been working in Finance/Accounting/Project Management for the past 27 years for both non-profits and for profit organizations and runs her own business as well. When Cheryl is not working she enjoys reading, taking photographs, music (live and otherwise), being out on the water in her kayak, working in the garden and spending time with friends and family. Cheryl is excited to join the small team of G.A.L.A. staff!
Board of Directors
Ivette Babylon, Treasurer
Since moving to Wolfeboro 10 years ago with her husband, Mike, Ivette has been working and volunteering with organizations such as Assistance Canine Training Services, the Lakes Region Humane Society and the Women’s Business Enterprise Counsel in Boston. Ivette has a BS degree from the University of Florida and a Masters in Professional Accounting from The University of Texas and has her own consulting business offering financial consulting services. With 30 years of work experience in finance and accounting, Ivette recently joined the GALA board as its Treasurer.
Ivette enjoys gardening and has practiced sustainable living in her own household for over 20 years, composting food waste, collecting rainwater and conserving energy. Ivette is committed to helping develop educational programs and activities that generate community involvement and excitement over simple and sustainable living. When not working, Ivette can be found in her garden, sailing, horseback riding, cycling or with her dogs, Misty, DeeDee and Camden (currently in training as a service dog).
Martha and her husband and moved to the Lakes region in the summer of 1996. They first lived in Ossipee, before joining the Brewster Academy community. They explored the northern outdoors: canoed in the Smith River Canoe Race, learned to snowshoe, bought 4 wheel drive vehicles, enjoyed all the beauty of the woods – we’ve seen bear, deer, moose, bobcats and even coyotes!
We were married in 1997, joined a church and relocated to Wolfeboro where we love living in the woods on North Line Road. They have raised their 2 children: Michael (19) and Carolyn (16) there and share their home with our 3 dogs Coby, Zoe, and Brownie.
Martha works as a Realtor with The Dow Group of Keller Williams Lakes and Mountains in Wolfeboro and shares her love of the lakes region and knowledge of the local towns and communities with people settling in the NH lakes region. She has been involved with The Wolfeboro Children’s Center, The Nick – WARA and joined the Board at G.A.L.A. in 2016.
Shawn Papp grew up in Virginia and graduated from Virginia Tech in 1996 with a B.S. degree in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences. Even upon entering college, Shawn was skeptical about the sustainability and safety of the chemicals used in his field of interest. Shawn remembers sitting in an environmental science class being told that using pesticides was the only way to feed the world’s population and that contradicting information could be dismissed because people generally didn’t understand the science behind the breakdown of the chemicals into non-harmful forms. Shawn kept a critical lens as he studied everything from plant pathology to soils and environmental science. Upon graduation, Shawn came out into the world with a clear understanding of how to meet the demands of an ever increasing food supply and how to manage and maintain hundreds of acres of bug and weed-free, pristine turf.
Shawn quickly put this knowledge to use as a Golf Course Superintendent. In this position, Shawn witnessed first-hand that Mother Nature could be manipulated very easily with the proper chemical or fertilizer. “Success” was achieved.
After relocating to New Hampshire, Shawn married and had a beautiful daughter named Olivia. At this point, Shawn began a new career in landscaping and continued with chemical use. After building a house and having a lawn of his own, doubt about the safety of these pesticides began creeping into his mind once again. Shawn credits Olivia as the driving force behind this reevaluation of his landscaping practices. Starting his own organic landscaping company, Natural Landscapes and Lawncare, Shawn has disproved the myth that you need to use chemicals to have a nice lawn. Today, Shawn has more peace of mind than ever before by knowing that his daughter is not being exposed to pesticides used unnecessarily for vanity.
Jeannie Clark, Secretary
Jeannie grew up in Henniker, NH (the only one on earth!) and believes in being outside, playfulness, and that community is about taking care of each other. She attended Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH where she explored her love of the environment, the written word, and traveling. She accomplished her dream of visiting East Africa during her senior year, where she studied wildlife and community management for a semester in Tanzania and Kenya. She graduated with her BS in Environmental Science and a thirst to make the world around her a better place.
After graduating, Jeannie worked on farms, did odd jobs, gardened, and enjoyed the lakes and mountains of her beloved home state. The urge to travel again brought her to San Diego, where she interned with a social justice nonprofit. Jeannie traveled throughout the western states presenting educational programs to middle and high schools, places of worship, and colleges and universities. It was a wild ride, and taught her the importance of standing up for what you believe in. After some rest and reflection (and more farm work), Jeannie ventured out west again with the intention of exploring national parks and planting herself wherever she landed. After several months of calling a tent home, sharing trails with new friends, and gaining a true sense of America, Jeannie landed in Central Oregon. Planting herself in Bend, Jeannie spent her time working for outdoor gear companies, volunteering with environmental groups, and enjoying constant adventures to hot springs, rocky coastal cliffs, crater lakes, and other lava rock explorations. She found a community of friends and roommates that she still considers family to this day.
Jeannie found herself being called home to NH about a year later when she found an AmeriCorps opportunity in Wolfeboro to work with youth and outdoor leadership programming. Wolfeboro has since become home, and Jeannie now spends her time slinging coffee and crepes at Seven Suns, volunteering in the community, and serving as Secretary for the G.A.L.A. Board of Directors. Jeannie believes if she were a bird she would be a duck or a wood thrush and is happiest at home with friends and family tucking into good food. She recently married her favorite person and daydreams of running a permaculture homestead with gardens and chickens.
Matt Trahan, President
Matt grew up all over New Hampshire but always found himself coming
back to Ossipee.
Always in search of a new experience, Matt was never really satisfied with College. He went from a Sports Management degree to Finance and Economics and eventually just gave up and did his own thing. In 2009 he co-founded Sap House Meadery along with his cousin. Together they make and sell meads, or honey wines, in Center Ossipee with locally sourced ingredients and a lot of fun. While it started as an extreme hobby, it has evolved into a bustling and growing business. Being from Ossipee, their over-arching goal of the business is to be a catalyst to attract more businesses and growth in their hometown. Their products are available in seven states and folks come from far and wide to tour the Meadery and enjoy a tasting.
While always cognizant of the importance of buying local and fostering your community, it was not until Matt started Sap House that he was able to feel the tangible effects of those philosophies. Working directly with farmers, other local businesses and the local government presented many opportunities and challenges. Those opportunities and challenges are what have drawn Matt to G.A.L.A. as they work to discover and apply creative means to make the world a better and more sustainable place. Matt is also on the Board of the North Conway Farmer’s Market and the Ossipee Budget Committee. (He’s crazy.)
Molly Messenger, Vice President
Molly is a community organizer, facilitator and youth worker with a passion for social justice and sustainability. She has a deep commitment to creating inclusive spaces for everyone’s unique skills and perspectives to lend in the creative process of public engagement and action towards a more just, fair and sustainable community.
Molly graduated from University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in Anthropology & International Affairs. During college, she spent a semester with School of International Training in Kenya, and lived a year thereafter in a rural village of northern Tanzania where she worked to establish the Imbaseni Free Library Community Center and became fluent in Swahili.
After graduating, Molly managed an ethnographic studying looking at refugee well being in NH, during which she re-established a refugee and immigrant advocacy group focusing on naturalization and family reunification. This led her to working as Youth Organizer with American Friends Service Committee- NH, and counseling youth with Appalachian Mt. Teen Project thereafter under the direction of Dr. Donna San Anotonio, who sits on the GALA board of advisory!
In 2012, after an incredible adventure cycling down the west coast, Molly returned to Ossipee and joined her partner Josh in the revitalization efforts of the former Ossipee Mt. Grange Hall into a community center for arts, education & advocacy. Currently Molly is a Community Outreach Coordinator with Pittsfield Listens and a Facilitator with NH Listens. We are grateful to have Molly’s energy and experience in non-profit development as chair of the G.A.L.A Development Committee.
Amy Gullicksen, Facilitator
Amy has lived life and farmed sustainably and with intention in both Maine and New Hampshire for 20+ years.
Volunteerism and building community have been a huge part of daily life, whether it be at her kid’s small school, with Ossipee Towns for Sustainability, through G.A.L.A., at herbal symposiums, solar festivals, music festivals or local children’s theater company productions.
Growing and preparing local foods has been a passion since she spent time in her grandparent’s gardens, orchards and kitchens, as a kid. It continues to excite her as Permaculture and other sustainable methods make it possible to grow more and more diverse foods in the northeast.
Download the New G.A.L.A. Board Member Referral Form.
Volunteer Committee Members
With roots in Buffalo, NY and Berkeley, CA, Susan is a city girl who found her grounding in the granite mountains, mixed forests and sparkling waters of NH where her family spent a month each summer at the family camp on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee during her formative years. It was here that she gained intimate experience with the environment with lots of camping, hiking and swimming.
As a teenager Susan lived in the turmoil of the 60’s in progressive Berkeley, CA. She learned about social justice and community development from her parents’ activities in the civil rights and anti war movements. She remembers the first Earth Day and passage of the Clean Air and Water Acts. She believes GALA opens up the possibilities for individuals, by working together, to take action on behalf of the Earth and her future generations.
Susan has a BS degree in Exercise Physiology from California State University at Sacramento. After moving full time to NH in 1986, she earned an MEd in Environmental Education from Plymouth State College (now University). With a varied career trajectory she self identifies as an educator, having plied her trade in a health enhancement center, the Squam Lake Natural Science Center, churches, schools, a start up YMCA, and most recently at the Wolfeboro Public Library.
She also sits on the Wolfeboro Energy Committee, the Kingswood Theater Boosters and is active at All Saints’ Church, Wolfeboro. She has two grown sons and recently downsized from her family home to a one bedroom apartment in downtown Wolfeboro.
Jessica Ramsay doesn’t like to write bios. Thank you, Josh, for not posting a truffle shuffle photo as punishment. It is especially difficult when surrounded by such incredible and inspiring people.
It is very trendy, this idea of coming back to our community: buying locally grown/harvested, organic foods and products. Good! It should be more than that! Let’s move beyond the trend and ingrain this mindset into everything that we do. Our computers are made in China with parts that are mined in Africa. The coffee we drink while reading the news (or scrolling on Facebook), likely came from another hemisphere. Whether we think about it or not, this world is interconnected and interdependent. Community building is about making connections of a personal level.
It’s easy to become isolated in our global world when we can go to the grocery store and buy anything we need at that moment without regard for how much it cost the world to get it to us (here and now at half off the regular price for the next 2 days). People forget that they need each other to thrive. As a teacher, musician, and businesswoman (artist, dork, etc.), Jessica is connected to a wide range of community members. It’s wonderful to see how G.A.L.A.’s work brings these groups together.
Our world connections are impossible to ignore and important to understand. What G.A.L.A. does in our community can bring those connections to our attention: teach us to remember and relearn how to work together locally and nurture a food source, energy source, social support network to sustain our community for generations.
Now the other facts:
Jessica works at an elementary school and loves being surrounded by kindergartners all day. She never thought she would like this until she signed up and that was 4 years ago. Anyway, this is fact number one. Fact number two: She sings in the Carolyn Ramsay Band. She loves it. She loves the friends that she’s made through music and it makes her so happy to see people having fun and enjoying the music as much as she does.
A few more facts: She manages Stay Tuned: a humble and exciting little boutique in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Stay Tuned prides itself on offering clothing, jewelry and other gift items that have been purchased through fair trade practices. The owners travel to Bali, Thailand, and India to buy from the local people, many of whom they have been working with for 25 years. While the store does not provide exclusively fair trade merchandise, we are working to increase its percentage. Plug alert: We have some great new organic cotton lines for women and men that are manufactured in upstate New York and Pennsylvania. We also carry Global Awareness, Local Action T-shirts. All the dollars go to G.A.L.A..
A native of New Hampshire, Morgen was raised in Wakefield on the Salmon Falls river. A love for things that grow began at a very young age, gardening with her mother and playing down at the waters edge alongside the looming Joe-pie Weed and fiery cardinal flower. An interest in sustainable practices was also sparked at an early age. Composting, preserving food and conserving water and heat were woven into everyday. With roots in small town New England Morgen has a strong belief that community plays an important role in her life. She is drawn to coffee shops where people from all walks of life intersect, gather, discuss, hang posters, chat aimlessly, laugh and learn new things. Morgen works at the Tamworth Lyceum in downtown Tamworth. She loves puppies and kittens and long walks in the woods!
Michael Haeger, Program Committee
Although carpentry has been a consistent vocation, he has also worked for the Governor Wentworth school system as a classroom aid. He has worked with Boy Scouts and continues to share his interest in early American culture with upper elementary grades. Michael and Karen, and their son Brendon, became most active with G.A.L.A. during the recent Earth Week celebration. They are also currently enrolled in the study circle titled, “Menu for the Future”, where they participate in a weekly dialog about sustainable food systems.
Jessica moved to Ossipee after graduating from Unity College in Maine where she studied Environmental Education. Soon, Jess accepted a position at a local pre-school where she kick-started an organic gardening program, and spent two years digging in dirt, taking children on nature walks, sharing her passion for plants and insects and the like, knowing full well she was planting seeds for the future. She lives and works on her family owned trout hatchery, Sumner Brook Fish Farm on Rt. 16 in Ossipee, with her husband Jesse Prunier. Jessica’s passion for local healing herbs and herbal medicine led her to open Sumner Brook Herbals. She practices from her shop located at the fish farm, and delights in sharing local healing herbs with her community. Jessica has been an avid G.A.L.A. volunteer for the last 3 years helping with everything from contra dances, to solar raisers, seed swaps, clothing swaps, Farm to Table Feast, First Night Fundraiser, and more. Jess is excited to help G.A.L.A. with strategic planning, governance, and financial stewardship of the organization.
Willie is also an entrepreneur. He is currently developing a business plan for his own juice company! And as Willie always says, “Think Snow!”
Jessamy is excited to work with G.A.L.A. in making her hometown a more sustainable place to live.