Sands Executive Director
Loomis Project Manager
Shar Program Coordinator
Catherine Sands is the founding director of Fertile Ground. She has over twenty years of experience working to connect people to environmental issues, to land, and to each other through community events, educational programs, and advocacy. Catherine holds a Master’s degree from the University of MA/Amherst Center for Public Policy and Administration, with a focus on food access and social justice. In 2008, she was awarded Outstanding Community Service and Engagement by UMass/Amherst.
Catherine consults to the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Collaborative and Nuestras Raices as an evaluator, developing participatory, community based research and evaluation strategies. Prior to Fertile Ground, Catherine spent ten years producing creative fundraising and educational events for Natural Resources Defense Council. Since then she has consulted on clean air, green and sustainable energy, environmental justice initiatives in the Northeast and California. An active member of the Northeast Farm to School Network, she has conducted regional trainings through the Local Hero Schools Network, Northeast Organic Farmer’s Association, Community Food Security Coalition, The Trustees of the Reservations Highland Communities Initiative, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Mass Farm to School Project.
~ ~ ~
Sally Loomis - Program Manager
As Program Manager, Sally Loomis coordinates Fertile Ground events such as community garden days and the Harvest Feast in Williamsburg and efforts to help food service staff in the Hampshire Regional School District use more fresh and local food in school meals. Sally is also leading an intergenerational gardening program in Williamsburg that connects elders to the school gardening program. Sally has more than fifteen years of experience in the environmental field. In addition to her work with Fertile Ground, Sally is Projects Manager for Valley Land Fund, a land trust serving Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin Counties in Massachusetts. For six years, she served as Deputy Director of the Environmental Leadership Program, a national leadership development organization working with emerging environmental leaders. Prior to that Sally was the Director of Green Communities for the Parks & People Foundation, a community-based nonprofit in Baltimore, MD. Sally has a Master's in Environmental Studies from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Anthropology from Yale University. She serves as the chair of the Open Space Committee in Williamsburg, MA.
~ ~ ~
Maggie Shar - Program Coordinator
Maggie Shar is the Program Coordinator for Fertile Ground. She holds a Master’s degree from Antioch University New England in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Education and Social Justice, and a B.A. from Hampshire College. She has worked as an environmental educator at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary since 2003 and as an outdoor guide for All Out Adventures in Easthampton, MA. Maggie has worked with Hope at the Treehouse Foundation and the CONNECTIONS after school program in Holyoke. She is an active member of the Northampton White Privilege Discussion group and has a passion for teaching about sustainability. She has conducted workshops through the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society, Northeast Organic Farmer’s Association, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Maggie has worked with Fertile Ground since 2005.
~ ~ ~