VINS Appoints Next Executive Director Alden Smith

Alden Smith

Quechee, VT  – The Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) Board of Trustees named Alden Smith the next Executive Director of the Quechee-based environmental education nonprofit.

Smith will serve as chief strategist, fundraiser, educational leader, and operational manager of the organization. 

“After a comprehensive search, we chose Alden Smith from a slate of strong candidates. We are delighted to welcome Alden as VINS’ new Executive Director and are confident that he will maintain the organization’s excellent reputation in the Upper Valley and beyond while also expanding our reach and impact,” said Jack Lee, Chair of the VINS Board of Trustees.

Smith will report to the Board of Trustees and will lead a staff that includes 24 full-time and 8 part-time, seasonal employees and volunteers.

From 2002 to 2022, Smith served as the Director of the Mountain School of Milton Academy, a semester school for high school juniors located on a farm in Vershire, Vermont. During his tenure there, Smith successfully stewarded and implemented several strategic plans, built an endowment, increased alumni engagement, and expanded the campus to 420 acres, turning it into a model of energy efficiency and outdoor education. 

A graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina and Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont, Smith taught high school English for five years at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut before moving in 1999 to Vermont. While managing the Mountain School for two decades, he continued to teach English and take students animal tracking and foraging in the woods. 

Smith succeeds current Executive Director Charles (Charlie) F. Rattigan, who assumed the role in 2014 and led VINS through a period of extraordinary growth, including the recent addition of the Forest Canopy Walk to the VINS Nature Center. 

Alden Smith commented, “Charlie Rattigan, Mary Graham, and their team have done an amazing job preserving what is special about VINS and moving the organization forward. Raptors are still central, but VINS has become much more: a refuge for intergenerational visitors, a thriving center of place-based education, and an inspiration for all who want cleaner rivers, more diverse forests, and healthier wildlife. The world needs the mission of VINS more than ever, and my hope is to build it into an even more impactful force for good.” Smith will begin his work with VINS on April 1, 2024.