HEROS! / Our friends at The Great Mountain Forest

The Muddy Chef Challenge could not have happened without the fantastic support of our friends at The Great Mountain Forest.  To learn more about this fantastic organization click HERE.  To make a donation, click HERE.


Jody Bronson

Joel E. Bronson


Joel (Jody) Bronson, a fourth generation land manager and forester, began working at Great Mountain Forest as a seasonal student forester in 1976 after attending Unity College’s Forest Technician program. He transferred to Keene State College as an environmental science and geography major and continued his seasonal employment at GMF. In 1978, he began his forestry career under the guidance of then forest manager Darrell F. Russ and in 1990, became forest manager upon Darrell’s retirement.

Jody oversees all phases of forestry operations including timber harvesting, wildlife habitat improvement, road building and maintenance, assisting researchers, and supervising student forestry interns, to name a few. Jody also manages the forest deer population through periodic census and oversees an annual deer hunting program. He is a member of The Society of American Foresters, Connecticut Forest and Park Association and is a Connecticut licensed forester. He is also a professional member of The Forest Guild. In 2002, he was the recipient of the Austin Cary Practicing Professional Award given by the New England Society of American Foresters. This award recognizes NESAF members who have shown exceptional achievement as practicing forest managers.

Jody and his wife Jean, GMF’s business manager and program coordinator, live in Falls Village, CT and have two daughters, Emily and Rachel. Jody’s email: jody@greatmountainforest.org

Russell Russ

Russell M. Russ


Russell Russ, a 1987 graduate of SUNY ESF with a bachelor’s degree in forest resources management, began his employment at Great Mountain Forest as a student forester working on the “summer crew”. After positions with the Connecticut Division of Forestry and in the landscape and building construction industries, he joined the staff of Great Mountain Forest in 2001. He holds the position of forester/weatherman and is responsible for recording and monitoring daily weather activities for GMF and the National Weather Service – a position formerly held by his father, forest manager Darrell Russ.

Assisting forest researchers, helping with on-site seminars, mapping and boundary work and timber harvests are just a few of Russell’s daily duties. He is a Connecticut licensed forester and has been a continual member of the Society of American Foresters since 1987. He has been active working with the Exotic Conifer Cooperative and as a Cooperative Weather Observer with the National Weather Service.

Russell grew up in Norfolk and now he and his wife Kim live in Colebrook, CT with their two children, Taryn and Jack. Russell’s email address is russell@greatmountainforest.org

Jean Bronson

Jean Bronson


Jean Bronson, a graduate of Northwestern Connecticut Community College, first worked atGMF beginning in 1984 as a cook in the Yale Forestry Camp kitchen. Through this work, she got to know many of the people who have been involved with the forest over the years.
As Business Manager, Jean handles the GMFfinances, including accounts payable and receivable, the budget and donations. She also serves as Development Director for the corporation.
As Program Coordinator, Jean develops educational programs and workshops for adults and children, recruits teachers and assists in program implementation. She also coordinates special events, receptions and field tours and manages our lecture series with local libraries. Jean maintains our website, writes our e-news and manages our Flickr photo archive. She still occasionally cooks at Yale Camp for a few of her favorite groups.

You’ll often see Jean on GMF’s cross country ski trails or walking her dog Nanook through the woods. She is married to forest manager Jody Bronson and they have 2 daughters, Emily and Rachel. Jean’s email address is jean@greatmountainforest.org.

Wesley Gomez

Wesley “Wes” Gomez


Wes graduated from Salisbury School, then went on to Paul Smith’s college in New York and graduated in 2013. He worked as a GMF forestry intern summers during college, and now has joined the GMF staff. His duties include timber inventory and marking, forest products, and road and equipment maintenance. His knowledge of silviculture and his mechanical ability make Wes a well rounded Forest Technician. He lives in North Canaan on thirty acres of woodland that have been in his family for many generations. Wes loves the woods and anything mechanical.


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