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Rachel Holmes

Rachel Holmes is an urban forester working for Groundwork Bridgeport, a non-profit based in Bridgeport, Connecticut dedicated to improving the lives of residents through community-based landscape restoration.

At Groundwork Bridgeport, Holmes is developing and implementing a horticulture-based professional development program for underserved youth. She has returned to this work after serving as an urban forester for the State of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection where she co-developed a local wood products policy and promotional campaign, educated various forest stakeholders about invasive insects, and researched municipal wood utilization strategies after major weather events.

Rachel received her Bachelor of Science from Cook College, the agricultural school of Rutgers University, in her home state of New Jersey. She later attended Yale University where she concurrently earned a Master of Divinity and Master of Forestry, focusing specifically on community-based urban forestry and environmental ethics. At Yale, Rachel began designing sustainable floral arrangements in an effort to promote awareness about the hazards of the floral industry. An urban forester by day, Rachel is a Flamenco dancer by night. When necessary, she trades her ruffled skirt and castanets for Nomex and a combination tool to fight wildfires, both in state and nationally.