February Volunteer Spotlight

Jac Goldstein (she/her) and Leah Nussbaum (they/them) have been leading hikes for the Queer and Trans (QT) Hiking Fell-ows, an LGBTQ+ community hike group in the Fells for the past year. In the fall of 2022, they joined a hike with The Venture Out Project and Friends of the Fells, where the idea of monthly hikes for the LGBTQ+ community in the Fells began.

Currently living in Arlington, Jac was born and went to college in California before moving to Wisconsin to earn her Ph.D. in astronomy. She currently teaches scientific communication to engineers at MIT. Jac enjoys dancing, climbing, gardening, and camping. She also loves any activities where she can relate to other people, land, or communities.

Leah is originally from Framingham and has spent most of their adult life in New York, Philadelphia, and Jerusalem before moving back to Massachusetts for work. Leah is a rabbi and chaplain who works in a long term care hospital with seniors and their families to provide support as they age. Leah helps build community connections among seniors and their families where they may not expect to find a Jewish community otherwise. In addition to hiking, Leah enjoys indoor and outdoor rock climbing and board games.

June 2023 Pride Hike

Before leading hikes for FOF, Jac organized a Queer Climbing Social Madison, WI. She and Leah didn’t have prior hike leadership experience, but they were excited to get to know community members and get out in the Fells. Leah’s favorite part of leading hikes is the opportunity to explore new parts of the park and be outside. “I like seeing new places and new spots, especially in winter,” Leah says, and “getting to know both the regulars and new folks.”

Jac says that she gets excited to see how many people show up [for the hikes] every month. “The group has become more popular over the last year and typically reaches its maximum capacity … each month.”

If you are interested in leading hikes, Jac and Leah have some advice for you. Both Leah and Jac encourage folks to reach out and express their interest. Jac says that “FOF is there to help with event organizing and advertising and … provide logistical support. So if there is an interest, then there is a way [for you] to do it.” When leading hikes, Leah recommends “[setting] expectations for how long [the route is] and [giving] opportunities for breaks, which helps make the hikes more accessible.”

Thank you, Leah and Jac, for leading these amazing hikes for the community!

If you are interested in learning more about leading hikes or getting involved, please visit the QT Hiking Fellows Facebook group. You can also reach out to friends@fells.org or keep an eye on our calendar here.