Artist Rob Mullen raised over $1,600 for the Vermont Wildlife Coalition (VWC) and over $700 for the Green Mountain Club by hiking 273 miles of the Long Trail this summer, painting along the way and selling his art to help raise the donations.
Mullen made the trek over the course of four weeks, starting from the Canadian border near North Troy, and finishing his journey in Williamstown, Massachusetts. His trip garnered national attention.
“While profoundly different from my usual northern Canadian and Arctic Alaska canoe trips, getting to know my home state in this intimate and challenging way, and the people I met, made this one of the most incredible journeys I’ve gone on,” said Mullen. “Rediscovering backpacking and having the opportunity to fundraise for two incredibly important organizations by combining two passions makes me feel endlessly lucky.”
The artist created paintings of the scenery he saw around him as he hiked, as well as documenting the trip with his camera and painting from the photos when he got home. He offered people the opportunity to claim some of the artwork from the journey in exchange for sponsoring him on a mileage basis. In total, he completed 20 paintings, at one point even making a sale on the spot to another hiker who saw him at work.
“Many hikers choose to raise funds while doing a thru-hike of the Long Trail, and we are so grateful to Rob for choosing to support the Green Mountain Club as an additional beneficiary to his primary fundraiser. Donors like Rob make it possible for us to work in the Green Mountains maintaining and protecting the Long Trail System,” said Alicia DiCocco, director of development and communications for the Green Mountain club.
The Vermont Wildlife Coalition, of which Mullen is a board member was the other recipient. The VWC is devoted to creating an ecologically-sound future for Vermont’s wild species and fostering a more balanced approach to managing Vermont’s wildlife. For more information on the Vermont Wildlife Coalition and to see some of the paintings Rob completed on his hike, please visit vtwildlifecoalition.org. VWC already has plans to do another event in 2021 that will highlight another one of Vermont’s incredible natural assets.