A native of Barre, Massachusetts, I moved to Pioneer Valley to attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1999. As an undergrad I founded UMass Students for Sustainability. We were instrumental in the initial development of some of the sustainability based programs for which the University is now quite well known. I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2003 with an integrated degree in Sustainable Community Design & Systems Thinking for Peacebuilding.
Upon graduation I started Sustainable Landscapes, a permaculture based landscape company. I integrated this into Treefrog Landscapes in 2005. Treefrog serves as a vehicle for how I might put my values to use; contributing to progressive, systemic change through a socially responsible business.
Much of my training in the field is attributed to working with others, as well as being self taught. I started studying Permaculture Design in 2000. I have been a student of martial arts, meditation and mindfulness since age five. These practices have a profound effect on my work.
As a kid, I was likely in one of two places: Either constructing models while listening to the baseball game with my grandfather, or exploring that stretch of seemingly forgotten woods.
My grandfather was of the Great Generation. Growing up through the Great Depression and serving in the Second World War were his teachers. And he passed on their lessons.
Some experiences from those formative years have stuck with me:
First, we show our gratitude for what we have by taking responsibility for its care.
Second, the old Roosevelt family motto: “Do the best you can with what you have, where you’re at.”
And, thirdly – its great to discover a new place!
I do my best to exercise these principles in my life and work on a daily basis.
I find great satisfaction in a job well done, the meditation of chopping wood, and belting out tunes whilst fingerpicking.
Meanwhile, I continue to seek out, explore, and remember those seemingly forgotten woods.
~ Michael P. Keeney