Celebrating Women’s History Month: Nicole Cormen

Nicole Cormen Memorial Conservation Area at Rix Ledges

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Nicole Cormen

Today, we continue our Women’s History Month series by honoring Nicole Cormen, a longtime Lebanon resident, community leader, and advocate for the outdoors — and the namesake of the Nicole Cormen Memorial Conservation Area at Rix Ledges (photo above)

Born in Glen Cove, New York, Nicole’s love of nature grew over years spent in California and New Mexico before she and her husband landed in Lebanon in 1993. 

Though she launched herself into civic life immediately, Nicole long considered finding a more remote parcel of land to build a home. Every time she considered a spot, though, she came to the same conclusion: she would prefer that it remained unspoiled. Instead, Nicole stayed in the city, spending two decades championing its people, its development, and most of all, its outdoor spaces. 

Nicole loved nothing more than time outdoors, yet she spent countless hours in City Hall Meetings meetings as a member and chair of both Lebanon’s Planning Board and Conservation Commission. She served four terms on the Lebanon City Council, and as its representative to the Planning Board for six years advocated tirelessly for the protection of natural resources.

Nicole also served as Lebanon Park Ranger, a role that allowed her to introduce countless Lebanon residents to the wild spaces in their own backyards. In 2003, she partnered with the UVLT to launch Wild About Lebanon, an ongoing series of events and programs highlighting the city’s conservation areas.

A passionate naturalist taught by her friend and mentor Alcott Smith, Nicole was a wealth of information about the Upper Valley’s flora and fauna and frequently contributed to data collection efforts. She cherished every opportunity to experience the region’s seasons through hiking, paddling, skiing, skating, snowshoeing, and biking. She built a robust community who shared her appreciation for nature, and was often found kayaking with a group of friends who called themselves “the Bladies.”

In 2015, the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce named Nicole its Citizen of the Year in honor of her contributions to the community, and the UVLT presented her with the Ashley Advocate Award for her conservation advocacy. Tragically, she passed away from cancer that same year. 

In 2018, UVLT honored Nicole’s spirit of service and joy in the outdoors by dedicating the Nicole Cormen Memorial Conservation Area at Rix Ledges. The land — 358 acres of wetlands, talus slopes, rocky ridges, and swampy peat lands — remains wild, with no trailhead or parking lot. There, in the northeastern corner of Lebanon, bears, bobcats, coyotes, and moose have found an oasis from the surrounding development. This conservation area is a crucial point of connection between other forested areas, allowing wildlife to transit without human interference — a fitting tribute to a woman with a deep respect and reverence for the natural world.