2019 AmeriCorps Members

Conservation Trust for North Carolina is the proud host organization for AmeriCorps, a ten-month national service program in environmental education and outreach. Through CTNC AmeriCorps, we seek to reconnect people with the outdoors and to develop future leaders in conservation. Learn more.

Anne Maxwell
Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association

Anne Maxwell is an environmental educator for Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA). Prior to joining ECWA, she was an environmental educator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Maryland after graduating UNC-Chapel Hill. During her time at UNC, Anne Maxwell studied biology and marine science and spent a semester in the Galapagos Islands studying marine ecology. At ECWA, Anne Maxwell leads Family Explorers Club, Explorers Club, and assists with Nature Walks: all of which aim to get Durham residents, big and small, outside and connected with Ellerbe Creek. She is also involved with the planning and implementation of volunteer workdays, assists with outreach for various programs through social media platforms, and helps with fundraising for the education program. It was during her undergraduate career that her love for environmental science and educating the public was solidified.

Melissa Kennedy
Triangle Land Conservancy

Melissa Kennedy earned her B.S. in animal science from NC State University and grew up camping and hiking with her family. Her passion for the outdoors combined with her desire to share this interest with young people led her to AmeriCorps. She will serve at Triangle Land Conservancy as the AmeriCorps Community Outreach and Education Associate, doing community outreach and education in Durham, NC. She hopes to inspire youth in her community to continue protecting the environment!

Lillie Reiter
Coastal Land Trust

Lillie Reiter serves with the Coastal Land Trust in Wilmington as an Environmental Education and Volunteer Coordinator. She is originally from Asheville and graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro. Her passion for environmental education began studying abroad in the Turks and Caicos Islands teaching children about the ocean and marine biology. She has worked with a zoo, nature center, science center, land conservancy, and now a land trust! As an environmental education and volunteer coordinator, her role will be to incorporate more environmental field trips into the school’s curriculum, engage the public in nature-based events, and help volunteers have fun while doing service. When she’s not out and about downtown with friends, she can be found at home, snuggled with her cat, eating ice cream and reading.

Eliza Hurst
Balsam Mountain Trust
Eliza Hurst is serving at the Balsam Mountain Trust as the Education Outreach Coordinator. She will be focusing on bringing environmental education alive with live animal programs at local Title I elementary schools and public libraries. She received her B.S. in Geology from Western Carolina University in 2018. Eliza was born and raised in Pompano Beach, Florida, where she developed a deep love for the ocean and marine life through scuba diving with her dad and brother. Those experiences shaped her love of the natural world. Eliza is excited to share her passion for the environment and conservation with the Western North Carolina community.

Blair Frantz
Triangle J Council of Governments
Blair Frantz is serving at the Triangle J Council of Governments in the Water Resources Program as the Stormwater Education Specialist. She will be promoting behavior changes through outreach and education about water quality impairment and our impact on stormwater runoff. Blair will be working to increase citizen access to and participation in environmental education activities and events. She’s originally from Montclair, New Jersey but moved to Durham this past summer. She earned a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. As a former intern of the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) and the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, Blair was thrilled to come on board as a CTNC AmeriCorps member for the 2018/2019 service year. Through these opportunities, she was able to share her love of the environment and clean water with others. Her professional interests lie in environmental analysis, environmental education & outreach, as well as environmental policy and regulation. Blair is enjoying settling into her new home in Durham and spends most evenings and weekends cooking or baking, reading, hiking and running.

Anna Vancina
The Conservation Fund – Good Hope Farm
This service year, Anna Vancina is positioned at host site The Conservation Fund in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as Good Hope Farm Community Outreach Coordinator. Originally from Manhattan, Illinois, Anna was heavily involved in the 4-H program during her youth and adolescence, and from it developed her love of service. She interned this past summer with NCSU’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems and is currently finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies through the University of Illinois Springfield. Some of Anna’s main responsibilities at The Conservation Fund are to organize volunteers for Good Hope Farm work days and events, develop educational programming for the farm, and support various community engagement initiatives. Anna is most excited about the Good Hope Farm project because it is modeled to support small-scale farmers, encourage the growth of local foods, and engage the community in urban agriculture.

Jade Woll
UNCW MarineQuest
Jade Woll serves at UNCW MarineQuest as a Coastal Citizen Science Ambassador. Jade will be creating a citizen science project focused on coastal resiliency. The purpose of this project is to increase community awareness about the protection marshes bring to coastal communities while partnering it with a citizen science project that will assess local marshes. I will be conducting various volunteer workshops ranging from marsh assessments to creating living shorelines. This position focuses on all things I love. Combining my passion for volunteer coordination with marine science allows me to gain invaluable experience for my future. I am extremely excited to be partnering with local community members and having the opportunity to increase community awareness about the importance of protecting our coast.

Grace McCants
Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust

Grace McCants is serving at the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust located in Highlands, NC as their Environmental Stewardship and Outreach Associate. She will be teaching after-school programs, maintaining trails, and managing/recruiting volunteers for work days. Grace and the volunteers will be striving to control invasive species around Highlands and Cashiers, treating surviving hemlocks in the area, protecting rare species, and creating better access to the beautiful vistas the HCLT protects. Along with this, Grace will be writing lesson plans about animal habitats, survival adaptations, and conservation importance in a fun and educating way for the young students in the after-school programs. Grace hopes to further her skills in environmental education by completing the North Carolina Environmental Education Certificate, as well as attending GIS lectures led by Dr. Gary Wein of the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. CTNC AmeriCorps is allowing Grace to follow her dreams of educating children about the importance of nature and getting them as passionate about it as she is, as well as working to conserve beautiful properties throughout the mountains. When Grace is not working, you can find her backpacking along the many mountainous trails, or snuggled in her cabin with her dogs.

Maya Revell
Piedmont Triad Regional Council
Maya Revell is serving as the Environmental Programs Assistant with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council in Kernersville, NC.  She was born and raised in Hickory, NC and now lives in Winston-Salem, NC.  Maya earned her B.A. in Biology from Wake Forest University and worked in the WFU Office of Sustainability as a Sustainability Ambassador and the Waste Reduction Intern.  Her past work experience and college coursework have led her to pursue a career addressing the need for sustainability education.  While serving at the PTRC, Maya assists in coordinating the Stormwater SMART program by providing environmental education on water quality and facilitating community outreach events.  She is excited that this partnership with the PTRC and CTNC AmeriCorps will allow her the opportunity to further develop herself as an educator as well as serve underserved communities in the Piedmont Triad. “I knew that serving with CTNC AmeriCorps and the PTRC would be the perfect opportunity to explore the intersections of environmental sustainability, education, and social justice while inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders.”

Frances Starn
Durham Public Schools Hub Farm

Frances Starn is thrilled to be serving as the AmeriCorps Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Durham Public Schools Hub Farm. An alumna of Durham Public Schools, she graduated with a degree in History and Urban Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Since then, Frances has worked for environmental education programs in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, and the Adirondack State Park in New York. At the Hub Farm, Frances will be piloting an elementary garden education program, working with community partners to increase the Hub’s visibility, and doing farm work. Frances is proud to return home to North Carolina and serve in her own community.

Claire Denny
Eno River Association
Claire Denny is serving at the Eno River Association as the AmeriCorps Conservation and Education Coordinator. My position requires me to participate in planning and managing stewardship volunteer workdays, perform land stewardship monitoring of properties owned by the association, organize landowner outreach meetings, be an advocate for Eno River Association at non-profit events/meetings, help out in any way I can with office work, and to a supporting hands-on environmental education mentor for underserved youth.  After graduating from High Point University, I completed a year of service with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in the southwest region of the US. Through this program, my love for the environment and conservation grew. I wanted to make a difference in the area that I lived in, by way of being hands-on in nature, so applied for the position at Eno. Not only am I able to learn new aspects/skills while working for a non-profit conservation organization, but I get to educate others, especially the next generation. I am a life long learner and want to teach/get others interested in what I am passionate about: nature. I am so excited for the next 10 months!

Kaitlin Willis
Eastern 4-H Center
Kaitlin is serving at the Eastern 4-H Center in Columbia after enjoying her summer at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island and first introduction to the Outer Banks. She is currently developing educational programs for the center to implement in summer camps and school field trips. Kaitlin is originally from Connecticut where she taught middle school science before transitioning into outdoor education after returning from a year-long adventure in Kenya. She is now looking forward to her time as a CTNC AmeriCorps member at the 4-H Center and is focused on helping kids discover a new type of outdoor classroom while spreading an appreciation for the habitats and wildlife found here!

Emilee Winter
Bald Head Island Conservancy

Emilee Winter graduated from UNC-Wilmington with a B.S. in Environmental Science. She is currently serving at the Bald Head Island Conservancy as the AmeriCorps Community Outreach and Stewardship Coordinator. Her responsibilities include creating and teaching environmental lessons both on the island and in nearby schools, expanding the Conservancy’s outreach efforts and managing volunteers to help with stewardship projects. Emilee joined CTNC AmeriCorps in order to address the needs of the coastal community and show people how exciting exploring nature can be. After living in North Carolina her whole life, she loves enjoying and protecting the amazing natural resources here. She also loves scuba diving, kayaking, reading and watching The Office.

Chase Robinson
Tar River Land Conservancy
Chase Robinson serves as the Land Management Associate at Tar River Land Conservancy and is overseeing the completion of Hiking Trails for communities within Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Greene, Halifax, Nash, Person, Vance, and Warren. Chase will be recruiting volunteers to help with trail building, reaching out to local government and schools, community colleges and universities. Chase joined CTNC AmeriCorps to gain valuable experience within nonprofits, learning to interact socially across the counties, to earn an environmental education/nonprofit certificate, and GIS work. He believes that the service is important as conservation is important to citizens of NC and around our country, and believes that environmental education shouldn’t only expand to youth but to adults as well.

Rachel Jamrozy
Keep Durham Beautiful

Rachel Jamrozy is currently serving at Keep Durham Beautiful as a Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator. Having recently graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelors of Social Work, Rachel is passionate about working with individuals and communities on issues that directly impact them. She is passionate about service and has been involved with various organizations including Camp Kesem, Operation Smile, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Sierra Club in numerous capacities.  This year she plans to demonstrate that they do not need a formal environmental background to get involved! She will be coordinating events such as litter cleanups and tree plantings to make environmental stewardship accessible to community members. In her free time, Rachel can be found playing with her cat, painting, or doing yoga.

Joshua Perkins
NC Arboretum
Joshua Perkins is serving as the AmeriCorps Community Engagement Educator at the NC Arboretum. Joshua is an advocate in educating others about the characteristics and benefits of the environment and how people should cherish the environment in which they live. Joshua attained a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Education from Warren Wilson College located in Swannanoa, Asheville. Besides serving as a CTNC AmeriCorps member for the NC Arboretum, Joshua has also served in AmeriCorps as an assistant teacher and counselor engaging and ensuring the well-being of youth members through core and artistic classes. He has also served in CitiSquare AmeriCorps: Food on the Move as a Community Server where he traveled around East Dallas and provided free nutritious meals along with engaging with youth of diverse cultures and backgrounds in summer activities. These activities focused on taking advantage of the outdoor environments while gaining an appreciation of the outdoor environments with which the children thrive in.  Personal quote: “I am constantly seeking knowledge and skills that will enable me to become a more positive and influential environmental educator within the community. I believe individuals must gain an understanding of the environment in which they live. Doing so will allow one to develop a respect of an environment that deserves respect.”

Guido Schutz
Piedmont Triad Regional Council
Guido Schutz is serving as the Piedmont Legacy Trails Coordinator for Piedmont Triad Regional Council and Piedmont Land Conservancy to promote the Piedmont Legacy Trails program. My duties are to organize trail data in GIS, promote Piedmont Legacy Trails through social media and other relevant channels, assist in the organization of the annual “Piedmont Legacy Trails Summit”, and assess conditions and map out trails in the region.  I joined CTNC AmeriCorps to make a positive impact on the environment, which is something I strive to do for the entirety of my life. Therefore, beginning my career by doing environmental service with CTNC AmeriCorps was the perfect way for me to gain experience in the field and help me succeed in making a positive impact on the environment, wherever my career may take me. [use photo from DCIP]

Erin Rexin
Coastal Studies Institute

Erin Rexin is serving as the Roanoke Island Trails Lead at ECU’s Coastal Studies Institute. She’ll be focused on developing a volunteer program with the aim of creating new biking and walking paths on Roanoke island as well as producing a map showcasing this new trails network for publication. Erin is from San Diego, enjoys hanging out at the beach, and has a background in wildlife conservation biology. She joined AmeriCorps because she wanted to explore new coastal communities, engage locals with nature and the outdoors, and continue developing her skills in volunteer management.

NCYCC Wraps Up 2018 Summer Season

We are nearing the end of the North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC) 2018 summer season and all is well on the trails and in the parks. In just a few short weeks, our corps members have accomplished so much.

We have 36 amazing young people contributing thousands of hours of work to improve, restore, and preserve North Carolina’s parks and trails. At the same time, they are receiving a rich education in job and life skills, environmental stewardship, leadership, community service and personal responsibility.

This summer has been a truly life-changing experience.

NC Crew 1 – State Parks AmeriCorps Chain Saw Crew

Hazard trees are dead or dying trees at risk of injuring people because of their proximity to public trails and park facilities. Hazard tree removal is a priority maintenance need of the NC State Park system because of severe storms in recent years.

This year launched a new partnership between CTNC and the NC Division of Parks to employ a chain saw certified crew to address hazardous tree removal within state parks. NC Crew 1 spent their first week doing trail work in heat indexes well over 100°, filling in “the biggest hole known to human existence” caused by flooding at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. They followed up by completing a North Carolina State Park chainsaw certification course at Morrow Mountain State Park. The crew returned to Cliffs of the Neuse State Park to use their new chain saw skills to remove hazard trees along the park’s hiking trails. The crew also spent weeks supporting the Parks staff at Jones Lake State Park and Lake Waccamaw State Park.

In addition to getting paid hourly, the crew members will receive an AmeriCorps education award at the end of their service. This education award can be used to pay higher education or training institution expenses or to repay qualified student loans. The members will also gain valuable job qualifications with the chain saw certification they obtained. One member has plans to apply for a wildland fire fighting position after he completes his NCYCC season.

Not only has the crew visited some of our states most celebrated state parks, but they also used their free-time to eat some local bar-b-cue, visit the North Carolina Aquarium, and attend the Eno River Festival.

The Goldsboro Daily News had this to say about NC Crew 1.

This partnership was made possible thanks to legislation introduced by Representative Jimmy Dixon, with the support of Rep. Chuck McGrady and Senator Harry Brown, during the 2017 Legislative Session.

NC Crew 2 – United States Forest Service Trail Crew

NC Crew 2 built a set of box steps on badly eroded trail section of the Upper Creek Falls Trail in the Pisgah National Forest. The Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are the most visited national forests in the United States.

This NCYCC youth crew (15-18-years-old) spent the first two weeks of the summer restoring the Upper Creek Falls Trail in the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest. They later moved to the Pisgah District of the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard where they are restoring a number of trails around the Pisgah Visitor Center.

The crew is seeing how high traffic and water flow erode trails. They are learning how to build re-routes, trail structures, and strategically place large rocks to restore and preserve the trails. The USFS rangers are giving them a big “thumbs up” for the quantity and quality of their work. Because the members work on some of the Pisgah District’s most highly used trails, they have received plenty of thanks from hikers.

The crew has used their weekends to visit Chimney Rock State Park, Sliding Rock, and the Town of Brevard.

Two members of the crew are returning from last year and one of those has decided to pursue a degree in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University this fall. Another crew member is using his NCYCC experience to fulfill his high school program’s internship requirement.

NC Crews 3.1 and 3.2 – Land Trust and Local Government Crews

NC Crews 3.1 and 3.2 are this year’s two three-week teen crews. Both crews’ work includes two weeks of long-leaf pine restoration, trail building and maintenance, and park and campground improvements for the Coastal Land Trust. Crew 3.1 also worked on removing invasive species and trail maintenance for Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation in Charlotte. Crew 3.2 will do an additional week of work building a boardwalk and removing invasive species for Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association in Durham.

Charlotte’s Spectrum News interviewed NC Crew 3.1. Take a look here!

What’s Next …..

The crews will end their NCYCC program August 4 with a Professional Development Event in Raleigh. Duke Energy Foundation funds a full day of workshops to help NCYCC participants prepare for the next step of their education and career journey. The day includes sessions on financial literacy, skills matching, and goal setting, interviewing, project management, and gap year opportunities. It also includes a natural resources career panel of representatives from local, state, and federal agencies, a non-profit, and a for-profit company to give participants information about natural resource jobs in each of these sectors.

The NCYCC program is supported by Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, NC State Parks, U.S. Forest Service, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, Duke Energy Foundation, NC Electric Membership Cooperative, Wells Fargo, Coastal Land Trust, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, Fred and Alice Stanback, the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Foundation, Little Acorn Fund, the Smith Family Foundation, and the generosity of individual donors.

It is because of this generous support that these young people have an opportunity to learn about the natural world, grow in their understanding of the value of public lands, connect with nature on a daily basis, gain work skills and certifications, and discover new things about themselves and other people.

You are helping CTNC cultivate a new generation of conservation leaders for North Carolina.

2018 Diversity in Conservation Interns

CTNC is excited to welcome the 2018 Diversity in Conservation Internship Program participants!

Through this initiative we hope to encourage future conservation leaders by providing professional development and networking opportunities, and creating employment pathways to conservation careers with land trusts, nonprofits, and government agencies.

Through this and other CTNC programs, we hope to contribute to a more equitable and diverse conservation sector that meets the needs of all North Carolinians no matter their race, gender, or background.

This year’s program was made possible in partnership with CTNC AmeriCorps, the Land Trust Alliance, and the United States Forest Service.

Meet our 2018 Diversity in Conservation Interns!

Khrystle Bullock, United States Forest Service

Khrystle Bullock is a RAPS Intern at the US Forest Service in Washington DC. She has a background in Public Health and Neuroscience with a concentration in health disparities and health equity. Her passions also include environmental justice, urban planning and infrastructure, and community engagement. She plans to use her experience and talents to connect the relationship between environmental health and public health with the goal to improve human health, especially those from under-resourced populations. She will be engaging DC youth in the importance of environmental innovations and how to be a good steward in their community.

Tamia Dame, Asheville GreenWorks

Tamia Dame is a student at AB Tech Community College in Asheville, taking classes to complete her degree in Environmental Management and Policy at UNC Asheville. Raised in rural Lenoir NC, Tamia has always had a love for mountains and the outdoors. This summer she will be serving as a Youth Education Leadership Program (YELP) Assistant for Asheville GreenWorks, where she will help facilitate educational workshops and work days with local environmental organizations for young people of color.

“I hope to build meaningful relationships, gain leadership skills, and make significant progress toward earning a North Carolina Environmental Educator Certification.”

Berekia Divanga, Triangle Land Conservancy

Berekia N. Divanga was born in Kinshasa, D.R.C. She currently resides in Raleigh, N.C. and attends Meredith College. Her majors are Environmental Sustainability and Economics, including a minor in Geoscience. During the summer of 2018, Berekia will be working as a Community Conservation Asset Analyst intern at the Triangle Land Conservancy.

“I hope to gain hands-on experience through this internship, which will guide me further toward my aspirational career path as an Environmental Economist.”

Brooks Falkner, Green Rural Redevelopment Organization (GRRO)

Brooks attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying business and public policy. This summer, Brooks is working in his home county with Green Rural Redevelopment Organization on a new program that provides produce to 50 participants who suffer from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. In addition, he will be constructing a farm school, which will educate people in the community with the skills necessary for good farming practices.

“Through this internship, I hope to gain experience in managing and marketing a program as well as basic carpentry skills.”

Jendayi Joell, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center

Jendayi Joell was born in Bermuda, and raised between both the island and Winton, NC. She is a recent graduate of North Carolina State University, where she obtained a Bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Plant Biology. This summer, Jendayii will serve as the Farm to School to Healthcare Intern at the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center, where she will communicate her knowledge of sustainable and organic farming practices to rural communities.

“I hope to continue to share my knowledge and experience about sustainable gardening and land conservation with the community and to continue to serve people and the environment.”

Elias Larson, Dig In! Yancey County

Born Ivan Rodriguez in Tulcan Ecuador and adopted by US Citizens, Elias lived in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania for 18 years before coming to Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Elias is earning a double major in Agriculture and History. He looks forward to working with Dig In! Yancey Community Garden working with community individuals to improve access to locally grown healthy food.

“I am looking forward to being in a more managing role and working with my organization skills to advance the areas goals of a healthy sustainable food system.”

Tyler Potts, Conserving Carolina

Born in Akron, OH, Tyler Potts has lived in 14 different places! Tyler currently calls Winston Salem home where he attends the Wake Forest School of Law. He is\ a devout vegan, who loves the environment. Tyler is a hockey player, was captain of his team in undergraduate, captain of the Wake Forest club team, and his favorite activity is getting on the ice with friends.

“I am big into working out and make it a priority to do so five times each week. I also am an avid guitar player and when I am not working out or playing hockey its usually guitar. I would love to one-day practice environmental law or family law!”

Chandler Whitfield, Coharie Tribe

Chandler Whitfield grew up in Clinton, NC, and currently attends Fayetteville Technical Community College where he is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice Technology. This summer, Chandler is returning to the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program to work with the Coharie Tribe as their Great Coharie River Initiative Project intern.

Americorps

CTNC AmeriCorps Members Gather Hundreds for MLK Day of Service

Each year, CTNC AmeriCorps members join a nationwide movement to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by participating in the annual Day of Service. In partnership with six host organizations in Western North Carolina, the Triangle, and coastal region, CTNC’s AmeriCorps members organized events that drew hundreds of volunteers to spend time outside and contribute to conservation projects in their local community.

Scroll down to see photos from each of the events where staff, AmeriCorps members, and volunteers cleaned up a public nature preserve, collected oyster shells for a living reef installation, reforested open fields to revitalize habitat for wildlife, and much more.

Anne Maxwell Ellett, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association

Eighty people attended a clean-up event organized by Anne Maxwell to support stewardship of Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association’s Beaver Creek Marsh Preserve. The group worked on clearing invasive species (ivy and privet), collected multiple truck-loads of trash, and mended fences. More CTNC AmeriCorps members joined Anne Maxwell for the event including Emily Goetz, Bald Head Island Conservancy; Ashley Meredith, Durham Hub Farm; Joy-Lynn Rhoton, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust; Kate Conery, NC Coastal Foundation; Reilly Kelly, NC Coastal Foundation; Lauren Huffstetler, Piedmont Triad Regional Council; Kayla Kohlmann, Piedmont Triad Regional Council; Molly Richard, Triangle Land Conservancy; Jade Woll, NC Coastal Land Trust.

Click here to see photos!

Kristin Gibson, North Carolina Coastal Federation

In partnership with Leadership Carteret, AmeriCorps member Kristin Gibson organized an event for 12 students to bag oyster shells. The effort totaled 200 bags that will help construct a living oyster reef. Volunteers were so dedicated, they stayed longer than necessary to get all the work done!

April Hausle, North Carolina Arboretum

AmeriCorps member April Hausle participated in a workday at Shiloh Community Garden in Asheville. Residents of the historically black community added mulch to the garden and completed a social justice art project where children cut out magazine photos to design a mural of the United States. Michelle Durr, who is serving at Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, also attend.

Jannette Morris, Eno River Association

An old farm field along the Eno River will be restored to its natural habitat after 100 volunteers gathered to plan 200 hardwood trees. Jannette Morris organized the tree-planting, which will contribute to cleaner water flowing from the Eno River into Falls Lake, the main drinking water source for Raleigh and eight other reservoirs.

Click here to see photos!

Bethany Sheffer, Balsam Mountain Trust

Representing CTNC AmeriCorps, Bethany Sheffer volunteered with Conserving Carolina’s Project Conserve members at Asheville’s Burton Street Community Peace Gardens. The event was led by DeWayne Barton, founder of Hood Huggers International, which offers sustainable strategies for building support pillars for resilient historically African American neighborhoods, providing a framework for community capacity building while increasing the effectiveness of existing service programs. The Burton Street Peace Gardens is a sanctuary for positive action, designed to create neighborhood food security, community cohesion, and a vibrant, sustainable local economy.

Click here to see photos!

Jonathan Hill, Keep Durham Beautiful

In partnership with Duke Roundtable, a Duke University student service group, Jonathan Hill organized a litter clean-up recruiting 100 volunteers to participate in the Keep Durham Beautiful event.

Click here to see photos!

Dawn Keyser, Keep Durham Beautiful

AmeriCorps member, Dawn Keyser, organized two tree plantings that put 120 trees in the ground. Many of the 70 participants were students of the School of Science and Math and Emily K Center volunteers.

Click here to see photos!

CTNC AmeriCorps is a ten-month national service program in environmental education and outreach. This program, along with CTNC’s  NC Youth Conservation Corps and the Diversity in Conservation Internship Program are part of CTNC’s Emerging Leaders Program, which seeks to reconnect people with the outdoors and to develop future leaders in conservation. AmeriCorps members develop service projects that help remove barriers to environmental education throughout North Carolina, as well as help expand the diversity of backgrounds among conservation leaders in our state.

2018 CTNC AmeriCorps Members

Conservation Trust for North Carolina is the proud host organization for AmeriCorps, a ten-month national service program in environmental education and outreach. Through CTNC AmeriCorps, we seek to reconnect people with the outdoors and to develop future leaders in conservation.

Kate Conery
North Carolina Coastal Federation

Kate is serving at the North Carolina Coastal Federation in Wrightsville Beach, NC as the Coastal Community Engagement Specialist. She’s originally from the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York but moved to Wilmington in 2012. She earned a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and minor in geospatial technologies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. As a former intern of the Federation, Kate was thrilled to come on board as an Americorps member. She will be designing and implementing education programs, working on oyster restoration and stormwater runoff initiatives, and working with volunteers in coastal communities. She also previously interned for the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. Through these opportunities, she was able to share her love of the environment with others. In her free time, Kate enjoys hiking, traveling, yoga, and playing with her dogs.

Michelle Durr
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

Michelle is serving at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in Asheville, NC. As the Roan Highlands Volunteer and Outreach Associate, Michelle focuses on stewardship efforts and outreach opportunities for those in surrounding areas. She is a recent graduate of Eckerd College with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School. Most recently, Michelle worked as a Unit Leader at Camp Arrowhead in Lewes, Delaware and as a FoodCorps Service Member at the Kona Pacific School in Hawaii. “I am passionate about the Southern Appalachian region and am excited to serve with CTNC to ensure that future generations can have the same experience.”

Anne Maxwell Ellett
Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association

Anne Maxwell is an environmental educator for Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA). Prior to joining ECWA, she was an environmental educator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Maryland after graduating UNC-Chapel Hill. During her time at UNC, Anne Maxwell studied biology and marine science, and spent a semester in the Galapagos Islands studying marine ecology. At ECWA, Anne Maxwell leads Family Explorers Club, Explorers Club, and assists with Nature Walks: all of which aim to get Durham residents, big and small, outside and connected with Ellerbe Creek. She is also involved with the planning and implementation of volunteer workdays, assists with outreach for various programs through social media platforms, and helps with fundraising for the education program. It was during her undergraduate career that her love for environmental science and educating the public was solidified.

Kristin Gibson
North Carolina Coastal Federation

Kristin is serving as the Coastal Community Engagement Specialist at the North Carolina Coastal Federation central office in Newport, North Carolina. During her time at the Coastal Federation, Kristin will be working with volunteers, creating and implementing educational programs for K-12-aged students, and participating in restoration projects. Kristin graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in December 2016 earning her degree in Environmental Studies. Her passion for the environment was solidified during her time studying ecology in Germany. She began to focus on coastal ecology when she interned at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. In the future, Kristin hopes to attend graduate school for Environmental Science.

Emily Goetz
Bald Head Island Conservancy

Emily Goetz is serving as the Community Outreach and Stewardship Coordinator at the Bald Head Island Conservancy. She studied conservation biology at Middlebury College and has since used her degree in the areas of coastal field research and environmental education. She is particularly excited to apply these skills to her term as a CTNC AmeriCorps member, where she is contributing to public outreach efforts, developing citizen science projects and stewardship management practices, and assisting with volunteer coordination. While Emily enjoys working outdoors in any capacity, she especially loves introducing others to outdoor exploration. “During my service term, I hope to encourage more kids (and adults) to get outside, get muddy, and climb trees.”

April Hausle
North Carolina Arboretum

April is serving as Community Outreach Coordinator at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, NC. Growing up in North Carolina, April was always taught by her family and community to cherish nature and time spent outdoors. She believes that educational experiences in nature should be available for all people, and strives to make that possible through her position as a CTNC AmeriCorps Member. April received her Bachelor’s degree from UNC Asheville, where she studied International Studies, Spanish and Ecology. During her time at UNC Asheville, April managed a community garden on campus and interned at Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). Since graduating in 2015, April has stayed active in the community by participating in a volunteer ESL program through International House in Charlotte, NC, and engaging in various community gardening efforts. In her leisure time, April enjoys running or walking in the forest, riding her bike, singing, making crafts, dancing, and being with all the people she loves.

Jonathan Hill
Keep Durham Beautiful

Jonathan Hill serves as Keep Durham Beautiful’s Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. Born in Durham and raised in Raleigh, Jonathan returned to his hometown to attend Duke University, where he graduated with highest honors and a dual degree in Public Policy and History. Jonathan fell in love with the environment through course work and his time with the North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps. He has worked as a lobbyist for environmental groups on the state and federal level and currently serves on CTNC’s Future Leaders of Conservation Board. Jonathan joined CTNC AmeriCorps to continue serving environmental nonprofits in his native state and has coordinated record-breaking litter cleanups. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys visiting historical sites and going on runs or vigorous hikes on trails less traveled throughout North Carolina and beyond.

Lauren Huffstetler
Piedmont Triad Regional Council
Lauren is serving as an Environmental Educator with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council in Kernersville, NC. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Applied Ecology from N.C. State University. College coursework and past work experiences with the NC Coastal Reserve & NC National Estuarine Research Reserve and NCSU’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology led her to pursue a career in environmental education. While serving with PTRC, she assists in coordinating the Stormwater SMART program by facilitating community volunteer events and providing environmental education on water quality and conservation issues. Born and raised in North Carolina, Lauren’s free time is spent traveling and exploring the outdoors as much as possible. “I love the diverse landscape of our state and hope to foster a love and appreciation of this diversity in others. I joined CTNC AmeriCorps to inspire others to take ownership of their environment.”

Reilly Kelly
North Carolina Coastal Federation
Reilly Kelly is serving at the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s northeast office in Wanchese, NC as the Coastal Community Engagement Specialist. As a CTNC AmeriCorps member, she will be creating and implementing environmental education programs, assisting with volunteer management, and helping with the Federation’s restoration projects. Reilly graduated from Mary Baldwin University in May of 2017 earning a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Math. Although she attended school in the Shenandoah Valley, she is a native of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Growing up on the coast is what fostered her love for the ocean and surrounding habitats. “I am excited to motivate my community, through CTNC AmeriCorps, to get outdoors and learn about the beautiful ecosystems that surround them.”

Dawn Keyser
Keep Durham Beautiful

Dawn is serving as the Environmental Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at Keep Durham Beautiful. She was born and raised in Moore County, NC and now lives in Raleigh. Dawn earned her B.S. in Zoology from NC State University, and worked at the Wake County Animal Shelter and as a vet assistant. She is passionate about all things concerning animal and environmental welfare, conservation, and waste reduction. Dawn is also passionate about service and is always finding new ways to volunteer. She has spent many years volunteering in the Mammal Collections Department of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, the Well Fed Community Garden, and as a board member of Oaks & Spokes, a Raleigh-based cycling advocacy group. When she’s not picking up roadside trash or trying to convince people to bring their own cups to get coffee, Dawn is enjoying the company of her two cats and foster kittens, working in the yard, doing yoga, and attending as many bike events as she can. “After many years of experience in the food-service industry and witnessing the waste that occurs there, I decided that the work that called me most was waste management and sustainability.”

Kayla Kohlmann
Piedmont Triad Regional Council

Kayla is serving at the Piedmont Triad Regional Council in Kernersville, NC as the Piedmont Legacy Trails Coordinator. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in Environmental Biology and Ecology, a minor in Geography and a certificate in GIS. Kayla is working on a regional trails initiative in the Piedmont and hopes to connect the local communities to nature while increasing wellness. Some of her goals include organizing a 12-county trail system database, building/maintaining a mile of trail while leading volunteers, and organizing a trails summit for 2018. Growing up, Kayla spent a lot of time outdoors and grew to love animals and nature. In her free time, Kayla enjoys watching movies, hiking, walking on trails, and spending time with her dog. She grew up in Kernersville and is proud to come back and serve in her hometown. “I joined CTNC AmeriCorps to pursue my passion for environmental stewardship and outreach. I hope to spark that same passion in others across the Piedmont-Triad region.”

Ashley Meredith
Durham Public Schools Hub Farm 

Ashley is serving as the Curriculum Development & Volunteer Coordinator at the Hub Farm where she coordinates volunteer workdays, manages the farm’s social media presence, and helps lead field trips. Originally from Virginia, Ashley has spent a lot of time in the mountain forests of the Blue Ridge, the marshes of the Chesapeake Bay, and everywhere in between. It was these outdoor experiences that cultivated her love of the outdoors, as well as a need to share it with others! She is excited to witness others as they experience new aspects of nature for the first time. Ashley graduated with a Bachelors degree in Geology and Conservation/Marine Biology from the College of William & Mary. After farm hours, you can find Ashley out hiking/climbing, cooking, or playing volleyball!

Jannette Morris
Eno River Association

Jannette is serving at the Eno River Association in Durham as their Conservation and Education Coordinator. She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2015 with a B.S. in Geology and Environmental Science. At William and Mary, she had the opportunity to conduct geologic fieldwork across the states of Virginia, Arizona, and Utah. Jannette’s undergraduate research thesis centered on understanding landscape changes in several Appalachian Mountain watersheds in western Virginia. Since graduating, she gained a variety of experiences in environmental education, including working with and presenting raptors, reptiles, and amphibians at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Georgia, and working with and teaching about plankton, oyster reefs, and nearshore estuarine environments at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland. At the Eno River Association, she is leading education and outreach programming about the Eno River and surrounding conservation lands, monitoring conservation lands, and leading volunteer workdays to maintain trails, remove invasive species, and remove litter. She is passionate about strategy board games, traveling, singing and dancing, and chocolate!

Joy-Lynn Rhoton
Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust

Joy-Lynn graduated in May 2016 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science and a Minor in Marine Science. She has a passion for water resource conservation and water quality. Through CTNC AmeriCorps, Joy-Lynn hopes to educate those in the Highlands and Cashiers communities through stewardship of the trails, leading environmental education programs, and being a ranger for the public properties and trails. Furthermore, she will be in charge of the volunteers for the trail creation on Brushy Face. Joy-Lynn looks forward to earning NC Environmental Education Certification and further developing her skills in environmental education, GIS analysis, and volunteer management. After the completion of her AmeriCorps service term, Joy-Lynn plans to apply to be a park ranger with the North Carolina State Parks. “The Highlands and Cashiers communities are beautiful and already in the mindset of conservation. I believe that the next generation is the key to the future of conservation, and I would like to keep the conservation mindset of the community by educating the youth about different environmental topics and their connections to the world outside of their homes.”

Molly Richard
Triangle Land Conservancy

Molly is serving as the Community Outreach and Education Associate at Triangle Land Conservancy. She graduated from Iowa State University with her B.S. in Animal Ecology. Molly is responsible for providing volunteer opportunities and environmental education to under-served communities; as well as managing TLC’s Citizen Science and Hiking Challenge programs to increase community involvement at TLC preserves. Molly joined CTNC AmeriCorps to further her ability to communicate with people about nature. “I enjoy serving because I get to teach and inspire kids and adults to love the outdoors as much as I do.”

Bethany Sheffer
Balsam Mountain Trust

Bethany earned her B.A. in Public Administration and Liberal Studies: Social and Political Development in Latin America and a minor in Spanish from Grand Valley State University located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Leadership in 2016. A native to the forested lands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, she grew up exploring nearby creeks and catching crayfish in the tiny town of Rapid River. These experiences, paired with her father’s enthusiasm for the outdoors, instilled a lifelong appreciation of the natural world. Bethany is thrilled to be serving at Balsam Mountain Trust where she hopes to not only contribute her nonprofit expertise but gain quality experience sharing the wonders of the natural world with underserved populations in Western N.C. She relishes every moment outdoors in the mountains and enjoys hiking, biking, drawing, traveling and hanging out with her two cockatiels in her free time.

Jade Woll
North Carolina Coastal Land Trust

Jade attended Lynchburg College where she earned a bachelor’s of science in Environmental Science with a minor in Studio Art. Jade will serve as NC Coastal Land Trust’s Environmental Education and Volunteer Coordinator where she leads creating a pollinator curriculum, which will then be implemented into local schools, along with Venus flytrap and Longleaf curriculums. She is also working to expand NCCLT’s environmental education program to three new counties along the Coastal Plain. While working at MarineQuest this past summer, Jade was searching for positions that would allow her to continue working in the Environmental Education field along the coast. “I knew that working with the Land Trust would be an amazing opportunity to connect with my community and build relationships with other members who have similar passions in land conservation and education.”

An Incredible Experience for Rising Conservation Leaders

More than 100 young adults completed the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s Emerging Leaders Program this summer. As the NC Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC), Diversity in Conservation Internship Program (DCIP), and CTNC AmeriCorps members concluded their experience, CTNC partnered with the NC State College of Natural Resources to organize a two-day professional development conference that would offer pathways to conservation career opportunities.

By the numbers:

  • 110 Emerging Leaders Program members
  • 64 host site supervisors and parents
  • 18 job fair vendors
  • 16 professional development workshop sessions
  • 4 natural resources career panelists

Attendees gained professional development experience through a variety of college and career-readiness workshops designed for students at all education and career stages: from high school to post-college.

“I feel, as emerging leaders, these workshops are very important for us to understand and exhibit skills that will benefit us in the workplace,” said NCYCC member Fabian Martin-Bryan.

The conference featured a natural resources career panel, a campus tour and job fair, and keynote speakers who touted the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the conservation sector. Additional workshops allowed members to expand on skills ranging from financial literacy to communications, interview etiquette, and best practices for networking. To conclude the conference, more than 20 interns from CTNC’s Emerging Leaders Program and the College of Natural Resources Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program presented their summer projects at an expo attended by conference attendees and their guests.

“The name of the conference definitely speaks for itself and the young adults who attended represented well.” Charles McCall, EDSI Solutions and job fair vendor.

The Emerging Leaders Program fosters future leaders in conservation but it gives all members a truly unique experience in professional development.

DCIP participant Diamond McKoy said, “It brought so much gladness to my heart to see under-represented groups on the panel.”

The conference “provided a great networking opportunity for people on a variety of different educational and age backgrounds.” said Taylor Mebane, one of CTNC’s DCIP participants.

CTNC hired nearly 400 young adults over the past 10 years into paid conservation positions. CTNC and our partners are proud to cultivate and provide support to future conservation leaders.

See more photos from the Emerging Leaders Professional Development Conference on Facebook!


About CTNC’s Emerging Leaders Program

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s Emerging Leaders Program helps connect young people to the outdoors where they can establish a lifelong appreciation for the natural world and an understanding of the critical benefits that land and water conservation provides. Through the Diversity in Conservation Internship ProgramCTNC AmeriCorpsNC Youth Conservation Corps, and Future Leaders of Conservation advisory board, CTNC creates employment pathways by connecting young people to academic studies and careers in conservation.

Watch the video below to learn more about each program.

The Emerging Leaders Professional Development Conference is made possible by a generous grant from the Duke Energy Foundation as part of its focus on environmental education and conservation.

2017 Diversity in Conservation Interns

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina is excited to welcome the 2017 Diversity in Conservation Internship Program participants!

Through this initiative we hope to encourage future conservation leaders by creating employment pathways to careers with land trusts, nonprofits, and government agencies.

This summer marks a tremendous milestone as we celebrate the tenth year and more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students completing the program, while building diversity and equity in the entire conservation movement.

This year’s program was made possible in partnership with CTNC AmeriCorps, the Land Trust Alliance, and the United States Forest Service.

Meet our 2017 Diversity Interns!

Kimani Anderson, Blue Ridge Forever

Kimani Anderson was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Anderson is a rising junior and a student athlete at University of North Carolina – Asheville, majoring in Political Science and Sociology. When not participating in track and field, Anderson serves as a peer mentor, member of the order of Pisgah, a member of the Political Science Club, and a member of the German club. This summer, he will be serving as a communications intern for Blue Ridge Forever.

Genevieve Barnes, NC Coastal Land Trust

Genevieve Barnes, a native of Raleigh, is currently completing her second year of graduate school at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, pursuing a graduate degree in Communication Studies. This summer she will be working with NC Coastal Land Trust as their Marketing and Development Intern. This summer will provide Barnes the opportunity to gain experience in research and writing, while learning about NC coastal communities and conservation.

Gabrielle Benitez, Eno River Association

Gaby Benitez was born and raised in Austin, TX, and moved to Durham to attend Duke University. Graduating in May 2016, Benitez earned dual degrees in Biology and Environmental Science and Policy. She recently completed a Resident Naturalist internship at the University of Georgia’s satellite campus in Monteverde, Costa Rica. This summer she will be working with the Eno River Association as the Education and Outreach Program Assistant, developing summer programming such as the Festival for the Eno and the iWalk Eno summer camp.

Erin Bishop, United States Forest Service

Erin Bishop is a Chapel Hill native graduating from the University of North Carolina-Asheville with a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Management and a minor in Economics. Erin is currently earning her master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Analysis at Appalachian State University researching the California Air Resource Board’s carbon offset compliance program. This summer, Bishop will be working at the United States Forest Service in Washington, DC as their Volunteer and Service Resource Assistant.

Emma Bouie, North Carolina Sea Grant

Emma Bouie was born in Scotch Plains, NJ, and moved to Raleigh when she was ten-years-old. She is currently a senior at East Carolina University earning a B.S. in Geology. This summer Emma will intern with North Carolina Sea Grant, where she will be assisting with coastal landscape restoration. Her responsibilities will include marketing and communicating with plant nurseries and community partners.

Khrystle Bullock, United States Forest Service

Khrystle Bullock is a RAPS Intern at the US Forest Service in Washington DC. She has a background in Public Health and Neuroscience with a concentration in health disparities and health equity. Her passions also include environmental justice, urban planning and infrastructure, and community engagement. She plans to use her experience and talents to connect the relationship between environmental health and public health with the goal to improve human health, especially those from underserved populations. She will be engaging DC youth in the importance of environmental innovations and how to be a good steward in their community.

Melina Casados, Dig In! Yancey Community Garden

Melina Casados, from Lexington, NC, is a rising senior at Elon University where she studies Creative Writing and Communications. She has a passion for healthy living and is excited to be interning with Dig In! Yancey Community Garden this summer. Through her internship, Melina will help address food insecurity and learn about, advocate, and practice sustainable farming. She hopes to gain a better understanding on how to help spread the love for good food within communities.

Aaron Cinque, Piedmont Land Conservancy

Aaron Cinque, who lives on a small farm in Seagrove, NC with his wife, recently graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical States University with a B.S. in Sustainable Land Management. This summer, Aaron will serve as the Communications and Conservation intern with Piedmont Land Conservancy. Cinque will help actively manage land under conservation easement and engage with the greater community to promote land protection and natural resource management.

Tamia Dame, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

Tamia Dame is a native of Lenoir, NC and has been living in Asheville for the last two years. Currently she is a sophomore at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College where she majors in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Management and Policy. This summer she will serve as a Communication, Education, and Outreach Intern with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy dedicated to environmental sustainability and agriculture.

Kenneth Dunn, North Carolina State University

Kenneth Dunn was born and raised in Durham. He recently completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from North Carolina State University and will be pursuing his graduate degree in Forestry this fall. This summer he will work at NC State as a Natural Resources intern, performing forest management and GIS work.

Jendayi Joell, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center

Jendayi Joell was born in Bermuda, and raised between both the island and Winton, NC. She is a senior majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Plant Biology at North Carolina State University. This summer, Joell will serve as the Farm to School to Healthcare Internship at the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center, where she will communicate her knowledge of sustainable and organic farming practices to rural communities.

Khidhar McKenzie, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Khidhar McKenzie lives in Stone Mountain, GA and is a senior at Tuskegee University where he majors in Agricultural Business. This summer he will be working with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as their Conservation Leadership intern at both their Gatlinburg, TN and Asheville, NC offices.

Diamond McKoy, Men and Women United for Youth and Families

Diamond McKoy is a native of Council, NC where she lived until moving to Hope Mills, NC in 2012. She is currently a sophomore at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she is earning a dual major in Business Administration and African American Studies with a minor in Sustainability Studies. This summer she serve as the Youth Ambassadors Summer Program Team Leader with Men and Women United for Youth and Families to provide fresh produce for the community.

Taylor Mebane, United States Forest Service

Taylor Mebane was born in Ft. Hood, TX but has since lived in six other states and one country. Taylor is a recent graduate of North Carolina State University where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Technology and Management. Over the next few months, Taylor will be a Conservation Education Resource Assistant for the US Forest Service in Washington, D.C where she will work on a number of projects and programs geared toward public education of conservation.

Destiny Pratt, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture

Destiny Pratt was born and raised in Bronx, NY. She currently lives in Greensboro, NC and is a sophomore studying Biology with a minor in Chemistry at Appalachian State University. Pratt will be the Local Food Systems Coordinator as the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture working on their CRAFT program alongside the Watauga Food Council and Watauga Seed Library.

Valentina Quintero, Ellerbe Creek Water Association

Valentina Quintero was born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Madison, Alabama. A student at North Carolina State University’s College of Natural Resources, Val studies Environmental Technology and Management with a minor in Renewable Energy Assessment. Quintero will be serving as the Stewardship and Outreach Assistant for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association this summer where she will help organize events.

Jennifer Scott, NCState Historic Preservation Office

Jennifer Scott grew up in Fayetteville, NC, and graduated from Salem College with a B.A. in History and English. She earned a M.A. in Public History at University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where she focused on the histories of underrepresented communities. Jennifer recently completed her M.L.S., with an emphasis on digital libraries, at North Carolina Central University. She is the proud mother of a daughter and twin sons. This summer, Jennifer will intern with the State Historic Preservation Office as the NC Rosenwald Schools Publication Research Assistant.

Guido Shutz, Mainspring Conservation Trust

Guido Schutz was born in Germany, and has also lived in the USA, Mexico, and Argentina. He is currently majoring in Environmental Studies (B.S.) and minoring in Business Administration at Elon University. This summer, he will be working with the Mainspring Conservation Trust doing GIS and Aquatic Biomonitoring work in the Nantahala National Forest.

Chandler Whitfield, Coharie Tribe

Chandler Whitfield grew up in Clinton, NC, and currently attends Fayetteville Technical Community College where he is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice Technology. This summer he will be working with the Coharie Tribe as their Great Coharie River Initiative Project intern.

2017 Diversity in Conservation Interns

Meet our 2017 Interns!

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina is excited to welcome the 2017 Diversity in Conservation Internship Program participants! Through this initiative we hope to encourage future conservation leaders by creating employment pathways to careers with land trusts, nonprofits, and government agencies.

This summer marks a tremendous milestone as we celebrate the tenth year and more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students completing the program, while building diversity and equity in the entire conservation movement.

This year’s program was made possible in partnership with CTNC AmeriCorps, the Land Trust Alliance, and the United States Forest Service.

Kimani Anderson, Blue Ridge Forever

Kimani Anderson was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Anderson is a rising junior and a student athlete at University of North Carolina – Asheville, majoring in Political Science and Sociology. When not participating in track and field, Anderson serves as a peer mentor, member of the order of Pisgah, a member of the Political Science Club, and a member of the German club. This summer, he will be serving as a communications intern for Blue Ridge Forever.

Genevieve Barnes, NC Coastal Land Trust

Genevieve Barnes, a native of Raleigh, is currently completing her second year of graduate school at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, pursuing a graduate degree in Communication Studies. This summer she will be working with NC Coastal Land Trust as their Marketing and Development Intern. This summer will provide Barnes the opportunity to gain experience in research and writing, while learning about NC coastal communities and conservation.

Gabrielle Benitez, Eno River Association

Gaby Benitez was born and raised in Austin, TX, and moved to Durham to attend Duke University. Graduating in May 2016, Benitez earned dual degrees in Biology and Environmental Science and Policy. She recently completed a Resident Naturalist internship at the University of Georgia’s satellite campus in Monteverde, Costa Rica. This summer she will be working with the Eno River Association as the Education and Outreach Program Assistant, developing summer programming such as the Festival for the Eno and the iWalk Eno summer camp.

Erin Bishop, United States Forest Service

Erin Bishop is a Chapel Hill native graduating from the University of North Carolina-Asheville with a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Management and a minor in Economics. Erin is currently earning her master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Analysis at Appalachian State University researching the California Air Resource Board’s carbon offset compliance program. This summer, Bishop will be working at the United States Forest Service in Washington, DC as their Volunteer and Service Resource Assistant.

Emma Bouie, North Carolina Sea Grant

Emma Bouie was born in Scotch Plains, NJ, and moved to Raleigh when she was ten-years-old. She is currently a senior at East Carolina University earning a B.S. in Geology. This summer Emma will intern with North Carolina Sea Grant, where she will be assisting with coastal landscape restoration. Her responsibilities will include marketing and communicating with plant nurseries and community partners.

Khrystle Bullock, United States Forest Service

Khrystle Bullock is a RAPS Intern at the US Forest Service in Washington DC. She has a background in Public Health and Neuroscience with a concentration in health disparities and health equity. Her passions also include environmental justice, urban planning and infrastructure, and community engagement. She plans to use her experience and talents to connect the relationship between environmental health and public health with the goal to improve human health, especially those from underserved populations. She will be engaging DC youth in the importance of environmental innovations and how to be a good steward in their community.

Melina Casados, Dig In! Yancey Community Garden

Melina Casados, from Lexington, NC, is a rising senior at Elon University where she studies Creative Writing and Communications. She has a passion for healthy living and is excited to be interning with Dig In! Yancey Community Garden this summer. Through her internship, Melina will help address food insecurity and learn about, advocate, and practice sustainable farming. She hopes to gain a better understanding on how to help spread the love for good food within communities.

Aaron Cinque, Piedmont Land Conservancy

Aaron Cinque, who lives on a small farm in Seagrove, NC with his wife, recently graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical States University with a B.S. in Sustainable Land Management. This summer, Aaron will serve as the Communications and Conservation intern with Piedmont Land Conservancy. Cinque will help actively manage land under conservation easement and engage with the greater community to promote land protection and natural resource management.

Tamia Dame, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

Tamia Dame is a native of Lenoir, NC and has been living in Asheville for the last two years. Currently she is a sophomore at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College where she majors in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Management and Policy. This summer she will serve as a Communication, Education, and Outreach Intern with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy dedicated to environmental sustainability and agriculture.

Kenneth Dunn, North Carolina State University

Kenneth Dunn was born and raised in Durham. He recently completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from North Carolina State University and will be pursuing his graduate degree in Forestry this fall. This summer he will work at NC State as a Natural Resources intern, performing forest management and GIS work.

Jendayi Joell, Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center

Jendayi Joell was born in Bermuda, and raised between both the island and Winton, NC. She is a senior majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Plant Biology at North Carolina State University. This summer, Joell will serve as the Farm to School to Healthcare Internship at the Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center, where she will communicate her knowledge of sustainable and organic farming practices to rural communities.

Khidhar McKenzie, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Khidhar McKenzie lives in Stone Mountain, GA and is a senior at Tuskegee University where he majors in Agricultural Business. This summer he will be working with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as their Conservation Leadership intern at both their Gatlinburg, TN and Asheville, NC offices.

Diamond McKoy, Men and Women United for Youth and Families

Diamond McKoy is a native of Council, NC where she lived until moving to Hope Mills, NC in 2012. She is currently a sophomore at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she is earning a dual major in Business Administration and African American Studies with a minor in Sustainability Studies. This summer she serve as the Youth Ambassadors Summer Program Team Leader with Men and Women United for Youth and Families to provide fresh produce for the community.

Taylor Mebane, United States Forest Service

Taylor Mebane was born in Ft. Hood, TX but has since lived in six other states and one country. Taylor is a recent graduate of North Carolina State University where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Technology and Management. Over the next few months, Taylor will be a Conservation Education Resource Assistant for the US Forest Service in Washington, D.C where she will work on a number of projects and programs geared toward public education of conservation.

Destiny Pratt, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture

Destiny Pratt was born and raised in Bronx, NY. She currently lives in Greensboro, NC and is a sophomore studying Biology with a minor in Chemistry at Appalachian State University. Pratt will be the Local Food Systems Coordinator as the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture working on their CRAFT program alongside the Watauga Food Council and Watauga Seed Library.

Valentina Quintero, Ellerbe Creek Water Association

Valentina Quintero was born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Madison, Alabama. A student at North Carolina State University’s College of Natural Resources, Val studies Environmental Technology and Management with a minor in Renewable Energy Assessment. Quintero will be serving as the Stewardship and Outreach Assistant for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association this summer where she will help organize events.

Jennifer Scott, NCState Historic Preservation Office

Jennifer Scott grew up in Fayetteville, NC, and graduated from Salem College with a B.A. in History and English. She earned a M.A. in Public History at University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where she focused on the histories of underrepresented communities. Jennifer recently completed her M.L.S., with an emphasis on digital libraries, at North Carolina Central University. She is the proud mother of a daughter and twin sons. This summer, Jennifer will intern with the State Historic Preservation Office as the NC Rosenwald Schools Publication Research Assistant.

Guido Shutz, Mainspring Conservation Trust

Guido Schutz was born in Germany, and has also lived in the USA, Mexico, and Argentina. He is currently majoring in Environmental Studies (B.S.) and minoring in Business Administration at Elon University. This summer, he will be working with the Mainspring Conservation Trust doing GIS and Aquatic Biomonitoring work in the Nantahala National Forest.

Chandler Whitfield, Coharie Tribe

Chandler Whitfield grew up in Clinton, NC, and currently attends Fayetteville Technical Community College where he is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice Technology. This summer he will be working with the Coharie Tribe as their Great Coharie River Initiative Project intern.

CTNC AmeriCorps Year 2 – The Numbers Are In!

AmeriCorps and national service programs unite people of all backgrounds, offering a transformative opportunity, and bringing unprecedented skills and willpower to solve local problems. AmeriCorps is essential to North Carolina’s positive quality of life.

CTNC AmeriCorps recently completed Year 2 (2015-2016) of our AmeriCorps program, which seeks to reconnect people with the outdoors and to develop future leaders in conservation.

See what our 21 members achieved in the past 10 months!

  • Served 30,898 children and adults in environmental education
  • Recruited and managed 3,472 volunteers totaling 8,167 volunteer hours
  • Volunteer hours equated to a $192,408 donation of services to North Carolina communities

These members exceeded expectation – greatly expanding the number of individuals who showed an increase in knowledge of environmental issues. And AmeriCorps host sites achieved greater organizational capacity on volunteer management best practices because AmeriCorps members utilized volunteers in their programs.

Our members’ work spanned rural and urban communities reaching residents in 38 counties from Sylva to Durham to Manteo. Focused on environmental education and outreach, our AmeriCorps members develop service projects that help remove barriers to environmental education throughout North Carolina, as well as help expand the diversity of backgrounds among conservation leaders in the state.

AmeriCorps works!

In 2017, CTNC launched Year 3 of the AmeriCorps service program. Meet our 2017 AmeriCorps members!  

2017 AmeriCorps Members

The Conservation Trust for North Carolina is the proud host organization for AmeriCorps, a ten-month national service program in environmental education and outreach. Through AmeriCorps, CTNC seeks to reconnect people with the outdoors and to develop future leaders in conservation. Learn more.

Chris Sajdak
Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association

Chris Sajdak is ECWA’s new AmeriCorps Service Member. He is a Michigan native coming to Durham by way of Indiana. He earned a B.A. in Geography – GIS from Indiana University and assisted in research in both food sustainability and dendroclimatology. While in school, Chris worked as a trip leader both at his University and at a summer camp, leading children and adults on extended backpacking, canoeing, and rock climbing trips around the country. During his service, Chris will be providing environmental education to the areas within the Ellerbe Creek watershed, in addition to working with event planning, outreach, and as general support for ECWA.

Paige Engelbrektsson
Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust

Paige is serving her second term as the Environmental Education and Stewardship AmeriCorps member with Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. She is a Virginia native and graduated in 2012 earning a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary. Since then, she has put her degree to good use ranging across the country to work in environmental education. In addition to assisting with HCLT’s Kids in Nature programs, she is continuing to build new public trails and strengthen a ranger program to educate visitors. She spends any free time making music and crafts, riding horses, and exploring wild spaces.

Monica Ospina
Keep Durham Beautiful

Monica is serving as the Environmental Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at Keep Durham Beautiful. She was born in Colombia and raised in Miami, FL. Monica earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Florida International University. Monica assisted Florida International University’s School of Environment, Arts and Society educating the public on environmental issues. She is eager to inspire North Carolina residents to become passionate about their environment. Monica loves to swim, hike, dance, read, and eat chocolate.

Lindsey Bijas
Piedmont Triad Regional Council

Lindsey is serving as an Environmental Educator at Piedmont Triad Regional Council, based in Kernersville, NC. She was born and raised in Middletown, New Jersey, and remained there to earn her Associate degree before transferring to Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk. She graduated in May 2016 with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology with a concentration in Wildlife Rehabilitation. As much as she loved home, “the mountains were calling”, and she had to pursue her dreams. She recently completed a six-month internship with Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a vegetation inventory and monitoring intern. While she loves doing research and work in the field, she also enjoys educating others about the environment and how they can make a difference. During her service, Lindsey will be educating students about a Stormwater SMART program, coordinating outreach opportunities, and getting involved with local communities to help keep their water clean and healthy. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking (especially with her dog, Sandy), rock climbing, running, horseback riding, and exploring new places.

Bethany Sheffer
Balsam Mountain Trust

Bethany earned her B.A. in Public Administration and Liberal Studies: Social and Political Development in Latin America and a minor in Spanish from Grand Valley State University located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She earned her Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Leadership in 2016. A native to the forested lands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, she grew up exploring nearby creeks and catching crayfish in the tiny town of Rapid River. These experiences, paired with her father’s enthusiasm for the outdoors, instilled a lifelong appreciation of the natural world. Bethany is thrilled to be serving at Balsam Mountain Trust where she hopes to not only contribute her nonprofit expertise but gain quality experience sharing the wonders of the natural world with underserved populations in Western NC, She relishes every moment outdoors in the mountains and enjoys hiking, biking, drawing, traveling and hanging out with her two cockatiels in her free time.

Matthew Lide
North Carolina Coastal Land Trust

Matt is serving coastal North Carolina communities as an Environmental Education Coordinator with the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, based in Wilmington. Originally from rural, forested South Carolina, Matt has been passionate about nature his entire life. He recently graduated from Duke University, earning his B.S. degree in Environmental Sciences, with accompanying minors in Biology and Psychology. During his time at Duke, Matt worked as a research assistant in a plant biology lab and also interned at an environmental nonprofit in Portland, restoring riparian corridors in Oregon’s biggest city. At North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, Matt will develop education materials focused on longleaf pine forests, pollinators, and Venus fly-traps. He will also recruit and manage volunteers, in addition to coordinating teacher and volunteer workshops. In his spare time, Matt enjoys running, hiking, tennis, and caring for his three guinea pigs.

Travis Bordley
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

Travis is serving local communities in Western North Carolina as the Roan Highlands Volunteer and Outreach Associate with Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC). Travis is a recent graduate from UNC-Asheville where he earned his B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Ecology. As a hobby, he is a photojournalist and previously interned with SAHC creating short films to inspire support of their conservation efforts. Travis grew up exploring the Highlands of Roan and is now in a position to inspire others to find the same joy and amazement in the places he loves. In this Americorps position, he will recruit and educate volunteers from diverse communities. Travis will be conducting on-the-ground habitat restoration projects in the Roan Highlands. He also will help build on partnerships with The Center for Diversity and Education, Everybody’s Environment, and other new organizations. Travis enjoys hiking, swimming, fishing, climbing, boating, photography, painting, reading, and just being outside! In his free time, he is always plotting his next photography outing.

Kelsey Ellis
Triangle Land Conservancy

Kelsey is serving as Community Education and Outreach Associate with the Triangle Land Conservancy in Durham. She became interested in the environment as an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated with a B.S in Environmental Science in 2013. Kelsey pursued her interest in the environment through scientific research, obtaining an M.S in Marine Science from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015. However, a desire to share her love of nature more directly led Kelsey to branch outside of the lab (and the ocean), and she has since worked as a Science Communication Intern for an aquatic sciences society, Duke TIP Marine Biology Instructor, and state parks Environmental Educator. In this Americorps position, Kelsey will help TLC expand their reach into the neighborhoods surrounding their preserves through educational programming, outreach, and volunteer coordination. When not wandering around outdoors, Kelsey enjoys cooking, drawing, and relaxing with a good book.

Samantha Metzner 
Durham Public Schools Hub Farm

Samantha is serving as the Outreach and Education Coordinator with Durham Public Schools Hub Farm. Originally from the outskirts of Chapel Hill, NC, Samantha grew up adventuring in the woods with her sister and medley of dogs, horses, and ducks. She holds a deep passion for the outdoors and greatly enjoys getting kids outside and engaged with nature. After graduating with a B.A in Art from Guilford College in Greensboro, she lived in places such as Iceland and Wyoming guiding horse tours in the mountains and working at an outdoor adventure camp for kids with ADHD. She also holds a 200-hour yoga teacher training certificate and greatly enjoys teaching in Chapel Hill on the side. Still involved in art-making, she also loves hanging out with horses and rock-climbing whenever possible.

Carey Goldman
University of North Carolina Wilmington – MarineQuest

Carey is serving as the Project Ocean Change Coordinator for the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s MarineQuest Program. He grew up in Boston and graduated from the University of Maryland earning a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy – Marine and Coastal Management. He then went abroad to attend the University of Oxford where he received his Master of Science in Water Science, Policy and Management. Carey has long aspired to work with the ocean, his first passion, and strongly believes in using an interdisciplinary approach to effectively manage coastal resources. His role is to expand MarineQuest’s ability to reach underserved populations in Southeast North Carolina, focusing on climate and ocean literacy. Through bringing educational programs to schools and developing resources for educators, Carey’s work will fill critical gaps in students’ knowledge regarding their surroundings and interconnected relationships between society, the ocean, and the atmosphere. He has been an intern with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and The Anacostia Watershed Society. Carey can always be found near the water enjoying hobbies such as scuba diving or sailing. He is excited to apply his interdisciplinary background and passion for the coasts to help foster the next generation of climate and ocean stewards.

Jesse Crouch
Alliance Medical Ministry

Jesse is serving as the Community Garden and Wellness Program Coordinator with Alliance Medical Ministry in Raleigh. A North Carolina native, Jesse discovered an enthusiasm for the German language in high school. After two trips to Germany and four years of close study of its rich literature, film, and philosophy, Jesse felt called to a greater purpose and sought to escape the existential dread through service. He spent some time in nature serving on a trail crew with the Southwest Conservation Corps. Jesse then served two terms with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. During these years, Jesse fell in love with vegetable gardening and the awesome power food has to enrich lives and combat poverty and public health issues. He is thrilled now to be working at the forefront of this intersection of food and health by serving with Alliance. There, Jesse manages a quarter-acre vegetable garden providing healthy foods to patients that visit the clinic. In addition to the garden, he coordinates yoga, cooking classes, diabetes education, and other opportunities that give patients the tools to take control of their health. In his free time Jesse enjoys fixing up and riding bicycles, coaching and playing Ultimate Frisbee, playing guitar, and hanging out with his nieces and nephews.

Michael McClure
Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE)

Michael is serving as the Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at Foothills Nature Equestrian Center (FENCE) in Tryon, NC. He is a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where he studied energy and sustainability to earn a B.A. in Environmental Studies. While in school, Michael spent a summer with the North Carolina Youth Conservation Corps working to improve state parks across eastern North Carolina. In Chapel Hill, he worked at UNC’s Battle Park to maintain trails and remove invasive species. A native of Tryon, Michael is excited to work in his home community to help FENCE in their mission of educating students and others about the environment. In his spare time, Michael likes to get outdoors to hike and improve his disc golf game.

Kate Conery 
North Carolina Coastal Federation

Kate is serving at the North Carolina Coastal Federation in Wrightsville Beach, NC, as the Coastal Community Engagement Specialist. She’s originally from the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York but moved to Wilmington in 2012. She earned a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science and minor in geospatial technologies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. As a former intern of the Federation, Kate was thrilled to come on board as an Americorps member. She will be designing and implementing education programs, working on oyster restoration and stormwater runoff initiatives, and working with volunteers in coastal communities. She also previously interned for the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. Through these opportunities, she was able to share her love of the environment with others. In her free time, Kate enjoys hiking, traveling, yoga, and playing with her dogs.

April Hausle
North Carolina Arboretum

April is serving as Community Outreach Coordinator at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, NC. Growing up in North Carolina, April was always taught by her family and community to cherish nature and time spent outdoors. She believes that educational experiences in nature should be available for all people, and strives to make that possible through her position as a CTNC AmeriCorps Member. April received her Bachelor’s degree from UNC Asheville, where she studied International Studies, Spanish and Ecology. During her time at UNC Asheville, April managed a community garden on campus and interned at Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). Since graduating in 2015, April has stayed active in the community by participating in a volunteer ESL program through International House in Charlotte, NC, and engaging in various community gardening efforts. In her leisure time, April enjoys running or walking in the forest, riding her bike, singing, making crafts, dancing, and being with all the people she loves.

Madison Douthitt
North Carolina Coastal Federation

Madison, a native of North Carolina, is serving as a coastal community engagement specialist at the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Wanchese office. Her childhood summers were filled in beach trips which fostered her passion for conservation and ecology. Madison graduated with a Bachelor of Science in zoology and a minor in Spanish from North Carolina State University. She is excited to have the opportunity to educate and engage local communities and hopes to inspire others to get outside and be stewards in their communities. Madison’s free time is spent hiking and exploring new places.

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