fbpx

Conserving Whole Communities

CTNC partners with local leaders and nonprofits to create positive change in Princeville 

In 1885, a group of formerly enslaved African-Americans claimed a portion of land in Edgecombe County as their own. It was a somewhat swampy space next to the Tar River that had been largely ignored by their white neighbors. They were a people largely unwelcomed in the county seat of Tarboro, which lay just across the water. The area, now called Princeville, N.C. after a respected freed slave named Turner Prince, became the first town in the U.S. to be incorporated by African Americans. 

The space that African Americans called “Freedom Hill, little more than 1.5 square miles in size, has rightfully obtained a monumental place in the African American cultural memory. But this largely overlooked parcel has experienced two 100-year floods in the last 17 years. The strength of hurricanes Floyd (in 1999) and Matthew (in 2016) caused the Tar River to overflow into Princeville homes, business and community centers. 

The damage caused, and community members displaced, serve as a reminder of racism and inequality that permeates the heritage of North Carolina land and stretches back to the town’s founding more than 130 years ago.

Where Climate, Community and Equity Intersect

Community Development Initiative Tyran Hill discusses how organizations can find common ground to address communities’ needs.

Our work focuses on conserving land that will help communities adapt to a changing climate, seeding equity and inclusion throughout conservation, and working alongside communities to identify where conservation can meet their greatest needs. Each of our guiding priorities intersects within the town of Princeville. 

Chris Canfield, left, and Jamilla Hawkins, right

“We commit ourselves to leading with questions before answers, and to working alongside neighbors often given no voice in decisions affecting them.”

— Jamilla Hawkins, Vice Chair of CTNC’s Board of Directors and Chris Canfield, Executive Director of CTNC//

Through the Common Ground collaborative, Conservation Trust will partner with the NC Community Development Initiative and The Conservation Fund to work alongside the Town of Princeville and its people to plan for and eventually deliver smart land conservation.  These efforts must be paired with larger community-driven initiatives aimed at bringing true restoration and resilience to the community. 

By conserving land along this stretch of the Tar River, we can restore some of the natural floodplain of the region. That can help absorb water during flood events that might otherwise inundate homes and businesses.  

We must deliver land conservation in ways that honor the past of Princeville while strengthening its future. We will continually advocate for land access and inclusion and grow our understanding of existing injustices within the conservation sector. And we will support work that further develops the economic, social and cultural assets of the community.

Climate change is sadly inevitable, and the effects of climate change and extreme weather events will continue to impact Princeville and its people.

But Princeville is also a place with deep resilience among the people themselves. We promise to work beside and behind our Princeville neighbors with respect, humility and a willingness to learn. Because each time the water rises in Princeville, it meets a courageous group of people that calls the land “home.” 

Partnerships and collaboration like this emerging one in Princeville can create transformative change to promote a more just and resilient future for all North Carolinians.

A New Vision for Conservation

Our land is facing new threats.

It’s time to offer new solutions. 

From the Blue Ridge Parkway to the eastern coast of our amazing state, the Conservation Trust is working alongside communities to conserve land in ways that build resilient, just communities throughout North Carolina. 

We are committed to finding land-saving solutions that benefit all people. 

We need you to join us.

A bold new approach 

CTNC has developed a courageous new vision for conservation that is powered by the people of our state. Our work now focuses on addressing communities’ greatest needs: climate resilience in a changing state, conservation that is led by communities, and seeding an equitable sector that benefits all people regardless of race or economic status. 

CLIMATE: Climate change has increased the ferocity of extreme weather events like floods, mudslides, and fires, but it has also increased our drive to combat those effects. Our climate resilience strategy mitigates the effects of climate change by conserving land in North Carolina’s most vulnerable spaces.

EQUITY: CTNC is dedicated to seeding racial equality throughout every project, every investment, and every hire. Because all North Carolinians, regardless of race, should share in the benefits of healthy land. 

COMMUNITY: What does success look like? At the end of the day, saving land should help communities thrive. Securing more funding and support for land protection will strengthen the health, heritage, and economic ecosystems for all our communities. 

We need you 

Our conservation work needs to be relevant to the times we live in, meaningful to the people we work with, and effective for the future. We’re building a conservation movement powered by the people of North Carolina.

This new journey begins with you.

Will you join us?

Asheville Riverside Park

An Equitable Vision for Conservation

CTNC strives to seed equity and inclusion throughout the conservation community 

We’re born on the land. Eat food grown in it.  Drink water that flows over it. Build our communities within its hills, valleys, plains and rivers. There’s not a single aspect of our lives that’s not touched by land.

While land connects us all, it has also been used historically to separate us. Entire communities of people – especially people of color – have been intentionally displaced and excluded. That shared history of inequity means that collectively our conservation work does not benefit all people as we intend it to. 

If CTNC is to be successful building resilient, just communities, we must emphasize how racial equity can be seeded throughout our work.

From Diversity to Equity

For over a decade, we have focused on increasing the racial diversity within the conservation sector of North Carolina through the Diversity In Conservation Internship Program. The program was founded to create a pathway for rising leaders of color to find careers in conservation. Our work has not only connected many young people of color with a professional conservation network, it has also helped organizations understand their own role in promoting race equity in their culture and practice. 

“It’s really important for us to build these connections for youth of color in conservation because there isn’t a network like there is for other populations in conservation.”

Dawn Chávez, Asheville GreenWorks 

We all benefit from greater inclusion. 

While CTNC is proud of the strides made over the past decade, our collective history and the current state of conservation indicate that there’s still so much to be done. Our work must not only create pathways to employment for rising leaders of color, but also change our culture and practices. We must honor the stories of black, indigenous and other people of color who have felt the loss of access to productive land for living, farming and for preserving their heritage. 

CTNC understands that the historical legacy of conservation must be acknowledged in order to build more resilient, equitable communities for the future.

The stakes are high.

A conservation movement powered by people must include all people, not just those who have traditionally been seated at the head of the table. That’s why CTNC is committed to promoting equity through our work. Our vision is for all communities, regardless of race or economic status, to have a seat at the table.

Conserving land can be one facet of a larger effort to protect the stories, natural, and cultural heritage of historically marginalized communities across the state. 

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 U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C. 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 D.C. 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 Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in Asheville, taking classes to complete her degree in environmental management and policy at UNC-Asheville. Raised in rural Lenoir, N.C, 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 workdays 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, N.C. She is a recent graduate of North Carolina State University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree 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 U.S. citizens, Elias lived in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania for 18 years before coming to Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. 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 area’s goals of a healthy sustainable food system.”

Tyler Potts
Conserving Carolina

Born in Akron, O.H., 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 undergraduate team and 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, it’s usually guitar. I would love to one-day practice environmental law or family law!”

Chandler Whitfield
Coharie Tribe

Chandler Whitfield grew up in Clinton, N.C., 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 attended.

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 10-month national service program in environmental education and outreach. This program, along with CTNC’s N.C. 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.

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 N.C. Youth Conservation Corps (NCYCC), Diversity in Conservation Internship Program (DCIP) and CTNC AmeriCorps members concluded their experience, CTNC partnered with the N.C. 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 Program, CTNC AmeriCorpsN.C. 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.

2016 Diversity in Conservation Interns

CTNC Diversity Internship Program welcomes its next cohort.

Each year, the Conservation Trust for North Carolina supports promising future conservation leaders in paid summer internship positions at organization across North Carolina through our Diversity in Conservation Internship Program. This year’s program was made possible in partnership with AmeriCorps, the Land Trust Alliance, the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, UNC-Asheville’s Center for Diversity Education and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.


Dia Adams
LandTrust for Central North Carolina 

Dia Adams was born in Manhattan, N.Y, and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dia graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a B.S in animal science. As an undergraduate, Dia was vice president and then president of Swing Phi Swing Phi Social Fellowship, Incorporated, an organization committed to affecting social change, supporting women in need of growth and promoting higher intelligence as they develop true sisterhood. This summer she will serve as the environmental education & outreach intern for the LandTrust for Central North Carolina.  In this position, she will connect with community members or all stripes and lead groups of middle school youth in field conservation, restoration ecology and environmental education programs.

Genevieve Barnes
N.C. State Historic Preservation Office
Genevieve Barnes, a native of Raleigh, N.C., just completed her first year of graduate school at UNC-Greensboro. She is currently pursuing her graduate degree in communication studies. This summer she will work at the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office as the Rosenwald School intern. This internship will provide Genevieve the opportunity to assist historic preservation consultants in the preparation of National Register of Historic Places nominations for various Rosenwald Schools. As a Rosenwald intern, she hopes to learn more about working with organizations that seek to help primary and secondary institutions preserve their historical architecture.

Erin Bishop
U.S. Forest Service

Erin was born and raised in Chapel Hill, N.C., and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.S. in environmental policy and management and a minor in economics. Erin’s interest in land use management began while interning for RiverLink, a nonprofit in Asheville, N.C., that works to protect the French Broad River and its tributaries using conservation easements. As a result, Erin realized that she wanted to pursue a career in land use management, and hopes to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to earn a master’s degree in land use and environmental planning. This summer, Erin will be the special uses specialist intern for the USDA Forest Service where she will assist in preparing and evaluating land use authorization proposals, in addition to monitoring their compliance.

Kenneth Dunn
Center for Human-Earth Restoration

Kenneth Dunn, Jr., of Durham, N.C. currently attends N.C. State University where he is pursuing a degree in environmental sciences with a minor in applied ecology. He has an associate’s degree in agriculture and is a member of Sigma Alpha Pi and Dau Tau Alpha fraternities. Kenneth works at the UNC Kenan-Flager Business School as a conference service assistant and at Duke basketball camps as a counselor. As the field educator intern with the Center for Human-Earth Restoration Conservation, Kenneth will help elementary and middle school kids understand the importance of nature and how it impacts every aspect of their lives.

Troy Hillian
Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

Troy M. Hillian is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he is a second-year student in the broadcasting and production technologies program at Forsyth Technical Community College. Troy enjoys cooking on the grill and going fishing. This summer, Troy will assist Music Program Director Richard Emmett at the Blue Ridge Foundation, where he will manage ticket distribution, and coordination, reach out to regional blues/bluegrass/folk organizations and assist with marketing.  Troy will also manage weekend concert set up, production and operations at the Blue Ridge Music Center and other venues throughout the region.

Olivia Jackson
The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities Program

Olivia was born in New Jersey but raised in Durham, North Carolina. She is in her last semester before graduating with her associate’s degree in photojournalism. Olivia dreams of documenting not only rural North Carolina but also places all over the world.  This summer Olivia will serve as a photojournalism intern for The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities program. She will be traveling all over the state to capture images of innovative community and conservation projects. Her work will help raise awareness of “triple bottom line” efforts and will support communities with much-needed materials to tell their stories.

Emily Johnson
National Park Service- Blue Ridge Parkway

Emily Johnson was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina when she was 11 years old. She currently attends North Carolina State University as a psychology and Spanish double major and will begin her junior year in the fall. She will work with the Blue Ridge Parkway this summer as the social media and community outreach intern in Asheville. Emily is excited to gain experience writing press releases, creating creative social media posts that showcase the parkway and continuing her work as a self-starter.

Sa’Metria Jones
Blue Ridge Forever

Sa’Metria Jones was born in Hampton, Virginia and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. She then attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Sa’Metria received her Bachelor of Arts in political science in May 2014 and started at the University of North Carolina School of Law in August of the same year. As a rising third-year who is currently undecided about what type of law she wants to practice, Sa’Metria is excited to gain exposure in environmental law this summer as the legal intern for Blue Ridge Forever. As a legal intern, Sa’Metria will research and address legal issues concerning conservation and land trust and the impact those issues will have on those who live in the affected area.

Samantha Liu
N.C. Coastal Land Trust

Yinan Liu (Samantha) is originally from a “small” city, with a population of seven million, called Tangshan in Northern China. She is a rising second-year student at Wake Forest University School of Law. This summer, she will intern with North Carolina Coastal Land Trust where she will work as a legal intern and assist with land acquisitions, conservation easements and legal researches on issues that arise from the ownership and management of land. She is excited to learn about the land conservation practices in the U.S. as well as to offer her knowledge of the law to assist North Carolina Coastal Land Trust in addressing its mission.

Trequan McGee
Wilson Botanical Garden

Tre is a rising senior at North Carolina A&T State University studying urban and community horticulture. This past year he served as president of the Collegiate FFA and N.C. Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Chapter in addition to several other leadership positions within the school of agriculture and environmental sciences. This summer he plans to educate 4H members in Wilson County about soil and plant health through the Junior Master Gardeners Program, which he will be instructing.

Taylor Mebane
Sandhills Family Heritage Association

Taylor Mebane was born in Ft. Hood, Texas but has since lived in six other states and one other country. She is currently in Fayetteville, N.C. Taylor is a senior studying environmental technology and management within the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University. She is an active ambassador of the College of Natural Resources and leads the Committee for Diversity, which works toward creating an open, diverse community in the College of Natural Resources. Over the next few months, Taylor will be a native plant trail intern with the Sandhills Family Heritage Association where she will help manage the trail and well as assist facilitating community outreach programs.

Natriefia Miller
Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Natrieifia Miller is from the small town of Dunn, North Carolina. She moved to Asheville seeking a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. Originally striving to become a veterinarian, Natrieifia’s goals changed while taking an animal behavior course. There she discovered a passion for being outside, as well as an interest in conservation efforts. With her summer position as Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) leadership intern, Natrieifia will be working to “broaden relevancy” of the trail. By compiling web-based video training resources of trail management and maintenance best-practices as well as conducting listening sessions, she hopes not only to promote interest in the trail to a broader audience but also inspire that new generation of people to value and steward the trail well into our future.

Avery Olearczyk
Catawba Lands Conservancy & The Carolina Thread Trail

Avery Olearczyk, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, graduated from Guilford College with double bachelor’s degrees in biology and environmental studies, and a minor in economics. Avery has completed fieldwork and independent research with the School for Field Studies in Queensland, Australia, and with the Audubon Center of the Northwoods in Sandstone, Minnesota. Avery is passionate about ecology, conservation biology and sustainability, and hopes to explore these areas through this position. She is excited to photograph and document The Carolina Thread Trail and aims to support local community connections to the natural environment. Avery will begin post-baccalaureate work at UNC-Charlotte this fall to continue her love of learning.

Damein Parker
Eno River Association

Damien Parker was raised in Wilson, North Carolina and is currently a senior at North Carolina State University where he studies environmental science with a concentration in applied ecology and forest conservation. This summer, he will be working with Eno River Association in preparation of their yearly Festival of the Eno. Damien hopes to gain knowledge on how conservation information is relayed to the public and how this connection affects people’s views of our natural systems and resources.

Alexa Wright
Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association

Alexa Wright was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated from Oberlin College in May of 2014 with a B.A. in biology. She currently attends North Carolina State University and is finishing her master’s degree in horticultural science. This summer, Alexa will intern with the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, where she will assist with stewardship and outreach. By expanding community involvement and assisting with creek management, she hopes to preserve the creek and increase environmental awareness in the watershed area.

Aranda “Randee” Young
U.S. Forest Service

Aranda “Randee” Young hails from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. As a native of Hilton Head Island, she is a seventh-generation islander with roots in Gullah culture. Randee graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in business administration, double majoring in marketing and real estate with a minor in women’s studies. Randee recently graduated from North Carolina Central University School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree on May 13, 2016. While at North Carolina Central University, Randee also received a Master of Business Administration. She will begin a Master of Laws (L.L.M.) program at the Washington University School of Law located in St. Louis, Missouri. This summer she will be working with the USDA Forest Service as a land adjustment specialist resource assistant. Randee plans on combining her legal expertise with the knowledge gained this summer to help people in her native South Carolina with heirs’ property disputes.

Emily Zucker
Coharie Intra-Tribal Council

Emily is originally from Winchester, Virginia and currently attends North Carolina State University studying mathematics and statistics. Emily will be working with the Coharie tribe this summer in Clinton, N.C. The Coharie tribe is currently undergoing a project called the Great Coharie River Initiative (GCRI). They are cleaning out their river, which is primarily blocked with beaver dams and large foliage, in order to allow access for fishing, kayaking and other recreational activities. Emily will be assisting in this project by coordinating protection plans for the river and creating a business model for future economic development of the river cleaning volunteers.

A Legacy of Rosenwald Schools

Connecting Natural and Cultural Heritage

In the first half of the 20th century, an African-American leader and a white philanthropist took steps to provide black children with a basic resource needed to learn: sturdy schoolhouses.

Booker T. Washington sought the help of Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears Roebuck, to build schools throughout the South, based on a simple, practical design that made the most of limited resources. Rosenwald’s grants were matched with funds raised by local school boards and the communities the schools would serve. More than 5,300 Rosenwald Schools were built in 15 states. North Carolina had more than 800 – more than any other state.

Now, only a handful remain. Some have been restored for use as historic sites or community centers. Others are still standing, but in desperate need of repair before they can again serve as a gathering place for their communities.

In partnership with the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office and the NC African American Heritage Commission, CTNC supports the NC Rosenwald School Network, a group that connects local Rosenwald School groups so that they can share resources and the lessons they’ve learned to bring school grounds and buildings back to life.

At a recent Rosenwald School event hosted by Roanoke River Partners (a member of the Rosenwald School Network), Congressman G.K. Butterfield traced the legacy of Rosenwald Schools in North Carolina to a 1910 meeting between Booker T. Washington and black educators during his train tour of the state.

Categories