AmeriCorps Spotlight: Emily Taylor

Emily Taylor teaches future generations about Western NC species and how to protect them.

A graduate of Iowa State University, Emily applies her studies in Biology and Environmental Science to teach students about nature conservation. She serves as Education Outreach Coordinator for Balsam Mountain Trust in Sylva with Resilience Corps NC. Her main focus: collaborating with different local communities and nature-based organizations to provide accessible, quality conservation education.

Emily creates, improves, and teaches environmental science programs to Title I schools, public libraries and other community groups with help from live animal ambassadors. She showcases incredible species of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains like hawks, snakes, turtles and more! Her favorite part about the job is working with the animals and showing them to elementary school students.

Thanks to her time at the Trust, she’s learning to have patience in others and believe in her decision-making skills. From Executive Director to Laundry Volunteer, Emily gained an appreciation for the way everyone pitches in to work toward Balsam Mountain Trust’s mission. “You wear many hats,” says Emily.

Expanding conservation in communities isn’t one-size fits all. By paying attention to how people communicate, she customizes how she shares lessons for all students. “You meet a lot of different kinds of folks, and we have to come up with several ways to disperse the same information. It requires a lot of thought and body language reading,” says Emily.

Beyond AmeriCorps, Emily hopes to continue work in Haywood County at zoo facilities like the Western North Carolina Nature Center. We’re looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for her!

Invest in Conservation for North Carolina’s Future

Our state’s conservation needs are not one-and-done. CTNC and our fellow members of the Land for Tomorrow coalition are working with state leaders to build on the foundation of conservation funding. Every generation deserves to have healthy functioning land and water that are not only beautiful but also provide clean air and water.

We commend our governor and legislators for passing a budget in 2021 that prioritized land and water conservation. Our state leaders put our parks, game lands, forests, trails, and farms at the top of the priority list and we are thankful for that. This historic spending allocation was the highest since the 2008 recession and will benefit people and nature for generations to come.

Land and water are North Carolina’s most important economic assets. The four engines of North Carolina’s economy – agriculture, tourism, forestry, and the military – depend on natural and working lands and clean water. Protecting these vital natural resources is essential to ensure these economic drivers will continue to flourish and provide jobs for North Carolinians.

Our state’s conservation trust funds ensure that the North Carolina Land and Water Trust Fund (NCLWF), Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) are fully funded to be the safeguards for our state. These funds enable conservation groups to continue working with state agencies to protect North Carolina’s valuable natural resources, ensuring that both current and future generations will continue to benefit from all our land has to offer.

In 2022, we are asking for our legislators to invest in our state’s future. With necessary increases in funding to the conservation trust funds, we will all be able to protect our state’s clean water, parks and recreation land, and farmland. Our state legislators alone determine the fate of the conservation trust funds and important legislation that helps our state thrive. Forward planning is what we’re asking for today.

Land and Water Fund
Increase recurring funds to:

  • $25 million recurring in FY22-23
  • $35 million recurring in FY23-24
  • $45 million recurring in FY24-25

Parks and Recreation Trust Fund
Increase recurring funds to:

  • $25 million recurring in FY22-23
  • $35 million recurring in FY23-24
  • $45 million recurring in FY24-25

Additional Funding for Conservation Projects
Non-recurring funds to LWF for military projects and to help match the FY 2023 ENC Sentinel Landscape REPI Challenge proposal to the US Dept of Defense

Heirs Property
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports HB 367/S363, Uniform Partition of Heirs Property

Conservation Tax Credit
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports H323, Military Readiness and Rural Resilience Act

Restore Dedicated Conservation Funding
Adopt House Bill 372/Senate Bill 354 “Restore Funding/State Conservation Purposes”

Trails Funding
Land for Tomorrow support recommendations from the Great Trails State Coalition

State Parks
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports recurring funds to NC State Parks to open & operate new facilities and land funded by the Connect NC Bond, PARTF stateside LWCF and other sources as recommended by the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources

Game Lands
The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports recurring funds to NC Wildlife Resources Commission to manage new and expanded game lands as recommended by the WRC

The Land for Tomorrow Coalition supports recurring funds for NC Forest Service to manage state forests as recommended by the Commissioner of Agriculture

Help us make sure that our land and water is protected for everyone.

Invest in Conservation for North Carolina’s Future

  • Share on social media – Share a photo or video about the land you’ve enjoyed and want to protect using #land4tomorrow on Twitter or Instagram.
  • Ask your friends to join – Encourage your friends to make a video.
  • Thank your legislators – Let them know we appreciate their support of NC land and water

AmeriCorps Spotlight: Haley Bock

Educating future generations to protect our planet

Haley Bock connects with her community through teaching conservation

After earning her Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Haley Bock is serving her community working with Resilience Corps 2023. Haley serves as the Environmental Programs AmeriCorps Assistant in the Stormwater SMART Department with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council in Kernersville.

She’s been loving the connections she makes working in schools and conferences throughout the Triad. Haley says working in conservation is important because it teaches future generations how to help protect our planet.

In your own words, what do you do in your current service role?

Currently, I am working on the nature notebooks, which we plan on printing 20,000 of. They are a magazine-type material that will be given to schools and libraries within our municipal areas. I am also currently working on getting my Environmental Education Certificate because I would like to pursue this after my term.

What lessons have you learned since joining the program?

I’ve learned that when working with kids I have had to adjust the language I use in each classroom. Working with 3rd graded is very different than working with an 8th-grade class. I’m expanding my knowledge of working with all different ages.

What do you wish people knew about working with communities to expand conservation?

Environmental education is the most important thing when it comes to conservation. If one doesn’t know exactly what [conservation] entails, then how can they start to help in their communities? Getting people involved in activities outdoors is so important because they might not have that opportunity in their homes, and they get to expose themselves to new and exciting environments.

Haley has options after her time with AmeriCorps, but she knows she wants to continue teaching in her community. Whether she stays in Winston-Salem or goes abroad with PeaceCorps, we can’t wait to see what her future holds!