SAHC Board of Trustees
Trustees are elected by the Conservancy’s general membership for a three-year term. After an initial term, a trustee may be re-elected to a second three-year term, but may serve no more than two consecutive terms. Current Board Members are:
- Jeanette Blazier, Kingsport, TN
- Courtney Blossman,
- Leslie Casse, Asheville, NC
- Bruce Cunningham, Kingsport, TN
- Nancy Edgerton, Asheville, NC
- Lyman "Greg" Gregory, Asheville, NC
- Jack Hamilton, Asheville, NC
- Jim Houser, Charlotte, NC
Anne Kilgore, Kingsport, TN
- Florence Krupnick, Asheville, NC
- Jay Leutze, Minneapolis, NC
- Bill Lowndes, Asheville, NC
- Kathy Singleton, Kingsport, TN
- Milton “Buddy” Tignor, Jr., Asheville, NC
- Patty Cunningham-Woolf, Asheville, NC
- Mary Bruce Woody, Asheville, NC
Carl Silverstein, Executive Director
Carl Silverstein has served as Executive Director of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy since 2000.
- Graduated from Stanford University with a BA in History, and the University of Alabama Law School.
- Practiced law in Seattle, Washington, before moving to Asheville in 1995.
- Serves on the Buncombe County Land Conservation Advisory Board.
- Serves on the Claims Committee of Terrafirma Risk Retention Group. Terrafirma is a charitable risk pool created by the national Land Trust Alliance to insure its members against the legal costs of defending conservation interests.
- Carl, his wife Bonnie and their three children enjoy hiking and camping in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Kristy Urquhart, Associate Director
Kristy Urquhart has been Associate Director for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy since 1997 and has served on the staff since 1991.
- Graduated from King College with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Business/Economics.
- Engaged in orchard management work and had her own apple tree pruning business in Ithaca, New York.
Judy Murray, Stewardship Director
Judy Murray received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Florida State University in 1960 and relocated to Kingsport, Tennessee.
- Worked as an analytical chemist at Tennessee Eastman Company for eight years.
- Received a Masters of Science Degree in Ecology with an emphasis on wildland management.
- Founding Member of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.
- Served as volunteer Land Stewardship Coordinator. In 1980, she became a SAHC staff member as the Stewardship Director.
- Life Member of the Appalachian Trail Conference and the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.
- Member of the National Areas Association, the Trout Unlimited, the Tennessee Ornithological Society and the Friends of Roan Mountain.
Cheryl Fowler, Membership Director
Cheryl Fowler joined our staff in 2001. She is from Waynesville, North Carolina.
- Completed an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Commercial Art and Advertising Design from Southwestern Community College of Sylva, NC.
- Worked in the printing and design industry for five years before deciding to start her own graphic design business.
- Cheryl and her dog, Zuko, enjoy exploring the beautiful North Carolina mountains and she is looking forward to helping preserve and maintain the area.
William Hamilton, Farmland Program Director
William joined our staff in 2005, and is focusing on farmland preservation efforts.
- Previously served as the Natural Resources Crew Field Supervisor at Warren Wilson College.
- Graduate of Warren Wilson College and North Carolina State College of Natural Resources.
- Owns and operates a portable sawmill, based on Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, NC.
- William enjoys life with his wife Molly, daughters Anne and Evva, and son Hythe. He also enjoys basketball, hiking, and the rural life that our region affords.
Michelle Pugliese, Land Protection Director
Michelle Pugliese joined Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy as its Land Protection Director in November 2007. Previously she:
- Worked as the Director of Land Protection for St. Simons Land Trust on St. Simons Island, Georgia from 2002 until moving to Asheville in 2007.
- Graduated from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences with a Masters of Environmental Management in 2002.
- Worked as an environmental consultant for Clayton Group Services in Massachusetts from 1998 until 2000.
- Received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Lafayette College in 1997.
- Michelle loves to hike in the mountains with her dog, Lucy, and is thrilled to be working to preserve the spectacular landscapes of Western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.
Stewardship and Conservation Planning Director
Hanni Muerdter joined SAHC as Stewardship and Conservation Planning Director in September, 2007. She is from Bethel in Haywood County, NC, and currently resides in Yancey County.
- In 2006-2007, Hanni worked in stewardship and land protection for High Country Conservancy in Boone, NC through AmeriCorps Project Conserve . Also through AmeriCorps, she wrote and oversaw the creation of Blue Ridge Forever's Conservation Vision, a regional conservation plan for the Southern Blue Ridge.
- Previously worked and/or interned at: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa, and for the Student Conservation Association.
- Received her bachelors in biology & environmental studies from Oberlin College, OH.
- Hanni likes to hike, swim, act in plays, and enjoy mountain life.
Angela Shepherd, Communications Director
Angela joined the staff of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in August 2010.
- Graduated with an undergraduate degree in Public Relations and a minor in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina.
- Worked in the graphic design business for many years.
- She also gained her Masters degree from Appalachian State University in Geography and Planning.
She is interested in folklore, mountain heritage, and sustainable communities. She enjoys playing with her kids, hiking and camping, painting, and making jewelry.
Lisa Fancher, Finance Compliance Director
Lisa Fancher joined the SAHC staff in July 2011. She moved to western NC
from the Jackson, Mississippi area.
- Lived in western Arkansas as a child, near the Ouachita Mountains, and
has loved mountains ever since.
- In 1993, she received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Mississippi
College, and then worked in corporate finance for 15 years.
- She relocated to western NC in 2010, and worked for a year with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy.
Lisa has two grown sons and enjoys singing and playing music with friends,
hiking, reading, and spending time with two brothers and a sister in South
Pauline Heyne, Donor Relations Manager
Pauline joined the SAHC staff in March of 2013. She moved to Asheville from Phoenix, Arizona.
- Previously she worked at Arizona State University Foundation as Assistant Director of Women & Philanthropy. Prior to her six years at ASUF she worked as the Development Coordinator at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation at Taliesin West.
- Pauline received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications at Kent State University and her Masters of Public Policy at Arizona State University.
- Pauline is an avid hiker and recently traveled to Nepal to hike in the Himalayas. She is thrilled to be working with passionate donors to help us all conserve the beautiful mountains in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee.
Allison Kiehl, Farmland Stewardship & Sustainability Director
Allison joined the staff of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in September 2010.
- Graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
- She previously worked for the The Nature Conservancy at the N.C. Mountains District Office.
- Worked as the Stewardship Associate for Marin Agricultural Land Trust in California for three years.
Allison enjoys hiking, ocean sports, gardening, biking, basketball, and softball. She is interested in ecology, agricultural conservation, composting, and music.
Chris Coxen, Field Ecologist
Chris joined the staff of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in September 2010.
- Graduated from the Fisheries and Wildlife Science program at North Carolina State University.
- Previously worked for an N.C. State graduate student on Cape Lookout, researching the American oystercatcher.
- He also spent the summer of 2007 in Sweden, studying how climate change has affected the Arctic.
Chris enjoys playing the guitar and keyboard, going to see live music, playing soccer, hiking, riding his bike, cooking, and trying new foods.
Andrea Thompson, AmeriCorps
Originally from the Asheville area, Andrea graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies from Montreat College. She recently worked in invasive species management for Western North Carolina Alliance and is a stewardship intern this summer with The Nature Conservancy in Indiana.
Joe Lovenshimer, AmeriCorps
Joe grew up in the Morganton area and has been involved with outdoor adventure recreation since an early age. He graduated from Brevard College with a BS in Biology and has been constructing zip line courses for the past year. He conducted bird surveys in the northeast last summer with Vermont Center for Ecostudies.
Americorps Land Protection Associate
Caitlin graduated from Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies with a BA in Landscape Architecture last year. She attended one semester at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. She was an intern at the Asheville Design Center, worked as a farm manager in Lewisville, NC, and was an AmeriCorps trail crew member in Vermont.
Anna Zanetti, AmeriCorps PR & Outreach Associate
Originally from Johns Island, South Carolina, Anna received degrees in Sustainable Development and Communications from Appalachian State University. She is founder and past president of US Green Building Council, ASU Student group and has been active in urban farm initiatives and building healthy communities by feeding all regardless of means. She spent her summer as an outreach intern for Vermont's New Farmer Network.
Temporary Staff and Interns
Yael Girard is serving as a project intern at SAHC’s Community Farm in Alexander, NC this fall. Yael will work to support trail construction and interpretive signage at the farm, to enhance public education opportunities there. Yael is a graduate of Warren Wilson College and spent several years as a river guide in Montana.
Margot Wallston recently completed two terms as an SAHC AmeriCorps Stewardship Associate, and has returned to the team from August to December 2013 to help with our growing stewardship responsibilities, including easement monitoring and fee simple management.