Welcome 2021-22 AmeriCorps Team

Stephanie LongStephanie Long

Stephanie is joining SAHC for another year as the Stewardship & Volunteer Associate. She graduated from Smith College in 2019 with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy and a concentration in Conservation Ecology. While at Smith, Stephanie was involved in ecophysiology and spatial analysis research and is the recipient of the Amy Randall Brown Prize in Botany and the Florence Augusta Merriam Prize for innovative and collaborative approaches to solving environmental and sustainability problems. Before working at SAHC she spent a year in Vermont serving with the Vermont Land Trust. She obtained her Remote Pilot Certification in 2020 and has been using drones to help SAHC capture aerial imagery for baselines and communications.

Sarah near streamSarah Sussman

Sarah graduated from Appalachian State University in 2019 with a degree in Sustainable Development – Environmental Studies, a minor in Nonprofit Management, and an undergraduate certificate in Geographic information Systems. At ASU, Sarah was a member of Watauga Residential College and worked as a Sustainability Ambassador for the Office of Sustainability, connecting students, faculty, and staff to App State’s sustainability initiatives. After graduating, Sarah served in the Student Conservation Association managing trails in the Catskill Forest preserve in New York. This is Sarah’s second AmeriCorps term; she previously served at Conserving Carolina in Hendersonville, NC. In her free time she loves to run, hike, and explore the mountains.

Logan Dye - head photoLogan Dye

Logan is a western North Carolina native who grew up in Brevard, NC. While growing up, he spent his time mountain biking, rock climbing, paddling, and hiking. These activities fostered a love for the southern Appalachians, specifically the unique ecosystems of western North Carolina. While attending UNC Asheville, his fascination for the habitat he grew up in flourished as he pursued a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in ecology. Logan is returning for his second AmeriCorps term after spending last year with the Hemlocks Restoration Initiative. He is excited to continue his AmeriCorps journey with SAHC.

Laura - selfieLaura Fraser

Laura is originally from Iowa and graduated in 2019 from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Biology and Earth Sciences. During her time at university, she worked at the botanical center and observatory on campus. She joined Peace Corps Benin after graduating and did agricultural work with her local women’s group. After, she joined AmeriCorps and moved to Reno, NV to work as an arboretum educator at the Wilbur D. May Arboretum. She’s new to the east coast and is a plant mom that loves to bake, read, and hike.

 

Americorps logoAmeriCorps Project Conserve is administered by Conserving Carolina and funded by an AmeriCorps grant from the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, and the critical support of our host sites and community partners. AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges through national service and volunteering. AmeriCorps helps make service to others a cornerstone of our national culture. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov.

Salamanders and Youth Education

Plethodon amplus salamander.

Plethodon amplus, photo credit Tom Ward.

You may have heard that the Southern Appalachian or Blue Ridge Mountains are the “salamander capital of the world.” These brightly colored little living gems capture the interest and imagination of young and old alike. Their prevalence among some of the world’s oldest mountains highlights the remarkable biodiversity of the region and the importance of protecting critical land and water resources — before they are lost forever.

Join us for a look at salamanders – from youth education programs to citizen-science observations recorded and reported by a conservation landowner. The stories, videos, and photos below present a snapshot of the importance of salamanders, tips for safely searching for them, and a look at the diverse species you may find in the mountains of NC and TN.

Learn a little, record your own observations, and join us in engaging with these fascinating amphibians! Read more

Youth Education with Black Folks Camp Too

Earl speaks to YMCA HorizonsEarl B. Hunter, Jr., founder of Black Folks Camp Too, speaks of bringing people together in unity to enjoy the great outdoors. Former Vice-President of Sales at SylvanSport and a recognized speaker in the outdoor recreation industry, Earl began his company as a way to bring all people together to experience and benefit from outdoor recreation. He says they are creating an educational portal, and the campfire in their logo is a way to bring people together for discussion. We were excited to partner with Earl and Black Folks Camp Too during the summer to host outdoor recreation events for two local youth programs – Youth Transformed for Life and the YMCA Horizons program.

Read more

2019-20 AmeriCorps Project Conserve Team

Each year, members of the AmeriCorps Project Conserve program contribute critical capacity to conservation programs across Western North Carolina. These five dedicated young environmentalists have committed to a year of service with SAHC, helping further conservation work through a variety of programs — from hands-on stewardship of land to leading hikes and educating youth groups. Welcome to the team! (AmeriCorps members listed below as they appear in photo, L to R)

Sam Rames: Stewardship & Volunteer Member

Haling from Charleston, SC, Sam graduated from UNC Asheville in 2016 with an Environmental Studies Degree.  During college, she was honored as a University Research Scholar and McCullough Fellow.  Her research and field work include stream, fish, woody plants, and wildlife ecology as well as invasive species management.

Hannah Stuart: Land Protection & Education Member

An Asheville native, Hannah graduated from UNC Asheville with a degree in Environmental Studies. She was a student athlete on the swim team, which she also managed.  Her research and work experience include water quality monitoring, due diligence analysis and easement renewals.

Shaylyn Sargent: Conservation Education & Volunteer Outreach Member

Shay, or “Sarge” graduated from Mars Hill University with a major in History and a Minor in Environmental Studies.  During his time at Mars Hill, he was honored as a Bonner Scholar.  His volunteer experiences range from addressing food security in rural Appalachia to hosting historical talks, to trail building, and habitat restoration following hurricanes.

Hanna Peterman: Stewardship & Volunteer Member

Hanna joins us from Chapel Hill, after graduating from Washington University with a double major in Environmental Biology and Spanish. Her research includes wildlife monitoring, invasive plants management, and tick and mosquito sampling.  She also spent a semester abroad in Chile, is fluent in Spanish.

Hannah Latragna: Communications & Community Engagement Member

Hannah joins the team after graduating from Canisius College (Buffalo, NY) with majors in Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation & Digital Media Arts, and a minor in anthropology.  During college, she was captain of the women’s cross country and track team, and her volunteer and work experiences include coaching, community outreach, and educational videography.

AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than5 million Americans in service through nonprofit and community organizations across the country.

Stephens-Lee Bird Sanctuary Outing

In November, AmeriCorps member Whisper Moore led an afterschool group from Stephens-Lee Recreation Center to experience birding at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary in North Asheville. In a previous afterschool session, Whisper had introduced students to migratory birds with the #GreatMigrationChallenge game. For this field trip, Bethany Sheffer and Simon Thompson of the Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society chapter joined us to share their expertise.

Bethany and Simon gave a brief lesson on birding and showed students how to use binoculars by spotting a particular point on a sign. Then they headed out together to spot some resident birds that stay at the Sanctuary year-round. As they ventured over to look at some Canada Geese across the waterway, one student exclaimed “Look at the mountains!” Read more

AmeriCorps Team 2018-19

Our Project Conserve AmeriCorps members serve 11-month terms, beginning in September. Their service helps expand and enrich all of our programs. We are grateful for their commitment and welcome our new 2018-19 team! Read more