Stanback Fellows from Duke University

This summer we welcomed two Stanback Fellow interns from the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment, Claire Elias and Annabelle White. The Stanback Fellowship Program is a partnership between the Nicholas School of the Environment and non-profit environmental organizations. The purpose of the program is to provide students with significant project-based learning experiences in energy, conservation, advocacy, policy, research and applied resource management. The program is made possible by the generous support of Fred and Alice Stanback.

Annabelle’s internship focused on the development of a dynamic Roan StoryMap that demonstrates the evolution of SAHC’s land protection efforts in the Roan Highlands focus area, which will be featured on SAHC’s website. Annabelle has also created Roan “decade” map templates which can be used to illustrate and communicate about our work in these critical ecosystems over the past 50 years, and she has developed consistent and unified symbology for SAHC’s map templates. We are so grateful for Annabelle’s creativity, flexibility and the problem-solving skills she routinely had to flex during her internship.

Claire conducted an extensive review of climate impacts to ecosystems within SAHC’s geographic conservation focus areas, and she researched our organization’s working processes and land trust actions relevant to climate change. She assimilated her research and results of inquiry into a compendium of knowledge which includes maps, informative summaries of impacts and actions, future recommendations and more. The result is the SAHC Climate Change Action Plan, a living document which will serve as a resource for staff, Trustees, committee members and others to better communicate about our work as it pertains to climate change, and to help inform future decisions and processes.

“During my internship with SAHC this summer, I explored how land trusts are uniquely positioned to implement meaningful climate action that is informed by regionally specific social and ecological factors,” says Claire. “I enjoyed practicing my science communication and research skills while learning about the unique climate resilience of the southern Appalachians. Though most of my internship was remote, I had the invaluable opportunity to accompany SAHC stewardship staff as they monitored properties around the Highlands of Roan and Asheville. This allowed me to learn firsthand about the different facets of day-to-day stewardship and land protection, and get to know the awesome folks at SAHC!”


SAHC Climate Change Action Plan