Meet our 2017 Summer Interns

CTNC Diversity in Conservation Internship Program

Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s Diversity in Conservation Internship Program introduces students from diverse backgrounds to careers in conservation by providing paid internships at land trusts and partner organizations. CTNC has funded 92 interns at 18 land trusts and 13 partner organizations since 2008.

Tamia Dame

Tamia is a rising junior at UNC Asheville, majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Management and Policy. This summer she is serving as our Communication, Education, and Outreach Intern. Tamia has spent time with volunteer and hiking groups at our Community Farm and in the Highlands of Roan, writing articles and taking photos for our blog and newsletter. She also interviewed members of the community to research and write a personal narrative article about African-American relationships with land and agriculture. Through her internship, Tamia hopes to gain practical experience in the field of agriculture, build professional relationships, and acquire skills that will lead to a career in conservation. Her personal hobbies and interests include hiking, cooking, meeting new people, and dog sitting for friends. She is originally from Lenoir, NC, and moved to Asheville because of her love of the WNC mountains.

Kimani Anderson

Kimani was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He is a rising junior and student athlete at the UNC Asheville, majoring in both political science and sociology. When not participating in track and field, Kimani can be found in many departments around UNCA. He is a peer mentor and member of the Order of Pisgah, the Political Science Club, and German club. This summer he has been working as the Communications Intern for Blue Ridge Forever, the coalition of land trusts in WNC. To assist in communications, Kimani used tabulated GIS data to create impactful statements and a story map outlining the collective conservation impact of Blue Ridge Forever partners (including SAHC).

Duke University Stanback Interns

The Duke University Stanback Internship Program is generously funded by Duke alumni Fred and Alice Stanback. The Stanback Internship Program provides Duke students with significant project-based learning experiences in energy, conservation, advocacy, policy, research, and applied resource management. The Stanback Internship Program is open to any Duke student – undergraduate, graduate, and international students.

John “Tal” Jacobs

Tal Jacobs is a graduate student at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He is pursuing the Master of Environmental Management degree and is most interested in conservation planning and landscape analysis. Tal grew up in Concord, NC and likes to think of Western NC as a second home.  Working as our Land Conservation Priority and Planning Stanback Intern, Tal has been assisting our Land Protection staff in the development of GIS-based parcel prioritization processes and model reports. He is excited to participate in the protection of the places that sparked his passion for the natural world.

Sarah Sanford

Sarah is currently working on her Master’s degree in Environmental Management at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Sarah hails from Virginia and did her undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary. As a Stanback Intern, Sarah has been assisting in Roan Stewardship by collecting historic grassy balds management data for the Roan Highlands and creating an online story map to portray the years of work performed by SAHC, our partners, and local volunteers. Sarah enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time on the river, and is very pleased to be spending her summer in one of the most beautiful parts of the Appalachians.

City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA)

The City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA) recruits, trains and places local high school students at meaningful summer jobs with the City of Asheville and with participating agencies, in addition to providing weekly day-long workshops on financial literacy, leadership, career exploration and 21st Century job skills.

Fisasyo Bashorun

Fisayo is currently a final year student at Buncombe County Early College. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, she moved to the United States with her family in 2005. She has been in WNC for twelve years and has yet to find a dull moment or a view that she didn’t enjoy. She is particularly interested in community involvement and planning for a career in local and state government, eventually working up to become a Congressional member. Fisayo is assisting with communications, especially photography and videography at our Community Farm.  In working with SAHC this summer, she hopes to gain a better understanding of how conservation works and explore the world of agriculture. Her personal hobbies include, long-boarding, biking, watching movies, and pet store hopping. 


Thomas Hatling

A forestry intern from Sewanee University, Thomas is mapping ash stands on SAHC preserves in order to prepare for planning and treatment to protect trees from invasive Emerald Ash Borer. Originally from Kernersville, NC, Thomas is a rising junior at Sewanee: The University of the South, majoring in forestry and minoring in philosophy. His hobbies and interests including whitewater paddling; playing guitar, mandolin, piano; and he is learning to play the carillon at Sewanee. His favorite thing to do is go on hikes and enjoy the nature and animals. This summer, Thomas has been creating an inventory of white ash tree populations in SAHC’s preserves in the Highlands of Roan.

Leigh Bost

Leigh comes to us from the Patagonia store in Atlanta, Georgia.  Patagonia offers employees the ability to protect the environment through the Environmental Internship Program. She was awarded up to 7 weeks away from her regular role as Store Manager to work for the environmental group of her choice — and she chose SAHC.  She is originally from Asheville, so the mountains are close to her heart.  When she isn’t working, she loves to spend time with her family gardening, biking, going on adventure walks, and being outside as much as possible. She is helping this summer with hikes, event planning, merchandise inventory/organization, land protection and stewardship documents, and LWCF legislative policy outreach.



Rising Conservation Leader

hanni2016 NC Land Trust Assembly Rising Conservation Leader of the Year: Hanni Muerdter

At the 2016 Land Trust Assembly in Raleigh in May, North Carolina’s 24 local land trusts announced annual awards for five conservation leaders, including our Stewardship and Conservation Planning Director, Hanni Muerdter! Read more

SAHC Welcomes new Americorps Members

 big-yellow-jump2.jpgEvery year, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy partners with a program within Americorps called “Project Conserve.” It is Project Conserve’s goal to serve western North Carolina by building stronger and more ecologically aware communities that understand the threats to their local environment. Individuals apply to join land trusts, grass-roots organizations, and various other non-profits in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee through Project Conserve in order to serve and improve their communities.

SAHC is excited to introduce four new Americorps members who will be contributing their energy, enthusiasm, and many talents with us for the next 11 months. Read more

Area non-profit salutes employee’s 20-year tenure

kristy-the-super-star-sm1.jpgTwenty years in the same position at the same organization. That’s something to celebrate in the non-profit field, or really any profession in today’s transitioning economy.

Kristy Urquhart of Asheville has dedicated 20 years of her life to Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, primarily serving as the associate director. Her colleagues have plans to celebrate her achievements in a way that echoes the positive energy that she gives to land conservation. Read more