Welcome Seasonal Roan Stewardship Team, 2023

Each year we welcome seasonal staff and interns to our Roan Stewardship program. They work throughout the summer to assist with land management, education, and research projects critical to continued long-term stewardship of the rare ecological resources found in the Highlands of Roan. Please join us in welcoming our 2023 team members!

Roan morning sunrise on balds photo by Travis Bordley

Roan Naturalist – Adam Kluge

The Roan Naturalist assists in grassy balds habitat management and educates hikers about the sensitive ecology in the Highlands of Roan and Leave No Trace principles. This position is hosted as a joint effort of SAHC and our Roan Highlands management partners. We welcome Adam Kluge to the team as our 2023 Roan Naturalist. Adam grew up in Fairview, NC and is currently a junior at Warren Wilson College, where he is studying Conservation Biology. He previously worked at Hickory Nut Gap Farms and at Ironwood Outdoors, helping to restore and build trails.

“I am beyond excited to be working as the Roan Naturalist this summer,” says Adam. “Growing up here, I developed a deep love for the southern Appalachian landscape and the plants and wildlife that make it so unique. I look forward to working in the Roan this summer so that I can give back to the land which shaped the person I am today.”

Adam is an avid backpacker and birder, and we look forward to putting those skills to use on the Roan this summer!

Seasonal Roan Technician – Olivia Dossett

Olivia was raised in Nashville, Tennessee and grew up hiking, biking, and kayaking throughout the rolling hills of middle and east Tennessee. She will graduate from Colorado College in May with a B.A. in Organismal Biology and Ecology. While at Colorado College, she conducted research on shade intolerance in the invasive species, Tamarix ramosissima, and developed an excitement to pursue a career in conservation ecology. Olivia will bring her enthusiasm for the outdoors and her passion for preserving the beautiful ecosystems of Appalachia to her work as the Roan Technician. The Roan Technician position assists Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett in management activities throughout the summer.

Gray’s Lily Research Intern – Ellie Huber

Ellie grew up in Charleston, South Carolina where she cast nets, kayaked through salt water estuaries, and relished in the smell of pluff mud. She’ll be graduating from Appalachian State University in December of 2023 with a B.S. in Biology concentrated in Ecology, Environmental Science, and Evolution. In 2021, Ellie took a summer to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail which grew her love of the amazing biodiversity of the Appalachian Mountains. Since hiking the trail, she has since maintained a strong sense of curiosity and taken the initiative to learn to identify many native trees, herbaceous plants, and birds. This summer, she will be bringing her enthusiasm and passion for conservation to SAHC as an intern where she will be working alongside the conservation effort behind the elusive Gray’s Lily — an elusive perennial wildflower endemic to the high elevations of Roan and to some other small pockets in Southern Appalachia.

This summer we welcome two Stanback Fellows from the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment, Yuntian Bi and Suri Sun.

Both of these Stanback Fellows will assist with projects related to the Roan Highlands Visitor Use Management committee, helping SAHC and our partners with research that can better inform efforts to manage and preserve ecosystem resources.

Yuntian Bi grew up in Tianjin, a coastal city in northern China. She has hiked and camped in 22 out of 34 provinces in China, and these landscapes kindled her passion for conservation. Yuntian graduated from the University of California San Diego, with a BS in Environmental Systems (Environmental Chemistry) and has volunteered for conservation projects in the Mojave Desert, lichen studies in California Sky Islands, and in the Danjiang Wetland Nature Reserve in China. She is currently pursuing her MS in Forestry, MS in Environmental Management in EcosystemScience & Conservation, and a Certificate in Geospatial Analysis at Duke.

Suri Sun was born in the northern suburb of Beijing, China. Reading works about natural history inspired her to do environmental work. Suri graduated from Mt. Holyoke College with a BA in Environmental Studies (minor in Biology). She has volunteered for a wide range of biological studies across China, including Horseshoe Crab surveys, shorebird studies, songbird studies, and wildlife camera data processing. A birdwatcher and amateur photographer, Suri is pursuing her Master of Environmental Management (Concentration: Ecosystem Science and Conservation) at Duke.