This year, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is excited to welcome four new and one returning member of AmeriCorps Project Conserve. Over the next eleven months, each member will serve over 1,700 hours and help CMLC build and maintain countless trails, coordinate volunteers, steward conserved land, educate the public, and plan events. Welcome!
In the last ten years of service, Project Conserve has facilitated immense change:
410,000 hours of service to WNC
196 members completed 11-month service terms
30 members served 2 terms of service
40 environmental and conservation organizations involved
33 Project Conserve alumni employed by host sites
52,600 people educated about environmental and conservation issues
5,800 volunteers recruited and served 33,100 hours
In this 11th year of AmeriCorps Project Conserve, 32 individuals were placed in full-time service positions at 17 non-profit organizations across Western North Carolina. Each member serves at least 1700 hours over their 11-month term. Service is focused on fulfilling environmental and conservation needs in the region and host sites include Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and Mountain True, among CMLC and others. You can read more about how Project Conserve began, or visit the AmeriCorps Project Conserve Website.
If this Alaska born conservationist can’t be found, you’ll probably locate him on one of the local hiking trails. In his travels, he has always incorporated finding the local mountains, having a deep desire to be on top of that ridge line in the distance. AmeriCorps introduced him to the idea that he could spend his time protecting what he loved; by helping create sustainable trail networks, these mountains could be enjoyed yet remain beautiful. After spending a couple seasons in the back-country of Maine (with the Maine Conservation Corps), he knew he wanted to continue this life of trail construction. Now it is time for him to get involved in every aspect of what it takes to get those trail networks ready for, not just Richard, but for everyone to enjoy. He hopes to bring his knowledge and charisma to Project conserve, through the Carolina Mountains Land Conservancy as a Trails Associate, helping create, sustain, and enjoy the local trail networks of western North Carolina.
Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate
Ericka Berg grew up in Sunny View in northern Polk County, North Carolina and attended Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, where she received her BA in Biology with a minor in German in 2014. Ericka’s love for biology was sparked early on and never went out. Throughout college, Ericka dabbled in a little bit of everything, from cellular biology to histology to ecology and parasitology, but she couldn’t quite find a topic she didn’t love. Three terms of research let her know that her passion was in more hands-on work, but it was after college through her volunteer positions at the Louisville Zoo and Jefferson Memorial Forest that she realized her true passion lies in wildlife and conservation biology and volunteer management. Through her position as Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate, she aims to inspire, help, and encourage others in conserving, tending, and connecting to the WNC lands she has always called home.
Community Outreach Associate
Corinne grew up in a far northwest suburb of Chicago, IL but now calls Asheville and the Appalachian Mountains her home. She discovered her love for hands on learning, outdoor education, and ecosystem studies as a young Montessori student. Corinne continued her formal education at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She graduated cum laude with a degree in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Ecology. Experience with the Forest Service as a research technician introduced Corinne to the professional world of practical science, and her time spent as a Writing Consultant and an Ecology Tutor at UNC-A has inspired her to pursue a career centered on teaching and sharing important information about our environment. In her free time, Corinne loves to spend time with her sweet pup, explore mountain streams, and craft. She looks forward to being a passionate educational link between CMLC and the greater WNC community as the Community Outreach Associate in this upcoming AmeriCorps term!
Jack Henderson was raised not far from Washington, DC. Attending Appalachian State, he studied GIS, Geography and Recreation Management. An internship with Blue Ridge Conservancy helped spark an interest with non-profit, private lands conservation. Stewardship of conservation easements and preserves allowed him to combine his passion for the outdoors, cartography and sustainable management of private property. After graduating, Jack worked with non-profits in Oregon, South Carolina and Idaho; farming, monitoring conservation easements, creating maps, leading volunteers, and managing invasive weeds. Jack's heart has stayed in North Carolina and returned to pursue service through AmeriCorps Project Conserve. He is honored to be to working with CMLC’s team of talented conservationists. As the Stewardship Associate, Jack leads and performs sustainable practices for managing and restoring the Conservancy's nature preserves, and develops strong ties with volunteers. Jack lives adjacent to the Green River Game Lands and loves to explore Western NC by bike and boat.
Hickory Nut Gorge Associate
Chelsea grew up in Winston-Salem and has since continued living within the borders of the beautiful state of North Carolina. She earned a BS in Ecology and Environmental Biology and a minor in Geography from Appalachian State University in May 2013. While in college, Chelsea worked with the Blue Ridge Parkway as a biological wildlife technician surveying flora and fauna in the park's wetlands. This position, in addition to the college field courses, solidified Chelsea's interests in biology and conservation. She is excited to be serving her second term with CMLC as the AmeriCorps Hickory Nut Gorge Associate. Chelsea enjoys spending time with friends and family, hiking, and karaoke.