About Project Conserve

Member Profiles


Jen Adams
Conserving Carolina - Habitat Restoration Associate
Jen grew up in a small town in New Hampshire where her love for the environment first developed. She attended Elon University in North Carolina where she received a BS in Environmental and Ecological Science and a BA in International Studies with minors in Statistics and Biology. Her passion for non-profit work began when she joined a humanitarian aid organization at Elon called Periclean Scholars, which focused on youth and community development in Honduras and in the local Latino population. During Jen’s senior year, she worked on a project with the Haw River Trail and Alamance Recreation and Parks to survey exotic invasive plants along the Haw River and develop management plans for park staff. In her free time she enjoys hiking, climbing, and skiing. She looks forward to using her passion and experience to serve as the Habitat Restoration Associate for Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy this coming AmeriCorps term.
Bailey Allen
Conserving Carolina - Summer of Service Team Member
Bailey grew up in Fletcher, North Carolina and just recently graduated from North Henderson High School, in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Her love for the mountains is a direct result of her childhood, as she spent summers going hiking, fishing, and camping with her father in the Smokies. Bailey’s passion for public service first began with volunteering for Alliance of Therapy Dogs – an organization that aims to spread the benefits of pet therapy through local handlers – at the Bryan Center and local hospitals. This interest, along with her passion for environmental science, is what led her to become the first young woman involved in the Summer of Service program. In the fall, she will be trading in the Appalachian Mountains for the Rocky Mountains as she joins the incoming freshman class for the University of Denver. She plans to study molecular biology and astrobiology, and then continue her education into grad school. As for the rest of her life, the only thing she’s set on doing right after college is join the United States Air Force.
Sadikshya Aryal
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture - Program Coordinator
Sadikshya Aryal was born in Kathmandu, Nepal. From a young age, she loves spending her time outdoors hiking, foraging, and on mountain tops gazing up at the cosmos. In college, she first studied Astrophysics. Although she was in love with this study, she decided to answer the call of the outdoors and of helping others. This brought her to Appalachian State University where she graduated with a Sustainable Development degree. As a Project Conserve member, she now holds the position of Program Coordinator at Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA). Since moving into the High Country, she has been strongly involved with nonprofits in the area as well as the farming community. She is ecstatic to be serving as a second year member with BRWIA, and looks forward to growing with the experience. In her free time, you can find her experimenting with holistic remedies, practicing yoga, spending time in nature, and attempting to understand the vast universe in which we live in!
Fernando Baruch
Conserving Carolina - Summer of Service Team Member
Fernando grew up in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He is an East Henderson High School graduate. He enjoys hiking, and volunteering for the Latino Advocacy center (El Centro). Fernando appreciates all of the beauty North Carolina has to offer. He is in love with the Blue Ridge Parkway and its compelling sights. “I plan to acquire lots of new skills from this program while having an amazing time collaborating with new people.” He plans to stay in the community for two years and then head off to UNC Charlotte and be a physical therapist.
Jason Brandyburg
Conserving Carolina - Summer of Service Team Member
Jason has lived around the National Parks all of his life and has volunteered at 3 park sites: Moore’s Creek, Carl Sandburg and Big South Fork. Jason is currently enrolled in the Henderson Early College program at Blue Ridge Community College, where he heard of the program from one the instructors. Ever since he can remember Jason has had an interest in wildlife and nature which lead to him applying for the program. Jason enjoys hiking learning about wildlife and plans to major in wildlife biology when he attends a four year college.
Adrienne Brown
Conserving Carolina - Community Outreach & Education Associate
Adrienne was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, but spent her most formative years in North Carolina, and considers Mooresville, NC “home”. Her passion for nature conservation, however, was born in Western North Carolina and cultivated by the many visits she took to National Parks across the country as a child. With a solidly formed passion for environmental protection she chose to major in Environmental Studies at Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. During her undergrad she also studied in Bremen, Germany, an experience she credits with leading her to the conservation field, and her interest in Project Conserve. This year Adrienne will be serving at Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) doing community outreach. She is excited to be in this position because her grandmother, Frieda Brown, placed land in a conservation easement with CMLC in 2004, (which her parents have since inherited), and sees her service as a way of continuing her grandmother’s legacy of nature conservation and service. In addition to conservation, Adrienne fosters a deep passion for the arts. She considers herself an amateur photographer, keeps a bullet journal, and enjoys painting. She also graduated with a minor in German Studies, and when she is not in Germany she spends a lot of time talking about Germany.
Abdul Darios
Conserving Carolina - Summer of Service Team Member
Abdul Derios was born in Charlotte NC. He moved to Hendersonville in 2008 with his grandma, who was his mother figure, and he loved her so much. He joined AmeriCorps in 2017 as a newcomer to the Summer of Service with 4 other teens. He is enjoying learning about tool safety and naming plants. Prior to moving from Winston-Salem, he spent 1 year and a half working at The Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County. He is excited about this new service position with an organization that promotes such a great cause. He is planning on becoming a fashion designer and making his own clothing line. Abdul Derios enjoys dancing, movies, Starbucks Frapuccino’s, and drawing himself.
Amy DeCamp
Polk County Office of Agricultural Economic Development - Farm and Consumer Outreach Specialist
Amy grew up in a small beach town on Long Island, NY, where she was taught to swim in the frigid waters of the Long Island Sound alongside prehistoric horseshoe crabs and gelatinous jellyfish. She was also lucky to have spent her childhood camping in the Catskill Mountains - floating down the Delaware River and singing songs while bald American eagles soared overhead. She developed a deep respect for the natural world at a young age as a result of these experiences. Amy went on to attend the University at Albany, State University of New York, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. From there, she spent several years working as an executive recruiter in New York. While recruiting provided Amy with valuable skills and experience, she ultimately realized that she wanted to transition her career to focus on environmental conservation and advocacy. Most recently, Amy has worked on small-scale org anic farms throughout the South and in Western North Carolina to promote sustainable agricultural practices and to support local food systems. She is excited to be serving as Farm and Consumer Outreach Specialist at the Polk County Office of Agricultural Economic Development this year!
Sara deFosset
WNC Communities Hemlock Restoration Initiative Program - Outreach & Volunteer Engagement Associate
As a North Carolina native Sara deFosset is excited to take on the challenge of keeping Western North Carolina’s forests healthy while serving as the Outreach and Volunteer Associate with the Hemlock Restoration Initiative, a program of WNC Communities. Sara became involved in service at a young age working on grassroots development projects in Latin America as a teenager and throughout college. These projects ranged from disaster relief in Nicaragua, to establishment of ecotourism and conservation in the Peruvian Amazon. While earning her BA in Global Studies and Sustainable Development at New College of California in San Francisco, Sara began a career in the landscape and nursery industries and developed a deep and enduring fascination with human relationships to plant systems, ecology, and the built environment. In order to combine her passions for service, and ecology Sara continued her education by completing an MA in Sustainable Development at the University of California Santa Barbara; where her research examined the ways in which integrated agricultural practices, like agro-forestry, could be used meet development goals like reductions in poverty and improved environmental sustainability. For Sara, working to restore Western North Carolina’s hemlocks to long term health provides a fresh perspective from which continue her life-long learning about the relationships between people, plants, ecosystems, and development; and is a unique opportunity to reestablish deep roots in North Carolina and to contribute to the special character of the region.
Mary Kate Dodge
MountainTrue - Outings & Education Coordinator
Mary Kate is excited to join AmeriCorps Project Conserve as MountainTrue’s Outings and Education Coordinator! Mary Kate grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia, where she fostered a love of all things outdoors. Seeking a change of scenery, she traveled to eastern Virginia to attend Christopher Newport University (CNU). There she studied Environmental Biology with minors in Business Administration and Leadership Studies, hoping to find a career that blends engaging and leading groups of people with the conservation of our important ecosystems. Missing the mountains and looking for an escape from the urban space around CNU, Mary Kate began to volunteer with the Grounds Department at a local museum, developing her love for community engagement and working to improve a local environment. She also spent a summer doing her first AmeriCorps term with the Maine Conservation Corps, repairing and constructing trails in the backwoods of Maine. While in school, she worked heavily in Student Affairs, focusing primarily on Orientation and Judicial Affairs. She spent a summer term in Costa Rica, studying Tropical Marine Biology, and loves to travel internationally and explore new cultures all over the world! In her free time, you can find Mary Kate hiking up to catch a sunrise, researching her next snorkel/dive site, traveling up to Maine, or just watching cat videos on YouTube.