About Project Conserve

Member Profiles


Kate Nelson
Asheville GreenWorks - Volunteer Coordinator
Kate Nelson grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Throughout her life, she frequently visited Western North Carolina and developed a deep appreciation for its natural areas. Kate's appreciation for the outdoors continued to grow as she attended the University of Florida, and received a B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation, with a minor in Anthropology. During her time at UF, she conducted research on the Florida Scenic Trail to help develop better trail management techniques through user surveys. However, her work with Kids in the Woods, an environmental education program designed to get students out in nature more, really confirmed she was on the right path. Sensing a growing disconnect between adolescents and nature, Kate realized the importance of instilling environmental stewardship in future generations, and knew she wanted to continue on the path of education. After graduation in early May, Kate traveled all around the country, getting to see some spectacular places. Now that she is done exploring, she can't wait to begin as the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator for Asheville GreenWorks. Kate hopes to impact as many people as she can, while learning more about herself and the wonders of Western North Carolina. If you can't find Kate, she is probably somewhere high up in a tree, on a mountain, or bothering her beloved cat, Louie.
Madison Olle
Conserving Carolina - Volunteer & Community Engagement Associate
Madison grew up in Charlotte, NC but was ready for a change of scenery and ventured off to the Blue Ridge Mountains to University of North Carolina at Asheville. She knew she wanted to save animals and the environment, but wasn’t sure how to do so. The road to her major changed constantly – Photojournalism, Creative Writing, Environmental Studies, New Media... She finally decided to take advantage of UNC Asheville’s option to create your own major. Through the Interdisciplinary Studies program option she proposed, and received, a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an Individual Degree Concentration titled Environmental Non-Profit Communications. The major is a combination of Environmental Studies; Literature and Language; and Sociology. Her senior year of college she held an internship at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue as their Operations and Outreach Intern. While there she was able to further cultivate her future goals, and knew she wanted to work in a position similar to volunteer coordination. Although Madison’s love for animals is truly her passion, she wants to adventure further into the natural world as a whole, and is excited to serve as the Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy in Hendersonville. While serving she hopes to experience more of Western North Carolina with the great people she will meet.
Natalie Rothenberg
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Citizen Science Associate
Natalie was born in the suburbs of northern New Jersey. She left the northeast to pursue an undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management at The Ohio State University. Those four years in the Midwest allowed Natalie to experience different ways of life, particularly in the rural setting due to a couple summers spent working in southeast Ohio. Her time working at The Wilds, a conservation facility focused on advancing science and education through wildlife conservation, began her aspiring career as an environment field worker. After graduating in 2014, she took a graduation trip and WWOOFed in Kauai, Hawaii for four months. While in Hawaii, she took advantage of the natural resource amenities by exploring the sea and beautiful mountains. After returning to the mainland, Natalie took a seasonal job working on the vegetation crew in Rocky Mountain National Park, located in northern Colorado. Her love of exploring the mountains grew deeper, as did her desire to return to outdoor science education. Natalie is currently working for Great Smokey Mountains National Park as a Citizen Science Assistant, where she will give different types of education programs to middle and high school students. She is incredibly excited and eager to explore all that Western North Carolina has to offer!
Spencer Scheidt
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy - Land Protection & Education Associate
Spencer Scheidt was born and raised in Marin County, California, home of redwoods and fog. After graduating from high school he decided to leave home for the hardwood forests of the North Carolina Piedmont. While attending UNC Chapel Hill, he rekindled a passion for biology and ecology, and graduated with a B.S. in Biology in 2012. Since then he has worked in the conservation field as a wildlife researcher, a National Park Ranger trainee, a hiking and backpacking instructor and an experiential education focused science teacher. Spencer is looking forward to developing a new skill set and deepening his connection to WNC with his service site, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. When he is not in the office, you might find him hiking, fishing or climbing around the crags and valleys of Pisgah and beyond.
Haley Smith
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy - Conservation Education & Volunteer Outreach Associate
Haley Smith was born and raised in Asheville, NC and grew up with the wilds of Western North Carolina (WNC) at her doorstep. Surrounded by WNC’s wealth of natural resources and beauty, it’s no wonder that she became passionate about conservation at an early age. She began doing water quality research in high school and knew that field work in the natural sciences was her calling. Haley attended Washington and Lee University (W&L) in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where she earned a BS in Biology and a BA in Environmental Studies. During college she completed natural resource studies in Brazil with W&L and a semester in Wildlife Management Studies in East Africa with the School for Field Studies. Her research experiences include: invasive species removal and soil biochemistry work in Yellowstone National Park; water resources and environmental health research in southern Kenya; evaluating a Farm-to-School program in Rockbridge County, VA; and assessing invertebrate by-catch in the small fishing village of Apam, Ghana. Haley’s interests include travel and cross-cultural experiences, wildlife conservation, community health and development, and sustainable agriculture. In her spare time, she can usually be found playing soccer, playing her French horn, hiking, doing experimental cooking, or cuddling with her dogs. Haley is thrilled to be serving a second term as the Conservation Education & Volunteer Outreach Associate with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, where she looks forward to another year of sharing her passion for conserving the beautiful landscapes and bountiful resources of her WNC home with her community.