About Project Conserve

Member Profiles


Jordan Kirkland
Conserving Carolina - Summer of Service Team Member
Jordan Kirkland is an 18 year old high school graduate. He was born and raised in Hendersonville, NC. Jordan began his adventure with CMLC with his senior graduation project, building bird houses and removing invasive species. Shortly after summer started he decided to return for his love of the outdoors and his disgust for office jobs. At the end of summer he will be continuing his education at Blue Ridge Community College, then transferring to Western Carolina University to obtain a minor in philosophy and sociology with a major in psychology.
Ben Linthicum
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy - Stewardship & Volunteer Associate
For many years, Ben's path has been guided by a single question, “How can he meaningfully contribute to ecological sustainability?” This path began back in Kirksville, Missouri, where Ben grew up playing in the woods and creeks and was fascinated by all the plants and little critters he found. This led him to pursue a degree in environmental studies at Warren Wilson College (WWC) here in Asheville, NC. It was at WWC that he took on many roles in order to explore his guiding question. Some of these roles include: campaign director, ecological field researcher, EPA intern, community and student organizer. In the fall of 2013 He founded the student environmental organization ‘ecoLibrium.’ The group focused much of their attention on a campaign to divest Warren Wilson's endowment from fossil fuels. In the fall of 2015 WWC's board of Trustees announced that they were going to divest the college's endowment from fossil fuels. In the summer of 2014 Ben worked as a Team Leader for 'Climate Summer”, where as he assisted with sharing information and connecting communities across Massachusetts in order to build opposition to a proposed natural gas pipeline. In May of 2016 Kinder Morgan renounced their pipeline plans. Throughout his time at the WWC Ben participated a broad range of service including: river cleanups, ecological field research, and a weeklong alternative break trip to Pine Ridge, SD. Ben also organized several service trips including trips to Washington, D.C.; New York City, NY; Atlanta, GA and week-long break trip to learn about mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Last summer Ben Interned at the wetlands enforcement section of the EPA in New York City, NY. This past Summer he biked from Camden, ME to Seattle, WA all the while interviewing professors and activists and collecting stories of climate change and environmental degradation. Ben is excited to be back in the culturally vibrant and ecologically diverse region of southern Appalachia working as a Stewardship and Volunteer Coordinator for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.
Kate Lis
Conserving Carolina - Stewardship Associate
Kate Lis was born and raised in central Massachusetts. She then moved to Boone, NC after high school where she realized an appetite for the great outdoors. Unsure of what to study, she decided to leave Boone as a freshman at Appalachian State University and live, work, and climb the wild Midwest of Wyoming and Colorado. There she studied a little graphic design and realized that commercialized art was not for her. In Colorado, Kate first experienced conservation work with long days on the Great Thompson River removing Russian olive trees. Recognizing her love for the more welcoming WNC Mountains, and overwhelmed by the greatness of the west, Kate returned to Boone with an interest in biology and finished her studies in Ecology, some biochemistry, and GIS. In the midst of her university education Kate worked in the outskirts of the Amazon in Ecuador for a cacao pollination study, volunteered for the Blue Ridge Parkway, and spent time in both the ASU Cliff Ecology and Plant-Insect Interactions labs helping in the field, rearing plants, genetic analysis, and chemistry work. Kate will be serving as a stewardship associate for CMLC helping with restoration projects and conservation efforts, building bonds with nature and volunteers.
Lillian Lovingood
Asheville GreenWorks - Clean Communities Coordinator
Lillian was born and raised on her family farm in a rural farming community called Efland, NC. Her involvement in 4-H clubs and growing up playing in streams and the woods led her to pursue an education related to biology. In 2016, she received her B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She decided that the mountains of western NC felt more like home than any other part of North Carolina she had been to, and decided to stay and explore them for another year. Lillian is excited to join AmeriCorps Project Conserve as a Clean Communities Coordinator for Asheville Greenworks, and can't wait to make a positive impact on the WNC community! In her spare time, Lillian can be found playing volleyball, running, swimming, wildcrafting, cooking, gardening, spending time with friends, camping, and petting any dogs who will allow it.
Laura McPherson
MountainTrue - Forest Keeper Coordinator
Laura was born and raised in South Shore Massachusetts on the beautiful North River. Growing up, she was always interested in being outside, climbing trees and exploring nature. In high school she volunteered with her local watershed association, the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, where she was first introduced to non-profits, environmental research and community outreach. After high school, Laura decided to stay in MA to be close to her family and set off to get an Environmental Science degree with a minor in Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While at UMass, she helped with a research project to explore the effects of lawn mowing on insect diversity. She also held a GIS Research Assistant position where she focused on stream ecology, land use and light pollution. Upon graduation she started working at a Civil Engineering and Landscape Architecture firm and helped with the various permitting, design, land survey and CAD drafting that goes into these projects. After 2 years there, she decided that it was a time for a change. This year Laura is thrilled to serve as the Forest Keeper Coordinator at MountainTrue for the AmeriCorps Project Conserve. Laura is very excited to learn more about the ecology of Western North Carolina and engage the community in various conservation and restoration efforts. She’s very interested in the relationship between humans and the environment. In her spare time, Laura loves to go outside, spend time with friends and family, and play disc golf!
Anona Miller
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy - Stewardship & Volunteer Associate
Anona was born in Bamberg, South Carolina - a small rural town about an hour north of Charleston, SC. For 18 years she lived out in the country where she would frolic in the woods during her spare time. Her mother (a horticulturalist) and her father (an agriculture researcher) raised her with a deep respect and love for nature. In search of an adventure, after graduating high school she ran off to the mountains of North Carolina to attend Appalachian State University. For 4.5 years she studied Ecology and Environmental Science. Along the way she dabbled in different areas of biological research but began to feel that research was not the career with which she could make the greatest impact. After graduating she worked for the Blue Ridge Parkway as a 6-month seasonal Biological Science Technician. She had a great time, learned a ton, and fell in love with Appalachia even more. One of Anona's greatest interests is travel. After her position with the Parkway ended she decided to backpack Europe by herself for 4 months so she could see cool art, eat food with names she couldn't spell, and meet amazing people. After returning to the US she spent some time working at a hostel in Seattle and roadtripping cross-country in a big blue van called The Whale. Eventually she decided it was time to return to Appalachia and her passion for conservation. Anona will be serving as a Land Stewardship and Volunteer Associate at Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in Asheville, North Carolina. She couldn't be happier to be back in the Appalachian Mountains working to protect the land she loves!
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.