This strong team of dedicated individuals helps to protect and preserve our natural land, water and air resources through education and public participation in policy decisions at all levels of business and government.
Watershed Outreach Coordinator
As MountainTrue’s Watershed Outreach Coordinator, Anna facilitates volunteer water quality monitoring and restoration programs in the French Broad River watershed. After earning a B.A. in Global Studies, she spent 2010-2012 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Senegal. As a preventative health and environmental education volunteer, she spent much time promoting water conservation and sanitation practices within her village. After her time abroad she continued her studies, again at the University of Tennessee, where she earned an M.S. in Geography with a minor in Watersheds. Anna loves spending time outdoors, whether by the river or on the trail. [more]
AmeriCorps High Country Water Quality Administrator
Kylie Barnes is a recent graduate of Appalachian State University, where she received a dual degree in Sustainable Development and Economics. Her college experience fueled her passion for environmental conservation and advocacy, as well as her love of Western North Carolina. As MountainTrue’s High Country Water Quality Administrator, she’s able to actionably pursue her passions and values by implementing community engagement programs and events, habitat restoration in Boone, and water quality initiatives in the Watauga River Watershed. She’s excited to be working for MountainTrue alongside the amazing people who want to make a difference in the Southern Blue Ridge. If she’s not out sampling water at different river spots, she enjoys playing tennis and her guitar, or hiking on Blue Ridge Parkway.
Community Engagement Director
Susan is thrilled to serve as the Community Engagement Director for MountainTrue where she is charged with connecting people all across the WNC region who are committed to protecting our natural resources. She is actively involved in the community, serving as Co-Chair of the Building Bridges Board and a regular volunteer for the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP). In her free time, she loves trail running with her dog Mossy, road biking, and gardening. [more]
Adam is honored to bring his years of non-profit experience to MountainTrue. He was born and raised in Durham, NC where he spent untold days swimming, boating, and hiking along the Eno River. Although raised in the Piedmont, Western North Carolina has felt like Adam’s true home since his youth. [more]
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Interim Southern Regional Director
David moved to the Broad River watershed in 1987 after receiving an Engineering degree from Clemson University. He worked in manufacturing for several years in Shelby, and has been fishing, paddling, and exploring the watershed’s rivers and tributaries for over three decades now. In 2015, David became the Coordinator for the Broad River Alliance, a Waterkeeper Affiliate and program of MountainTrue. [more]
French Broad Riverkeeper
Hartwell has worked to protect the French Broad River for the past 11 years. He was the first responder to Asheville’s coal ash pollution, working to protect the French Broad River and the nearby community by forcing Duke Energy to clean up and close down Asheville’s coal-burning power plant. Hartwell also implemented his idea for the French Broad River Paddle Trail by building new campsites and access points, which now link over 140 miles of the French Broad River. [more]
AmeriCorps Water Quality Administrator
As MountainTrue’s AmeriCorps Project Conserve Water Quality Administrator, Mara conducts water quality programming and educational efforts with volunteers, schools and the greater Western North Carolina region. She learned to love the ecology, landscapes and people of the Southern Blue Ridge while growing up in Greenville, South Carolina. Mara earned a B.S. in Biology from Furman University with a focus on conservation and ecology.
Mara developed a special interest in the role of sustainable agriculture in watersheds during her time working with the watershed team at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute. Since then, she has worked as a farm-to-school educator and food justice advocate in Vermont and Massachusetts. She’s finishing up a master’s degree in Conservation Leadership from Colorado State University where her work and study focuses on agriculture and watershed management in Northwest Colorado’s Yampa Valley. In her free time, Mara enjoys all forms of outdoor activities, especially biking, backpacking and gardening.
Development and Operations Coordinator
Amy Finkler grew up enjoying the beauty and power of the mountains of Western North Carolina. Though she periodically spent time away from Asheville, studying at Appalachian State University and living for four years in Portland, Oregon, the draw of the Blue Ridge Mountains always brought her home. She is thrilled to be the Development and Operations Coordinator at MountainTrue, working to protect the mountains, forests, and rivers that she loves. [more]
Ecologist and Public Lands Director
Bob is the Ecologist and Public Lands Director for MountainTrue, where he has worked since 1998 providing scientific input on issues related to environmental protection of Southern Appalachian mountain forest communities. Bob’s work involves national forests and national parks, air and water quality, and rural lands protection. He heads MountainTrue’s non-native invasive species program. [more]
High Country Regional Director & Watauga Riverkeeper
Andy Hill is proud to serve MountainTrue as the High Country Regional Director and Watauga Riverkeeper. Andy has a passion for clean, cold, fishable, drinkable and swimmable water. As a long-time fly fisherman, educator and guide, he is intimately familiar with our watershed from the headwaters to the tailwater and is passionate about protecting the places we love. [more]
Southern Regional Director and Green Riverkeeper
Gray developed his passion for the environment at an early age, during summers spent at camp in Henderson County. A native of Raleigh, the mountains and rivers of southwestern North Carolina held a special place in his heart. While studying toward his undergraduate degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gray would return to Henderson County to teach paddle sports during the summers. [more]
Asheville Design Center Director
Chris has served as director of the Asheville Design Center (ADC) since 2009. The ADC, which merged with MountainTrue in 2017, connects volunteer designers—architects, engineers, landscape architects, planners, and graphic designers—with projects that promote healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities. Prior to his arrival in Western North Carolina, Chris worked with the Nature Conservancy, Connecticut River Watershed Council, and League of Conservation Voters. [more]
Public Lands Field Biologist
Josh was born in Madison County, N.C., and went to school at UNC Asheville, earning a degree in biology. He then worked for the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, where he focused on identifying remnant old-growth forests on public land, and at WildLaw, where he worked to promote ecological restoration as the new paradigm of National Forest management. [more]
AmeriCorps Outings and Education Coordinator
As MountainTrue’s Outings and Education Coordinator, Savannah finds ways to connect local communities to their surrounding environment. She grew up in the Piedmont of North Carolina, surrounded by more trees than people. She spent most of her childhood outdoors; barefooted and exploring the natural environment around her. From a young age, Savannah decided she wanted to share her love of the outdoors with others. She spent most of her teenage years as a docent at her local science center. After high school, she moved to Western North Carolina, where she earned her B.S. from Montreat College in Outdoor Education. In her role, she hopes to get others more connected to the world around them, specifically those who don’t have equal access to the outdoors. You can find Savannah exploring nearby cities with her husband, backpacking or sitting around campfires with loved ones in her free time.
Julie feels fortunate to be living in Western North Carolina and working to protect one of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse regions in our country.
Julie came to MountainTrue in June 2008 from Atlanta. In 2015, she was elected to Asheville’s City Council after serving for many years on the City’s Multi-Modal Commission and Transit Committee. In 2011, she was appointed by Governor Bev Perdue to … [more]
AmeriCorps Forest Keeper
Ellianna is a graduate of Warren Wilson College, where she was a member of the Landscape Crew and earned her B.A. in Environmental Education in 2020. Growing up in Philadelphia, PA, her first experiences of the environment were through an urban lens, which shaped much of her initial involvement in environmental work. Her interest in native landscaping, non-native invasive plant control and urban farming expanded after she moved to Asheville and began working with the Warren Wilson College Landscape Crew. In the summer of 2019, Ellianna decided to merge her love of the outdoors with the pressing needs of her city. She interned with two urban farms in Philadelphia that provided healthy, affordable and culturally desirable foods to communities without access in the city. That time also allowed her to expand her teaching tools as she mentored teen interns and honed her passion for teaching people of all ages how to engage with the natural environment. It was also the inspiration behind her college thesis: an 80-hour lesson plan for teen interns at an urban farm in Philadelphia that taught native landscaping and regenerative agriculture practices.
As Forest Keeper, Ellianna is excited to learn from and collaborate with community partners of all ages and backgrounds. She’s excited to build upon her plant identification knowledge and share her enthusiasm for land stewardship through this role. In her free time, Ellianna enjoys reading, swimming, hiking, camping, climbing, knitting and cooking delicious new recipes.
Western Regional Director
Callie served as Director of the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition for 17 years until the organization merged with MountainTrue in 2019. She has a Master’s Degree in Water Resources from Indiana University and is a graduate of Western Carolina University’s (WCU) Environmental Health Program. Before HRWC, Callie was a river basin planner for the NCDENR, Division of Water Quality, during which time she worked extensively in several WNC river basins including the Hiwassee, Little Tennessee, and Savannah. [more]
Creation Care Alliance Director
Sarah is thrilled to have the opportunity to do the work of faith-based ecological justice in the region that has made her who she is. She has worked at the intersection of faith, ecology, and Creation Care at NC Interfaith Power & Light as well as at several churches in Western North Carolina, and with the Creation Care Alliance back in 2017. Sarah holds a Masters of Divinity from Wake Forest University School of Divinity, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University. She was the recipient of the national 2018 Emerging Earth Care Leader Award from Presbyterians for Earth Care and was named a 2019 Re:Generate Fellow. [more]
Karim brings more than fifteen years of experience across a variety of settings to the role of Communications Director at MountainTrue. Karim cut his teeth at The Campaign Group, an industry-leading political advertising firm, where he helped to elect candidates including U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez of California and Governors Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. [more]
For most of his career Bob has worked on social and environmental causes. He spent 12 years overseeing house-building programs in Africa with Habitat for Humanity and another nine years working for the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to strengthen nonprofits in our region. At the Community Foundation Bob spearheaded WNC’s Mountain Landscapes Initiative, bringing land use planning and decision-making tools to government officials, developers and private citizens. [more]
Western Region Program Coordinator
Tony was the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition’s Restoration Program Coordinator for 11 years until the organization merged with MountainTrue in 2019. Raised in Swain and Cherokee counties, he holds an Associate’s Degree from Haywood Community College in Forest Management Technology. Tony has extensive experience with natural channel design principles for stream restoration, bioengineering techniques for bank stabilization, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. His passion is native and non-native invasive plants, and he is extremely knowledgeable about the identification and eradication of non-native invasive species. [more]
Maddy is thrilled to pursue her passion for inclusive, equitable, and impactful conservation storytelling and action as MountainTrue’s Communications Associate. A lifelong nature love and a resident of Western North Carolina since 2015, she’s driven to help protect the scenic beauty and ancient landscapes of the Southern Blue Ridge for current and future generations of people and wildlife. She spends her free time on mountain roads, woodland trails, or in antique shops. With two Bachelor of Arts degrees and a Master of Public Affairs degree from Western Carolina University, she’s ready to contribute to meaningful change in the mountain region she loves so dearly.
High Country Watershed Coordinator
Hannah came to our organization through her former AmeriCorps position and is now working part-time in the Boone office. She’s responsible for managing all of the active water quality programs and volunteer coordination in the High Country. She’s finishing up her master’s degree in biology at Appalachian State University, focusing on the effects of toxic metals in freshwater systems. Hannah is dedicated to protecting the integrity of the streams, lakes and rivers that make the High Country so special.