Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
Protecting the World's Oldest Mountains

SAHC Board of Trustees

Trustees are elected by the Conservancy’s general membership for a three-year term. After an initial term, a trustee may be re-elected to a second three-year term, but may serve no more than two consecutive terms. Current Board Members are:

  • Courtney Blossman, 
Asheville, NC
  • Leslie Casse, Asheville, NC

  • Nancy Edgerton, Asheville, NC
  • Lyman "Greg" Gregory, Asheville, NC
  • Jack Hamilton, Asheville, NC
  • Jim Houser, Charlotte, NC
  • Anne Kilgore, Kingsport, TN
  • Florence Krupnick, Asheville, NC
  • Jay Leutze, Minneapolis, NC
  • Bill Lowndes, Asheville, NC
  • Rick Manske, Asheville, NC
  • Laura McCue, Asheville, NC

  • Kathy Singleton, Kingsport, TN
  • Milton “Buddy” Tignor, Jr., Asheville, NC
  • Patty Cunningham-Woolf, Asheville, NC
  • Mary Bruce Woody, Asheville, NC


SAHC Staff

Carl Silverstein, Executive Director

Carl joined the SAHC staff in 2000. He graduated from Stanford University in 1984 with a BA in History, and the University of Alabama Law School in 1988. Carl practiced law in Seattle before moving to Asheville in 1995. Carl serves on the Buncombe County Land Conservation Advisory Board and on the Claims Committee of Terrafirma Risk Retention Group. Terrafirma is a charitable risk pool created by the national Land Trust Alliance to insure its members against the legal costs of defending conservation interests.

Kristy Urquhart, Associate Director

Kristy Urquhart has been Associate Director for SAHC since 1997 and has served on the staff since 1991. She graduated from King College with a BA in Business/Economics and worked in orchard management in Ithaca, NY, before moving to Asheville in 1991. Kristy is very active with the Asheville Humane Society.

Lisa Fancher, Finance Compliance Director

Lisa joined the SAHC staff in 2011. She has a BSBA in Accounting from Mississippi College, and has 15 years of for-profit experience, including 9 years in the area of consumer finance. She relocated to western NC in August 2010. Lisa oversees the financial accounts of the organization.

Land Protection

Michelle Pugliese, Land Protection Director

Michelle joined the SAHC staff in 2007. Michelle previously served as the St. Simons Land Trust Director of Land Protection. She graduated from Lafayette College with a BA in Biology and from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University with a Masters of Environmental Management degree. Michelle manages the organization’s land and conservation easement acquisitions.

William Hamilton, Farmland Program Director

William joined the SAHC staff in 2005, and is focusing on helping families protect prime farmland for the future through methods that make sense financially. William earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College in 1999, and a Masters of Forestry from North Carolina State University in 2004.


Hanni Muerdter, Stewardship & Conservation Planning Director

Hanni is from Bethel in Haywood County, NC. In 2006-07, Hanni worked for High Country Conservancy in Boone, NC through AmeriCorps Project Conserve. She previously worked at: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa, and for the Student Conservation Association. She received her bachelors in biology & environmental studies from Oberlin College, OH. Hanni joined SAHC in 2007 and oversees the organization’s program of monitoring and managing conservation easements and land we hold.

Sarah Sheeran, Stewardship Associate

Sarah joined SAHC in 2014, but has served on SAHC’s Land Management Committee since 2010 and has been a long-time volunteer. Sarah received her M.S. in Ecology from UNC-Chapel Hill and previously worked as the Education and Conservation Director at Navitat Canopy Adventures. She works with Hanni to assist landowners, monitor conservation easments, prepare baselines and care for our fee-simple properties.

Marquette Crockett, Highlands of Roan Stewardship Director

Marquette was raised on a farm near Cumberland Gap, TN and received her MS in Biological Science from East Tennessee State University. For the past 8 years, she has been the Wildlife Biologist of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Davis, WV. She was a founding member of the Central Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative, a multi-agency group working to restore high elevation spruce-fir forest. Marquette joined SAHC in 2014 and facilitates SAHC's Roan stewardship program and serves as the primary land steward on SAHC-owned preserves in the Roan.

Chris Link, Community Farm & Food Associate

Chris manages the operations on the Community Farm, working to grow the infrastructure and the Beginning Farmer Incubator Program.
Hailing originally from the eastern shore of Maryland, he holds a degree in planning & landscape architecture from Clemson University, and has practiced in Asheville and in the Southwest. Previously, Chris farmed on a year-round CSA community land trust farm in New England, and then most recently a small, bio-intensive farm in Bostic, NC. Both farms were organic and diversified with rotational livestock, demonstrating a symbiotic, productive relationship Chris sees as the future of sustainable land management which serves both the environment and community.

Development and Engagement

Cheryl Fowler, Membership Director 

Born and raised in Waynesville, NC, Cheryl completed an Associate of Applied Science degree in Commercial Art and Advertising Design from Southwestern Community College of Sylva, NC in 1994. Cheryl worked in printing and design, and operated a graphic design business before joining the SAHC staff in 2001. Cheryl coordinates membership our membership program materials, planning and implementing special events, and public outreach.

Angela Shepherd, Communications Director

Angela joined the SAHC staff in 2010. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in Public Relations, spent 9 years in graphic design for advertising publications, and earned MA in Geography with a Planning Concentration from Appalachian State University. Angela coordinates SAHC’s media relations as well as online and printed communications tools.

Pauline Heyne, Donor Relations Manager

Pauline joined SAHC in 2013 to increase our fundraising capacity and launch our major giving program. Previously she worked at Arizona State University Foundation as Assistant Director of Women & Philanthropy and as the Development Coordinator at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Pauline received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications at Kent State University and her Masters of Public Policy at Arizona State University.

Project Conserve AmeriCorps Associates

Caitlin Edenfield, Americorps Land Protection Associate

Caitlin graduated from Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies with a BA in Landscape Architecture last year.  She attended one semester at Tongji University in Shanghai, China.  She was an intern at the Asheville Design Center, worked as a farm manager in Lewisville, NC, and was an AmeriCorps trail crew member in Vermont.

Andrea Thompson, AmeriCorps Stewardship Associate

Originally from the Asheville area, Andrea graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies from Montreat College.  She recently worked in invasive species management for Western North Carolina Alliance and is a stewardship intern this summer with The Nature Conservancy in Indiana.

Jesse Wood, AmeriCorps Stewardship Associate

Jesse earned her B.S. in Biology from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina in May 2014.  Her hometown is Pickens, SC, though she lived abroad the first half of her life and grew up outside Washington, D.C. in Arlington, VA. Her most recent research focused on the conservation of Brown-headed Nuthatch in the Upstate of South Carolina.  She hopes to continue conducting field research by pursuing a Masters degree in the discipline of conservation/wildlife biology or ecology in the future.  

Kana Miller, AmeriCorps Conservation Education & Volunteer Outreach Associate

A recent graduate of Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY with a BA in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Intergroup Relations. A native of Atlanta, GA, Kana grew up hiking and camping in Western NC.  She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School in Tucson, AZ and enjoys backpacking, canoeing, and climbing.

Upcoming events

"For Love of Beer & Mountains" Devils Britches Release Party
Highland Brewing Company
Friday, December 4

A Handcrafted Christmas
Addison Farms Vineyard
Saturday, December 5

Cold Mountain Challenge Hike
Shining Rock Wilderness, NC
Saturday, December 6

Click here for our full calendar.

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