Keepers of the Forest

IMG_1089(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

In so many instances, volunteers are the eyes and ears for environmental organizations. They are the “boots on the ground,” so to speak. While the organizations have some paid staff, they often can’t hire enough staffers to do the work that volunteers accomplish. In Asheville, North Carolina, there is a new volunteer-based group playing an important role in protecting the forests. The Forest Keepers is a program started by the Asheville-based Western North Carolina Alliance. In this interview, Alexandra Guest, an AmeriCorps Forest Keeper explains how the new group will protect the forest by balancing stewardship with environmental science. She says, “We’re hoping that people, in addition to recreating outside, will also be able to give back to the public lands that are around them by protecting them from invasive species, maintaining trails and being the frontline defense for different pests and pathogens.”

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