Lance Hardin, Executive Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lance manages the staff and oversees all operations of the Trust. He is responsible for all of our conservation efforts, acquiring new properties and refining details for each project to maximize the conservation benefits and meet the needs of the land donors as well. Lance graduated with honors from East Carolina University with a BS Accounting degree and spent more than two decades as a tax consultant in a "Big 4" advisory firm; in this role he worked with individuals and other entities to develop and implement solutions to complex financial transactions. Lance came to HCLT in 2022 after obtaining an MA in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University, where he was inducted into the Cratis Williams Society. Lance's thesis concerned the economic and cultural forces that helped shape Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the impacts of TVA's Fontana Reservoir, and as part of his program of study he conducted research into the historical and cultural backgrounds of selected HCLT properties. Lance's passion for preserving the cultural heritage of our area is further evidenced by his volunteer involvement with the Highlands Historical Society, for which he serves as archivist. He brings a wealth of non-profit experience, having served on the boards of numerous organizations. In 2021 he and his wife, Gwyn, completed most of the Appalachian Trail, and they share a love of hiking and outdoor recreation. Lance enjoys learning more about the history of WNC and exploring the natural resources of our area.
Julie Schott, Development Director: email@example.com
Julie joined the team in 2007. She oversees membership development, outreach, events and our education programs. She earned her B.S.in International Business from W.C.U. and her B.Ec. in International Business and Management Studies from the Hogeschool Brabant in the Netherlands. She earned her certification in Non-profit Management from Duke University. Julie has lived from coast to coast but made the Mountains of WNC her home several years ago. Her love of the outdoors was born during family camping trips as a child on the coast of Northern California and later in the Florida Keys. In her spare time, Julie loves to create re-purposed "masterpieces," explore new places and perfect the art of capoeira dance (not really). She is particularly fond of fireflies, campfire and the smell of fresh ground coffee (really).
Andrew Renfro, Stewardship Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew joined our team at the start of 2022. Andrew grew up in Cashiers and attended Summit Charter School and Highlands High School. He has a degree from Appalachian State University with a BSBA in Marketing and Risk Management & Insurance. Andrew’s previous work and volunteer experience led him to pursue his interest in environmental stewardship, trail work, and bettering his community. In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing, photography, hiking, and hunting.
Stephanie Contreras, Stewardship Associate: email@example.com
Stephanie rejoined HCLT in 2023, having previously served as an AmeriCorps member during 2021-2022. Stephanie graduated from Western Carolina University with a B.S. degree in Environmental Science. She also served as an AmeriCorps member in Southwest Virginia, during which she managed a conservation crew focused on trail building and invasive species mitigation. Stephanie has experience with environmental education, GIS field mapping, and brings a significant GIS mapping skill set to HCLT.
Hope Corbin, Education and Outreach Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL with a BS in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science, Botany, and Field Biology. She worked with the National Estuarine Research Reserve to establish a pilot study of pollinators servicing tidal freshwater estuaries, then she worked with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as an Oyster Restoration assistant, growing larval oysters to spat-on-shell, then releasing them onto oyster bed sanctuaries in the Bay, and assisting with education and volunteer programs. She then worked for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources doing water quality monitoring and assessment, apart of a team that assessed every river, tributary, and water body in the state. Hope felt a call to the mountains, service, and education, so she traded her waders for hiking boots and joined the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust as an Environmental Educator. She has since taken over the Kids in Nature afterschool programs, runs educational tabling events, and is working to establish more educational and volunteer opportunities and programs for all ages in the Highlands-Cashiers community.
Jessica Blackburn, AmeriCorps Service Member: email@example.com