Board Member Bios

Taylor Barnhill
Organzational Consultant and Architect
Madison County, NC

I’m a Durham NC native who discovered the mountains of Madison County in the 70’s while working as an architectural consultant. I fell in love with the people and the forests and a 52 acre back-to-the-land mountain farm. To pay the bills, I ran a solar architecture practice until my neighbor, the US Forest Service, woke us up in the 80’s with its infamous 50-year management plan. My volunteer time quickly overran my work time, I put my practice on hold, and took a job with the WNC Alliance in 1987 to fight clearcutting. For two more decades I worked for several regional and national conservation groups, including the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition and SouthWings. I have enjoyed serving on the boards of half a dozen national and regional conservation organizations.

I currently share my work time as an Architect/builder and as a consultant for non-profit organizations. My idea of fun is in volunteering on climate change education and as an amateur naturalist to awaken kids to the wholeness of old growth wilderness.

Tammy Belinsky, JD, Secretary
The Environmental Law Group, PLLC
Copper Hill, VA

Tammy Belinsky currently practices law as an extension of her passions for open-space and water quality protection, which passions she has consistently pursued and expressed since she served as a teenage Volunteer-in-the-Parks in Great Falls National Park on the mighty Potomac River falls.  Tammy’s education in the sciences informs her law practice, as well as her volunteer service in support of Wild South’s mission.  Tammy holds an A.A.S. in Ecology and Environmental Technology from Paul Smith’s College (1981), a B.S. in Public Health (Environmental Science and Engineering) from University of North Carolina (1983), a M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1988) and was awarded her J.D. at the University of Richmond in 1999 after surviving a career as a water-quality regulator for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Tammy currently serves as the secretary to the board of directors for Wild South from her rural home in native Virginia, and is extraordinarily proud of the staff’s work which inspires people to enjoy, value and protect the wild character and natural legacy of the South.

Tom Dudley, JD
Kenison, Dudley & Crawford, LLC
Greenville, SC

Tom Hatley, PhD
Principal, Tom Hatley Consulting
Asheville, NC

Dr. Lee Hillard
UAB Professor of Pediatrics
Birmingham, AL

I was born and raised in Mississippi.  My love of the Southern Appalachians began on a family trip to GSMNP at age 6.  On this trip, I had to be dragged back to the car after a short hike where I became obsessed with the clear, fast moving water and smooth stones. (I love Mississippi, but clear water is fascinating if you have never seen it before!)  I went to college at Mississippi State (Go, Dawgs!) and majored in Microbiology.  I then went to medical school at the University of Mississippi and completed a Pediatric residency at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.  While living in Arkansas, I went to the Ozarks and Ouchitas as often as possible, and these experiences solidified my love of wild places.  In 1993, I came to Birmingham where I completed a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship at UAB/Children’s of Alabama.  I stayed on as faculty and now am a UAB Professor of Pediatrics.  My clinical area of expertise and research interest is sickle cell disease, and I also serve on the board of the North Alabama Sickle Cell Foundation.  Our practice cares for one of the country’s largest pediatric sickle cell populations, and I have participated in numerous clinical trials and published manuscripts on pediatric sickle cell disease as well as other areas of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

My first hiking trip after moving to Alabama was on the Thompson Creek trail.  My friends and I were amazed at the huge leaves that we subsequently learned were from native large leaf magnolias. I got involved with Wild South when I stumbled across one of the Sipsey hikes on the internet.  From my first outing with Wild South, it was obvious that the organization has very dedicated and knowledgeable staff.  I was also drawn by the fact that Wild South emphasizes forest maintenance and education as well as advocacy and has such a dedicated network of volunteers. (It isn’t a social club, but you do meet a variety of interesting people!) My father was Director of Archives and History for Mississippi for 35 years, so I also appreciated the emphasis that Wild South puts on the cultural/historic value of our public lands.  I have now lived in Alabama longer than anywhere else, and I wanted to do what I can to help protect special places like the Sipsey Wilderness and the Bankhead.

Jeff Hicks, Vice Chairman
Software Engineer
Asheville, NC

Jeff has long held dual passions: for the environment of the South, and for the latest in technology. While pursuing a degree in Ecology, he was introduced to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and has been working on map software for environmental data ever since. In this period of rapid and dramatic regional change, Jeff is excited about the potential to leverage his passion and expertise toward Wild South’s important environmental and cultural preservation initiatives.

Larry Jarrett, Chairman
Coordinator DeSoto County Greenways
New Albany, MS

Larry Jarrett manages Pine Ridge Marketing, LLC, a consulting company focusing on natural resources and sustainable development. He is currently under contract with the Desoto County, MS Economic Development Council to develop the Desoto County Greenways program.   In addition to managing family forestland, he manages commercial and residential real estate in the North Mississippi area for his family’s trust.

Larry received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Mississippi State University in 1972.  He received his master’s degree in environmental studies focusing on Sustainable Development from Prescott College, Prescott, AZ in June 2008 with an emphasis on sustainable forests focusing on the Intrinsic Values of our Forests.

Larry is active with conservation and environmental issues. He describes himself as a free spirited independent, nature loving optimist, activist, entrepreneur, and dirt-worshiping wilderness advocate.

In addition to living on and managing forestland, he enjoys reading, hiking, nature photography, and travel and is active with environmental and conservation issues both at the state and national levels.

Mark Kirkpatrick
Mountain Enterprise Construction
Boone, NC

Travis McDowell, Ex Officio
Sales Rep, Columbia/Sorel Footwear
Fairview, NC

Travis has been a Wild South volunteer for over 10 years and served on the Board of Directors for 8. He is a conservative who supports conservation and is an avid Cyclist and fly fisher. He is married with 2 kids and I loves getting the family outdoors

Mike Murdock
Wildlands Committee Chair, GA Sierra Club
Snellville, GA

Michael (Mike) was born in Lubbock, Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.  He served as a U. S. Army officer during the Vietnam era, reaching the rank of captain.  After military service he attended graduate school at Sam Houston State University, graduating with an MA in Criminology.

Following graduate school Mike began a 30 year career in state government, six years in Texas and 26 years in Georgia.  He held various upper management positions in the departments of corrections in both states which involved directing the financial, business, and administrative affairs of both.  He was an adjunct faculty member of Mercer University 2001 to 2010.

Mike has been a member of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club since 2007 and chair of the Wildlands/Wildlife Committee since 2011.  Military service in Alaska triggered his life long interest in wildlife and the outdoors.  His interests include hiking, trail running, outdoor photography, and shooting sports (rifle and archery).  He is also a watercolor painter.

Mitch Orland
Business Consultant
Asheville, NC

Greg Preston
Blue Clan of Echota Cherokee
Father and Farmer,
Parker, AZ

Greg is homemaker/stay at home Dad. Prior to that he worked as an avionics, propulsion and hydraulics test specialist for Boeing.

Blake Ray
President/Systems Engineer, Saturn Networks
Asheville, NC