Paige Tester

Paige Tester Photo

As a child, Paige spent almost all of her time outside. Growing up on the Qualla Boundary adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee, North Carolina provided the perfect playground for a girl who loved the wilderness. Early on, she took an interest in nature, and while in high school was fortunate enough to intern with the National Park Service.

Paige began her college career focused on the natural sciences. She quickly realized, however, that she was not just interested in the environment, but also the people who interact with the environment. Paige understood that her community is shaped by both Appalachian and Cherokee culture and this has greatly impacted how she views the world. Paige is currently working toward a degree in Anthropology and Sciences for Archaeological Studies at Western Carolina University. She is particularly interested in the role that the environment plays in different cultures.

Most importantly, Paige wants to do work that directly benefits communities. As Cultural Heritage Assistant at Wild South, she is able to take her combined passion for nature and culture and conduct work that will help conserve natural areas and bring new knowledge to my community in western North Carolina and the public at large.