Growing up in rural northwest Alabama in the 1950’s and 60’s, going to the “mountains” is what our family did for outings. Our “mountains” are the foothills of the southern Appalachians, the Warrior Mountains of the Bankhead National Forest. Providing my sisters and themselves with cheap entertainment by following creekbeds through sandstone canyons, my parents probably never suspected that the sweet air we were breathing was setting forest-love into their eldest daughter’s blood like a mordant.
After art school in Memphis and years of living many places between the Virgin Islands and Alaska, an Appalachian Trail hike brought me back to the South, and eventually back to Alabama. It was becoming a mother, raising my son, and the fierce, innate drive to keep him safe in this world that propelled me into environmental activism. In the early 90’s I began volunteering for the Bankhead Monitor. That grew into my current position at Wild South where I manage membership communications, organize volunteer projects, activate our activists, lead hikes and field trips in the Bankhead National Forest, and work to sprout a new generation of forest-lovers by taking children to our “mountains” to walk the creeks and breathe that sweet air.