RATC Board – Program: Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, Eric Giebelstein

• What we’ll do
Join the RATC board meeting, headlined by Eric Giebelstein, Program Manager for the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS). In Virginia, SAWS watches over more than 2 dozen wilderness areas, including Kimberling Creek, Peters Mountain, Brush Mountain and Brush Mountain East, Mountain Lake and Thunder Ridge. They are a conservation non-profit dedicated to providing stewardship to protected public lands in the Southern Appalachian region, including areas in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. Want to get involved? SAWS offers
* Year-round volunteer opportunities for trail maintenance, trail construction, and campsite rehabilitation.
* Seasonal employment in conservation education through hands-on work experience.
* The Wilderness Skills Institute, hosted in partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the US Forest Service. Volunteers and employees from both non-profits and federal agencies learn about techniques to maintain trails with traditional tools and interacting with the public.
* Wilderness rangers who assist the recreating public, foster collaboration between recreational user groups, monitor wilderness character, and inventory non-native and invasive species.
* Educational workshops on public lands conservation, stewardship, volunteerism, and wilderness.

Eric’s interest in the natural world was first piqued in his native Iowa landscape while fishing for bullheads in farm ponds and big rivers. He continued to study fish and wildlife at Iowa State University, graduating with degrees in Animal Ecology and Spanish in 2006. He spent the early years after graduating as a fisheries technician for the Illinois Natural History Survey. His desire for topography, biodiversity and wild places drew him to the Southern Appalachian Mountains, where he’s spent the last four years working as a Wilderness Ranger, Assistant Crew Leader and Education Specialist for SAWS.

He is a Class B Crosscut Sawyer, Leave No Trace Master Educator, and has a Wilderness First Aid certification.

In his leisure time, Eric enjoys hiking, backpacking, playing disc golf and brewing great beers. He is extremely excited to explore and protect his new landscape in Virginia.

• What to bring

• Important to know