Appalachian Headwaters

Staff

JOE LOVETT

Joe is the founder and Executive Director of Appalachian Headwaters. He is a native West Virginian who has been a catalyst for focusing local and national attention on the devastating ecological impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining and of burning coal for nearly twenty-five years. As the Executive Director and co-founder of the environmental public interest law firm Appalachian Mountain Advocates, Joe has litigated many precedent-setting cases to protect the region. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1995.

KATE ASQUITH

Kate has been on Headwaters’ staff since its beginning as the Director of Programs and Outreach. Before joining Headwaters, Kate worked for conservation and community advocacy groups for more than a decade. Her past work includes several years with public interest environmental law firms including Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Southern Environmental Law Center. Kate earned her law degree from the University of Washington and her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Maryville College in east Tennessee.

MIKE BECHER

Mike has spent his career working on environmental issues in central Appalachia. Prior to joining Headwaters as the Conservation Director, Mike worked as an attorney with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert C. Chambers of the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, and as the Stream Partners Program Coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Mike earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati and his undergraduate degree from Denison University.

TERRI J. GILES

Terri is Headwaters’ Director of Governmental Affairs. Terri’s 30-year career in public service and non-profits began in southern West Virginia and grew to include locations like Taiwan, Japan, California and Washington, D.C. Terri worked for U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV as director of economic development for 13 years, where she was the lead on the Toyota plant project, one of the largest economic development projects in the history of West Virginia. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Concord University and a Master’s in Communication Management from the University of Southern California. 

ELIZABETH SUTTON

Elizabeth is Appalachian Headwaters’ Administrative Specialist. She lives with her family on a small farm in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Secondary English Education and Psychology from the University of Kentucky.

DR. RICK FELL

Rick is a professor emeritus of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. Throughout his career, Rick has contributed significantly to the understanding of entomology through his research and extension work in apiculture. He has spent significant time conducting training workshops for beekeepers focused on colony management, queen production, and the pests and diseases affecting honey bees. He has advised numerous students on master’s degree and doctoral dissertations and helped them to develop successful careers in both academic and industrial settings. He taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses ranging across the full entomology curriculum.

MARK LILLY

Mark is the Head Beekeeper for Appalachian Headwaters. Mark has been keeping bees in Raleigh County, West Virginia for over twenty years.  He left the insurance industry after 30+ years and joined Appalachian Headwaters as a beekeeper/educator. He has a business administration degree from Concord University. Mark is an EAS Master Beekeeper, WV Master Beekeeper, secretary for the West Virginia Beekeepers Association, and President of the Raleigh County Beekeepers Cooperative Association.

KEVIN JOHNSON

Kevin Johnson is Headwaters’ Environmental Education Coordinator. He has a background in community-based education and program development, both at home and abroad. He holds BAs in environmental engineering sciences and history from Rice University. Kevin comes to Appalachian Headwaters from working as a service coordinator in low-income housing, and as program director for One Foundation focused on entrepreneurial ecosystem development in southern WV. Kevin enjoys spending part of each day with his herd of animals on Wolf Creek Mountain in Monroe County. Kevin is an Apprentice Beekeeper in the West Virginia Master Beekeeper program.

ROBBIE GARDISKY

Robbie is a Beekeeper Assistant with the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective program. Robbie graduated from Summers County High School in 2006 and has lived his entire life in Summers County. He worked in the hospitality industry for 12 years and landscaping for 2 years prior to joining Appalachian Headwaters. Robbie has achieved the status of an Apprentice Beekeeper in the West Virginia Master Beekeeper program.

SEAN PHELPS

Sean is a Beekeeper Mentor with the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective program. He is a 2009 graduate of Shady Spring High School. Before joining Appalachian Headwaters, Sean worked for the Raleigh County Board of Education. Sean has achieved the status of a Certified Beekeeper in the West Virginia Master Beekeeper program. He lives in Raleigh County, West Virginia.

MICHAEL BECHNER

Michael is a Beekeeper Assistant with the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective program. He has advanced degrees in computer science and technology and spent many years in the computer science field. He lives in his home along the Greenbrier River, just minutes from the Appalachian Bee Collective facility in Summers County, West Virginia.  His love of the outdoors, gardening, and nature drew him to the Bee Collective. He is working toward certified Beekeeper Status in the West Virginia Master Beekeeping program.

IVY MAKIA

Ivy serves as our Native Plant Horticulturist & Pollinator Conservation Specialist. Shortly after graduating from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s in Biology, Ivy was accepted to the Conservation & Land Management Internship program as a botany intern. On behalf of the Chicago Botanical Garden in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, she was stationed in West Virginia and tasked with collecting and processing native seeds used for the ecological restoration of disturbed forest areas within the Monongahela National Forest. Through that experience, she discovered her love for native plants and ecological restoration. Since working with us in 2021, Ivy has found her true passion in native plant horticulture and environmental education.

JEFF ELMORE

Jeff joined the Headwaters’ native plant team as a Restoration & Invasive Plant Removal Technician in 2021. He works with a small crew at our Lewisburg site to promote native populations and diversity through the identification and control of invasive species. A recent transplant from New Jersey, Jeff brought along his 13 years of landscaping experience and has since proven to be an invaluable member of the team.

JONATHAN WALKER-VANKUREN

Jonathan is the Director of Camp Waldo. He has been in the camping industry since 2012 working in residential camps. He started as a bunk counselor instructing drama while obtaining his undergraduate degree. Jonathan then went on to obtain his Master’s Degree from Michigan State University in Voice Performance and his Artist Diploma in Opera from Texas Christian University. After graduating from MSU Jonathan worked professionally as an opera singer traveling all around the world singing all while still spending his summers at camp. During the off-season, Jonathan still performs throughout the United States and teaches Voice at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA, all while planning for camp.

AL PETTIJOHN – CAMP WALDO CHEF

Al graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked at restaurants all over the country. Al has lived in the Greenbrier Valley for more than twenty years, working at restaurants like the French Goat, The Spring, and Thunderbird Tacos. Before moving to West Virginia, Al worked for summer camps in upstate New York for nearly two decades.

MICHAEL MILLER – MAINTENANCE AND GROUNDS

CLINTON TAYLOR – BEEKEEPER

ASHTON HOLLIDAY – AMERICORPS VOLUNTEER