Appalachian Headwaters



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.


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 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 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.


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 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 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.


Bella is Headwaters Park’s Greenhouse, Nursery, and Garden Manager. She earned BAs in Environmental Studies and Spanish from Ursinus College. Her career as a Nursery Manager has been focused on growing native plants from local populations and getting them back out into the landscapes where they belong; everywhere from small urban gardens to large scale mine restorations. With Appalachian Headwaters, Bella is focused on engaging the community in native gardens and landscapes; offering educational greenhouse and garden workshops, botanical tours, and of course locally-collected seed-grown native plants.


Erica is the Day Camp Director and Community Programs Coordinator at Headwaters Park. She has been a science educator in indoors and outdoors classrooms in the U.S. and overseas. Erica helped found and continues to serve as director of the Yew Mountain Center, a nonprofit organization in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Inspired by her love of the Appalachian Mountains as well as the arts, Erica works to create opportunities that engage communities with the land and the biodiversity and varied human culture it supports. 


Merri is a recent environmental science PhD graduate of the University of Maryland. She also holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from Ohio University. She has a diverse background in wildlife conservation and ecology and has worked with a wide range of species across the mid- and southeastern United States. Merri has taught ecology to all age groups from kindergarten to mentoring college seniors. As a first generation college graduate, and native of the foothills of southeast Ohio, she is excited to bring her knowledge of wildlife ecology back home to Appalachia. 


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 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 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.


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 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.

David Ahakinian – Native Plant & Pollinator Specialist

Emma Myers – Native Plant & Conservation Specialist

Michael Arrowood – Facilities Team

Nika Keller – Plant Team

Eric Klaus – Plant Team

Devin Marr-Madariaga – Facilities Team

Kyle McCoy – Plant Team

Sammy Williams – Plant Team

Peter Heus – Native Plant Expert

Michael Miller – Maintenance and Grounds

James Schypers – Beekeeper

Clinton Taylor – Beekeeper