Appalachian Headwaters

Lead Pollinator Scientist & Native Plant Expert

Kristen Wickert

Dr. Kristen Wickert joined Appalachian Headwaters as the Lead Pollinator Scientist during the summer of 2021. She is professionally educated as a plant pathologist with hands-on research and field experience in the fields of botany, mycology, entomology, microbiology and forestry.

Her bachelor’s degree in Forest Biology from Penn State University, as well as her master’s and doctoral degrees in Plant Pathology from West Virginia University exposed her to the wonderful diversity of the Appalachian Mountains.

Kristen loves to travel to botanize and is passionate about sharing her knowledge of the ecological observations she has made during her adventures.

Greenhouse Operations Manager & Head Grower

Greg Grim

Greg joined Headwaters in 2018 as an organic farmer and high tunnel manager. As the head grower, he is responsible for selecting the fruits and vegetables grown for Camp Waldo every year. In addition to growing delicious organic foods for our campers, Greg also manages our Summers County greenhouse– home to approximately 15,000 native plants!

Before coming to Headwaters, Greg worked and lived on a 20-year old permaculture farm in Nicaragua. He left Nicaragua to take a farming apprenticeship at Sprouting Farms, a nonprofit in Talcott, West Virginia. He also works with and lives on the property of Peter Heus, one of the most skilled native plant horticulturalists in the region.

While Greg has a strong affinity for growing plants, he also enjoys hiking, biking, rock climbing, and playing with his dog, Yogi.

Environmental Educator & Assistant Grower

Ivy Makia

Ivy joined Headwaters in 2021 as an Environmental Educator where she curates educational content centered around the relationship between native plants and climate change. Ivy also assists Greg Grim in growing native plants and vegetables in our greenhouse and high tunnel, respectively.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Florida in 2019, she was accepted into the Chicago Botanical Garden’s Conservation and Land Management (CLM) internship program. Ivy served as a botany intern for the U.S. Forest Service, where she learned to identify West Virginia native plants in order to collect and process native seeds used for the ecological restoration of disturbed forest areas within the Monongahela National Forest. Through this experience, she discovered her calling for native plants, restoration work, and environmental education.

Beyond her love of plants and gardening, she also enjoys reading comic books, painting, and singing.

Restoration & Invasive Plant Removal Technician

Michael Zsembik

Michael is one of Headwaters’ Restoration and Invasive Plant Removal Technicians that work to promote the abundance and diversity of West Virginia native species at our Lewisburg site.

A U.S. Navy veteran and Texas native, Michael received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy in 2019 from St. Edward’s University. Soon thereafter, in 2020, he joined the AmeriCorps Service where he served as an Ecological Restoration Coordinator Intern for the Monongahela National Forest U.S. Forest Service. Through this experience, he was exposed to and fell in love with the Appalachian region and culture.

Michael enjoys hiking, camping, and sight seeing.

Restoration & Invasive Plant Removal Technician

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 controlling 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.

Jeff enjoys hiking, fishing, and camping. In addition to his appreciation of nature, he also has a deep love for animals. Prior to landscaping, Jeff used to foster animals and worked at animal shelters.