Welcome to Asheville Hiking Tours! It is my passion to provide an inviting and informative experience in the great outdoors! After academic years publishing scientific articles and teaching biology courses, I found that I most enjoy an easy hike with others as we discuss Appalachia’s natural and historical wonders.
As a North Carolina native, I’ve cherished learning about local plants and wildlife since I was young, including during my biology degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. For over three years, I researched tropical plants of South America, during which time I spent almost a year abroad in Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.
It was a personal dream come true when I joined other biologists of Missouri Botanical Garden in finding several tropical plant species new to science! I then completed a Ph.D. at Washington University in Saint Louis on the conservation biology of Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada pine forests. After these pursuits, I am happy to be back in my home state, designing fun and educational tours for guests from around the world. I have training in Wilderness First Aid and Leave No Trace principles, and I became a Certified Interpretive Guide in 2016. I look forward to every Asheville Hiking Tours adventure, which brings novel experiences and wildlife sightings each day!
I have had many professional adventures over the years which have led me to the mountains. After receiving Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Notre Dame, I have been an entrepreneur, an agronomic adviser, a classroom educator, and an ecotour guide.
My years as an educator have included lecturing as a college professor, instructing middle and high school students, and developing and presenting children’s nature-based, early learning programs for 5-star resorts. For the past ten years, I have led ecotours on the estuaries and beaches of South Florida as well as the mountains of North Carolina.
I work to engage tour participants by interpreting what we encounter with insight and fun. By relating stories to show normally unseen connections and unique perspectives, I strive to welcome our guests to celebrate the wonders of nature in our beautiful mountain home.
As a resident of western North Carolina since 2009, I hold deep reverence for our Blue Ridge Mountains and their diverse flora and fauna. My passion for ecology began at a young age but truly blossomed when completing my ecology and evolution degree from Appalachian State University.
I have worked in aquatic conservation, researching and monitoring southern Appalachian salamander populations. I also researched and propagated endangered freshwater mussels– some of the most imperiled animals on Earth! All the while, I became a certified yoga teacher in 2014 and bodywork therapist in 2015.
I spent a year traveling the backcountry of New Zealand and most recently have been exploring new passions: bioluminescence, fireflies, and the medicinal properties of plants and fungi.
Throughout my journey as a backpacker, wellness practitioner, and conservationist, I have found an essential theme: there is a direct relationship between happiness and humans getting back into nature or “rewilding.” Each day on the trail is a celebration for me. Thank you for being a part of the adventure! I look forward to sharing the secrets and the splendor of the Southern Appalachians with you!