Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is pleased to announce that Ryan Sparks has joined its team as conservation associate.
In this role, Sparks’ primary responsibility will be to steward Foothills Conservancy’s more than 3,500 acres of conservation easement lands and its more than 4,000 acres of conservancy-owned preserves. This includes annual monitoring of these properties and natural resource management of the conservancy-owned preserves.
Sparks will work closely with conservation easement landowners, as well as with agencies, organizations, and natural resource professionals that partner with the conservancy. He will also assist land protection staff with other conservation projects.
“We are excited to welcome Ryan to our growing land trust team,” says Executive Director Susie Hamrick Jones. “This is our first new staff position in more than 10 years, taking us from five to six full-time staff. We now steward more than 7,500 acres, and this number grows each year. Ryan will enable us to continue providing the same high quality of stewardship and monitoring that we have always worked to implement on the lands we own or manage, while also enhancing our capacity to investigate future opportunities to protect more of the important natural treasures of this region.”
A native of the Blue Ridge foothills, Sparks has lived and worked throughout North Carolina and the South. His love for the Blue Ridge Mountains, coupled with a passion to protect their one-of-a-kind forests and natural features, inspired him to pursue a career in forestry. He holds a Master of Forest Resources and a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Organizations from the University of Georgia.
“I could not be more proud to join the Foothills Conservancy team,” says Sparks. “I’ve always felt a strong calling back to my childhood mountain home, and it has been my lifelong goal to work for an organization like Foothills that is dedicated to protecting the natural beauty and heritage of this area. I feel truly blessed to be able to help steward and conserve lands in these Blue Ridge foothills that my family and I call home.”