Board of Directors

Lucia Gerdes, President

Owner of Cedar Mountain Cafe and Cedar Mountain Canteen

Lucia Gerdes, President

Lucia Gerdes was born in Montana, where she grew her love for the outdoors and the environment. Camping, hiking, and fishing were all formative parts of her childhood. So she feels right at home in DuPont Forest. Lucia and her husband opened Cedar Mountain cafe in 2014 and  2016 they settled in a home across the street from DuPont Forest and. In 2018 they bought the Cedar Mountain Canteen.

Lucia attended Florida International University in Miami where she earned a B.A. in International Relations. After a year in Ireland, she completed a Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. She spent six years as an information and resource manager at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide in Chicago. In 2011, she left the corporate world with dreams of opening her own business. She spent some time in Ojai, California with her husband helping her father with his small business until they felt the pull of family ties back east.

Lucia volunteers on the Cedar Mountain Community Center Board and is a founding member of the VISION Transylvania Alumni Network. In her spare time she travels the world. She has traveled through 40 countries and 35 states. You can also find her hiking and biking in DuPont Forest or cleaning up litter on the roadways to DuPont Forest.

Jeff Jennings, Vice President
Founder and President of Equilbar

Jeff Jennings, Vice President

Jeff was the founding President of the organization and played a big part in the campaign to save the Forest and establish the original DuPont State Forest in 1996. Today he owns and operates Equilibar, a small engineered valves business in Fletcher.

Jeff grew up near Clemson, SC and enjoyed hiking and camping in Western North Carolina. While working for the DuPont Corporation he had the opportunity to transfer to the Brevard plant, jumped at it, and has never wanted to leave.

On the weekends you can find Jeff outside hiking, mountain and road biking, and snapping pictures of wildflowers. “I love the density of interesting places to see in DuPont,” he says.   “A short bike ride or hike can take me by several waterfalls, overlooks, and lakes. I have been visiting long enough to know where to find a lot of nice wildflowers.”

Jennifer Peyton, Treasurer
Senior Analyst at EverBank

Jennifer Peyton, Treasurer

Jennifer Peyton relocated to Western North Carolina with her husband almost three years ago. Avid outdoor adventurers, they fell in love with everything this area has to offer and decided to call Pisgah Forest home. Jennifer got involved with Friends of DuPont Forest because she wanted to have an active voice in the decisions that will be made to keep the trails in DuPont Forest in tip-top shape well into the future.  In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys everything outdoors – mountain biking, hiking, backpacking and kayaking.

Chuck Ramsey, Secretary
Retired Mechanical Engineer, DuPont Company

Chuck Ramsey, Secretary

Chuck Ramsey grew up bouncing between Tennessee and Kentucky. He attended engineering school in Tennessee, and work as an engineering intern for the DuPont Company Cedar Mountain, NC site in the early 1970s. Once he earned his degree he returned to the area as an DuPont employee. He worked as mechanical engineer with DuPont, then Sterling, then Agfa for 33 years. When the plant closed Chuck worked for a professional trail builder for five years untl he retired.

He is a long time member of Friends of DuPont and has been actively involved since the organization was formed. Chuck has previously served on the board and is a key member of our Trail Crew.

Ericka Berg
Membership Coordinator, Conserving Carolina

Ericka Berg

Ericka Berg was raised in Polk County, NC where her family has deep roots. After attending Berea College in Kentucky, she made her way back to Western North Carolina to serve in Conserving Carolina’s AmeriCorps Project Conserve as a Volunteer and Community Engagement Associate. She currently serves as Membership Coordinator at Conserving Carolina.

Ericka got involved with Friends of DuPont during the planning of the first ever DuPont Forest Festival in 2018. She volunteered as the volunteer coordinator for the Festival and did an amazing job. She now serves on both the Forest Festival Committee and the Development Committee.

When she is not working or volunteering, you can find Ericka somewhere in the outdoors and often in DuPont Forest. “I love DuPont for its accessibility to folks all throughout our community. I love that, on any given day, you can see people of all kinds experiencing the outdoors and our public lands. I love that even though some sections can be overflowing with people on a summer weekend, you can always find a quiet place to call your own if you’re willing to explore. I love that it is a multi-use forest that serves as an example that, despite our different hobbies, we can all find joy in our public lands and in each other,” she says.

Cheryl Calvert
Retired, Public School Music Teacher

Cheryl Calvert

Cheryl Calvert grew up in High Point, NC and moved to the Asheville area to begin her career as a public school teacher. She fell in love with the mountains and has been here ever since.

Cheryl has been a member and volunteer of Friends of DuPont Forest for several years and is now serving her third year as a board member. Cheryl and her husband, Rick, are also members of the Back Country Horsemen of Pisgah and the Pisgah Trailblazers, equestrian groups that work on trail clearing and other projects designated by the rangers in the Pisgah National Forest and Dupont State Recreational Forest.

“What I love most about Dupont is being able to ride my horse on the multi use trails and enjoy being out in the woods and to view the spectacular waterfalls,” she says. “It’s a wonderful place to bring my family and friends for a picnic and a hike.”

Alan Cameron
Retired Intelligence Analyst, National Security Agency
Air Force, Vietnam Veteran

Alan Cameron

Alan is our resident wildlife expert.  For more than a decade Alan Cameron has volunteered with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission  conducting research and conservation efforts for listed animal species in DuPont State Forest. He co-author of several scientific papers on the endangered Green Salamander.

Alan periodically presents a series of educational  wildlife lectures on behalf of Friends of DuPont and put together the wildlife slideshow that plays in the Aleen Steinberg Visitor Center in DuPont. He is currently working on additional shows to cover the geology of DuPont, prescribed burns, wildlife food plots, forest management, and blue ghost fireflies.

When he is not putting together lectures or doing research in the forest he is busy photographing wildlife in the Forest.

Tom Fanslow
Land Protection Director, Conserving Carolina

Tom Fanslow

After earning his B.A. in History from Emory University in 1988, Tom served for three years as Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa working agricultural education and reforestation. Tom received his JD from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1996 and then worked on coastal conservations in Georgia. A native of East Tennessee, Tom began working for Conserving Carolina in 2004 as an AmeriCorps members in the charter year of Project Conserve. When he is not saving land on behalf of Conserving Carolina – more than 15,000 acres under his leadership – Tom can be found planting milkweed and diversifying the inventory of native plants in the Community Arboretum behind Conserving Carolina’s Hendersonville office.

Lynn Harton
Retired, Design and Engineering, General Electric

Lynn Harton

Lynn Harton worked in design and engineering at General Electric for 40 years in Connecticut, Ohio and Tennessee. After retirement has was a snow bird from South Florida for sixe years. For the past eight years he has made Hendersonville is home.

Lynn has been going to DuPont Forest before there were any Forest Rangers. He has been involved with Friends of DuPont since the beginning and served on the first board of directors. Lynn is our graphics guy. He helped create our National Geographic map design as well as our Suggested Routes booklet and several pages of our website.

He has hiked every road and trail in the Forest as well as all the reroutes. He served on the Trail Committee and helped lay out some of the new trails and reroutes.

Much of his life these days is spent as an usher at Flat Rock Playhouse and he says, “Life is good.”

Nancy Kay
Veterinarian and Author

Nancy Kay 

Nancy grew up in the mountains of Colorado before attending the to Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine in upstate New York. From there she headed to Northern California where she completed her residency training in small animal internal medicine at the University of California-Davis Veterinary School. After her three children grew up and left the house, she and her husband began searching for a location with four distinct yet mild seasons and property with direct access to a trail system. They found exactly what they were looking for in Hendersonville, NC.

Nancy has been involved with Friends of DuPont Forest for nearly a decade and we are happy to welcome her back to the Board of Directors. She has volunteered with the litter pick up crew, the trail patrol, the trail crew, and as a board member and as the newsletter editor. When she is not busy volunteering, Nancy enjoys her dogs and horses, loves to be in the garden and spends lots of time writing.

Jim Plick

Jim Plick

The exciting story of Jim Plick is coming soon!

Mark Stierwalt

Mark Stierwalt

The exciting story of Mark Stierwalt is coming soon!

Fred Weed
Retired College Administrator

Fred Weed

Following four years as a Navy Officer, Fred Weed served as an administrator at several liberal arts colleges. When he retired, Fred and his wife moved to Brevard to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and easy access to cultural events and activities. Fred serves on the Litter Pick Up Crew and our Development Committee.

Staff

Sara Landry
Executive Director

Sara Landry, Executive Director

Sara Landry is a native of Western North Carolina and grew up hiking all over these mountains as a camp director’s kid and was born at Camp Sequoyah near Weaverville, NC. Sara has lived in almost every U.S. time zone, but this area was always home base.

She started her career in the Peace Corps as a Small Business Development Volunteer in Benin, West Africa. She has spent the past 15 years in the nonprofit sector working in marketing and communications most recently at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville. Sara lives in Hendersonville, NC with her son and their female cat named George.

“DuPont is one the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen,” she says. “It is a tremendous privilege to help protect this amazing corner of the world.”