At the Friends of DuPont Forest Annual Meeting in April, we welcomed Lucia Gerdes as the new President of the Board of Directors. We also welcomed Nancy Kay and Ericka Berg to the Board.

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. She and her husband opened Cedar Mountain Cafe in 2014 and  2016 they settled in a home across the street from DuPont Forest. In 2018 they bought the Cedar Mountain Canteen.

She 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.

Nancy Kay is a veterinarian and author. She 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.

Ericka Berg is the Membership Coordinator at Conserving Carolina. She 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.