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Neville Handel, Land Protection & ORISE Fellow


Neville Handel

Sandhills Land Protection Specialist & ORISE Fellow (Southern Pines)

I am originally from northeastern Ohio, but I have lived in North Carolina since 1999. I did my undergraduate studies at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH, and my graduate studies at UNC Chapel Hill. I am married and have two daughters. I enjoy traveling, playing music, and all manner of outdoor activities, though most of my free time these days is spent raising my girls and working on my house and land.

Year started at TNC: I began my fellowship with TNC in the NC Sandhills in September of 2010. Before that I had worked as an intern and contract ecologist with a watershed protection organization in Chatham County, conducting biological monitoring of local streams as part of a multi-year study of stream health.

Favorite TNC Preserve and why: I love spending time at Calloway for a variety of reasons: It is full of amazing plants and wildlife, and every time I am out there I see something new or scare up some wildlife, like a flock of quail hiding in the grasses right in front of me, or a family of red-cockaded woodpeckers foraging in the canopy above me. The scenery out there is breathtaking, and it is a joy to wander in the seemingly endless longleaf - especially in the autumn when the wiregrass that was burned earlier in the year turns golden and the purple flowers of the autumn gentian can be found. I am also happy to be a part of the team that is restoring and managing this forest for the long term. I look forward to seeing Calloway later in my life and admiring the fruit of this work through the lens of many decades.

A typical good day for you at work: My favorite days are the ones when I am in the field, putting fire on the ground, restoring the longleaf ecosystem and monitoring our work. But they are all good days. I enjoy building relationships with land owners and the general public, and there is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing you’ve just helped secure a deal to protect some land forever. I am grateful to be able to do the work I do, and to work with the people I work with, and I know that what we are doing is making a positive difference.

Place in the world you would most like to visit but have never been to: That is so hard to choose, but probably somewhere on the opposite side of the earth, like New Zealand or Indonesia/Papua New Guinea.

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Neville Handel

Sandhills Land Protection Specialist & ORISE Fellow (Southern Pines)

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