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Faces of Conservation


Tara Granke

Conservation Easement and Stewardship Volunteer Coordinator (Asheville)

Originally from Los Angeles, I spent time as a child on the beaches and rocky tide pools of Southern California, poking anemones and discovering sea stars. This is where I found my love of nature. As an adolescent, my family and I moved to south central Kentucky where I continued on to college. After graduating from Western Kentucky University in 2007, where I majored in biology, I enjoyed moving coast-to-coast for seasonal field ecology jobs and traveling in between. After a few years of that, I decided I needed to put down some roots and moved to the mountains of Asheville in 2010. I now serve as the Conservation Easement and Stewardship Volunteer Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy where I will help to protect the lands and waters that I now call home. 

Year started at TNC: I started my service position with TNC in September of 2012 and hope to find a way to continue my work with TNC in the future.

Favorite TNC Preserve and why: Bat Cave Preserve holds a special place in my little conservation heart. Not only is North America’s largest granite fissure cave found here (and is home to rare and endangered bats during hibernation, one of my favorite warm-blooded creatures), but it hosts dramatic views of the Hickory Nut Gorge. The contrast of autumn-colored leaves next to the rock outcroppings and sparkling waterfalls in the area made for some beautiful days spent there this season and I look forward to any time I get to make it out to the preserve.

A typical good day for you at work: A day in the field is always a good day for me. Whether it's monitoring conservation easements and taking in the dramatic views of the properties or a day of invasive species removal with volunteers, I love getting outside and seeing the beautiful places TNC works so hard to protect. A large part of my service as the Stewardship Volunteer Coordinator is getting the community and individuals interested in the work we do here; it is always a huge reward to share these special places with people whether they are new to the area or their family has lived in the mountains for generations.

Place in the world you would most like to visit but have never been to: I would love to visit Fjorland National Park in New Zealand: explore the fjords by kayak, experience the glowworm grotto of the Te Anau caves, and see the ancient rain forests untouched by man!

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Tara Granke

Conservation Easement and Stewardship Volunteer Coordinator (Asheville)

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