Joey moved to the mountain region in 1998, obtained an associate degree in biology, became certified in permaculture design, in herbal studies, and as a plant professional, eventually becoming the proprietor of a landscape design and construction company that focused on using native plants and regional resources. Joey enrolled at Western Carolina after observing the impact of restoration and remediation projects he participated in, both as a volunteer and as a professional. His desire to contribute to the health of the forests in this region motivated him to graduate Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in natural resource conservation management and a minor in biology with an ecology focus. He gained valuable experience in forest assessment and management while working with Forest Stewards as the head intern for three seasons. After which he dedicated his effort toward ensuring the continued presence of native hemlock trees in our forests through assisting with the hemlock woolly adelgid resistance breeding program established by the Forest Restoration Alliance, a non-profit run through North Carolina State University. Joey’s experience has provided him with keen insight in appropriate forest management that balances the needs of land-holders with the greater ecological considerations that shape our legacy. Whenever there’s time, Joey can be found crouched over some woodland forbs or peering into the overstory while hiking or camping with his wife and three children. They also enjoy boating, fishing, and snorkeling in area rivers and streams.