Austin Harrison joined ALT in September 2016 as an intern in the Affordable Housing Program. He now serves as the Neighborhood Revitalization Coordinator, overseeing and implementing ALT’s work in the West Broad neighborhood. Austin has worked on neighborhood development projects in both Youngstown, Ohio and Macon, Georgia. He is currently pursing an MPA and Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Georgia.
As ALT’s Farmer Outreach Specialist, Christina Hylton assists underserved and beginner farmers access NRCS and USDA resources and expand their farm businesses. She is committed to principles of sustainable development, education and community development. Christina also runs her own family farm.
Amanda Innes recently joined the the Athens Land Trust via the AmeriCorp Volunteers In Service to America (VISTA) program to become the new Development Assistant. She has worked virtually as a freelance marketer, social media manager, editor, and copywriter; and has held brick and mortar positions in higher education administration and nonprofits. She holds an MA in English and History and an MA in Social Justice, and a BA in Social Work. Amanda is passionate about issues of social justice and the use of technology to improve lives.
Angel McCoy began working with Athens Land Trust in 2015 as a Housing Counselor. In addition to her position at ALT, Angel also provides financial literacy education at the Athens Area Homeless Shelter as the financial literacy coordinator. She holds an NCHEC Certification in financial capability from NeighborWorks America, certification in housing counseling from Georgia Department of Community Affairs, a BA in social work from Coker College, and a Masters Degree in Postsecondary Education with an specialization in adult education from Capella university. She has over six years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Originally from Texas and South Carolina, Bexx Merck moved to Athens in September 2015 to join ALT as a FoodCorps Service Member. With a degree in Systems Thinking, Design, and Urban Agriculture from Hampshire College, Bexx brings a framework of food justice and food system knowledge, a love for cooking, understanding, and sharing food, and eclectic farming and greenhousing experiences to educate youth in Clarke County schools. Bexx has experience across the board from ecological and horticultural sciences, to environmental design and solar energy fabrication, to leading community driven courses for peers and youth, and running an LGBTQ after-school group.
Erin O’Brien moved from Colorado to Georgia in 2000, and is proud to now call Athens home. Beginning in 2014, she served at ALT as an Americorps VISTA for a year and a half before leaving to start a family. Erin returned in July 2016 as the Outreach and Development Coordinator, and is eager to find new ways to share ALT’s mission with the community and to grow the organization and its impact.
Kamilah Roberts joined the Athens Land Trust as an Americorp VISTA Housing Assistant in August 2016. She graduated from the University of Georgia where she majored in advertising, and received her Bachelors in journalism. She is excited to apply her skills in mass communications towards building capacity for ALT through marketing and outreach efforts.
Deborah Sheppard joined ALT as Farmland Protection Specialist in November 2015. She holds a BS in Horticulture from UGA and a MS in Public and Urban Affairs from Georgia State University. As a Georgia native whose career includes founding and directing non-profit organizations dedicated to water quality protection, clean energy policy and implementation, and environmental education, she brings over 30 years of statewide conservation advocacy experience and contacts to ALT’s land conservation program. She also creates and maintains coastal gardens featuring native plants and organic vegetables grown from seed in her home-based nursery. Residing on the Georgia coast, she will focus on expanding ALT’s farmland protection program in South Georgia.
Krisztian Varsa joined Athens Land Trust in 2016 as the Conservation Director. Krisztian has an MRP in urban planning from Cornell University and a BA in Geography from the University of Delaware. His background is in outreach, education, program development, and implementing conservation practices at the local level. Krisztian’s passions for conservation and outreach led him to Athens Land Trust where he will develop partnerships and increase conservation opportunities to protect and improve lands for agricultural production, wildlife habitat, and natural resource management.George Wright has lived in Athens and operated his own residential construction and remodeling business since 1975. He was a member of ALT’s board from 1999 through 2005, and has continued to be involved in our affordable housing program ever since, In August of 2014, he was hired as Project Oversight to supervise construction for us and is pleased to be able to put more effort into permanently affordable housing in our community.
Dave Chamberlin joined Athens Land Trust as AmeriCorp VISTA Volunteer Coordinator in March 2016. Dave looks forward to using his prior experience as volunteer coordinator at Nuci’s Space in Athens to help people get connected in pursuits that interest them at ALT. Dave got involved with ALT after starting as a volunteer himself with West Broad Market Garden and the Young Urban Farmers Program.
Rebecca Ennis is a graduate of the University of Georgia from which she obtained a BS in Speech Communication. She has learned and worked on organic and community farms and gardens since 2007. As the West Broad Garden Manager she combines her passion for sustainable farming with her love for Athens by bringing the community together around accessible, healthful, and natural food. Rebecca and her husband, Patrick, have lived in Athens since 2003.
Dyan Holt began working with Athens Land Trust in 2008, after many years as a lawyer in the public service. She holds an LL.M from Georgetown University Law Center, and now is Conservation Coordinator, involved in all aspects of the Conservation Program.
Originally from Decatur, Georgia, Kana Miller recently returned to Georgia after living in New York and North Carolina for the past six years. Joining ALT as a FoodCorps Service Member, Kana brings an excitement for growing, cooking, eating and sharing food to Athens. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and concentration in Intergroup Relations from Skidmore College. Kana joins the land trust full of excitement and readiness to engage with people through the Clarke County Schools, West Broad Garden and Market, and the Young Urban Farmers Program, sharing knowledge and, of course, food.
Seth Nivens has been working with small organic farms, school gardens and community agriculture projects for the past 12 years. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy, and a M.S. in Environmental Studies. His current position as Young Urban Farmers Program Coordinator provides him the opportunity to share his passion for sustainable agriculture with Athens-area youth.
David Ogunsanya, has more than five years of experience in affordable housing for low- to moderate-income communities. As Housing Director, Mr. Ogunsanya identifies and develops affordable housing projects and oversees their contracts, procurement and construction. Additionally, he works with local lenders to help secure mortgages for low- to moderate-income homebuyers and works to educate the community about affordable housing opportunities. He continues to lead the effort for more affordable housing in Athens, GA and educate about how inclusionary zoning can help those efforts. Jen Reid joined the Athens Land Trust in January 2016 as an Event Planning Intern for the West Broad Farmers Market, shortly after moving to Athens from Atlanta. In August 2016, she became the new AmeriCorps VISTA Public Relations Coordinator, eager to further community development by cultivating partnerships with Athens community members and to promote the mission of Athens Land Trust through social media. In her own time she enjoys travelling, reading, and cooking.
Community Agriculture Program Director Stephanie Simmons has more than fourteen years of experience in youth development, including advocacy for marginalized youth and families in need, as well as experience in community-based outreach and education. She most recently served as a fellow with FoodCorps, part of the Americorps service network, mentoring fourteen FoodCorps service members across the state over two years, including two service members placed with ALT. In her current role, she supervises ALT’s community agriculture programs, which aim to contribute to the development of more just and equitable local food systems through increased healthy food access and food-based learning and economic opportunities.
Kelsey Thompson joined ALT in January 2014 as an intern in the Affordable Housing Program. After serving as the Housing Assistant until October 2014, she returned in July 2015. Now serving as Housing Coordinator, Kelsey oversees ALT’s housing counseling activities and works with current and potential ALT clients. She also works with Fourth Street Village, a LIHTC apartment complex. Kelsey holds a B.A in Urban Policy and Planning from Virginia Tech and her MSW from the University of Georgia, concentrating on Community Empowerment and Program Development. She has a certification in housing counseling from Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and has been very active in the Athens nonprofit sector for the past two years.
Originally from Lithonia, Georgia, Adam Wilson recently joined Athens Land Trust as an AmeriCorps VISTA Market Assistant. He assists with market logistics and works to develop relationships that support the West Broad Farmers Market. In the past, Adam has worked as a freelance graphic designer, copywriter, and web developer for community non-profits. He is excited to use his previous experience in writing and project management to support West Broad and the broader Athens community in their dreams of economic development and community health.