Adel Alamo, Digital Organizer
Adel is the child of Cuban political refugees and a first generation American. She fell in love with forests in the 4th grade when she learned about the interconnectedness of wetlands, water, and ecosystems. Adel builds support for our campaigns by creating compelling content and managing member engagement through data analysis and reporting. She is invested in advancing racial, economic, and environmental justice and protecting wilderness, wildlife, and clean water so communities and biodiversity can thrive. Adel dabbles in poetry, photography, and baking. She loves hiking, birdwatching, cooking, crafting, and spending time with friends and loved ones.
Erniko Brown, Director of Organizing & Partnership Engagement
Erniko is an elected official born and raised in rural McCormick, SC, where she grew up on land that’s been in her family for 8 generations. Erniko has been heavily involved in politics at the local, state, and federal levels for over 15 years. She holds an MA in Organizational Leadership from Columbia College with countless certificates including Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (University of South Florida), Faith-Based Non-Profit Leadership (Wake Forest University), & Master Gardener (Clemson University). She is also the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit OURS (Organized Uplifting Resources & Strategies). Her belief in justice and community combined with her love for nature, forests, and advocacy brought her to Dogwood where she continues to do the work she believes in.
Denzel Burnside, North Carolina Campaign Manager
Denzel has a background in campaign management for congressional, state senate, and legislative candidates. Working with Florida Rising, he organized in his community on social justice issues. Denzel strives to be a tool of empowerment for the community and a challenger to policymakers neglecting their duty to the people. He attended Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and graduated from Florida International University. He loves natural spaces from wetlands and pinerocks to NC forests. Denzel enjoys fight training, comic book movies, and spending time reading about both faith and finance. He also enjoys cultivating conversations as a public speaker.
Adam Colette, Program Director
Adam has a passion for organizing people and fighting the corporations whose practices destroy our earth. While attending UNCA, where he graduated with a BS in Environmental Management and Policy, he began his career in activism as an intern for Dogwood Alliance. Since then, Adam has worked with several organizations to fight coal plants, protect our public water systems and build the sharing economy. In his spare time, Adam loves spending time on/in the rivers of Western NC.
Sam Davis, Conservation Scientist
A life-long treehugger, Sam earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Science in 2015 at Wright State University and completed a postdoc at University of California Merced before leaving academia for greener forests. They are thrilled to be translating science into action with Dogwood Alliance. On the weekends, Sam enjoys hiking, home improvement, and gaming with friends and family.
Rita Frost, Campaigns Director
As a native Southerner, Rita loves the places and ecosystems across our region as well as the people that are not afraid to put up a good fight for their protection. Rita came to Dogwood Alliance after Green Corps taught her grassroots campaigning while being able to practice those skills real-time in Durham, NC, Savannah, GA, and her hometown of Austin, TX. In her work, Rita believes that a key component of environmental justice is getting people to the policy table to speak for themselves. She is an advocate for participatory social change and movement building. Rita holds a BA in Political Science from the College of Wooster and runs ultramarathons in the forests and mountains in her spare time.
Treva Gear, Georgia Campaign Manager
Dr. Treva Gear is the founder and chair of the Concerned Citizens of Cook County, a community grassroots organization in Adel, Georgia. She is an Army veteran, an educator, and a community organizer. She believes in being the change that she wants to see in the world and doesn’t mind “getting into good trouble.” Dr. Gear holds a doctorate in Adult and Career Education from Valdosta State University.
Beth Griffin, Development Director
Beth Griffin comes to Dogwood Alliance with a background in fundraising for education and conservation non-profits. As a child in Boston, Beth got to the woods by scaling the 6ft fence between her urban neighborhood and the historic and naturalistic Forest Hills Cemetery. Later, Beth enjoyed the woods of New England, Virginia, and the Carolinas as an equestrian and hiker. Now she explores WNC rivers as a kayaker. Beth is delighted and proud to be a part of Dogwood’s unfolding story of environmental and social justice for Southern forests and communities.
Lucia Ibarra, Director of Conservation
Lucia comes to Dogwood from the Forest Service where she was a Public Affairs Specialist. Her work in Environmental & Wildlife Biology has taken her all over the country and to Africa and Mexico. Lucia holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership Studies with a concentration in Organizational Psychology from the University of San Diego in addition to a BS Wildlife Habitat Management from Arizona State University. In her free time, she enjoys being with friends, listening to live music, and exploring. She loves skiing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and trying new restaurants and breweries.
Joi Jackson, Social Marketing Manager
The love of the forests has deep roots in Joi’s family, passed down for generations. Walking through the woods as a child was her favorite pastime, finding new trails and exploring the city streams in the Carolina sun. Joi is passionate about social media and advocating for the ecosystems that make this world beautiful. She has over 10 years of social media management and nonprofit experience. Joi identifies as a bit of hippy and a bit like Liberace – the perfect mix between sustainable and glitter. Joi is a vegetarian and finds that catch and release fishing is a peaceful form of meditation and mindfulness.
Kimala Luna, Advancement Outreach & Recruitment Manager
Kimala is excited to be Dogwood Alliance’s very first Advancement Outreach & Recruitment Manager. Having come from a small, intentional community in Tennessee, she was raised with the notion that helping to protect our world’s natural resources is our responsibility and privilege. Kimala has a BA in Culture and Media from The New School.
Sasha Mitchell, Operations Director
Sasha’s most carefree memories of childhood are of perching high in trees while growing up in New Jersey. A born organizer, Sasha’s work has included photo archiving, family history and community history and social activism. Sasha is thrilled to join Dogwood Alliance in protecting Southern forests, not only for their use as nature’s playgrounds, but as vital natural habitats. A mom of three sons and foster mom to several little ones, Sasha treasures time spent hand embroidering, sewing and quilting, especially under a shady tree.
Holly Paar, Advancement Director
Holly fell in love with the woods and land of Western North Carolina when she moved here in 1991 and has never left. She brings to Dogwood nearly twenty years of program, marketing and fundraising leadership with local and national organizations. Besides a degree in writing, Holly also has a wilderness education background and is delighted to be an integral part of Dogwood Alliance’s future. On the weekends she likes to paint, hike and compose music.
Scot Quaranda, Communications Director
Scot has been with Dogwood Alliance since 2000 and has served as a campaign organizer, field director, campaign director and is currently the communications director. In his role he is in charge of story telling, creative, media relations, and PR. He has a dual BA from Drew University in Psychology and Philosophy and has worked previously with the Fund for Public Interest and in music PR for artists such as Buddy Guy and Ani DiFranco.
Amanda Rodriguez, Marketing Director
Amanda is a first generation Cuban American. As a child in West Virginia, she saw first-hand the impact of forest destruction. Now, she helps others support Dogwood Alliance’s vital mission and applies her skills to online and web marketing. A poet, essayist, and fiction writer, Amanda is also the filmmaker of Dogwood’s Stories Happen in Forests documentary. She holds a Masters degree from Queens University of Charlotte and a BA from Antioch College. Amanda has been with Dogwood Alliance since 2010.
Danna Smith, Executive Director
Danna is the founder of Dogwood Alliance. For over 20 years, she has been at the forefront of forest protection in the US, leading hard-hitting campaigns and negotiating ground-breaking forest protection commitments from some of the largest companies in the world. She is a leading voice connecting the dots between climate change, forest destruction and social justice and pushing for forest protection in the US at a scale necessary to meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century. She holds a law degree from Emory University.
Christian Stolz, Director of Finance and Operations
Christian joined Dogwood in 2015, after more than a decade managing international development projects, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. Originally from New Jersey, Christian fell in love with the Carolina mountains in college when he discovered both Dogwood Alliance and Asheville. He is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and has a master’s degree from the University of Birmingham in the UK.
Emily Zucchino, Director of Community Engagement
Emily blends her love of beautiful Southern US forests with an enthusiasm for taking on the corporate interests that threaten our communities and our environment in the name of profit. She is a graduate of UNC Asheville, with BA degrees in Political Science and Sociology, and holds a Masters in International Studies and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from NC State. Emily is an avid hiker and traveler and has explored trails in locations ranging from the Appalachians to the Himalayas to the Amazon.