Danna Smith, Executive Director
Danna is the founder of Dogwood Alliance. For 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 joins Dogwood after more than twelve years managing international development projects around the world, most recently in Sierra Leone, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He fell in love with the Carolina mountains in college, when he discovered both Dogwood Alliance and Asheville, and is thrilled to be based here full-time, supporting the organization’s mission. A graduate of St. Lawrence University, Christian is currently completing a master’s degree with the University of Birmingham in the UK.
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.
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.
Amanda Rodriguez, Marketing & Development Manager
As a child in West Virginia, Amanda saw first-hand the impact of forest destruction. Now, she helps others provide financial support to Dogwood Alliance’s vital mission and applies her management skills to online and web marketing as well as member relationships. Amanda helps make sure our valued members know when giving opportunities arise — and when their donations pay off in successes for Southern forests.
Emily Zucchino, COMMUNITY NETWORK MANAGER
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.
Sasha Mitchell, Operations Manager
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.
Sam Davis, Research Manager
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. Sam is thrilled to be translating science into action with Dogwood Alliance. On the weekends, Sam enjoys hiking, home improvement, and gaming with friends and family.
Kelly Ball, Advancement Systems Manager
Kelly has worked in Advancement for the past 8 years, raising awareness and funding at the North Carolina Arboretum and Warren Wilson College. She recently received her MBA from Western Carolina University and is excited to bring her business knowledge and love of the outdoors to Dogwood Alliance. Kelly finds solace in the woods while running with her dog, Bertie, and enjoys creating mischief and fun with her two daughters.
Rita Frost, Campaigns manager
Starting with sitting in the middle of her brothers’ board games, Rita is a lifelong hellraiser. A proponent of sustainability, social equity and environmental justice, Rita joined Dogwood Alliance following the launch of her organizing career at Green Corps. Rita mobilized hundreds of activists and allies for the Our Forests Aren’t Fuel campaign in Savannah, GA. 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 half marathons with her brothers.
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.
Nicole Townsend, Campaign Outreach Coordinator
As the granddaughter of a sharecropper, “love for the land” is in Nicole’s blood. She grew up in New Madrid, Missouri and recalls many days swinging on the porch with her aunt, waiting for her cousins to bring back their catch of the day from the Mississippi. Her background is in social justice focusing on underserved youth. Nicole believes that environmental justice and social justice go hand-in-hand. When not working or volunteering she enjoys spending time with loved ones, hiking, cooking, reading, and cuddling with her beagle, Roscoe.
Vicki Weeks, Georgia State Coordinator
From her time on the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary to her work for Dogwood Alliance, environmental protection advocacy has been a life-long commitment for Vicki. She has worked on issues ranging from banning offshore drilling, to pressing for stronger EPA regulatory action on greenhouse gasses, to advocating for legislative changes to enable utility scale solar energy production. When Vicki isn’t stirring the community action pot, she enjoys writing; her first novel, Code of Honor, was released last year.
Jovita Lee, NC Organizer
Jovita is a graduate of Meredith College and is now pursuing an MBA. As a born activist, she gained experience from her grassroots campaign work with the election and reelection of President Obama. After graduation, she became an Organizing Director, working with 16 issue advocacy groups in NC and nationally, to create and lead campaigns around racial and social justice, environmental issues, and education. Jovita is a professional dancer who enjoys teaching or participating in dance performances and events.
Rachel Weber, Grassroots Political Organizer
Rachel’s driving passion as an organizer is her commitment to environmental justice and building people power. While attending Duke University, where she earned her BA in Public Policy, Rachel interned for two summers with Dogwood Alliance, working on the Carbon Canopy Project and the Our Forests Aren’t Fuel campaign. Inspired by Dogwood Alliance’s vision and mission-oriented work, she served as a Youth Board Member on the Program Committee. A native New Yorker, Rachel’s found home is in North Carolina, where she loves to hike, write, and practice yoga.
Tyson has worked in the environmental and civil society sector for over 20 years and has founded/co-founded a range of initiatives including: Project for Improved Environmental Coverage, Dream of a Nation, Green Press Initiative, SEE Innovation and the Environmental Paper Network. Tyson serves as a Sr. Fellow with SEE Innovation and is on the advisory board of the Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation. When not in the office, he soaks in as much of the beauty of WNC with his family as possible.
JJ Apodaca, Conservation Scientist
JJ is a professor of conservation biology at Warren Wilson College. He has a PhD in evolutionary and conservation biology from the University of Alabama. His interests include combining genetics techniques with spatial ecology to inform the management of endangered species and using geographic information systems (GIS) to identify priority areas for the conservation and restoration. He has been conducting conservation-based research for 15 years, focusing on imperiled species and habitats in the southeastern US.