hodge_billhodge_0001Bill Hodge, Executive Director

Office: Asheville, NC


Bill’s passion for wilderness stewardship and cross-cut saws began as a Field Organizer for Tennessee Wild, a citizen’s campaign supporting new wilderness designation in the Cherokee National Forest, but his passion for the great outdoors, public lands and wild places began in the 1970’s when his family spent their summers hiking and camping in our National Parks and Forests. After a twenty-five year career in college athletics and broadcast media management, Bill turned his passion into his profession when he saw support for protecting wild places waning because of a shortage of volunteers trained with traditional tools skills and a sharp decline in younger, diverse generations connecting with nature and their public lands.

Bill started SAWS in 2010 as a program of The Wilderness Society where under his leadership it thrived and grew. Five years from conception, SAWS became a fully fledged 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission embodies Bill’s personal passion. By ‘educating, cultivating, and empowering an engaged public for the stewardship of protected public lands’, SAWS ensures that the wildest places in the Southern Appalachians are secure for future generations.

Bill is the Chairman of the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance and is a recipient of Bob Marshall Award as external champion of Wilderness from the United States Forest Service and the International Journal of Wilderness, and a Next Generation of Conservation Leaders Champion of Change Award from the White House. A graduate of the University of Evansville, Bill also retains the following certifications: Class C USFS Sawyer, Wilderness First Aid, and Leave No Trace Master Educator. An accomplished nature and adventure sports photographer, his work often appears in publication and for use by conservation partners. He and his wife Laura live on Newfound Creek in Asheville, NC where they continue their work to preserve and protect the natural resources, cultural heritage and biodiversity of the Southern Appalachians they dearly love.

David Cohen, Program Manager

Office: Asheville, NC

Programs: Wilderness Rangers, Education


David discovered his passion for public lands stewardship while in college at the University of Georgia. He attended UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and earned his B.S.F.R. in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism. Since graduating in 2011, David has worked four seasons as a SAWS Wilderness Ranger and now brings that field experience to the SAWS staff.

David is certified as a C Crosscut Sawyer, Leave No Trace Trainer and in Wilderness First Aid.

A long-time paddler, David enjoys exploring the Southern Appalachians and beyond by kayak. He is based out of Asheville, NC where there are enough rivers, creeks and lakes nearby to keep a paddler busy for a lifetime.


Katie Currier, Program Manager

Office: Asheville, NC

Programs: Field Crews, Volunteer Programming


Katie’s desire to work on public lands was solidified as a Wilderness Ranger in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. After graduating from Ithaca College in 2013 with a degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership she spent two years in Utah overseeing field crews for the Utah Conservation Corps. Wanting to explore a new part of the country, Katie brought her experience and passion to  SAWS in February 2016 as a Field Operations Coordinator and transitioned into a Program Manager position in November 2016.

Katie is certified as a Class C Crosscut Sawyer, Leave No Trace Master Educator and is a Wilderness First Responder. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance.

Based out of our Asheville, North Carolina office, Katie is busy exploring the treasures of Southern Appalachia through backpacking, biking and eating.

fullsizerEric Giebelstein, Program Manager

Office: Roanoke, VA

Programs: Field Crews, Wilderness Rangers, Volunteer Programming and Education in Virginia


Eric’s interest in the natural world was first piqued in his native Iowa landscape while fishing for bullheads in farm ponds and big rivers. He continued to study fish and wildlife at Iowa State University, graduating with degrees in Animal Ecology and Spanish in 2006. He spent the early years after graduating as a fisheries technician for the Illinois Natural History Survey.  His desire for topography, biodiversity and wild places drew him to the Southern Appalachian Mountains, where he’s spent the last four years working as a Wilderness Ranger, Assistant Crew Leader and Education Specialist for SAWS.

Eric is a Class B Crosscut Sawyer, Leave No Trace Master Educator, and has a Wilderness First Aid certification.

In his leisure time, Eric enjoys hiking, backpacking, playing disc golf and brewing great beers. He is extremely excited to explore and protect his new landscape in Virginia.

Sage Linden, Finance & Operations Manager

Office: Asheville, NC


Sage’s passion to preserve the environment was influenced by her best childhood memories on her grandparents 100-acre property where they raised chickens, grew lots of veggies and hiked in the forest.  Her interest grew around sustainability and environmentalism in her late-20’s and since then has done numerous volunteer leadership positions in this realm.

Sage has a BS degree in Business Administration and a MA in Health Coaching and has worked with many nonprofits and green businesses over the years.  She thrives in creating efficient systems and using up-to-date technology to streamline our finances and operations as we grow, so that we can continue to put our money and time into mostly programmatic work.

In her free time, you can find her doing yoga, hiking, and listening to audio books as she loves to learn.

Jillian Laux, Development Officer

Office: Asheville, NC


Jillian’s interest in the outdoors began as a child growing up in rural Western Pennsylvania. Often told to stay outside by her parents, Jillian developed a passion for both the adventures and peace nature affords you.

Jillian holds a BA in Political Science and French from Dickinson College, and a MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. After working for human rights non-profits in Washington, DC and New York City, Jillian decided to transform her love of the outdoors and public lands into a career. She joined SAWS in January 2018 as the organization’s Development Officer.

Based out of the Asheville, North Carolina office, when not at work, Jillian enjoys running, biking, reading, and exploring her new home.