Meryl Harrell, Interim Executive Director


Meryl is the part-time Interim Executive Director of SAWS while we are searching for the next Executive Director.  In her business, she currently advises non-profits, foundations, outdoor recreation groups, and state and federal government agencies working to protect America’s public and private working lands. She previously spent eight years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), serving as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. While at USDA, Harrell worked closely with the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Harrell previously worked on public lands issues at The Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two young children.

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.