1000 x 90

Grandfather Mountain Director of Education and Natural Resources Receives National Honor

July 12, 2012. The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is proud to announce that Director of Education and Natural Resources, Jesse Pope has been selected as a member of the “Forty for the Future,” travel’s leading talent project by the Southeast Tourism Society.

The purpose of the award is to recognize 40 young professionals under the age of 40 from across the country in the tourism industry.  The goal is to highlight certain younger professionals whose work and commitment to travel and tourism has made a positive difference.

Jesse Pope came to Grandfather in 2002 as a wildlife keeper and backcountry ranger.  In 2004, Pope’s extraordinary knowledge and friendly demeanor led management to ask him to develop a Naturalist program for Grandfather Mountain.     

During his tenure as Chief Naturalist, Pope took the program from the seed of an idea to the experience that visitors report adds the most value to a visit.  In 2010, he was named Director of Education and Natural Resources, managing three full time and three part time employees.

As Director of Education and Natural Resources for the Stewardship Foundation, Jesse develops and oversees educational experiences, conservation efforts, and resource management; ensures that educational programming aligns with GMSF’s mission and state and national guidelines for environmental education; oversees all aspects of education, including formal and non-formal programs, and guided hikes; promotes GMSF’s efforts to the public and to the educational and biological communities.  

“Pope is the most knowledgeable person on the mountain about most anything in his field: birding, plant identification, the characteristics of distinct Appalachian ecological communities, trail maintenance, high angle search and rescue, opening cars when the keys have been locked inside and much more,” said Penn Dameron, president of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

He is certified in everything from Environmental Education to National Park Service Eastern High Angle Rescue and is currently enrolled in a Masters program for Environmental Education at Montreat College.  The vast spectrum of knowledge Pope has acquired through his educational background and his 10 years of experience meld with his naturally gregarious personality to make him a truly unique educator.  All of Grandfather Mountain is his classroom.

For more information about Southeast Tourism Society and the “Forty for the Future Award,” please visit the Southeast Tourism Society website at www.southeasttourism.org.

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established to preserve Grandfather Mountain, operate the nature park sustainably in the public interest, provide an exceptional experience for guests, and inspire them to be good stewards of the earth’s resources.  For more information, visit www.grandfather.com or call 800-468-7325.