Executive Director | Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards
Meryl Harrell is the Executive Director of the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), a conservation non-profit dedicated to providing stewardship of protected public lands, including in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Arkansas and Kentucky.
Since 2017, Meryl has run her own consulting practice advising non-profit organizations, foundations, outdoor recreation groups, and state and federal government agencies working to conserve America’s public and private lands.
She recently spent eight years in the office of the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving as Chief of Staff and as a senior policy advisor working closely with the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. She previously worked on public lands issues at The Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C.
Meryl fell in love with public lands and connecting to the communities that surround them after a summer spent at the Teton Science Schools as a teenager. She received her degree in geosciences and environmental studies from Princeton University, and her J.D. from the Yale Law School. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and spends time hiking and camping in national forests and wilderness areas with her husband and two young children.