Israel grew up the son of a preacher in and around the haints and hollers of Charlotte, North Carolina. Upon coming of age he matriculated into and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. While there he majored in Environmental Studies while minoring in Spanish and Biology. During his time in college, he has researched the origin of the invasive boa constrictor population in the US Virgin Islands, led outdoor backpacking and mountain biking for UNC Asheville students, and helped research high elevation seeps along the Appalachian Trail. Now in his second year of Project Conserve Israel seeks to continue to convey the meaning and importance of conservation to the diverse communities of Western North Carolina. In his free time, Israel enjoys music, literature, and bicycling. Israel recently rode his bicycle across the United States and then down the length of the entire Blue Ridge Parkway.