/ AmeriCorps,

Video: Alexla’s Story

Amazing stories come out of our Summer of Service—an AmeriCorps program for local 17-to-19-year-olds. One participant, Alexla Perez-Sanchez says, “Summer of Service is life changing. It’s soul changing.”

In this video, Alexla talks about her experience with Summer of Service, maintaining trails and removing invasive species like kudzu. She says the experience gave her a new sense of belonging here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Alexla immigrated from Mexico with her mother at the age of three and she didn’t always feel that the outdoors was a place for her. Now, that’s changed. Tapped into the beauty of nature, Alexla is an enthusiastic advocate for conservation.

She says, “The idea of making that shift to any trail being accessible to anybody became an idea that was going to happen. It wasn’t just something that everybody said, ‘It’ll get there.’ So that definitely changed my view that I have to separate my culture from this nature. It almost meshed into one, thanks to Conserving Carolina.”

You can learn more about Alexla and her Summer of Service colleagues in this Stories of the Land article, Passing on the Gift. In this story, Alexla, Cassie, and Joe talk about how their Summer of Serve experience inspires them to pass on the gift of the natural world to others. And, in a story from March of 2020, Alexla and the Butterflies, Alexla talks about her trip to Mexico to witness the monarch butterfly sanctuaries.

More Video Stories to Come

We’re excited to be launching a series of video stories about our amazing members and team. We’re planning to release one short video per week. In coming weeks, you can hear Bob Carlson and Kim Chao, two of our intrepid Rock Crushers, talk about what inspires them to volunteer so much (it’s Nature with a capital ‘N’). Rafael Bravo shows us the farm he and his wife are protecting in Polk County, after he moved from his native Venezuela. Babs Strickland shares her story of creating a nature preserve in memory of her daughter. Larry Pender and Tanya Marie Cummings talk about their vision for more inclusive parks and trails. And our trails director, Peter Barr, talks about our vision for a 130-mile connected trail network with a backdrop of stunning aerial footage of our protected lands. Plus, there’s a beautiful video about the field trips we lead on Bearwallow Mountain and a bonus clip from Alexla. 

We are inspired by the wonderful people who work with us to realize their conservation vision and excited to share some of their stories. As more videos are released, you can see them here:


Sunrise in Hickory Nut Gorge

Thank you, Will & Deni Media!

We are deeply grateful to two more of our amazing members, Will and Deni McIntyre, who volunteered their exceptional skills in video production to create these films, combining gorgeous aerial footage of conservation land with compelling storytelling about some of the people who make it happen.

Get Involved

If you’re feeling inspired, please support conservation by donating or volunteering. It’s people like you who make this vital work possible, and we are so grateful for your support!





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