Appalachian Voices welcomes new faces to team

A Growing Team in Norton


Matt Hepler, an expert on water issues in coal mining areas, has joined our team as a Water Quality Scientist and Community Organizer. He spent two years in the Geography masters program at Appalachian State University, where he focused on Hydrology. Afterward, Matt worked for five years with Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, where he lead the grassroots organization’s water program and helped to develop litigation strategies against coal companies.

A Virginia native, Matt currently lives in Washington County, Va. He is a hiker and square dance caller, and loves spending time on the rivers of Central Appalachia.

We’re also thrilled to welcome Terran Young, a 2017 Highlander Appalachian Transition Fellow who will be working with us in collaboration with Southern Appalachian Mountains Stewards and Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network.


Terran will be focusing on a continuation of Who Owns Appalachia, a project started in the late ‘70s that researches land ownership in Appalachia. Terran is studying to become a Master Herbalist and is also a writer/producer for Spaceman Productions. She is originally from Wise County, Va., but grew up in Middletown, Ohio.

Terran and Matt are both based in our Norton, Va., office.

Welcoming a New Board Member

We’re proud to welcome Christopher Scotton — CEO and novelist — to the Appalachian Voices Board of Directors.

“Now more than ever, our environment, and indeed our fundamental right to live safely and with dignity, is under threat by those who pursue fossil fuel extraction at any cost,” he says. “Americans of conscience are beginning to unite in the face of this threat, and I joined the Appalachian Voices Board to lend my own voice to the growing cacophony of folks standing shoulder-to-shoulder and shouting ‘enough!’”

Christopher grew up in the then-undeveloped countryside outside of Washington, D.C. In college, he fell in love with the music and the beauty of Appalachia, and his debut novel, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, is set in a fictionalized eastern Kentucky town.


“The important work of Appalachian Voices has impact far beyond this region we all love so well—I’m excited to help the AV team fulfill its mission,” he says.

Christopher currently lives near Washington, D.C., where he is president and CEO of a software company.

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