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November 14th, 2023
Get to know Upstate Forever's Land Stewardship Coordinator Ericka Berg through a few rapid-fire questions.
Why is Upstate Forever's work important to you?
I grew up in Sunny View in northern Polk County, just over the border from the Upstate in North Carolina. My mom’s family has been in that area for many generations, and I grew up with a strong connection to the land. Throughout my life, I’ve seen a lot of changes and development in WNC and Upstate SC—some good and some bad. In 2019, I bought a house and claimed Travelers Rest as my home. It is important to me that we protect natural areas and water quality and work with folks to make development more sustainable in our region.
What does a typical work day for a Land Stewardship Coordinator look like?
My workday is highly variable—I don’t just play in the woods! Some days, I am tied to my computer, with meetings, responding to emails, answering questions about conservations easements, working through checklists, filling out reports, keeping records, or keeping up communications and building relationships with landowners. Other days, I am in the field at a conservation easement completing an annual monitoring visit, attending baseline or initial visits with our Outreach staff, or meeting landowners or realtors at an easement property to answer questions or get more information to do our work. There is always more to be done and this role keeps it interesting!
What has been the most unexpected part of your role?
Having come from a different role with a land trust background, I knew conservation easement monitoring required quite a bit of paperwork and reporting. It was surprising to see just how much it could be! We have great processes at Upstate Forever and are super thorough in our work. I like to say that for every day we’re in the field, there are probably two days of reporting, updating our records, and addressing findings from the field.
Where’s your favorite spot in the Upstate?
My fiancé’s parents have land near the Chattooga River in Oconee County. Any time spent near or on the Chattooga is time well-spent.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I am not good at commitment when it comes to hobbies. I like to do a lot of different things all the time, including running, walking, hiking, backpacking, disc golf, kayaking, mountain biking, beer drinking, traveling, and seeing live music. I also serve on the Board of Friends of DuPont Forest and volunteer regularly.
Is there a quote or motto that drives you?
When I started running, I sought inspiration from Kelly Roberts, a well-known female athlete. Being one of the slowest folks in the pack, I adopted one of her mantras and find it applicable to many parts of my life, especially when I’m feeling defeated, frustrated, or impatient: “Forward is a pace.”
More about Ericka
Ericka Berg was raised in Polk County, North Carolina where her family has deep roots. After graduating from Berea College in Kentucky with a bachelor’s in biology, she made her way back to Western NC to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Conserving Carolina in Hendersonville.
Several years and many roles in fundraising, community engagement, education, and partnerships later, she left the nonprofit world to serve as Operations Manager for Parks and Grounds with the City of Greenville. Now, Ericka is excited to get back into nonprofit work as Land Stewardship Coordinator for Upstate Forever. She primarily works with landowners of conservation easements, responding to reserved rights requests, issues, property transfers, or other questions they may have. She also performs annual monitoring, reporting, and helps with anything stewardship related.
Outside of work, Ericka serves as the Board President for Friends of DuPont Forest. She has been volunteering regularly since 2018 and has been serving on the board since 2019.
When she is not working or volunteering, you can find Ericka somewhere outdoors. She enjoys a multitude of activities that she is not particularly great at, including running, mountain biking, backpacking, hiking, whitewater kayaking (in her ducky), and playing disc golf.