Third annual Outdoor Legends event celebrates four High Country Legends

On April 11, the Outdoor Recreation Management program hosted the third annual Outdoor Legends event in the historic Apple Barn at the Valle Crucis Conference Center.

The event honors members of the High Country that have made an impact on the outdoors through education, service, scholarship, or development. Outdoor Legends are also defined as those who have made a lifelong dedication to sharing their passion and improving the outdoor community for all.

The evening began with a networking session and dinner before each of the honorees had the opportunity to introduce themselves and share their story in a panel-discussion format.

This year’s inductees included Nina Fischesser, John Huie, Goose Kearse, and K.B. Medford.

Rehabilitating animals for over 20 years now, Fischesser, who is currently the director of the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, is also the founding president of the Wildlife Rehabilitators of North Carolina. Towards the start of her career, Fischesser began working at the North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) as an instructor. She worked with NCOBS for 11 years leading courses in both North Carolina and the Florida Everglades, teaching more than 25 wilderness courses. It was her experience with the NCOBS that led Fischesser to a career in wildlife rehabilitation.

Huie has had years of experience in educational leadership roles across the country and in Canada, and even taught classes while stationed in France and Germany with the U.S. Army. Huie served as executive director of NCOBS from 1977 to 1994. During that time, the school graduated more than 45,000 youth and adults from its programs and expanded programming to the Florida Everglades, the Outer Banks, and Atlanta. After NCOBS, Huie directed the Environmental Leadership Center of Warren Wilson College from 1995 to 2006. That same year, Huie accepted the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor given by the governor of North Carolina.

Kearse, owner of Banner Elk-based climbing harness manufacturer, Misty Mountain Threadworks, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before receiving his Master of Business Administration from Wake Forest University. Kearse has spent several years on the Board of Directors for the High Country Conservancy and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Access Fund from 1995 to 2001.

Medford has been a whitewater kayaker for the majority of her life and has worked with the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) in Bryson City for nearly two decades. In addition to her work with the NOC, Medford also worked for the American Canoe Association (ACA) as an instructor trainer, whitewater kayak and canoe instructor, and head kayak instructor for three years. Her instruction also extended to programs for NCOBS. Now working as a physician’s assistant, Medford earned a list of achievements as a kayaker over the years including a spot on the U.S. wildwater team for the 1977 and 1989 World Championships and a national championship title in 1989.

Learn more about the Outdoor Recreation Management program here

Outdoor Legends pictured above from left to right: Jerry Cantwell (2018), Goose Kearse (2019), K.B. Medford (2019), Nina Fischesser (2019), John Huie (2019), Jim Wall (2017), Jeep Barrett (2017), Aram Attarian (2017), Lisa Loveday (2018), Dee Thomas (2017)

By Nina MastandreaMay 01, 2019