Kyle Stoudt, Catabaw Lands Conservancy Field Tech at Redlair Preserve
Kyle Stoudt, a native of Gastonia, first came to the Redlair Preserve in the summer of 2019 to help Fisher Stines with his ambitious bigleaf-magnolia study. They had been eagle scouts together, and Fisher knew of Kyle’s love for nature. Fisher was desperate for help and Kyle proved to be the one person he called who consistently showed up to volunteer long hours in 90-95 degree weather. Later in the year, Haywood Rankin, who stewards the 1200-acre preserve (partly State-owned), was equally desperate for help but had been consistently disappointed with the reliability and work ethic of volunteers who had briefly come and gone. He called Kyle and has never looked back. Kyle has now been toiling in paradise for many months, showing a quiet resolve and dedication that are extraordinary: the answer to Haywood’s cry for help. He instantly showed a fine instinct for discerning good and bad plants, becoming a fervent warrior against invasive plants; he never flags in his keen sensitivity to, perceptivity of, and joy in mushrooms, insects, flowers, reptiles, indeed, every aspect of nature; and his work ethic is unpretentiously intense. Many people say pleasant things about nature, but it is a rare person who confronts its rough edges and embraces them as fully as Kyle Stoudt.