About Us

Georgia ForestWatch 81 Crown Mountain Place Building C, Suite 200 Dahlonega, GA 30533 | info@gafw.org | 706.867.0051

Georgia ForestWatch sees a future where people can enjoy forests that have reached their full majesty, where intact natural processes support healthy ecosystems and thriving biodiversity, and clean streams supply water to millions of Georgians. We believe this future requires the protection and appreciation of Georgia’s national forests, and the watersheds, native plants and wildlife they encompass.

Our mission is to enhance the health of Georgia’s 867,000 acres of National Forest by protecting our forests and streams, advocating for natural processes and identifying opportunities to improve Forest management.

Georgia ForestWatch Strategic Plan (2020-2025)
Georgia ForestWatch Bylaws (updated 2019)


J.D. McCrary director@gafw.org 

J.D. McCrary joined Georgia ForestWatch in September 2021 as Executive Director.

J.D.’s love of the forest dates back to his summers at the YMCA on Lake Burton and as a whitewater raft guide. J.D. holds a Masters in International Development from Tulane University, has a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University and a B.A. in Education from Georgia Southern University. He is also a graduate of Harvard University Business School’s executive course Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management.

With a domestic and international career of over 25 years, he has had the unique opportunity to work on all seven continents. Much of his career has focused on alleviating forced human migration, and he began working with refugees in the process of building a nonprofit program providing employment and reconstruction services in Iraq and Palestine. His overseas experience also includes serving in the U.S. Peace Corps in Morocco. Since 2008 J.D. has served refugees, survivors of human trafficking, and other immigrants domestically seeking a safe place to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. He is the founding chair of the Welcome Co-Op, an organization supporting newly arriving refugees in Georgia with housing and other essential services, and is a founder of the public outreach and advocacy group the Coalition of Refugee Serving Agencies.

Lyn Hopper

Lyn Hopper, Office Manager info@gafw.org Lyn is retired from a 30-year public library career, including service as an independent consultant for libraries and nonprofits, Georgia’s Assistant State Librarian for Library Development, and Director of the Chestatee Regional Library System. She holds post-graduate degrees from Emory University and Florida State University. Lyn lives north of Dahlonega and enjoys a view of the national forest from her front deck.

Angela Butler-Hackett

Angela Butler-Hackett, Office Assistant info@gafw.org Angela holds a degree in Recreation Therapy from the University of Georgia, and has focused on wellness for more than 35 years. She has taught fitness and wellness for older adults for over 25 years in settings including independent living, assisted living, long-term care, and physical rehabilitation. Her career path has provided opportunities for management at varying levels. Angela’s ongoing quest for mindfulness and wellness always leads her back to nature and appreciating its resources. Her goal is to support the mission of Georgia ForestWatch in preserving and protecting our natural resources.

Andrew Linker

Andrew Linker, Outreach Coordinator  alinker@gafw.org Deciding to be the change he wishes to see, Andrew has been involved with many nonprofits surrounding sustainable land management in Georgia since 2014 and has been on staff with Georgia ForestWatch since April 2019. With a strong communications and outreach background, he is instrumental in the Outings and District Leader Program. Andrew attended the University of North Georgia and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Studies with a mapping Certificate in Geographical Information Systems (G.I.S.) from the Institute of Environmental and Spatial Analysis. In his spare time, he Chairs the Board of Directors of Certified Naturally Grown, Co-manages Northeast Georgia Locally Grown Farmers Market, and is the Land Steward at Humble Vine Farm.

Board of Directors:
Anne Heikkila, President
Trushar Mody, Treasurer
Melanie Vickers, Secretary
Sue Harmon
Tom MacMillan
Nick Nichols
Janet Westervelt
Stephen Weber
Donald Davis
Ted Doll
Sarah Francisco
David Govus
Robin Hitner
Patrick Hunter
Bob Kibler, M.D.
Gina Rogers
Charles Seabrook
Dennis Stansell
James Sullivan
Mary Topa
District Leaders:
email: district_leaders@gafw.org

Conasauga Ranger District
David Govus
Robin Hitner

Blue Ridge Ranger District
Dave Blackley
Nick Nichols
Larry Winslett

Chattooga River Ranger District
Melanie Vickers
Marie Dunkle

Oconee Ranger District
J.P. Schmidt

June 2021
Welcome to Our New Board Members:

Janet Westervelt is a Georgia native currently living in Habersham County. She began her environmental advocacy work in the 1980’s, volunteering for the Sierra Club Adopt-A-Stream program and leading outings. She is currently a Board Member of the Soque River Watershed Association and an organizer for HemlockFest, sponsored by the Lumpkin Coalition. She was the Headwaters Outreach Manager for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper for two years. Janet has been an active GAFW member for 18 years, participating in numerous outings, events and Annual Retreats where she has often led “Owl Prowls.” She participated in a majority of the Forest Service Foothills Landscape Collaborative activities. Janet spent her 30-year career teaching and administering in Montessori schools. She supplemented her BA in Education with environmental education training from Oxford Institute for Environmental Education, Elachee Nature Center and the Environmental Educators Alliance of Georgia. She enjoys kayaking, hiking, gardening, nature photography and remodeling her short “skoolie” bus, which she takes on adventures in National Forests.

Stephen Weber went from casual hiker to environmentalist after becoming a homeowner and learning more about the impact of human activity on forests and wildlife. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Advertising in 2011, Stephen has led marketing teams at everything from small startups to large Fintech businesses. Stephen is a member of several conservation organizations, including Georgia Audubon, Georgia Native Plant Society, Chattooga Conservancy, and the Georgia Conservancy. Currently residing on Black Rock Mountain in Rabun Gap with his wife and two young children, Stephen enjoys paddleboarding, gardening, hiking and reading, while traveling around the southeast with his family. Stephen is passionate about native plants and restoring Georgia’s innate beauty.

Georgia ForestWatch 81 Crown Mountain Place Building C, Suite 200 Dahlonega, GA 30533 | info@gafw.org | 706.867.0051