Clyde Kessler

Clyde lives in Radford with his wife Kendall, an artist, and son Alan. He works at the library at Virginia Tech. He is currently working on a field guide to butterflies of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and is also writing and publishing poetry in many print and online magazines. He is also our longest standing board member, active since inception. Clyde is active both as guide and Organizational historian. 


Roald grew up on a family farm in the Ashe County, NC community of Sturgills. His love of nature began at an early age while exploring the local streams, forests and ridges in Ashe and Grayson County, VA. After a degree in Forestry and Wildlife from Virginia Tech (‘73), some formative years were spent as a nature and cultural interpreter at Grayson Highlands St. Park. During that time he lived back in the woods in a Thoreau-like cabin where he practiced playing the banjo to the dismay of the local wildlife. He also met his future wife, Ellie Scott. Then came a period of growing Christmas trees and raising two daughters, Elizabeth and Rosy. Ellie and Roald live in a circa 1900 farm house on the banks of Fox Creek in Grayson County. where they have a blueberry patch, teach and play old-time music and enjoy the natural world. As one guest commented, visiting us is like “going back in time 100 years!” 

Scott Jackson-Ricketts

Scott has loved nature from an early age.  "As a young lad, I caught anything that would let me from bats to ants. Early on, I developed an interest in birds which became a life-long passion."
In 1986 Scott and his wife, Debby, moved from Durham, NC to Grayson County to reconnect with a rural landscape and to establish a comfortable home for their future family.

Scott worked in all things related to wood and woodworking while raising his children.  He took time to volunteer for outdoor educational program support with their schools, investing in their education. A co-founder of Blue Ridge Discovery Center, Scott combined natural history and outdoor learning experience in one of the richest and most diverse bio-regions on the planet. After several years helping establish and grow BRDC, Scott decided to return to the woodshop, but is excited to stay connected through his role on the Advisory Board.



Education Director, Grandfather Mountain. Jesse is a native of Grayson County, raised in the Mouth of Wilson area and grew up swimming and fishing in the New River. He has a deep appreciation and passion for Grayson County and the folks who live here. Jesse has a bachelor's degree in biology from Lees-MacRae College. At Grandfather Mountain he has also held the positions of Park Ranger, Zookeeper, and Naturalist. He oversees the park's educational programming, wildlife, and natural resource management. He has a deep interest in birds and bird watching and has led trips all over North Carolina and Virginia. Jesse enjoys engaging folks with the outdoors, and aspires to help make the connection between people and the natural world. He is also President of the High Country Audubon Society, President-elect North Carolina Association of Environmental Education Centers (NCAEEC), Member of North American Association of Environmental Education Guideline Trainer's Bureau, Member of the North Carolina Bat White Nose Syndrome working group, Member of The North Carolina Wildlife Society's Conservation Review Committee, and Member of the Appalachian Mountain Joint Ventures Bird Working Group.


Around studying discourse and biology at Virginia Tech, Shannon taught, counseled, and directed for nine years at Tekoa, a residential program promoting experiential learning for at-risk youth. He now teaches at Blue Mountain School in Floyd, bikes the back roads, and benignly neglects his sunroot patch, which his sons, seventh generation Floyd Countians, call 'alien potatoes.'


A former litigating and estate planning attorney, Broaddus works on land conservation and resource management initiatives as well as community service projects.  An Elder of his Presbyterian church, he has rehabbed homes in the eastern Kentucky coalfields, worked as a hurricane and flood relief volunteer on the Gulf and has built Habitat homes in Virginia since 1987. He is an avid fly fisherman and photographer.  Broaddus believes that students should spend much more time “in the woods” learning about the wonders of nature and life and is committed to the BRDC’s programs.  Broaddus took his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, studied International Law at Queens' College, Cambridge University, and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond.


Harold M. Barnette is a writer and consultant in the development of sustainable urban communities. In addition to authoring numerous articles, essays, reviews, and technical documents, he has received awards of excellence from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission and the State of Montana Energy Star Program. He enjoys daydreaming while on long, rambling walks in both urban and rural environments.


Web advisor. User Experience Architect at New City in Blacksburg, Va, co-founder of the birding website Aviatlas, BFA in Graphic Design from Virgina Tech.


He was born in 1937 in Tennessee, earned an AB cum laude from Harvard College, and has resided in Durham, North Carolina, for more than 45 years. HIs vocation is writing. He has written fiction, poetry, and plays. He makes his cash living as a free-lance accountant and tax preparer. He is founder of the Regulator Bookshop, in Durham. Most importantly he philosophizes.


Brent is currently the General Manager Helios USA, a solar panel manufacturer in Wisconsin. He has had jobs ranging from Energy Consultant to Director of Business Development, Analyst to real estate developer. He holds degrees from the University of Virginia in Economics and Environmental Science, Boston University in Energy and Environmental Analysis, and an MBA from The University of Texas. His chief passion, however, is watching his son grow.


Nancy's academic background lies in music and science education. Her family gave her a digital camera for her birthday after she retired from teaching eighth grade science (physics and chemistry). Photography became a way to blend her interests in science and the arts. A wildflower walk in Wildwood Park led her to a consuming desire to photograph and identify as many of the plants growing in the park as possible. Bugs, butterflies, and birds began to literally come into the picture, and she decided to take on all of Wildwood as a nature project. She soon met Clyde Kessler, who invited her to attend a BRDC board meeting. She was pleased to meet others who were dedicated to encouraging children and their families to experience and help preserve the joys of nature. When she was asked to document Wildwood Park through a BRDC blog, she was happy to engage in this new-found way of sharing her discoveries and delights, continuing to photograph and identify flora and fauna.