willis-qtEmily Bidgood, a native of the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, is the Executive Director for the Appalachian RC&D Council. If you call the office it’s likely Emily’s voice that will greet you!  Ask her about playing the fiddle, what’s growing in the garden, and clogging and you’ll be sure to get a smile. Emily works with volunteers and Board members …on the following programs: the Quilt Trail, Local Food and Farm programs, Youth Education, and Water Quality.  Emily comes to the RC&D through AmeriCorps VISTA, a national volunteer service program that matches eager-to-service citizens with nonprofit host sites that need capacity building. Having an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the RC&D is made possible through a collaboration between AmeriCorps and the Office of Surface Mining (OSM).  Even though coal mining is not a mainstay in Tricities, upper east Tennessee falls under the interest of the AmeriCorps VISTA/OSM Appalachian Coal Country Team, which fights poverty and builds community in areas that are influenced by mining. Before moving to Johnson City, Emily worked as an AmeriCorps at Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, a land trust that works with landowners to conserve land in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.