Nathan Yarborough trilium

Our Staff

At this early stage, Friends of the Cherokee National Forest embodies the true Tennessee spirit, operating as an all-volunteer organization with unwavering dedication. As we continue to make a meaningful impact on the conservation and enhancement of the Cherokee National Forest, our vision extends to a future where our growth necessitates the presence of a highly talented, paid staff.

Mark Healey (Executive Director)

Knoxville, TN

Mark, our Executive Director, and President of the board, generously serves without compensation, embodying the true spirit of our organization. With a background in public service, he embraces the transition to nonprofit administration, bringing a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to making a meaningful impact. As a confident and positive leader, Mark thrives on challenges and finds fulfillment in his dual roles, dedicating himself to the success of our organization and the positive change we strive to achieve.

Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Forest Resource Management from West Virginia University. During his 33-year career as a forester he has worked for Georgia Pacific Corporation, the United States Marine Corps, and the US Forest Service.  In 2021, Mark retired from the Cherokee National Forest after dedicating 11 years of service on the forest leadership team, as the Fire and Natural Resources Staff Officer. Raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC, he developed a deep appreciation for the outdoors from an early age, engaging in activities such as hiking, camping, backpacking, swimming, and snow skiing. During his leisure time, Mark enjoys working on various projects around the house, soaking in the scenic wonder of our mountain streams while whitewater kayaking, and even embracing the thrill of hang gliding. His tenure with the Cherokee National Forest is a source of great honor and privilege for him, and he looks forward to continuing its commitment to the stewardship of this national treasure in his new role with the Friends of the Cherokee National Forest. 

Mark Healey