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Kevin Merrill

Co-owner, Biologist, Instructor, Lead Guide

Kevin Merrill

Kevin has deep roots here in Transylvania County, and is very familiar with the natural history of this region where he grew up fishing, hunting, and exploring Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, along with what is now DuPont State Forest and Gorges State Park. He is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) with a Masters in Science (Biology). His undergraduate and graduate studies focused on secondary education (biology teaching & chemistry teaching) and freshwater biology, respectively. While attending EKU, Kevin was employed as a curatorial assistant at EKU's Branley A. Branson Museum of Zoology where he worked with freshwater animals such as fishes, aquatic insects, crayfishes, aquatic snails, and freshwater mussels. His graduate research and thesis was on the first stream restoration effort for the federally threatened blackside dace, a small minnow found only in the upper Cumberland River Drainage in southeastern Kentucky. Kevin has also worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducting surveys on the now federally threatened Kentucky arrow darter and its closest relative the Cumberland arrow darter. 

Kevin has worked as a river host and guide for Headwaters Outfitters for four years, and is Wilderness First Aid and CPR certified. He is an adjunct instructor at Blue Ridge Community College at the Transylvania County Campus where he teaches General Biology. He formed an outdoor program at Rosman High School in 2012 called Southern Appalachian Nature Expeditions. This program is designed to give high school age students opportunities to explore the natural world of Transylvania County through hiking, canoeing/kayaking, and now snorkeling. Kevin is a fierce advocate of the outdoor classroom, and believes it to be the most important issue we are faced with in education today! 

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