Laura Boggess
Instructor of Biology and Environmental Science
Department: Appalachian Studies, Biomedical Sciences, Ecology & Conservation Biology, Zoology
Office:  Wall 321
P.O. Box:  6671
Phone:  (828) 689-1157
  • B.A., UNC-Chapel Hill, 2006
  • M.S., Appalachian State University, 2013.

I am an ecologist, yoga teacher, and rock climber, born and raised in Western North Carolina. I love the Appalachian Mountains and some of my favorite courses to teach are those that explore our beautiful and biologically complex mountains.

I wear a lot of hats at Mars Hill: I coordinate the Environmental Studies Program, an interdisciplinary minor that allows students to explore environmental issues from a variety of angles. I mentor the Environmental Action Club, MHU’s student environmental club and am co-founder of the campus Sustainability Committee.  I also teach courses in environmental science, biology and yoga. I offer at least one free yoga class per week in the Breathing Room, MHU’s yoga and meditation space. I love working with students and my favorite part of my job is developing relationships with students that help them discover and follow their passions.

My academic background is in community ecology with an emphasis on the conservation and management of cliff ecosystems. I am currently working towards a PhD in Ecology through the New York Botanical Garden, studying lichens on cliffs throughout the southern Appalachians. I also attended graduate school at Appalachian State University, studying the ecology of cliffs in the Big South Fork (TN) and have since done a lot of consulting to help land managers protect cliff resources. I was a board member of the Carolina Climber’s Coalition for five years, helping climbers learn about rare plants and how to be good stewards of cliff ecosystems. MHU students often help with my cliff ecology fieldwork.

I have worked in conservation for years, including two-and-a-half years in Guatemala with the US Peace Corps and an AmeriCorps term with the Blue Ridge Conservancy, a land trust in Boone, NC. I teach at Green River Preserve and Highlands Biological Station in the summers and am active with the Bailey Mountain Conservation Project.

When I’m not planning classes or grading papers, I can most often be found peering at lichens, dangling from a climbing rope, or curled up with my cat, John Henry, and a good book.