Kelly Holdbrooks

Executive Director Southern Highlands Reserve, lake toxaway, NC

With over a decade of experience in Western North Carolina’s vast horticulture, Executive Director Kelly Holdbrooks demonstrates her passion for fostering a human connection with nature. Engaging her audience through a wealth of knowledge and a love of story-telling, Kelly offers an educational experience to enliven your visit. Kelly’s research in experiential methods and the humanism of nature earned her a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture, with honors, from the College of Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. She is proud to call Western North Carolina her home.


LECTURE:  Southern Highlands Reserve 

Southern Highlands Reserve is a native plant arboretum and research center dedicated to sustaining the natural ecosystems of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We accomplish this mission through the preservation, cultivation and display of plants native to the region, and by advocating for their value through education, restoration and research. Located in Western North Carolina at an elevation of 4500 feet, the varied topography and forest types found on our 120 acres allow us to emulate many of the plant communities found in the higher reaches of the Southern Appalachians. Southern Highlands Reserve has been aptly described by some as “the largest and most diverse collection of native Southern Appalachian plants and their cultivars.”