Champions for Wildlife is growing

Published 12:32 pm Friday, March 22, 2024

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Since January 1, Champions for Wildlife has used the power of art to teach over 750 local students in K-8th grade about wildlife. Now, through its pilot program, Nature in Your Backyard, kids will venture outside to discover nature’s secrets using explorer backpacks.

With a generous grant from the Rotary Club of Tryon, Champions for Wildlife purchased backpacks filled with all sorts of cool things to use in discovering wildlife outside. Inside the backpack, there are binoculars, magnifying glasses, identification guides, watercolor pencils, and a nature journal each child gets to take home with drawings of their day’s findings. The first program was at Saluda Elementary School, where the kids discovered raccoon tracks and logs filled with bugs.

As classes expand, Champions for Wildlife is welcoming two remarkable individuals to the team: Carolyn Baughman, the newest board member, and Addie Lalumondier, the new Education & Outreach Coordinator. 

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Baughman brings a wealth of experience and passion for children’s education and nature to the board. She’s a freelance writer/producer with over 20 years of experience in creative writing, marketing and TV production. After homeschooling her three children for seven years, she decided to start a “second career” as a school librarian and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at UNC Greensboro.

She is currently the coordinator for BOLT Mentors with Polk County Schools, seeking to create meaningful mentorship opportunities for Polk County students and community citizens. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for Polk County Public Libraries. In her spare time, Carolyn loves yoga and running. She has a goal of running a half marathon in every state! (She’s about to run state #15.) 

Champions for Wildlife found itself with a waiting list for its classes and realized it needed a second teacher in addition to Alexis Hinchliffe. Lalumondier came along at the perfect moment, and the organization is thrilled to have her on the team as Education and Outreach Coordinator.

Addie is no stranger to environmental education, having spent years teaching students to connect with nature and become stewards of the environment through summer camps. Outside of work, Addie enjoys studying animal behavior and spending time outdoors—especially watching her dog interact with the world around her.

Together, we can make a difference for kids, wildlife, and our planet to ensure a brighter future for generations to come. To learn more, volunteer, or donate, visit or contact Loti Woods at


Submitted by Loti Woods