MountainTrue and Asheville Citizen-Times present ‘Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC’

MountainTrue and Asheville Citizen-Times present ‘Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC’

MountainTrue and Asheville Citizen-Times present ‘Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC’

Asheville, NC — MountainTrueMountainTrue and Asheville Citizen-Times team up to present “Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC” at Highland Brewing Company on Monday April 3 from 5-8 p.m. This is a free event, RSVP today: http://bit.ly/BeforeWeBurnAgain

Last year (2016), the Southeast experienced a historic wildfire season. Wildfires raged across north Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. Firefighters from 21 states converged on the region to combat fires that ultimately burned more than 150,000 acres. In Tennessee, the Chimney Tops 2 fire destroyed sections of the city of Gatlinburg and claimed 14 lives. In North Carolina, the fires forced evacuation and threatened homes and human development.

Sponsored by French Broad Chocolates, Highland Brewing Co. and NOC — Nantahala Outdoor Center, this special event brings together leading experts in the fields of wildfire management, fire ecology, climate change and community planning to discuss the dangers and ecological benefits of wildfire, critical issues at play in last year’s historic wildfire season and appropriate, proactive responses and strategies to manage future wildfire phenomena, mitigate threats and economic impacts, and save human lives.

What: “Before We Burn Again: A Panel on the Future of Wildfires in WNC”
Who: Presented by MountainTrue and the Asheville Citizen-Times and sponsored by French Broad Chocolates, Highland Brewing Co. and NOC — Nantahala Outdoor Center
Where: Highland Brewing Company, 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville, NC 28803
When: Monday, April 3, 2017, 5-8 p.m.

For details and to RSVP: http://bit.ly/BeforeWeBurnAgain

Expert Panelists:

Dr. Steve Norman, a research ecologist with US Forest Service Southern Research Station in Asheville, will discuss how climate and drought influence forests and wildfires in the Southern Appalachians. Steve earned his Ph.D. from Penn State where he studied how fire-climate relationships functioned over centuries in California based on evidence from fire scars in tree rings. In North Carolina, his more recent research has involved tracking spring and fall phenology from satellite, understanding drought impacts to forests, documenting the seasonality of eastern fire regimes, and addressing the tradeoffs of wildland fire management.

Adam Warwick is the fire and stewardship manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Southern Blue Ridge Program in Asheville and will discuss forest and wildfire management practices. At the Nature Conservancy, Adam manages a 15-person fire crew and about 12,000 acres in western North Carolina. He is from east Tennessee and holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from University of Tennessee and a Master of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Missouri. Adam has close to 15 years of experience monitoring wildlife and conserving habitats on public and private lands. Adam is an expert in using fire through controlled burning to perpetuate fire-dependent plant and animals throughout northern Florida and the Southern Appalachians.

Dr. Katie Greenberg, research ecologist with the USFS Southern Research Station at Bent Creek Experimental Forest, will discuss how fire affects wildlife and habitats in hardwood forests.  Katie’s research focuses on how natural or anthropogenic disturbances such fire, regeneration harvests, or windstorms affect forests, wildlife communities, and their food resources such as native fruits and acorns. Katie holds a Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Tennessee, and a PhD in Wildlife Ecology and a minor in Plant Ecology, from the University of Florida.  She has co-edited books on early successional habitats, and natural disturbances in hardwood forests.

Joan Walker is the campaigns director with MountainTrue and will discuss appropriate actions that communities, businesses and individuals can take to lower risks and exposure to wildfire. Joan earned her Master’s Degree in Geography with a focus on urban and regional planning from Appalachian State University. She is a contributing author to “Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future,” an American Planning Association report which focused on integrating climate change and energy issues into planning practice. Joan has worked as a building codes consultant and clean energy advocate with the NC Sustainable Energy Association and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and served as an energy fellow with UNC Asheville. Joan also currently serves on the Buncombe County Planning Board where she strives to incorporate sustainability and social equity into local planning policy.

Our Sponsors:

French Broad Chocolates, Asheville-based makers of sustainable bean-to-bakery chocolate, will provide hot chocolate and a dessert bar featuring their Highland Mocha Stout Cupcakes — a collaboration with Highland Brewing Company — and more. Additional food, beer and beverages will be available for purchase from Highland Brewing Company. Attendees will also have the opportunity to win two (2) Adventure Passes from Nantahala Outdoor Center valued at $79.99 each. The Nantahala Adventure Pass is hands-down the best value for a full day of outdoor fun. Combine four of NOC’s most popular activities — guided whitewater rafting on the crystal clear Nantahala river, Fontana Lake kayak and stand up paddleboards rentals, the Zip Line Adventure Park and mountain biking.

General admission is a suggested minimum donation of $10.

MountainTrue members get free admission.

For details and to RSVP: http://bit.ly/BeforeWeBurnAgain


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Tell Congress to Take AmeriCorps Off the Chopping Block

Tell Congress to Take AmeriCorps Off the Chopping Block

Tell Congress to Take AmeriCorps Off the Chopping Block

Meet Laura McPherson, Mary Kate Dodge and Jack Henderson, MountainTrue’s hardworking and dedicated AmeriCorps.

 

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Mary Kate Dodge (L) and Laura McPherson (R)

Laura McPherson is our Forest Keeper. She combats non-native invasive plant species and restores native plant habitats by coordinating and leading volunteer work days and invasive species educational programs. Mary Kate Dodge is our Outings and Outreach Coordinator; she helps organize our educational events and helps us raise awareness about the work we do protecting Western North Carolina’s environment. Jack Henderson is our Water Quality Administrator and runs our river cleanups and water testing and monitoring programs.

Their work is critical to our mission.

Each year, AmeriCorps Project Conserve places more than three dozen dedicated members with local environmental nonprofits. Since its inception, 268 members have served 455,600 hours, increasing community understanding of conservation and the environment and creating sustainable improvements to at-risk ecosystems in our communities.

Jack Henderson (center) with a group of volunteers after a river cleanup.

Jack Henderson (center) with a group of volunteers after a river cleanup.

The federal agency that supports the AmeriCorps service program — The Corporation for National & Community Service — is at risk! It is one of 18 agencies that are recommended for elimination in the White House’s recent budget proposal.

Please take a moment to call your Congress members and let them know that AmeriCorps is making a difference in our community.

NC Senator Richard Burr (202) 224-3154
NC Senator Thom Tillis (202) 224-6342
NC Representative Mark Meadows (202) 225-6401
NC Representative Patrick McHenry (202) 225-2576
Click here to find your Senator: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/senators_cfm.cfm
Click here to find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Public Lands are Priceless, not Worthless

Public Lands are Priceless, not Worthless


Public Lands are Priceless, not Worthless

 

America’s public lands are a sacred legacy for us all, but Congress is well on its way to changing that. On Congress’ first day in session, the House approved a package of rules in House Resolution 5 that sets a zero-dollar value on federally protected lands that are transferred to states. By devaluing federal lands, Congress is paving the way to hand them over to states that cannot afford to manage these lands and will likely seek to raise funds by selling off our national treasures to developers or to mining, fracking and logging industries.

All three WNC lawmakers voted yes on this bill, now they need to hear from you that they’ve made a huge mistake: America’s public lands are priceless, not worthless, and need to be protected for all to enjoy and experience!!

Call your representatives NOW, using the script below, and click here to let us know you made that call!

Rep. Virginia Foxx, 5th District (Ashe, Catawba, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Rowan, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin): 202-225-2071

Rep. Mark Meadows, 11th District (Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, Jackson, Macon, Clay, Cherokee, Graham, Swain, Haywood, Madison, Yancey, McDowell, Polk): 202-225-6401

Rep. Patrick McHenry, 10th District (Cleveland, Rutherford, Catawba, Lincoln, Burke, Caldwell, Mitchell, Avery): 202-225-2576

Sen. Richard Burr202-224-3154

Sen. Thom Tillis: 202-224-6342

**Click here if you’re not sure who represents you

WHEN YOU CALL:

Ask for the staff person in charge of public lands (if there isn’t one, it’s OK, just ask their name and continue)

Introduce yourself, make it personal (“I’m a mom, a teacher, a retiree, a business owner”) and give them your zip code, whether they ask for it or not.

Sample script (make it your own! The more personal the better!):

“One of the things I love most about living in Western North Carolina is access to high quality, federally protected public lands. The Pisgah and Nantahala Forests, and all our public lands are a sacred legacy that need to be protected for all Americans and future generations. Representative/Senator [insert name]’s affirmative vote on House Resolution 5 endangers that legacy by paving the way to hand over control of these lands to the States.

States don’t have the funding and resources to protect and manage these lands, for example the expense of managing wildfires alone would break state budgets. Tracts of land or rights will be sold off to private developers and industry just to raise the money to manage lands. Our national parks and forests are priceless, not worthless, as the [Rep./Senator] seems to believe by voting ‘Yes’ on HR 5, and they’ve made a huge mistake that will transfer these national treasures from American taxpayers to private companies at no benefit to taxpayers.

President Trump has reiterated his campaign promise to not transfer public lands to states, he needs to keep that promise and Congress needs to stand with the American people. Keep all federal lands under federal management. Protect our natural legacy.”


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

After The Wildfires: Climate Mitigation and Adapting to the New Normal, at the Collider

After The Wildfires: Climate Mitigation and Adapting to the New Normal, at the Collider

After The Wildfires: Climate Mitigation and Adapting to the New Normal, at the Collider



On Monday, December 19, MountainTrue’s Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly and Jim Fox of the National Environmental and Modeling Analysis Center at UNC Asheville presented on the topics of climate change, drought and strategies for wildfire management at the collider. MountainTrue is working in collaboration with the Forest Service and other stakeholders to support better forest management so that future fires are less hard to control and damaging to human development.

Read the feature in the Hendersonville Times-News

Read Josh Kelly’s Op-ed in the Asheville Citizen-Times


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

After the Wildfires: Mitigating Climate Change and Adapting to the New Normal

After the Wildfires: Mitigating Climate Change and Adapting to the New Normal

After the Wildfires: Mitigating Climate Change and Adapting to the New Normal

Jim Fox, Director of UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center, and Josh Kelly, Public Lands Field Biologist at MountainTrue, will discuss how climate change is impacting Western North Carolina at the Climate Collider on Monday, December 19 at 4 p.m..

In the wake of a historic wildfire season that has burned more than 150,000 acres throughout the Southeast, forced residents from their homes and cost the lives of 14 people in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the two speakers will address how climate change is affecting our region as well as strategies for mitigation and better management of our forests to reduce the threat of wildfires to human development. After their presentations, speakers will take questions from the crowd.

What: After the Wildfires: Mitigating Climate Change and Adapting to the New Normal
Who: Jim Fox, Director of UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center, and Josh Kelly, Public Lands Field Biologist at MountainTrue.
Where: Collider 1 Haywood St., Suite 401 (4th Floor Wells Fargo Building) Asheville, NC
When: Monday, December 19 at 4 p.m. to 6 p.m..
RSVP TO ATTEND: http://action.mountaintrue.org/page/s/after-the-fires

About Jim Fox
James (Jim) Fox is the Director for UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC). In that position, he serves as the team leader and principal investigator for several major collaborations, including the USDA Forest Service’s Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC), NOAA’s Climate Program Office and National Centers for Environmental Information, the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies, and state, county, municipal, and regional governments in the southeastern United States. NEMAC uses visualizations, geographic information systems (GIS), web tools, and decision support tools to address key societal resilience issues that include climate change adaptation, forest health, flood mitigation, water resources, and future land use planning.

About Josh Kelly
Josh Kelly is MountainTrue’s Public Lands Field Biologist. He leads the organization’s work on the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest Management Plan Revision, monitors logging and development issues on public land, and provides site-specific, scientific information to promote ecological restoration and better management practices. Prior to joining MountainTrue, Josh worked for the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, where he focused on identifying remnant old-growth forests on public land, and at WildLaw, where he worked to promote ecological restoration as the new paradigm of National Forest management. Josh has helped the Forest Service conduct rare plant surveys, save hemlocks from hemlock woolly adelgid, and design restoration projects, including the Grandfather Restoration Project.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

2016 MoutainTrue Awards Recipients Announced

2016 MoutainTrue Awards Recipients Announced


MoutainTrue Awards Recipients Announced

From left to right: Jack Dalton of Hot Springs Mountain Club, which was named Partner of the Year; Jane Laping, one of our Volunteers of the Year; Brownie Newman, Elected Official of the Year; Neill Yelverton, Leesa Sluder, Peter Krull, Kerry Keihn and Catherine Campbell of Krull & Company–named Green Business of the Year; Doreen Blue, our other Volunteer of the Year; and Will Harlan, recipient of The Esther Cunningham Award. Download high resolution image.

Asheville, NC — MountainTrue announced the winners of the MountainTrue Awards, which were at the organization’s Fall Gathering held at New Belgium Brewing Company in Asheville on October 26. Award honorees are recognized for their hard work and dedication to protecting our forests, mountains, rivers and streams, and to promoting clean energy and sustainability. The 2016 MountainTrue Award winners are:

The Esther Cunningham Award | Honoree: Will Harlan of Barnardsville
MountainTrue presents this award in the name of Esther Cunningham, a Macon County resident whose concern for the environment prompted her to found the Western North Carolina Alliance (now part of MountainTrue). The award is presented to a MountainTrue member who has demonstrated outstanding community service in conserving our natural resources.

Will Harlan is an award-winning writer and editor-in-chief of Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine and an elite, long distance runner uses his talents to bring attention to environmental issues. Each year, Will travels to the Copper Canyon of Mexico to work alongside the indigenous Tarahumara farmers to establish seed banks, goat herds and clean water projects. Here in WNC, he’s been a committed advocate for the conservation of public lands and wild places. Will has long advocated for the protection of the Big Ivy section of Pisgah National Forest, and was instrumental in getting a pro-Wilderness resolution adopted by unanimous vote by the Buncombe County Commissioners asking Congress to designate expanded wilderness for the Big Ivy and Craggy Mountain areas. Will also played an active role in promoting the win-win MOU put forth by a coalition of wilderness advocates, conservationist and recreation groups that supports more trails and more public access, and also protects more backcountry and more wild places.

Green Business Award | Honoree: Krull & Company – Socially Responsible Financial Services
MountainTrue presents the Green Business Award to a local Western North Carolina business that has exhibited leadership in implementing green practices, getting other businesses to make their operations more sustainable or engaging in environmental advocacy.

Krull & Company is a certified B Corporation supporting the environment through the investments they make for their clients. From alternative energy to energy efficiency, water, natural and organic food and products and technology, Krull and Company focuses on positive, next economy companies, and exclude fossil fuels and other environmental offenders from their client portfolios. Krull & Company ensures their clients money is invested in a way that honors environmental values, and use the power of shareholder advocacy to drive corporate change from the inside.  

Volunteers of the Year Award | Jane Laping of Asheville and Doreen Blue of Hendersonville
MountainTrue presents the Volunteer of the Year Award to an individual(s) who has demonstrated consistent commitment by volunteering time at events, on program work, or through other MountainTrue activities. This year, we gave out two awards to some very deserving recipients.

Doreen Blue moved to Hendersonville from Rhode Island in 2005 and immediately got involved with ECO, one of the three organizations that merged to form MountainTrue. She started by joining our hikes, then took the training for the SMIE program to do macroinvertebrate biomonitoring in local streams. She now helps coordinate that program as part of our Clean Water Team. Doreen also takes monthly water quality samples for our VWIN program to help on zero in sources of water pollution. She has worked on Henderson County Big Sweep and Earth Day celebrations, been a member of the Recycling Team for the last 5 years, and organizes MountainTrue’s annual community-wide Christmas tree recycling program in Hendersonville. Doreen is a master seamstress, and has made the costumes for our mascots, the Bag Monster and Mr. Can, to promote MountainTrue’s recycling programs in local parades and for educational events.

Jane Laping is one of the founders and a current steering team member of the Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina, and as such she empowers faith communities to be advocates for the environment. Jane leads hikes, travels to Raleigh to talk with policy makers, writes grants, testifies at public hearings and plants gardens. She is an active member of First Presbyterian Church where she has helped lead conversations about the Pope’s Encyclical on the Environment, Fossil Fuel Divestment and solar powered electric car chargers for the church parking lot.  

Partner of the Year Award | Hot Springs Mountain Club
MountainTrue presents the Partner of the Year Award to an organization that has been a staunch partner with MountainTrue on key campaigns and programs throughout the past year.

Hot Springs Mountain Club have done a lot for the community over the years, including creating the Betty Place Loop and starting the Bluff Mountain Music Festival. Last year, the club created the new 3.5 mile Bluff Mountain Loop trail. This past year the Hot Springs Mountain Club and MountainTrue partnered on a two-day Bluff Mountain Bio-Blitz to document the incredible diversity of flora and fauna on Bluff. Over 50 people, including 7 college professors participated. It was a great time and over 400 species were identified – including a lichen that had never been seen south of Canada. The Hot Springs Mountain club acted as guides, hosts, and facilitators for the event. Because of the efforts of these local citizens, there is hope that Bluff will be treated as a special place in the new Forest Plan for Pisgah National Forest. Accepting on behalf of the club was Jack Dalton.

WNC Elected Official of the Year | Brownie Newman
MountainTrue presents this award to a city, county, state or federal elected official for either a specific conservation action of singular importance or for a strong and consistent commitment to conservation over time.

Brownie Newman has a distinguished career as an elected official in Asheville and Buncombe County and has worked tirelessly on behalf of the environment. He currently serves on the Buncombe County Commission where he led the county to adopt and begin implementation of a carbon reduction plan, led efforts to protect hemlock trees on county-owned land from the HWA, and now represents the County as co-chair of the Energy Innovation Task Force, which is aimed at reducing electricity usage in Asheville and Buncombe County

Prior to his service on the County Commission, Brownie Newman served two terms on Asheville City Council where he led a number of environmental and sustainability initiatives, including the adoption by the City of a carbon reduction/sustainability plan that continues to drive improvements every year.

About MountainTrue:
MountainTrue is Western North Carolina’s premier advocate for environmental stewardship. We are committed to keeping our mountain region a beautiful place to live, work and play. Our members protect our forests, clean up our rivers, plan vibrant and livable communities, and advocate for a sound and sustainable future for all residents of WNC.

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Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.