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.

Photos from Our SMIE Water Quality Training in Henderson Co.

Photos from Our SMIE Water Quality Training in Henderson Co.

SMIE 1On Saturday, March 11, MountainTrue held our Stream Monitoring Information Exchange (SMIE) bio-monitoring training at Blue Ridge Community College.

MountainTrue volunteers monitor stream health throughout Henderson County and go out into the field to do bio-monitoring twice per year, in April and October. Through the SMIE bio-monitoring program, we sample aquatic macro-invertebrates, or aquatic insects, as indicators of water quality. Bugs tell us a lot about the health and vitality of our rivers and streams.

Participants learned basic stream ecology, how to identify aquatic macro-invertebrates, why macro-invertebrates are terrific indicators of water quality, and the sampling protocol. The event was led by MountainTrue Water Quality Administrator Jack Henderson and volunteer members of the Clean Water Team.

After a morning classroom session, the class headed out to the Big Hungry River field side, where participants got to put their newly learned sampling methods and identification knowledge to practice.

Thank you to Blue Ridge Community College for hosting!



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.

Flowers in February: WNC’s Changing Climate

Flowers in February: WNC’s Changing Climate

Flowers in February: WNC’s Changing Climate

It’s a beautiful, sunny spring day in Western North Carolina. Maybe you’re out for a hike or first-of-the-year paddle, or getting a head start on your garden by planting those first sweet peas and lettuce seeds. The first days of Spring should be occasion for celebration, but not so this year–because warmer days are coming a full two months earlier than they should. Sometimes the evidence of our shifting climate and the dangers it poses to our natural and human environments is blatant; like the unprecedented wildfires raging through our mountains last summer. So far this year, the effects of global climate change may be more pleasant, but they’re no less damaging; and with the climate-harming policies we’re seeing coming out of the Whitehouse and Congress these days, it seems like there’s no relief in sight.  In the past 30 days 6,096 new daily high temperature records were set over across the U.S., according to the along with 5,174 record warm low temperatures. These swinging temperatures spell possible disaster for fruit growers across the country and Western North Carolina, as we can typically expect freezes until May 15 Local farmer Janet Peterson of Cloud 9 Farm in Fletcher is being impacted by the changing climate year round:

“We’re still feeling the effects from the drought that started last year, we just haven’t gotten enough rain. Last year I lost about 1/3 of the blueberries I planted to drought. Right now my blueberries are 3 weeks ahead of schedule; they’ve come out of dormancy and buds are swelling and I have to start watering them much earlier than normal. We received a grant to extend our irrigation system for raspberries through the WNC Ag Options because a wet March just isn’t happening.”

And it’s not just her crops that are disrupted by the early Spring.

“The honeybees are also coming out of dormancy several weeks early due to the warm weather, and there’s not enough food out for them as many flowers aren’t blooming. They’re out flying on these warm days gathering Maple pollen and eating up their winter stores, so I’m having to feed some of my bees.  I’m even hearing reports of bees swarming to start new hives, which shouldn’t be happening until April and I’ve never heard of it this early.” 

Scientists have long agreed that climate change is happening now, and is being caused by human activity; namely the large-scale burning of fossil fuels for energy. The Southeast is an epicenter for climate change impacts, from 1980-2012 our region has experienced more billion-dollar weather disasters than the rest of the country combined: Drought, hurricanes, record rainfall, heat waves and the associated flooding, crop loss, property damage, wildfires and loss of human life. Scientists are also very clear  that unless we curb the amount of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, things are only going to get worse. Storms and droughts will be more extreme, our farmers will no longer be able to grow the crops they’re used to and we’ll start losing serious ground in our coastal cities to sea level rise. It’s likely that if we don’t reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from 400 parts per billion to around 350 ppb, we risk “triggering tipping points and irreversible impacts that could send climate change spinning truly beyond our control”. While we can all take individual steps to lower our carbon footprint, the magnitude of change needed to avoid global climate disaster will require significant commitments from industrialized countries to move toward fossil-free means of power generation. Many world leaders have risen to the occasion, making serious commitments to energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy and backing those commitments up with investments to drive quick growth in the clean energy sector. The United States, unfortunately, has lagged behind and the current Administration and Congress are poised to widen the gap and put us further behind in the struggle to maintain a livable planet.  At a time when we need visionary leadership to avoid more climate disasters, our Representatives are putting forth bills like H.R. 637 “Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017“, that prevents the EPA from regulating climate change-causing greenhouse gasses by stating they are not air pollutants and requires the EPA to analyze the net impact of regulations on employment. This scare-tactic rationale pitting the economy against the environment is downright wrong: economists have found no clear evidence that regulations have a net negative effect on jobs and have actually found that the economic value health and other benefits of protecting our air and water quality, not to mention stabilizing the climate, far outweigh the costs. More now than ever, we all have a duty to call out to our lawmakers that climate change is real, it’s happening now, and we’re all going to all going to pay the price. 


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.

Don’t Let Congress Put Profits Over People and The Planet

Don’t Let Congress Put Profits Over People and The Planet


Don’t Let Congress Put Profits Over People and The Planet


The current Congress is hard at work. Unfortunately, instead of working in the public interest and to protect the natural resources we all depend on, many lawmakers are determined to dismantle regulations and structures that protect public and environmental health — all in the name of saving industry the cost of doing business in a responsible way.

Soon, your Representatives will be voting on H.R. 637 “Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017“. This bill prevents the EPA from regulating climate change-causing greenhouse gasses by stating they are not air pollutants and requires tthe EPA to analyze the net impact of regulations on employment. If the EPA were to determine that a regulation would have any negative impact on jobs, they would not be allowed to issue the regulation, even if the regulation would save human lives.

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES NOW! Use the script below and click here to tell us you made a call!

We’ll be in touch with you about future advocacy opportunities like in-district meetings with your Congressional Representatives.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, 5th District (Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Catawba, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yadkin): 202-225-2071

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

Rep. Patrick McHenry, 10th District (Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Polk, Rutherford, Catawba, Iredell, Buncombe): 202-225-2576

Sen. Richard Burr: 202-224-3154

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 environmental issues (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!): 

“I’m calling to ask (Representative) to oppose H.R. 637 “Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017. This bill explicitly prioritizes industry profits over human health, which I find unconscionable. The argument  that environmental regulations destroy jobs is downright wrong. In fact, economists have found no clear evidence that regulations have a net negative effect on jobs and have actually found that the economic value health and other benefits of protecting our air and water quality far outweigh the costs. While regulations may be a contributing factor to one industry moving, they open the door for others (it’s good to use a local example such as: In Asheville the French Broad River used to be said to be “too thick to drink and too thick to plow” because of all the water pollution from industry and agriculture. Now that the river is cleaner, it supports an array of local industry, from tourism and hospitality to world-class breweries.

Climate change is happening now. Last summer WNC experienced unprecedented wildfires and now spring is coming 6 weeks early, endangering commercial apple, peach and other crops. EPA must retain the ability to regulate greenhouse gasses to protect our communities, local economies and environment, and H.R. 637 would strip the EPA of that ability.


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.

Feb. 9: Hendersonville Green Drinks: Green, Sustainable Brewing

Feb. 9: Hendersonville Green Drinks: Green, Sustainable Brewing

Feb. 9: Hendersonville Green Drinks: Green, Sustainable Brewing

Hendersonville, N.C. — On Thursday, February 9, Hendersonville Green Drinks welcomes Stan Cooper, Co-Manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., who will speak about sustainability initiatives at the Mills River brewery.

In June 2016, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. was the first production brewery in the United States to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certified, Platinum — the highest level awarded—for its Mills River, North Carolina, brewing facility.

What: Hendersonville Green Drinks: Green, Sustainable Brewing.
Who: Stan Cooper, Co-Manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Where: Black Bear Coffee Co. 318 N. Main St. Hendersonville, NC
When: Thursday, February 9, networking at 5:30 p.m. , presentation at 6:00 p.m.

About Hendersonville Green Drinks
Hendersonville Green Drinks is presented by MountainTrue and the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. Come to Green Drinks to learn more about current environmental issues, have relevant discussions, and meet with like-minded people. This is a monthly event and everyone is welcome. You don’t have to drink at Green Drinks, just come and listen. Black Bear Coffee offers beer, wine, coffee drinks and sodas. A limited food menu will be available.


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.