Vote MountainTrue for Best of WNC

Vote MountainTrue for Best of WNC

Vote MountainTrue for Best of WNC

Voting is now open in Mountain Xpress’ annual Best of WNC readers’ poll. The deadline to cast your ballot is May 4, but don’t delay! Vote Now and Vote MountainTrue for:

Best Environmental Nonprofit for our work to retire Asheville’s coal-fired energy plant and keep pollution out of our rivers and streams.

Best Conservation Nonprofit for our work bringing conservation and recreation groups together to support more wilderness in our national forests.

✔ Best Activist Group for Civic/Political Action for defeating Duke’s plan to build transmission lines through Henderson, Polk and Buncombe counties.

✔ Best Nonprofit that improves Asheville for working to protect our neighborhoods from an oversized I-26 highway expansion project, and working to make the French Broad Paddle Trail #11 in Outdoor Magazine’s list of Best Trips for 2016.

✔ Vote for the Save the French Broad Concert at the Orange Peel for Best Fundraising Event. Last year Matisyahu performed; this year’s band will be just as awesome.

Xpress_BestOf2016-Leader-Banner-Bottom

 

Vote here: http://mountainx.com/bestofwnc/

Looking for more reasons to support MountainTrue? Check out our 2015 year in review: http://mountaintrue.org/2015-year-review/


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.

Josh Kelly, A Pioneer in Our Midst!

Josh Kelly, A Pioneer in Our Midst!

Josh Kelly, A Pioneer in Our Midst!

MountainTrue's Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly is an avid angler.

MountainTrue’s Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly is an avid angler.

Josh Kelly, MountainTrue’s dedicated field biologist, has been recognized by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine as one of 100 pioneers who have helped shape our region’s recreation, conservation, and adventure resources. The magazine explains:

“While benefactors and leaders in art, science, business, politics, medicine and other realms see their names emblazoned on buildings and their legacies revered for centuries, the people who advance outdoor recreation and the protection of public lands generally do their work without fanfare, quietly pushing the boundaries of human endurance and selflessly advocating on behalf of resources to benefit mankind.”

Josh is lauded for his work defending the wild forests of western North Carolina and beyond and joins such luminaries as author, anthologist and recording artist Thomas Rain Crowe, President Jimmy Carter and Daniel Boone. Josh tells the magazine, “the most rewarding work I have done has involved helping to steer Forest Service management towards a paradigm where we as a society give back to the land, rather than just take.”

As part of his work on the U.S. Forest Service’s Management Plan for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, Josh has helped bring together a broad coalition of wilderness advocates, conservationists and recreation groups that supports more trails and more public access, and also protection for more backcountry and wild places. Learn more at: http://mountaintrue.org/a-win-win-mou/


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.

Katharine Hayhoe at First Baptist Church in Asheville

Katharine Hayhoe at First Baptist Church in Asheville

Katharine Hayhoe Discusses Faith and Climate Science at First Baptist Church in Asheville

On April 5, 300 people gathered at First Baptist Church in downtown Asheville for a presentation by climate scientist and evangelical Christian Katharine Hayhoe.

Hayhoe Event (1 of 1)

Scott Hardin-Nieri, director of the Creation Care Alliance of WNC begins the night by acknowledging our partners.

Katharine was uniquely able to make the clear connection between science and faith on the subject of climate change. She explained climate change in simple language and well-understood metaphors and made a strong case for why Christians should care about and act on climate change.

You can now listen to the full lecture online here: http://www.fbca.net/worship-a-music/worship-this-week-6361

Katharine argued that faith and science are not in direct competition and are not two alternate systems of beliefs. Climate change is an observable scientific fact, and “whether you believe in climate change or not, or whether you believe in gravity or not, if you step off the cliff, you’re going down.” In her speech, she reviewed the substantial evidence and scientific observations that show that climate change is real and happening now.

Hayhoe Event (1 of 1)-2

Katharine Hayhoe reviewing the conclusive data supporting climate change.

A charge often levelled against climate scientists is that they are “alarmist”. Refuting that characterization, Hayhow showed that when you compare the past 20 years of climate projections against the past 20 years of climate data, that the projections have been too low. Rather than being alarmist, scientists have been too cautious, too conservative. Scientist “suffer from ESLD, we error on the side of least drama,” she explained to chuckles from the crowd.

Despite this, polling has shown that the public opinion is turning against the scientific consensus, and that opinion is divided less by religion but by political and cultural/social identification. These divisions must be bridged because “climate change doesn’t just affect all of us, it takes all of us to fix it.”

Katharine reinforced Pope Francis’ understanding that slowing climate change is about loving our global and local neighbors more fully. Those who attended left the event with a better understanding of the science, a sense of renewed hope, and tips on how to talk to others about the challenges ahead.

This event was organized by the Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina, a program of MountainTrue. We’d like to thank our generous sponsor, Krull & Company, socially and environmentally responsible investment management and financial planning – and our other partners: Green Sage Cafe, Climate Listening Project, Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Asheville Chapter, and the Wild Goose Festival.  

Katharine Hayhoe with Pete Krull of Krull & Company - socially and environmentally responsible investment management and financial planning - the lead sponsor of the event.

Katharine Hayhoe with Pete Krull of Krull & Company – socially and environmentally responsible investment management and financial planning – the lead sponsor of the event.

If we’re going to act in time to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to bridge political and ideological divides. This event is an example of the role that the Creation Care Alliance can play in our community as a convener of people of faith and a facilitator of that necessary dialogue.

If you’re not yet a member of the Creation Care Alliance or MountainTrue, I hope you will consider getting more involved.

To become a member of MountainTrue, click here: http://mountaintrue.org/get-involved/mountaintrue/

To find out how you can volunteer with the Creation Care Alliance of WNC, contact Scott Hardin-Nieri at: scott@creationcarealliance.org

 


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.

MountainTrue Welcomes Two New Hires

MountainTrue Welcomes Two New Hires

MountainTrue Welcomes Two New Hires

Holly Demuth joins as Development Director;
Susan Bean hired as Community Engagement Manager

Asheville, N.C. — Western North Carolina-based conservation organization MountainTrue is proud to announce two new hires. Holly Demuth will join as the organization’s Development Director and Susan Bean takes the newly-created role of Community Engagement Manager.

Holly Demuth

Holly Demuth

Holly Demuth comes to the organization from Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where she served as North Carolina regional director. Previously she was executive director of WaysSouth, development director of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and development and program associate for the Community Foundation of Henderson County. Prior to that, Holly was a park ranger for the National Park Service leading interpretive programs at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site and Muir Woods.

Holly has long been acquainted with the work of MountainTrue through its predecessors. She was a water quality volunteer with Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO), and chair of the Buncombe County Chapter of Western North Carolina Alliance (WNCA).

“When the WNCA joined forces with ECO in Henderson County and the Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance, it was clear that MountainTrue was going to be a strong advocate for all of Western North Carolina,” explains Holly, “As a region, we need an organization that stands for our values and works to maintain our ecological heritage.”

Susan Bean

Susan Bean

Susan Bean has taken on the role of community engagement manager with MountainTrue where she will expand volunteer and member programming. For the last four years, Susan has been the program director of Leadership Asheville, a community leadership development program designed to develop, connect and mobilize citizens from across the community, including business, nonprofit, education and government.

“MountainTrue does so much for the region and our environment,” Susan Bean explains. “I was really inspired by their recent victories – helping to secure the retirement of Asheville’s coal-fired power plant and defeating the proposed transmission lines that would have cut through Henderson, Buncombe and Polk counties. I’m thrilled to join such an effective team.”

Previously, Susan worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School leading whitewater paddling trips in Utah, Colorado and Idaho. She returned to the Southeast to earn her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she continued training wilderness trip leaders as a graduate assistant for the University’s outdoor program. She is actively involved in the community serving as a Co-Chair of the Building Bridges Board and a regular volunteer for the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP).

Download full-size photo of Holly Demuth.

Download full-size photo of Susan Bean.


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.

Striving for a More Diverse, Inclusive Western North Carolina

Striving for a More Diverse, Inclusive Western North Carolina


Striving for a More Diverse, Inclusive Western North Carolina

At MountainTrue we understand that Western North Carolina’s diversity is just as important to our heritage as our mountains.

In fact, we recently adopted a set of principles of Equity, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination that recognizes and honors diversity in our membership, volunteer base, staff and board. These principles establish that we will not discriminate against individuals, communities or organizations based on race, sex, age, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or physical/mental disability.

These principles go further and also commit us to a proactive and strategic approach to equity at an institutional and societal level. We continue our decades-long work to engage diverse voices in decision making at the local and state levels. We connect community voices with their lawmakers through direct communications, in-district and lobby day visits and by keeping the public informed about what’s happening in the NC legislature pertaining to environmental issues via our MT Raleigh Report.

It’s also important that new leaders step up to serve in local government and the general assembly. To that end, we are cultivating new leaders at the local level by encouraging and empowering them to serve on local government boards and commissions so they can effect positive change on the local level and possibly beyond one day.

It’s amazing what you can get done on a non-expert citizen advisory board to make incremental steps in the right direction. For example, I serve on the Buncombe County Planning Board and we just sent to our County Commissioners sweeping changes in our zoning ordinance to improve affordable housing and environmental impacts of development. If you’ve never served on a local government board or commission you’d be surprised at how rewarding this work can be and how you will easily find the time to make your community a better place.

At MountainTrue, we are striving for a better, more equitable and inclusive future. It’s very much a work in progress and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. We welcome your partnership and involvement in this work  if you have other ideas of how we can be doing a better job, we are listening.

Thank you,
Joan Walker, Campaign Director

 


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.

Show your support for the Energy Innovation Task Force


Show your support for the Energy Innovation Task Force

This Tuesday, March 22, Asheville City Council will vote on a resolution to establish the Energy Innovation Task Force. Then on April 5, Buncombe County Commission will meet to vote on the same joint resolution. Once established, his task force will bring together representatives from the City, County, Duke Energy and community partners to work toward to a cleaner, affordable and smarter energy future.

The work of the Energy Innovation Task Force will be to strategize and implement a plan that will meet the region’s future energy demand through more energy efficiency and investment in renewable energy infrastructure so that we can avoid the construction of a third natural-gas-powered “peaking” unit at Lake Julian.

Asheville City Council Meeting
March 22 at 5:00 p.m.
Asheville City Hall
70 Court Plaza, 2nd Floor
Asheville, NC 28801

Buncombe County Commissioners Meeting
April 5 at 4:30 p.m.
Buncombe County Building
200 College Street, 3rd Floor
Asheville, NC 28801

Public comment will be accepted. Come to both the Asheville City Council meeting and the County Commission meeting and show your support for the creation of the Energy Innovation Task Force!

Text of the Resolution

RESOLUTION NO. __________

RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING A JOINT CITY, COUNTY AND UTILITY ENERGY INNOVATION TASK FORCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF RESEARCHING, PRIORITIZING, RECOMMENDING AND IMPLEMENTING  RECOMMENDATIONS TO CREATE ENERGY EFFICIENCY, DEMAND SIDE MANAGEMENT AND RENEWABLE ENERGY OPPORTUNITIES TO REDUCE ENERGY USE     IN BUNCOMBE COUNTY_________________

WHEREAS, Buncombe County adopted a resolution regarding Buncombe County Energy Independence on December 3, 2013; and

WHEREAS, the City of Asheville adopted a resolution Supporting a Clean Energy Economy on October 22, 2013; and

WHEREAS, the region’s beauty, clean air, and clean water are vital to the residents of Buncombe County and the region’s economy; and

WHEREAS, the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and Duke Energy Progress are committed to working to delay or avoid the construction of an additional fossil fuel-powered combustion turbine electricity generating facility at the Asheville Plant site in 2023; and

WHEREAS, the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and Duke Energy Progress desire a transition to a cleaner, affordable, and smarter energy future in Western North Carolina, rooted in community engagement and collaboration, that is mutually beneficial to the community, customers and Duke Energy Progress; and

WHEREAS, Duke Energy Progress has agreed to co-convene with the City of Asheville and Buncombe County a joint Energy Innovation Task Force to transition to a cleaner, affordable, and smarter energy future through active community engagement, deliberate investment in distributed energy resources and greater promotion of and access to energy efficiency and demand-side management programs, subject to appropriate North Carolina Utilities Commission approval; and

WHEREAS, supporting a clean energy future will foster protection of natural resources, help mitigate climate change, and facilitate the growth of the clean energy industry in our region; and

WHEREAS, the task force will engage with our community to provide cost-effective services, programs and new products they value and expect through investment in clean and innovative ways to power Western North Carolina, while keeping rates competitive; and

WHEREAS, Buncombe County residents and businesses have the ability to seize this opportunity to use renewable energy and participate in energy efficiency and demand-side management programs to increase the region’s climate resiliency and to become a model to other communities in the state and country.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BUNCOMBE COUNTY COMMISSION AND ASHEVILLE CITY COUNCIL THAT:

Buncombe County, the City of Asheville and Duke Energy Progress have established a joint task force known as the “Energy Innovation Task Force” that will appoint members from local government, environmental and clean energy advocates, large and small businesses, local institutions and Duke Energy Progress to research, recommend and implement energy efficiency and demand-side management programs and projects and distributed energy technology in Buncombe County, subject to appropriate North Carolina Utilities Commission approval.  This Task Force will seek input from and engagement with the public as an integral part of its work.

Read, approved and adopted this __ day of March 2016.

Buncombe County Commission Chair Mayor, City of Asheville

County Clerk City Clerk
Approved as to form:

County Attorney City Attorney


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.