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Join us and help restore native plant communities by controlling non-native invasive plants at Richmond Hill Park. This is the City of Asheville’s only forested park and is home to many special native plant and animal species!

We’ll provide all gloves, equipment and instruction needed. Please bring snacks, water, rain jacket and wear long pants, long sleeve shirt and closed toe shoes (no open shoes or sandals allowed for safety).

Dates:
May 9
June 13
July 11
August 8
September 12
October 10
November 14
December 12
Rain Dates: 2nd Sundays
Time: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Cost: Free; Thank you for you help!

Click HERE to RSVP so we know you’re coming!

Learn from MountainTrue’s Public Lands Biologist Josh Kelly about fire ecology in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

fire ecologyWhen: Saturday, May 2nd – 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Where: Singcat Ridge; to carpool from Asheville, meet at the Westgate Shopping Center at 8:45 AM. Participants may meet us instead in the parking area at the intersection of NC Hwy 80 and the Blue Ridge Parkway at 10 AM.

What to expect: This all-day outdoor seminar will include a moderate to difficult hike with stops throughout during which we will discuss fire effects on vegetation, wildlife responses to fire, fire ignition types, fuel, and behavior.

What to bring: Participants should wear sturdy hiking and bring rain gear, lunch, and water.

FREE! All are welcome!

Click HERE to Register

Blue Rdige east of AshevilleWe’re on springtime mission: We’re looking for wildflowers and birds that put on their seasonal show in May. A few miles east of Asheville, just above the Blue Ridge Parkway, we will follow the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) from Bull Gap up to the historic Rattlesnake Lodge.

More than thirty varieties of flowers are known to live here, including dwarf larkspur, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and blue cohosh to name a few. We’ll also likely encounter, by sight or sound, a number of warblers, vireos, and other birds which have migrated up from central and South America to nest in our mountains.

The hike will take us to the Rattlesnake lodge site, which was built in 1903 as a summer home for Dr. Chase P. Ambler. The Parkway gained the right-of-way in the 1930’s, making it easy for passersby to explore the remains. Learn more by visiting this website: www.rattlesnakelodge.com

Checking out phacelia (1280x960)This is a moderate 5.2-mile hike on a well-maintained trail which has some climbs, goes through a series of switchbacks and follows an old wagon route.

Hiking (and resting time): approximately 5.5 hours. Moderate level of difficulty with a 550 foot elevation gain. We will go slowly on the climbs, taking in the surroundings, and will take frequent breaks as needed. Bob Gale, MountainTrue’s Ecologist and Public Lands Director, will lead this hike.

Date: Saturday, May 9 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Meet at the Visitor’s Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, milemarker 384
Cost: Free
Registration Deadline: Friday, May 8 at NOON. All participants must register (Sorry — no dogs allowed, so please leave your furry kids at home!)

Click HERE to Register

Commenting below will not sign you up for a slot on these hikes. Thanks!

BestOfWNC2015VoteNowButtonIt’s time to vote for MountainTrue in the Mountain Xpress’ Best of WNC for 2015!

Please vote for us as your #1 Activist Group and your #1 Environmental Group!

(Click here to vote!)

The voting period is now through 11:59 p.m. (midnight) Tuesday, May 5! Your ballot must have at least 30 categories completed to be counted.

It’s fun, easy and a great way to show your support for the work we do to champion resilient forests, clean waters and healthy communities in Western North Carolina!

THANK YOU!

Categories News & Announcements, Take Action
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April 25: Big Ivy Hikes

Pigpen_ashJoin MountainTrue on Saturday, April 25 for a spring ecology hike in Big Ivy. 

Big Ivy has more than 3,000 acres of old growth forests and over 30 rare and endangered species. Its abundant creeks are home to native brook trout, and its celebrated waterfalls are some of the most scenic and dramatic cascades in the South. 

MountainTrue is hosting spring ecology hikes on five different trails, which will take place simultaneously, led by five excellent local ecologists. Participate in the hike most captivating to you!

1) Douglas Falls – lower:
Join Scott Dean in a carpool through the Coleman Boundary and on a short hike out to the beautiful Douglas Falls. You will stop at several points along the drive to check out wildflowers and two big American Chestnuts. Total walking distance is about three miles with very little elevation change. You can expect to see 30-35 species of wildflowers in bloom, and Scott will discuss plant communities, common name derivation and medicinal/edibility properties of the plants. 

2) Big Butt Trail:
Join Lloyd Raleigh on a hike to explore the higher elevations up Stony Fork Road and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take the Big Butt trail in and out for a 3.2 mile round-trip to Point Misery with a 400 foot elevation change. If time allows, the group will check out a few smaller hikes in the Craggy area, with views of the entire Coleman Boundary area.  See many different natural communities such as heath balds, northern hardwood forest (rich subtype), seeps, spruce-fir forests, and more!

3) Ivy Knob: 
Join Edward Schwartzman on a hike up to Ivy Knob via the Forest Service Road and a backcountry trail to Big Ivy. This is a four- to five-mile hike with a 500′ elevation drop and climb to get out to Ivy Knob which offers scenic views and a glimpse of Southern Appalachian granite dome outcrop and rare species of plants. On the way to the trail-head you can see examples of recent logging as well as nice mature hardwood forests. 

4) Perkins Road Trail:
Join Dr. H. David Clarke on a hike along Perkins Road Trail. This is a three-mile hike with 1,000′ elevation climb that offers rich cove habitats, old growth forests and many rare plants. David will help you identify spring ephemerals, and discuss ecology, natural history, evolution and conservation along the trail. 

5) Staire Branch: 
Join MountainTrue’s very own Josh Kelly along the Staire Branch trail. This is a 2.5-mile hike with 1,000′ elevation climb. Within a beautiful rich cove with many different plants species, you will follow the creek near bottom and ascend to a ridge near the top. Along the way you will see cliffs and small rock caves, and at one point the rushing water can be heard in stereo as it bounces off a rock face.

IMG_2744All hiking groups will meet and end at the Big Ivy Community Center Picnic Shed. We will organize carpools out to the trail-heads from there. Be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks, and wear sturdy shoes and sunscreen. We have the picnic shed rented until 5 p.m., so feel free to hang out afterwards, share pictures, eat a packed meal, etc. We’d love the chance to enjoy our community’s company. 

Date: Saturday, April 25
Time: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Location: Big Ivy Community Center, 540 Dillingham Road (Barnardsville)
Carpool from Asheville: Meet at Earth Fare in the Westgate Shopping Center at 9:15 a.m.
Cost: Free
Registration Deadline: Friday, April 24 at NOON. All participants must register, as these hikes will fill up quickly. (Sorry — no dogs allowed, so please leave your furry kids at home!)

These hikes are FULL. Registration is CLOSED. Please check out our upcoming Wildflower Hike on MAY 9th

Commenting below will not sign you up for a slot on these hikes. Thanks!

MountainTrue, formerly the Environmental and Conservation Organization (ECO), will host a community Earth Day celebration in partnership with the Hendersonville Community Co-op from noon to 3 p.m. April 25 at the new Co-op store, located at  the intersection of S. Grove and Spartanburg Highway.

As part of the Co-op’s grand opening week, April 22 -25, Earth Day activities are planned for Saturday.

The theme, “Kick the Disposable Bag Habit!” will highlight the Co-op’s “Bring Your Own Bag” program to encourage the use of reusable grocery bags instead of disposable ones. The Co-op offers an incentive to those shoppers who bring their own bags to the store.

During the afternoon there will be a Bag Monster sighting, a make-a-pledge table to “Kick the Disposable Habit,” an art table where cloth bags can be personalized, and a seed planting table where kids can plant sunflower seed starter pots to take home.

The community can visit the MountainTrue table to learn more about the organization, and register to win a $100 gift basket provided by the Co-op. The Todd Hoke & Paul Songy Band will perform from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

“Each time a shopper brings their own bag for groceries, they are saving the Co-op an expense and helping to reduce, re-use and recycle,” said Gretchen Schott Cummins, the Co-op’s outreach coordinator, about theBring Your Own Bag” program.

“The Co-op hands the shopper a ‘chip’ which they then deposit into a box representing a non-profit organization of their choice. We pass that savings on in the form of a financial donation. Since its inception, this program has raised more than $25,000 for community non-profit organizations. One of the guiding principles of the cooperative is ‘Concern for Sustainable Communities.’ We are grateful for the services these charitable organizations provide for our community.”

We need volunteers!

Come and help set up the tent and table or help with kids activities. 

Date: Saturday April, 25

Time: 11:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m.

Location: 60 S. Charleston Lane, Hendersonville

Click HERE to volunteer!

Categories Events Calendar, Take Action
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WNCACandleNoKXLThe Creation Care Alliance of WNC is hosting a “Let There Be Light” Earth Day Vigil celebrating God’s creation and calling on people of faith to care for it.  

The public is invited to join us on from 5:30-6:30 p.m. April 19 at  the Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village, 9 Swan St., for an afternoon of song, reflection, and to hear messages of inspiration and action from local faith and community leaders.

A reception will follow. All are welcome.

The Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina is a program of MountainTrue and is focused on faith-inspired environmental advocacy.

CCAWNC is a network of people of faith and congregations who work to bring practical and hopeful solutions to their congregations and to broader secular communities by engaging hearts and minds through education, service and advocacy.

For more information, contact program director Scott Hardin-Nieri at scott@creationcarealliance.org.

garlic-mustard-courtesy-of-iowa-parks-foundationOn April 9 and 11, the MountainTrue Forest Keepers are collaborating with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to help them kick off the 2015 Garlic Mustard Challenge!

Garlic mustard is a nasty invasive species that has infested sections of the AT.

This year, we have three goals:

  1. Pull a pound of garlic mustard for each mile of trail;
  1. Beat the 2014 record of 2,189 pounds of garlic mustard collectively pulled along the AT; 
  1. And to enjoy fresh foraged samples of garlic mustard pesto!

We’ll meet for a carpool from the EarthFare in the Westgate Shopping Center at 9 a.m. on April 9 and 10. You may also meet the group at Garenflo Gap at 10 a.m. (April 9) and Lemon Gap at 10:30 a.m. (April 11).

Volunteers should wear sturdy hiking shoes, long pants, as bring rain gear, water and lunch.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US!

Snowy woods in Big Ivy/Photo by Steve Atkins

Snowy woods in Big Ivy/Photo by Steve Atkins

Save the date!

From noon-5 p.m. on April 25, MountainTrue and Friends of the Big Ivy will offer several guided hike options, each led by a naturalist, will traverse this beautiful, remote, mountain land composed of more than 30 miles of trails.

We’ll offer choices of four to five different hikes, all starting at noon.

Details on specific trails and hike leaders will be posted here soon.

Big Ivy has more than 3,000 acres of old growth forests and over 30 rare and endangered species worth protecting.

Save the date for the opportunity to explore our beautiful forests which are threatened by the current draft of the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Management Plan.

For more information, please contact Rachel at Rachel@mountaintrue.org.

Categories Events Calendar, Trips & Outings
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invasivesIn April, many invasive plants are beginning to bloom and people will more easily be able to identify and take steps to control invasive plants. In addition, many people will be choosing landscaping plants for their yards.

North Carolina Invasive Plant Council hosts Invasives Species Awareness Week in April with the aim of reaching a greater number of people and more effectively raise awareness of invasive plants and animals in our state during the time of year when people are spending more time outside.

Since 2002, MountainTrue has addressed the challenge of non-native invasive plants in the mountain counties of North Carolina. Introduced both accidentally and intentionally (for erosion control, livestock forage, and landscaping), these invasive species escaped from developed communities and have become naturalized in the wild. Without the predators and competitors these plants have evolved with, they are given the opportunity to flourish, usually at the expense of our native plant communities.

Many non-native invasive plants have faster growth rates and higher seed yields than native plants, and the competition for soil resources, light, and area is intense. Also, a number of these species are highly efficient in transporting their seeds and expanding their root systems.It’s important to identify and manage heavy invasions to protect the great biodiversity we enjoy in Western North Carolina.

The goal of Invasive Species Awareness Week is to educate the public about the problems caused by invasive plant species. To get involved and learn more you can:

— Choose native or non-invasive plants for your yard and garden.
— Learn more about invasive plants and how to identify them.
— Get involved by attending an educational workshop in your area.
— Attend a weed pulling workday.

A great online resource for the identification of non-native invasive plants in the southeast is provided by the U.S. Forest Service and can be found by clicking here.

Controlling, and ultimately eliminating, non-native invasive plants from a site is a multi-phase process of monitoring and management. All of these project sites will need to be revisited periodically to ensure that invasions do not become reestablished.

Every bit of help we get from volunteers makes a dent in the advancing wall of non-native invasive plants that threatens our native local diversity.

Click here to volunteer with MountainTrue today!

***

 NEW MATCHING GRANT OPPORTUNITY!

Thanks to some very generous patrons, we have been given a $10,000 matching grant for our esteemed Invasive Species Program. This means your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar for a limited time. This is an amazing opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR DONATION so please take a moment and help us achieve this goal by contributing today! Donate HERE!

Click HERE to download our new, wallet-sized Do Not Buy Guide to help stop the spread of invasive species at the source! This guide tells you which WNC invasive plants to avoid purchasing and the native alternatives you can use instead. Just print it out, fold it up and keep it with you when you go to your local nursery to get your fall and spring plantings!