MountainTrue Launches BioBlitz to Crown Champion of Biodiversity in WNC

MountainTrue Launches BioBlitz to Crown Champion of Biodiversity in WNC

MountainTrue Launches BioBlitz to Crown Champion of Biodiversity in WNC

Jackson, Transylvania and Watauga counties, NC – MountainTrue is hosting its annual 2021 BioBlitz as a regional competition to crown the 2021 champion of biodiversity. The competition will take place virtually across three counties from June 5 through June 19, and is a great opportunity for experts and aspiring naturalists to get outside and add to the scientific record by documenting the vast biodiversity of our region.

What: MountainTrue 2021 BioBlitz
Where: Jackson, Transylvania and Watauga counties, NC through the iNaturalist App.
When: June 5-20

Sign up & Learn More

The competition kicks off on June 5 on the iNaturalist web and smartphone platform. Scores will be tallied for each county and for individual participants, with prizes and bragging rights for our winners. Prizes will be awarded to individual winners in the following categories: overall best observation, most total observations, most species, most birds, most arthropods (including insects!) and most fungi. We will recognize the County Champion of Biodiversity as the county that receives the most observations of unique species. Additional recognition will go to the county with the most participants and the most observations submitted.

“The MountainTrue 2021 Bioblitz is a great opportunity for people to connect with and learn about the natural world around them,” explains MountainTrue Public Lands Biologist Josh Kelly. “This year, by expanding the blitz to three counties and making a game of it, we hope to be able to engage more people and find more species. . We might even find some that have never been recorded in our region.”

MountainTrue first took its Bioblitz to iNaturalist in 2020 as a safer alternative during COVID-19. Last year, 97 observers documented over 1,100 unique species. This year, by expanding the blitz from one county to three, MountainTrue hopes to record even more species and make a greater contribution to the scientific record for our region. Tell your friends, neighbors, family, and fellow naturalists and citizen scientists, and get prepared for a BioBlitz like no other!

IMAGE DOWNLOAD: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1pT3KrHIgpQK0qlcoSI3DxlxpjsyTMHRd?usp=sharing 

Media Contact: 
Karim Olaechea, MountainTrue Communications Director 
C: 415-535-9004, E: karim@mountaintrue.org

Sign Up for our Richmond Hill Invasives Removal Work Day March 10!

Sign Up for our Richmond Hill Invasives Removal Work Day March 10!

Sign Up for our Richmond Hill Invasives Removal Work Day March 10!

Action Expired

 

MountainTrue has worked for the past six years to restore Asheville’s only forested park, Richmond Hill. A favorite of dog walkers, mountain bikers and disc golf fans, the park has unfortunately become overrun with non-native invasive plants like multiflora rose, which has very sharp thorns that can harm our canine companions. The invasives crowd out native species and prevent them from growing, reduce valuable habitat, and diminish the natural beauty of the woods.

We have seen incredible improvements at Richmond Hill since holding invasive species removal days, with a 95% reduction of invasive species in some areasWe hope you’ll join us for our next restoration workday on March 10th, and we will subsequently host work days at Richmond Hill on the second Saturday of every month for the rest of the year.

 

Where: Richmond Hill Park, 280 Richmond Hill Drive, Asheville, NC 28806

When: Saturday, March 10 2018 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Other Info: Be sure to wear long sleeves and pants as well as closed-toed shoes to this event. Bring a snack and water. We will provide all other equipment necessary! We ask that you leave your pets at home for this work day.

Flying Through the Trees with Navitat

Flying Through the Trees with Navitat

Flying Through the Trees with Navitat

On Friday, May 26, the MountainTrue staff closed the office a little early to embark on an adventure in the trees at Navitat Canopy Adventures. As the guides led the group of MountainTrue staff through the incredible course and sent them (safely) flying from mountain top to mountain top, they also provided the staff with a thorough overview of the local ecology and conservation strategies, which we were thrilled to hear promoted by a like minded company!

MountainTrue loves partnering with local businesses and organizations who are also committed to protecting the beautiful lands of Western North Carolina. MountainTrue’s Public Lands Ecologist Bob Gale presented to the Navitat staff on non-native invasive plants, and the importance of treating them responsibly to encourage and maintain growth of North Carolina’s important native plants. Through this partnership, we were able to enhance Navitat’s already extensive knowledge base on the effects of non-native invasive plants, while Navitat gave MountainTrue staff an unforgettable experience and new perspective of the ecology of the region.  Businesses like Navitat are doing a fantastic job of educating both locals and visitors to Western North Carolina, while giving them an adventurous experience in the trees of Western North Carolina.

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

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.

Field Trip: Ecology of Southern Appalachia

Field Trip: Ecology of Southern Appalachia

Field Trip: Ecology of Southern Appalachia

On October 7th, our Public Lands Director Bob Gale led a group of about 15 Osher Lifelong Learning students on a field trip exploring the forest community types in the Southern Appalachia. As Bob pointed out different examples of trees and brush species found along the Blue Ridge Parkway, students learned the types of trees and other species that make up specific forest communities, including Acidic Cove communities, Montane Oak-Hickory communities and more!

Each fall, MountainTrue presents a course at the University of North Carolina Asheville Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). OLLI exists to promote lifelong learning for seniors, as well as leadership, community service, and research. Participants in OLLI can take courses in a wide array of topics, including music, language, community topics, yoga, history and science.

MountainTrue’s course is titled the Ecology of the Southern Appalachia, and it incorporates expertise from MountainTrue staff and well-qualified partners. The course explores the uniqueness of the southern Appalachians Mountains, the oldest and most bio-diverse mountains in the world.  Each week, an instructor presents a new topic including geology, hydrology, energy use, biology, and human ecology our region. In addition to the classroom presentations, students are invited to attend two field trips that highlight further a topic discussed in class. This year, with over 50 students enrolled, MountainTrue has enjoyed the lively discussion and immense participation of the students!

Some highlights from the field trips so far include the expert species identification by Bob Gale, examples of improper sediment runoff from construction sites taught by French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson, and a thorough overview of the geology in the region by MountainTrue member Steve Yurkovich.