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Position Title:
Southeast Regional Director
 
Reports To:
Executive Director
 
Position Summary:
This Polk County-based position ensures a coordinated fundraising strategy with the Hendersonville office and leads community engagement efforts in the southeast service region.
 
JOB DESCRIPTION
In close coordination with the Executive Director and other staff:

• Advance the mission of the conservancy in its southeast region

• Initiate and deepen relationships with various community stakeholders, including donors, volunteers, and partnering organizations

• Serve as conservancy liaison with community leaders, local media, elected officials, and agency staff

• Build financial support from Polk and neighboring counties through individual and business memberships, major gifts and planned gifts

• Identify and pursue grant opportunities including research, proposal writing, administration and reporting

• Refine conservation priorities in the region and assist in acquisition of new land and conservation easements

• Build on the strong foundation of existing southeast region volunteer programs and further grow the base of volunteer support

• Develop and coordinate the conservancy’s southeast region advisory council

• Advance the conservancy’s community engagement goals by reaching out to diverse constituencies and finding opportunities to change lives through conservation

• Supervise Tryon office administration staff and volunteers

• Other duties as needed

 
Essential Job Requirements:
EDUCATION
Undergraduate degree
 
EXPERIENCE
Proven success with building non-profit community support; successful grant-writing experience; familiarity with Polk and adjoining parts of Greenville and Spartanburg counties; familiarity with land conservation desirable.
 
REQUIRED SKILLS
Strong interpersonal, organizational, and time-management skills reflected in an ability to work effectively with professional colleagues, supporters, and stakeholders in a team-oriented environment; a high degree of detail orientation, commitment to accuracy, and the ability to manage multiple projects at once; highly proficient with Microsoft Office and ability to learn and use various software; ability to work independently with minimal management oversight; a commitment to professional growth and responsibilities, unquestioned integrity and fiscal accountability, ability to plan and achieve long and short-term goals; exceptional written and oral communication skills.
 
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
Ability to work at a computer, sit for extended periods of time, operate office equipment, attend meetings outside of the office.
 
LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMER
This job description does not represent an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible job responsibilities, tasks and duties. Responsibilities, tasks, and duties may differ from the job description, as assigned.
 
WORK HOURS/COMPENSATION
Full-time position-40 hours per week. Competitive pay commensurate with experience; health benefits; retirement benefits; supportive and engaging work environment with opportunities for professional development.
 
TO APPLY:
Send resume, cover letter, and references by email to:
Human Resources
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
847 Case Street
Hendersonville, NC 28792
 
Open until filled.
 
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is and Equal Opportunity Employer.
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) prohibits any discrimination in carrying out its mission on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or marital status. This includes all programs, projects, events and any other related activity sponsored by CMLC.
 
CMLC recognizes and honors diverse cultures and traditions. CMLC proactively seeks individuals for all aspects of its work from varied backgrounds for the greater enrichment of the organization. It is the goal of CMLC to have a membership, staff, volunteer base, and board that reflects the diversity of ethnic and demographic groups of our service area, and for CMLC programs to encourage involvement of groups that are underrepresented in CMLC.

You protect our mountains and rivers, now it's time to protect AmeriCorps Project Conserve!

Protect AmeriCorps Project Conserve

 

The Corporation for National & Community Service--the federal agency that supports the AmeriCorps service program--is at risk! It is one of 18 agencies that are recommended for elimination in the White House's budget proposal recently sent to Congress. The Corporation for National & Community Service makes up less than 0.025% of the federal budget.

CMLC started AmeriCorps Project Conserve in 2004 in response to growing conservation needs in WNC. 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.

Young adults like Trudie Henninger depend on AmeriCorps to gain valuable experience out of college. The program sets them up for success moving forward with the skills they need to land a job pursuing their goals and dreams in the environmental field and beyond.

"My experiences with Project Conserve helped me gain a deeper understanding of the communities, wildlife and beauty of WNC. I was lucky enough to be able to continue as an Environmental Education Specialist at my host site after my AmeriCorps service. Today, I am still playing outside with children, catching crawdads, measuring salamanders, counting birds and weighing turtles. Project Conserve gave me the opportunity and experience necessary to land my dream job, working outdoors providing students with meaningful, hands-on activities that will aid scientific research, connect them with nature, and help promote the conservation of WNC plants and animals."  

-Trudie Henninger

2012-2013 AmeriCorps Project Conserve Citizen Science Education Specialist at The NC Arboretum

These members are absolutely vital to environmental organizations like CMLC and The NC Arboretum, providing on-the-ground support to nonprofits that simply do not have sufficient funds to hire several additional full-time staff.

It is an invaluable partnership which cannot be broken. We support each other. We grow together. Please take a moment to call your Congress members and let them know about the difference AmeriCorps is making in your 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.

Click here to find your Representative.


A panel of environmental experts will present information about non-native invasive plants and native landscaping in Hickory Nut Gorge at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22nd in the Community Hall at the Lake Lure Municipal Building. Experts include David Lee with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Marshall Ellis with North Carolina State Parks, and Bob Gale with MountainTrue.

The Party Rock Fire burned more than 7,000 acres in the Hickory Nut Gorge in November of 2016. While there were no fatalities and no structures were lost during the fire, there are other ways that the fire will affect the local community. The local economy relies heavily on tourism; the Hickory Nut Gorge’s natural beauty and unique plant and animal species are a major draw for visitors.

The disturbance caused by the Party Rock Fire could create the ideal conditions for non-native invasive plants to thrive, which can lower biodiversity and affect the beauty of the gorge. Most people have seen the fields of kudzu on the sides of the gorge, princess trees shading out the shrub layer of the forest, or oriental bittersweet strangling trees along the roadside; these species might create more problems as a result of the fire, but there are things the community can do to help!

The panel will present and discuss information about how non-native invasive plants will respond to the wildfire, why native landscaping is vital in preventing wildfires, and what the community and landowners can do. The panel will be hosted and moderated by the Weed Action Coalition of the Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG) and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. It is free and open to the public.

The Weed Action Coalition of the Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG), based at Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, is composed of area partners whose mission is to protect the natural environment of the Hickory Nut Gorge by managing the exotic invasive plants on public and private land. WAC-HNG can be a major force in helping to mitigate the possible long-term effects of the Party Rock Fire; support from landowners in the gorge and volunteers from the local community will be critical for WAC-HNG in the months and years ahead.

 

 


Date: Tuesday, March 21st            Time: 5:30 - 7:00pm

Location: Brevard College, Brevard NC: McLarty-Goodson 125

This month’s Lady Slipper Speaker Series features Dave Michelson and William Clark of the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) at the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA). Together they will be presenting on how digital tools can help environmentalists plan for the future. The talk will discuss how NEMAC’s mission has evolved toward taking action in local communities and what tools NEMAC uses to accomplish this mission.

Dave has been working in the Geospatial industry for 20+ years across many disciplines.   Currently, he serves as an Applied Research Software Designer at UNC Asheville’s NEMAC where he works to architect software that accomplishes the goals of NEMAC’s partners.

He is also a big proponent of using open source software. The ethos matches his core beliefs of openness, transparency, and freedom. In his free time, Dave enjoys all of the incredible outdoor activities that surround WNC with his wife, two kids, and a very large happy wiggling golden retriever.

William is a senior Atmospheric Science Major at UNCA and a Web Developer Intern at NEMAC. After graduating he plans to research the economic impacts that weather and climate can have on the global economy, specifically, in the context of the insurance and utility sectors. In his free time, he enjoys writing codes, watching movies and being outside.

The two speakers will highlight how NEMAC has partnered with our local community on climate resilience and sustainability issues for over 10 years. Their talk will focus on their work creating the Climate Resilience Toolkit and how this toolkit is being used to develop a Climate Resilience Plan for the city of Asheville.  

Where do we need to be moving forward? Join us for this talk to find out! 


My time at CMLC AmeriCorps Project Conserve with Asheville GreenWorks has been spent in waterways more than in offices. The more that I frequent the waters of western North Carolina, the more I recognize the need to be increasingly mindful of the anthropogenic impact on organisms, and the functions of the French Broad River Watershed. 

Though the water quality throughout most of the basin is good, agriculture and urbanization are impairing the middle and lower parts of the basin. These happen to be the areas where I work the most. The habitat necessary for the survival of the many species in the French Broad is sensitive, and slowly succumbing to the pressures of poorly managed development, pollution and urbanization. I am grateful for the flexibility of my position at Asheville GreenWorks, because it lets me pursue methods to alleviate some of these pressures on the waters of western North Carolina that I know and love.  

When I began my position at Asheville GreenWorks, I became responsible for the maintenance of our four trash booms, which are construction booms installed in four tributaries of the French Broad that collect litter without compromising the movement of aquatic organisms. Since my time at GreenWorks, and with the help of volunteers, we have retrieved 459 pounds of trash from these booms in just a few months. Seeing how effective these booms have been at reducing the amount of litter that flows into the French Broad River, efforts have been made to create a litter trap of a larger scale to prevent greater amounts of trash from being moved into the river.

This year, I am assisting with the installation of this new “Trash Trout” litter trap system. I am also working to restore eroding riverbanks along Hominy Creek. With the reduction of waste and sedimentation, I am gathering water quality data of Hominy Creek to determine how healthier the water is.

I am grateful for the opportunities that have opened up for me through CMLC AmeriCorps Project Conserve, and I am eager to see what I can do with the rest of my time to improve this lovely community that I call home!

Lillian Lovingood

CMLC AmeriCorps Project Conserve

Clean Communities Coordinator at Asheville GreenWorks

 


river restoration“I would like to make that my home one day,” Woody Platt would say, whenever he passed by the white, 1930s farmhouse nestled between rolling hills with the East Fork of the French Broad River winding behind it. Platt, an avid life-long angler, admired the land’s access to trout-filled waters. It’s a pastoral property that brings a quiet sense of peace to balance Platt’s busy career as a member of the Grammy award-winning bluegrass band, Steep Canyon Rangers. 

Platt made that dream a reality when he and his wife and fellow musician, Shannon Whitworth, purchased the property in 2010. “This whole East Fork Valley has a very rural feel, a lot of open farmland and a lot of water,” shares Platt. “I was just really drawn to the river and to have this old farmhouse on some open pastureland—it’s pretty wonderful.”

But, like most good things, land is a work in progress. Platt and Whitworth knew that their beloved river was struggling to stay healthy.

During times of heavy rainfall, large chunks of riverbank slid into the water and heavy sediment built up, choking the rare plants and wildlife that live in the river.

“I’ve seen 10-20 feet erode into the stream in several locations. Any time we would get a lot of rain, the water would immediately be muddy in color and you would see large clumps of sand just falling off the bank,” says Platt.

Platt and Whitworth, along with their neighbors across the river, Carl and Lois Ganner, knew something needed to be done to save the integrity of the riverbanks and the quality of the water. The Ganners operate Z-Z-Zip Canopy Tours, a zip-line adventure business, on their property. Making sure their land is healthy is important in protecting those aerial views when clients are soaring overhead.   

This area along the East Fork lacked natural vegetation that helps hold soil in place along the floodplain and the riverbanks. Historic ranching operations removed the native plants and trees, replacing them with non-native grasses for livestock that have shallow roots and are unable to hold soil well during higher river flows.

“Once a bank becomes unstable, it can undercut and destabilize trees upstream, which may fall in the river and cause debris dams,” says Anita Goetz, a biologist at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who worked on the project. “The river may cut around these and into a farmer’s field. It’s a domino effect. Lesson number one I give landowners is leave your trees alone along riverbanks and provide as much forested buffer as possible in adjacent floodplains.”

hellbender salamander

All rivers are in a constant state of flux, shares Torry Nergart, Conservation Easement Manager at Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. “Unfortunately, they also do not follow deeded private property rights. The river was oxbowing and would have eventually formed a new channel. This erosion would have created a loss of acreage for Platt, Whitworth and the Ganners, as well as impact all wildlife. Both landowners are conservation-minded, and did not want to just sit by and let the river keep on taking away sediment.”

Platt, Whitworth and the Ganners jumped into action, rounding up the necessary parties to make restoration possible. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy was a key fundraising player, securing lead grants that private landowners cannot access on their own from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Before restoration work began, Anita and her team relocated aquatic species from the water for protection, including seven Hellbenders, one freshwater leech and several trout. The Hellbenders were a significant and surprising discovery, as they are a candidate for listing as Federally Endangered and weren’t previously documented in that section of the river. “As Anita says, we want to do all we can to keep them off the list,” says Nergart.

The high riverbanks were excavated to reduce the bank height from 10 feet to about 2.5 feet. Willows and alders were planted. The most severe meander was re-aligned to have a gentler curve. Root wads (dead tree trunks with their roots still intact) and tree limbs were buried along the toes of the banks.

“These logs and root structures add excellent habitat features and help to maintain proper pool depths,” says Grant Ginn with Wolf Creek Engineering, who designed and oversaw construction of the restoration project. “Additionally, the reshaping of the river bed profile provided the opportunity to reconstruct the riffles out of the native gravel and cobble that had been buried below years of silt and sand deposition.”

East Fork Restoration

The East Fork, along with the North, West and Middle Forks, contain the headwaters of the French Broad. As the river flows, it is a source of agriculture irrigation and outdoor recreation, two major drivers of our local economy.  

“People used to say the French Broad was ‘too thick to swim, too thin to plow’ for all the pollution and sedimentation,” says Nergart. “Nowadays, with some management, water quality has improved. The East Fork watershed is more than 60% protected by the newly forming Headwaters State Forest, sending clean mountain water downstream.  That level of clean water means the threatened Hellbender salamander can call the East Fork home. Trout also require that same degree of oxygen-rich, sediment-free cold water.”

After the two-month restoration work was completed this past fall, the river has made a significant rebound.

“We’re watching it every day,” says Platt. “The water is running clear; you can really see the cobble and ripples again. The water now has some place to go; it’s not hitting a wall. In high water it naturally swells up and flows back down. You can see the health of the stream coming back.”

Platt, Whitworth and the Ganners are currently working with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy to permanently conserve the re-vegetated streambanks at the restoration site. Placing a voluntary conservation easement on the land ensures the important restoration work cannot be undone. The trees that were replanted along the stream to help stabilize the banks cannot be cut down nor can the riverbank be reshaped at the whims of a future landowner.

Tour of Restoration Work

“If you’re going to work to stabilize a piece of property like this and try to restore it for the natural health, it makes a lot of sense to put a perpetual easement on it so the long-term health of the property is protected,” says Platt.

The project featured a lot of moving parts made successful by several partners including the Transylvania County Soil and Water Conservation District, Conservation Advisors of North Carolina, North State Environmental, Resource Institute, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Clean Water Management Trust Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NC Department of Justice Ecosystem Enhancement Grants Program,Wolf Creek Engineering and NC Division of Water Resources.

“Everyone worked together really well,” says Platt. “I’m looking forward to working with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy moving forward to maintain the conservation easement, making sure that everything stays healthy.”

With cleaner water and happier trout, bets are Platt will be reaching for that fishing pole more often.


Fire on the Mountain: A discussion of the history and role of fire in the southern Appalachian forests

Dr. Peter Bates

Date: Tuesday FEB. 21st   Time: 5:30 - 7:00pm

Location:Brevard College, Brevard NC: McLarty-Goodson 125

The February 21st installment of the Lady Slipper Speaker Series will feature Dr. Peter Bates, Associate Professor with the Geosciences and Natural Resources department at Western Carolina University. Dr. Bates is also the founder and president of Forest Stewards. He will be presenting his lecture, “Fire on the Mountain: A discussion of the history and role of fire in southern Appalachian forests” at Brevard College from 5:30 - 7:00 pm. This talk will cover the history of fire in southern Appalachian forests, the use of fire suppression tactics and how they have shaped our forests, and how these changes in forest structure contributed to the fires of 2016. Dr. Bates will also discuss how fire can be used for good; as a tool to conserve and restore our cherished landscapes.

The Lady Slipper Speaker Series is brought to you by Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC), in partnership with Brevard College. The speaker series features various regional experts and takes place every 3rd Tuesday of the month, during the spring academic semester. If you are interested in learning more about the environmental topics that are being studied in Western North Carolina, this event is for you! Admission is FREE! 

 


What do you love about our lands and waters?

Show us how much saving these special places means to you! Post a photo or tell us what your favorite CMLC-conserved land is on our Facebook page or use #carolinamtnlandconservancy in your Instagram post. You’ll be entered for a chance to win a REI Flash 18 lightweight daypack to make your dates with nature even more enjoyable! Get busy sharing!

The winner will be announced February 21st.


Little White Oak Mountain: A Collaborative Conservation Venture

The scenic ridgeline and south facing slopes of Little White Oak Mountain, slated as the site for an 687-unit residential development north of the Town of Columbus known as the Foster Creek Preserve in the mid-2000s, will now be permanently protected thanks to the cooperative action of local organizations. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC), working closely with the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), purchased the 1,068-acre property in December 2016 to conserve its dramatic views, rare species, wildlife habitats, and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

A major gift from Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury, NC and a $1.86 million loan from the Conservation Trust for North Carolina enabled Hendersonville-based CMLC to close on the purchase with the sellers, American Land Fund of Philadelphia. The conservation organizations are now pursuing a strategy to fundraise and convey sections of the property to collaborating agencies in order to be made whole on the purchase.

Over coming years CMLC and PAC hope to transfer portions of the property to the capable management of state and local partner organizations including the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the Polk County Recreation Department, and the Housing Assistance Corporation, a nonprofit Hendersonville-based developer of affordable housing.

The Tryon-based Pacolet Area Conservancy has targeted the tract as a conservation priority for over a decade and at one point worked with the previous owner on a plan to protect the high-elevation part of the property with a conservation easement. Although the easement never came to fruition, PAC maintained periodic contact with the owners and, working with CMLC, approached the American Land Fund (ALF) once again in 2015. The dialogue initiated then led ultimately to the offer by ALF to sell for a price below market value if the transaction could be completed by the end of 2016.

“PAC is excited to be working with CMLC to create an outcome on the Little White Oak tract that conserves its outstanding natural features while also addressing other community needs,” said PAC President Rebecca Kemp. 

The Polk County Recreation Complex could expand by 300 acres to provide local residents and visitors with greater recreational opportunities. The recreation complex currently provides access to recreational sports fields and walking paths, and the expansion would facilitate more extensive hiking and mountain biking trails.

Thirty to sixty acres adjoining Highway 108 could be developed as a residential workforce housing development intended to help younger families and middle-income workers, such as police officers and teachers, get a start with home ownership. The homeowners help build the homes themselves, which keeps the cost of the homes more affordable. Each home is anticipated to have a value between $180,000-$200,000, which will result in increased property tax revenue for the Town and County.

Plans call for the majority of the tract – up to 600 acres -- to be added to the adjoining Green River Game Lands. The 14,000-acre game land located in and around the Green River Gorge in southeast Henderson and western Polk counties is managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and is primarily used by anglers, hunters and hikers. Though the game land has expanded many times since its creation in 1950, this addition will be the first since 2008 and will provide a point of public access from Houston Road.

The conservation partners hope to initiate a master planning process involving public input to determine how the long-term uses of the property can best benefit the community. For instance, Polk County Middle School adjoins the County Recreation Complex and the Little White Oak property. Planners will look for opportunities to create trails that might link the school to conserved land, and provide teachers and students with educational and recreational access.

According to CMLC executive director Kieran Roe, “Due to the substantial change in the local real estate market that occurred after the 2008-09 recession, the extensive residential development once envisioned for the site will never come to pass. CMLC looks forward to working with PAC and numerous other collaborators on a different, and perhaps better, long-term outcome there for the community.”

These projects provide vital protection of natural areas, federally-endangered species, clean water, and stunning mountain views in Polk County. The projects also expand recreational access to the outdoors, making the work of CMLC and PAC relevant to the wider public. The expanded recreational opportunities may draw more tourists to the area, strengthening the local economy.

When the plans to develop Foster Creek Preserve were originally proposed in 2006, community members made it clear they cared deeply about the property. CMLC and PAC are excited to be part of this important project. 


FREE SEED SWAP

Sponsored by Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy

Every year around this time, anticipation of spring begins with the laying out of garden beds, checking the planting calendar, eyeing the Farmer’s Almanac… and the appearance of seed catalogs to browse and daydream of warmer times.

With all this excitement, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) introduces our 2017 Seed Swap—a free sharing of seeds our staff, members, and volunteers have collected over the season. Yup, free! There’s no cost to you, no dollars, and no cents. We’ve set up a sharing station in the reception area of our office at 847 Case Street Hendersonville, NC 28792. There’s a bowl with seed packets you are welcome to give or to take, it’s that easy.

Take some seeds, grow the plants, make notes on their performance if you like, collect the seeds from the new plants, bring them back to our sharing station, get more seeds, and repeat! We have a few “make your own” seed packets, too.

For more information about CMLC’s 2017 Seed Swap, please contact Torry, Conservation Easement Manager, at torry@carolinamountain.org or (828) 697-5777.


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