News & Events: News

At their Annual Meeting Sunday, April 6 at Camp Tekoa, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) honored 17 volunteers for their contributions to the land trust in 2013. For their dedication and service donating at least 70 hours of volunteer service, CMLC recognized John Humphrey, Jim Neal, Genien Carlson, Diana Richards, Arnold “Skip” Sheldon, Amos Dawson, David Humphrey, Bill Imhof, Bob Lindsey, Lewis Blodgett, Fred Weed, Mark Tooley, Mark Robson, John Busse, Ann Hendrickson, and Patrick Horan, and Claire Dillman.

As a tribute to their 20thyear of land conservation, CMLC recognized their 10 volunteer Board Presidents with a perpetual plaque made by local artist, Amy Wald. Past and current Board Presidents include Jack Tate, Rep. Chuck McGrady, John Humphrey, Anne Valentine, Jim Neal, Bob Wald, Rick Merrill, Lynn Carnes Pitts, and Lee Mulligan. CMLC volunteers performed a number of essential duties imperative to CMLC including trail building and maintenance, conservation easement monitoring, invasive species removal, stream and habitat restoration, events capacity, office mailings, and, photography.

Altogether in 2013, volunteers donated nearly 5500 hours of time to CMLC—the most ever given to the land trust in a single year. Volunteers made it possible for CMLC to record its most successful year of land protection in its 20 year history—conserving more than 4,000 acres of land at 21 locations across western NC.For more information or to become involved with CMLC volunteer opportunities, visit carolinamountain.org/volunteer.

CMLC conserves land and water resources to benefit the quality of life of residents and visitors in Henderson, Transylvania, and surrounding counties. Since 1994, the land trust has protected more than 27,000 acres of natural lands in our mountains.

Top photo: Back L to R - Jim Neal, Bill Imhof, John Humphrey, Fred Weed, Amos Dawson, Front L to R - David Humphrey, Mark Tooley, Bob Lindsay, Mark Robson and Diana Richards

Bottom photo:L to R - Rick Merrill, Chuck McGrady, Lee Mulligan, Bob Wald, Jim Neal and John Humphrey


Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) announced Sandy and Missy Schenck, of Cedar Mountain, as winners of the organization’s prestigious 2014 Lela McBride Award. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to land conservation and stewardship in the region.

The Schencks founded Green River Preserve (GRP), a non-competitive co-ed summer camp for the “bright, curious, and creative” that focuses on connecting children and nature, in the Green River Valley in 1987. For more than a quarter century, GRP’s camp programming has nurtured young people by fostering skills like perseverance, curiosity, communication, optimism, and creativity, striving to establish the next generation of conservationists and environmental stewards.

Because of the Schencks’ deep conservation ethic and their belief that learning is enhanced by the natural world, they partnered with CMLC in 2006 to enter 2,600 acres of their Green River Preserve into a permanent conservation easement. The protected tract represents the land trust’s largest easement, making up nearly 10% of all CMLC’s protected land.

The conservation easement prevents future development to ensure the preservation of the land’s natural heritage. Such protection extends wildlife corridors, preserves cherished mountain scenery and habitat for rare species, and safeguards water quality—including the headwaters of the Green River itself. The easement also created a protected buffer bordering DuPont State Recreational Forest, forming a contiguous area of more than 13,000 acres of conserved natural lands.

The Schencks’ contributions to conservation have also extended beyond the natural treasures of GRP. Sandy formerly served on the board of trustees of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, including as its president in 2001, as well as Friends of DuPont Forest. The Schencks have served multiple other boards and committees involving environmental education and conservation, past and present.

After witnessing summer after summer the invigorating effects of the outdoors on young people at GRP, as well as the importance of passed-down stories that define a sense of place, community, and relationship to the land, the Schencks formed Muddy Sneakers: a non-profit that would work to merge active outdoor experiential learning with traditional studies in public schools in western North Carolina.

Today, Muddy Sneakers has grown to serve fifth-grade students in 18 schools across four WNC counties with the mission to awaken in children a deeply felt connection with the natural word, one that inspires curiosity, stimulates learning, and brings new life to classroom performance.

The award was given out at CMLC’s Annual Meeting at Camp Tekoa in Hendersonville on Sunday, April 6. Bestowed annually, the Schencks represent the 20threcipient of the Lela McBride Award. Former winners include Rep. Chuck McGrady, Congressman Charles Taylor, and NC Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler.

Lela McBride, the award’s namesake, was a community leader and conservationist that enabled the completion of Henderson County’s first Natural Heritage Inventory. She subsequently created the Henderson County Natural Heritage Trust, which grew to become CMLC. 

CMLC conserves land and water resources to benefit the quality of life of residents and visitors in Henderson, Transylvania, and surrounding counties. Since 1994, the land trust has protected more than 23,000 acres of natural lands in our mountains. Entering their 20thanniversary year, the land trust protected a record 4,000 acres at 21 locations across the region in 2013. For more information, visit www.carolinamountain.org.

 


In this issue:

  • The power of water in WNC

  • A thank you to new Fall and Winter landowners 

  • The value of a healthy stream

  • Landslides: a slippery slope for WNC landowners

  • The art of conserving land


AmeriCorps Project Conserve is now accepting applications for 32 service positions at 20 environmental non-profits across western North Carolina that focus on volunteer engagement, conservation education, disaster services, and improvement of rivers, trails, and public lands.  Application deadline is May 23, 2014.

AmeriCorps Project Conserve is a national service program in which members come from across the nation to dedicate themselves to serving western North Carolina for an 11 month service term.  Project Conserve serves western North Carolina by building stronger, more educated and involved communities that understand the threats to their local environment, are equipped with the tools and resources to take direct conservation action, and have significant opportunities to engage in conservation activities through volunteering. Through the efforts of these dedicated communities and the direct service of AmeriCorps Project Conserve members, we will increase understanding and support for conservation, protect and enhance water quality, and make sustainable improvements to at-risk ecosystems throughout western North Carolina.

Click here to read service position descriptions and apply to AmeriCorps Project Conserve!

  In addition to service at a host site, AmeriCorps Project Conserve members participate in monthly team service days or peer trainings which do require travel around western North Carolina. Most service days and trainings take place in the Asheville/Hendersonville area.


CMLC is helping to fund the study and plan development of a bicycle corridor along NC 280 in Mills River. The Town of Mills River along with the French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization and Alta Planning will host public drop-in meetings as part of a preliminary study to determine feasibility and need for a future Bike Path in Mills River.

Your comments are needed!

Representatives from Alta Planning will be on hand to provide information and gain comments from the public.  
Please choose a meeting and mark your calendar!

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - Mills River Town Hall     
Hours 4:00 - 7:00 PM
124 Town Center Drive, Mills River, NC    

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - Mills River Community Center
Hours 10:00 - 2:00 PM
120 Schoolhouse Road, Mills River, NC

Thursday, March 27, 2014 -  Mills River Town Hall
Hours  9:00 - 12:00 PM
124 Town Center Drive, Mills River, NC


Do you want to put your finance background to work for the good of the southern Appalachian mountains? We'd love to hear from you! Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is seeking applications for a full-time Finance Director. Visit our Finance Director position description linked below for position details and how to apply:

Finance Director

CMLC is a local non-profit working to create and actively care for a regional network of permanently protected farm, forest, parks, natural lands, and water resources in Henderson, Transylvania and parts of neighboring counties. Since 1994, the organization has permanently protected more nearly 27,000 acres among the Blue Ridge Mountains, French Broad River watershed, and Hickory Nut Gorge.


Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) has achieved prestigious accreditation renewal from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.

“Renewing our accreditation has exponentially strengthened CMLC,” said Kieran Roe, CMLC executive director. “Every action we take or decision we make as an organization is guided by these adopted standards. The accreditation process prompts us to continually ask the question “how can we do our work even better?”

CMLC is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014. Since 1994, the land trust has protected more than 27,000 acres of natural lands in Henderson, Transylvania, and surrounding counties. Last year alone, CMLC conserved more than 4,000 acres at 21 properties—each single year records for the land trust. Renewed accreditation is another benchmark of the organization’s recent success.

CMLC is one of only 254 land trusts from across the country that are now accredited. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.

“CMLC is one of the first land trusts to achieve renewed accreditation, a significant achievement for the land trust and significant major milestone for the accreditation program,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. “Accreditation renewal, which must be completed every five years, provides the public with an assurance that accredited land trusts continue to meet exceedingly high standards for quality.”

Each land trust that achieved renewed accreditation submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation renewal land trusts are part of an important evaluation and improvement process that verifies their operations continue to be effective, strategic and in accordance with strict requirements,” said Van Ryn. “Accredited organizations have engaged citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”

According to the Land Trust Alliance, conserving land helps ensure clean air and drinking water; safe, healthy food; scenic landscapes and views; recreational places; and habitat for the diversity of life on earth. Conserving land also increases property values near greenbelts, saves tax dollars by encouraging more efficient development, and reduces the need for expensive water filtration facilities. Strong, well-managed land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and caretakers of their critical land resources, and safeguard the land through the generations.

CMLC was the first land trust in North Carolina to earn accreditation when the program initiated in 2008, and is the first to be 

About the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy partners with landowners and organizations to protect land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life. Dedicated to saving the places you love, CMLC works to permanently conserve and actively care for an ever-growing regional network of significant farm, forest, park and natural lands. Since 1994, CMLC has conserved more than 27,000 acres in Henderson, Transylvania, and surrounding counties in western North Carolina.

About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing land trust organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and that strive for continuous improvement. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website, www.landtrustaccreditation.org.

About The Land Trust Alliance

The Land Trust Alliance, of which CMLC is a member, is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation throughout America. It works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land trusts in best practices and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats. The Alliance publishes Land Trust Standards and Practices and provides financial and administrative support to the Commission. It has established an endowment to help ensure the success of the accreditation program and keep it affordable for land trusts of all sizes to participate in accreditation. More information can be found at www.landtrustalliance.org.


Photo by BrevardNC.com/Bruce Siulinski

CMLC and partners are hosting a 2½ day workshop March 5-7th at Brevard College to provide community leaders with an opportunity to explore one of the most significant issues facing our community–balancing community and economic development while preserving the natural, cultural, and historical assets that make Transylvania County distinctive.

Through case studies, presentations, exercises, and work sessions, a work plan will be developed for community discussion and implementation. The workshop fee is $30 and includes all lunches. Workshop attendance is offered to Transylvania County leaders via invitation.

Click here for more information about the workshop.

This workshop is offered in partnership with Carolina Mountain Land ConservancyThe Conservation FundBrevard CollegeCity of BrevardTown of RosmanTransylvania County, and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and is made possible through funding by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

 


Join CMLC and community partners at the Transylvania County Library in Brevard on March 4th for a special presentation by Ed McMahon, a leading national expert on creating and sustaining livable and prosperous communities. Mr. McMahon is a noted author, attorney, and lecturer with expertise in economic development, tourism promotions, and historic preservation and has worked with communities across the country.

Attendees will learn about the economic, social and environmental benefits of protecting community character, and the value of open space and historic resources. Learn about major tools that can be used to protect community character, including education, voluntary initiatives and other non-regulatory action, as well as alternatives to conventional residential and commercial development. The session will address the challenges in preserving community character and ways to generate public support and the political will to use available tools.

 

Click here to download the Dollars & Sense of Protecting Community Character event flier/PDF.

Networking Social: 6:00-7:00pm

Opportunity to meet and greet local government representatives, local and regional organizations, and community members.

The Dollars and Sense of Protecting Community Character: 7:00-9:00pm

Ed McMahon, Urban Land Institute

This event will kick-off a two and a half-day workshop of Balancing Nature and Commerce in Transylvania CountyThis workshop will enable community leaders to explore the balance between community and economic development with preservation of the natural beauty and heritage that residents and visitors love.

This event is offered in partnership with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Brevard CollegeCity of Brevard, Town of Rosman, Transylvania County, and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and is made possible through funding by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

For more information contact: Maryann Mickewicz at (828) 884-3109.

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy partners with landowners and organizations to protect land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life. Dedicated to saving the places you love, CMLC works to permanently conserve and actively care for an ever-growing regional network of significant farm, forest, park and natural lands. Since 1994, CMLC has conserved more than 27,000 acres in Henderson, Transylvania, and surrounding counties in western North Carolina.

 


RALEIGH, NC--The rate of farmland loss in North Carolina slowed over a five-year period even as the number of farms continued to fall, a review of the federal Census of Agriculture shows.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts an agricultural census every five years and released preliminary results of the 2012 survey today.

North Carolina had 2,700 fewer farms in 2012 than it did in 2007. The state’s 50,210 farms occupy 8.41 million acres of land. In 2007, there were 52,913 farms on 8.47 million acres.

The 62,560-acre drop is significantly less than the amount the state lost over the previous five years. From 2002 to 2007, the decrease was 600,000 acres.

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said a few factors may have slowed the loss of farmland. “The recession reduced the demand for land for residential and commercial development,” he said. “But starting in 2005, the state also established the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to help counties and conservation groups protect working farms and forests, and this program has been beneficial.

“Even so, the loss of 2,700 farms is troubling at a time when worldwide demand for food continues to grow. We also know that North Carolina is gaining about 100,000 people a year, which will only increase the pressure on farmland. We clearly have to step up our conservation efforts. It’s a priority I will work on with the General Assembly this year.”

Other census findings:

The average size of a North Carolina farm is 168 acres, eight more than in 2007.

The average age of N.C. farmers jumped 3 percent to 58.9. Nationally, the average age is 58.3.

Between 2007 and 2012, the market value of N.C. agricultural products sold increased 22 percent to $12.6 billion. The per-farm average value of sales grew by 28 percent to $250,089.

Seventy-eight percent of N.C. farms have been in operation 10 years or more.

The USDA will release additional census data in the spring.


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