PARKWAY PRESERVATION: A total of 5,329 acres in the area of Waterrock Knob will be conserved, the largest addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway in 60 years.  Photo courtesy of the Blue Ridge Parkway/National Park Service

Waterrock Knob expansion brings together stakeholde­rs, public

The highest peak in the Plott Balsam Mountains, Waterrock Knob encompasses a unique ecosystem. The Blue Ridge Parkway will now conserve 5,329 acres of this irreplaceable landscape thanks to recent land and financial gifts by a network of conservation groups and private donors. The public is invited to weigh in on plans for the area through Feb. 25.

MUDDY WATER: An official meets with a hog farmer to review his animal waste management system. Photo courtesy of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Local agencies wrestle with livestock impacts on water quality

Advocates for clean water in North Carolina often focus on the eastern part of the state, which hosts one of the world’s highest concentration of hogs. But French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson emphasizes that Western North Carolina and its smaller farms are not immune from the water quality issues related to animal agriculture.

NOT POCKET CHANGE: Real estate agents and architects are increasingly integrating an awareness of the effects of climate change on the local real estate market into their practices. These professionals can be crucial sources of information for clients considering major investments in real estate. Photo by Thinkstock

Local real estate agents, architects build awareness of climate change implicatio­ns

Area Realtors and architects are paying close attention to the effects of climate change on the built environment — and gaining new skills to help clients consider climate-related issues as they make real estate decisions. The Asheville chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a conference, titled “Where Building Science Meets Climate Science,” at The Collider on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 2-3.

TO LEARN FROM THE PAST: Darin Waters, UNC Asheville assistant professor of history, opens the 2016 African-Americans in WNC and  Southern Appalachia Conference at the YMI Cultural Center. This year's event starts on Oct. 19. Photo courtesy of UNC Asheville

Conference ties African-American past with future

The African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference returns to Asheville for its fourth year Thursday, Oct. 19, through Saturday, Oct. 21. Originally organized to highlight research on the historical African-American presence in the region, the conference is broadening its scope this year with the theme, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”