The new outdoor classroom and garden area, the result of a three-year, $2 million project, features three distinct ponds, a boardwalk, a 20-person teaching shelter and interpretive signage, complete with a frog kiosk that plays different amphibian vocalizations.
The first such effort of its kind in North Carolina, the atlas will break the state into 937 sections of 10 square miles — covering roughly a fifth of its total land area — and ask birders to record all the varieties they see using the online platform eBird.
Increasing heat and stronger storms threaten trout populations dependent on clean, cold, oxygen-rich water. A decline in trout production could hurt farmers and recreational fishermen.
“Many items that are now standard construction practices have been removed from our checklist, while we have added opportunities to gain points for new technologies,” explained Maggie Leslie, the nonprofit’s program director.
An online public hearing to review the draft permit, originally scheduled for Jan. 20, was pushed back to mid-April. For environmentalists, the move may be a blessing in disguise.
The Asheville-based nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s work included both valuable wildlife habitats, such as the Wiles Creek and Little Rock Creek preserves, and prime farmland at risk of development. Sandy Hollar Farms in Buncombe County and Bowditch Bottoms in Yancey County were among the agricultural projects completed in 2020.
For many environmental organizations across Western North Carolina, COVID-19 fell like a lightning-struck tree across the path to progress. But like an intrepid hiker, WNC’s activists and organizers have bushwhacked new trails for action in the world of the pandemic.
On Nov. 18, nonprofit Conserving Carolina announced that it had entered a contract to buy an unused 19-mile rail corridor between Brevard and Hendersonville for conversion into a greenway. Backers hope the Ecusta Trail will become a regional draw for running and biking enthusiasts.
Hikers and photographers from across the state have formed Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina to care for and protect the natural wonder of waterfalls.
“With our diverse backgrounds, experiences and deep, heartfelt passion for conservation, I kind of feel like the Avengers assembled — and we always end our meetings with ‘go team.'”
According to a new study by Filterbuy, an air filter industry website, the median air quality index in the Asheville metropolitan area was 15.3% better over the period from 2015-2019 compared with the period from 2005-2009. The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton and Greenville, S.C., metros also showed big improvements.
“We are showing women how to see their land as an asset and how to make it work economically and to see that future,” explains Aimee Tomcho, a Burnsville-based conservation biologist for the National Audubon Society and leader of Western North Carolina’s ForestHer chapter.
Black Folks Camp Too founder Earl B. Hunter Jr. said new marketing collaborations would help him develop more interest in camping among the Black community. And later this month, Asheville-based artist Matthew Willey will begin work on a giant mural of honey bees at Hendersonville’s Hands On! Children’s Museum.
Deteriorating forest roads damage the ecosystem and limit access essential for forest management and the forest-product economy.
City leaders in Brevard stand behind a public works director facing federal prosecution over handling of contaminated soil taken to a Transylvania County landfill.
A $300,000 recurring allocation for the HRI, a program of Asheville-based nonprofit WNC Communities, stalled in the N.C. General Assembly due to partisan gridlock over the state budget. A joint proclamation between the HRI and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services now aims to make the hemlock’s future more secure.
The revision comes thirteen years after the county Board of Commissioners first adopted the plan and reflects myriad changes to Buncombe’s agricultural sector, from the vibrant expansion of its direct-to-consumer markets to the gradual evaporation of its commodity dairies.
“In Pisgah [National Forest] or the Smokies, it’s very difficult to know exactly who owned the land before it became public. With DuPont, it’s not,” explains author Danny Bernstein. “You can trace all of the land to somebody who sold it or gave it away to the state.”
Board member Rick Livingston, who made the motion to deny the recommendation, said the proposed SE Asphalt plant’s location in a “very residential area” off the Spartanburg Highway was incompatible with both the county’s comprehensive plan and East Flat Rock’s community plan.
Environmental advocates urged Asheville City Council to adopt a series of proposals to strengthen protections for Asheville’s urban forests.
The otters play a seminal role in determining the health of a river system. N.C. State University researchers tested hundreds of river otters throughout the state for diseases and metal accumulation. What they found could be good news for humans.