The Green Scene

Our local colleges keep the green flames burning: Here are a few upcoming ecoevents at Warren Wilson College and UNCA.

Food security

Ethnobiologist Gary Paul Nabhan — facilitator/founder of the Slow Foods project Renewing America's Food Traditions and author of such seminal tomes as Coming Home to Eat — will give a free public lecture on Friday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Canon Lounge on the campus of Warren Wilson College. Nabhan's topic is "Appalachian Food Traditions: Rare and Endangered Food Plants and Animals of Southern Appalachia."

RAFT's continent-wide analysis has documented that while Appalachia may be the most bio-diverse foodshed (or eco-region) in North America, many of its culinary treasures are increasingly endangered. During his WWC visit, Nabhan will announce the launch of a Forgotten Fruits Recovery Challenge for our Appalachian communities: to find, plant, restore markets and bring back culinary uses for nearly 100 heirloom apples unique to the region. Success stories involving students and community members will be highlighted.

The day of his visit and on Saturday, Feb. 26, Nabhan will also be working with WWC students exploring the issues of discovery and conservation of native food species, college faculty report. He will share ways to bring endangered heritage foods back to their communities. More than 3,000 food plants and animals unique to North America are currently threatened and endangered — and at risk of falling from our tables for good, as the passenger pigeon has already done. Whether wild or cultivated, these heritage foods can be recovered through collaborative conservation efforts that engage local citizens and student groups, restorationists and farmers, chefs and conservation biologists.

Nabhan's Friday discussion will focus on tangible actions we can take to identify, locate and recover the foods at risk in Appalachia, and he'll outline the adopt-a-food approach of identifying what rarities still occur, "rafting" them over to the Slow Food Ark of Taste and beginning recovery of their habitats, populations and culinary uses.
For more information, contact Laura Lengnick at 771-7003 or For more on Nabhan's work, visit

UNCA takes the LEED

Seven LEED certification classes for building professionals will be offered at UNCA, beginning Tuesday, March 16.

The university's Distance and Continuing Education Office, a division of the Asheville Graduate Center, will host a series of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design courses that will allow builders, contractors, architects and others in the industry to receive accreditation and maintain their credentials and knowledge in the growing green-building sector. The classes range from a three-hour session on insulation to a 34-hour course for those seeking U.S. Green Building Council Green Associate credentials. These courses constitute the only LEED credentialing preparation-and-maintenance program offered in the Asheville area.

All seven courses will be led by Rob Moody, LEED-accredited professional for homes and licensed LEED faculty member. He's also a member of the LEED Energy and Atmosphere Technical Advisory Group. Moody, an Asheville resident and UNCA alumnus, has conducted U.S. Green Building Council education programs nationally and has worked on the Council's curriculum for homes and renovations programs. An Asheville resident and UNCA alumnus, Moody is a contributor and consultant to Fine HomeBuilding magazine, the Green Building Advisor Web site, the Clinton Foundation, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, HGTVPro and Newsweek On Air.
For a complete list of courses, class details and costs, and registration information, visit or call 250-2353.

Get the lead out

The Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, recently relocated to Warren Wilson College from UNCA, is hosting two workshops in March on renovation, repair and painting training.

The workshops, to be held in Jensen Lecture Hall on the college campus, are scheduled for Saturday, March 6, and Friday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The training is designed for contractors, painters and all others working on home-improvement projects in structures built before 1978. Workshop instructors are certified lead inspector Adrianne Weir a and Linda Block, a lead-risk assessor certified by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Participants will learn how to protect their health, families and clients when working in an environment containing lead paint, varnish, stains or shellac. Common renovation activities such as sanding, cutting and demolition can disturb lead-based paint and create hazardous lead dust and chips that can harm the health of adults and children.

Lead-safe training certification for contractors is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before April 22, 2010, and it's good for five years. Each participant who successfully completes the course at Warren Wilson will receive a protective Tyvek suit, N-100 dust mask, course materials and an EPA Certificate of Completion.
For more information about the March workshops or the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at Warren Wilson, contact Linda Block, program coordinator, 771-5821 or

Send your environmental news to or call 251-1333, ext. 152.

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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