Green in brief: GreenWorks contributes to federal heat-mapping study

HEAT RELIEF: Urban forestry projects, such as this orchard at Asheville's Hillcrest community, can help neighborhoods become more resilient to extreme heat driven by climate change. Photo courtesy of Asheville GreenWorks

This summer, the nonprofit Asheville GreenWorks will take part in a study of urban temperatures being coordinated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program Office. Asheville is one of 18 communities across the U.S. and Chile selected for the work, which will help scientists understand how cities experience extreme heat.

GreenWorks will enlist community volunteers to record temperatures all across Asheville during the morning, afternoon and evening, creating a detailed map of how heat varies across the city. The goal is to identify neighborhoods with particularly hot microclimates and “heat islands” created by heat-absorbing pavement — areas that are more vulnerable to increasing temperatures driven by climate change.

“Climate challenges are shared, but they’re not shared equally. We already know that certain neighborhoods have fewer trees and experience disproportionately severe climate impacts,” said Dawn Chávez, executive director of GreenWorks, in a press release announcing the study. “By documenting the lived experience of those residents, we will be better able to co-create targeted solutions that address this reality.”

The study results will inform Asheville government’s efforts to plant trees and pursue climate justice initiatives, says Kiera Bulan, the city’s sustainability program manager. The work is especially timely given City Council’s unanimous March 28 approval of the Municipal Climate Action Plan, which calls for the city to employ “urban forestry practices on city land in priority neighborhoods to reduce heat island impacts and sequester carbon.”

New book marks Carolina Mountain Club’s centenary

The Asheville-based Carolina Mountain Club — North Carolina’s largest group dedicated to hiking and trail upkeep — is turning 100 this July. In advance of the occasion, author and longtime CMC member Danny Bernstein has released Carolina Mountain Club: One Hundred Years, a new exploration of the club’s history.

The book traces the CMC’s origins as an outgrowth of the Northeast’s Appalachian Mountain Club, the involvement of conservation figures like George Masa and Art Loeb, and its important construction work on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and Appalachian Trail. “The history of CMC is the history of hiking and land protection in Western North Carolina,” Bernstein writes in her introduction.

Bernstein will speak about her research as part of the WNC Historical Association’s History Hour, taking place at UNC Asheville’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22. She will also present online as part of OLLI’s Fab Fridays series at 11:30 a.m. Friday, April 28. More information and event registration are available at  

Save the date

  • Asheville’s Green Built Alliance celebrates Earth Day with the inaugural Earth Day 5K, coming to Carrier Park at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 22. Proceeds from race registrations will support the nonprofit’s Appalachian Offsets program, which supports local energy efficiency and solar power projects. More information is available at
  • The Barbara McRae Cherokee Heritage Apple Trail in Franklin hosts its grand opening on Friday, April 28, 4-6 p.m. The path and its accompanying mini-orchard honor Native American growers who developed apple varieties such as the Junaluska and Nickajack. More information is available at
  • “Bloom with a View” comes to the N.C. Arboretum from Monday, May 1, through Sunday, May 14. The immersive floral installation, designed by the Dutch firm IGMPR in collaboration with arboretum staff, will feature thousands of hydrangeas and lilies raised to eye level by colorful planters. More information is available at
  • The Lake Junaluska Annual Plant Sale and Corneille Bryan Native Garden plant sale take place together at the lake’s Nanci Weldon Memorial Gym from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 6. Over 2,500 plants will be on offer, from herbs and house plants to hybrid roses. More information is available at
  • Get in Gear Fest will return for its eighth year on May 6 in a new location: The Outpost in Asheville’s River Arts District. The event features demonstrations of mountain bikes, camping equipment and other outdoor gear along with food, beer and live music. More information is available at

Watch and learn

  • As spring planting season gets underway, Buncombe County’s Extension Master Gardeners are offering a full lineup of classes through the Learning Garden at 49 Mount Carmel Road. Upcoming options include Gardening for the Birds on April 22, Planting Root Crops on Thursday, April 27, and Planning Your Dye Garden on Thursday, May 4. All programs start at 10 a.m.; more information is available at
  • Drive Electric Earth Day comes to the Asheville Outlets Sunday, April 30, noon-4 p.m. The Blue Ridge Electric Vehicles Club and Tesla Owners of WNC group will be on-site to discuss electric vehicle ownership, and attendees can test out a number of vehicles for themselves, from e-bikes and scooters to full-sized pickup trucks. More information is available at
  • The 2023 Outdoor Economy Conference, taking place in Cherokee Monday-Thursday, Sept. 18-21, has announced its theme of “Connecting the Ecosystem,” with a goal of bridging divides between different parts of the outdoor business community. Early conference registration is available through Monday, May 1, at

Opportunity knocks

  • The city of Hendersonville is gathering another round of public input on its proposed Walk Hendo Pedestrian Plan. Comments can be made in person during a drop-in meeting at 305 Williams St. from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, or via an online survey opening the same day at
  • Asheville has launched a public survey regarding its proposed single-use plastic reduction measures. The city’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, as well as the Plastic-Free WNC campaign, has recommended a local ban on single-use plastic bags and plastic foam products. The survey is available through Sunday, April 30, at
  • Conserving Carolina’s annual Habitat at Home photo contest is accepting entries through Monday, May 15. The Hendersonville-based nonprofit invites WNC residents to submit snapshots of native plants and wildlife, as observed in gardens and yards, for a chance to win a professional landscape consultation or $25 gift cards to local garden businesses. More information and full contest rules are available at
  • The WNC: MADE X MTNS Partnership, a coalition of groups interested in growing the region’s outdoor economy, has established a $125,000 Outdoor Equity Fund. Grants from the fund will support traditionally underserved communities, such as people of color and the LGBTQ population, as they work to expand outdoor recreation access and opportunity. Applications are open through Wednesday, May 17, with more information available at
  • The N.C. Department of Transportation seeks helpers for its annual Spring Litter Sweep, which runs through Saturday, April 29. Volunteers can receive free gloves, safety vests and bags from their county’s litter management coordinator; more information and contact details are available at
  • Work trade applications are now open for the Firefly Gathering, an earthskills event taking place at Deerfields in Mills River Tuesday-Sunday, June 20-25. Opportunities include first aid, parking coordination, site preparation and photography. More information and application details are available at

Community kudos

  • Waynesville’s Grace Church in the Mountains received one of six Cool Congregations awards from Interfaith Power and Light, a national faith-based climate action nonprofit. The award highlights how the church transformed its lawn into an organic garden that provides food for the needy, as well as an outdoor worship and education space.
  • Local developer Andy Baker received the Land Stewardship of the Year award from the Asheville-based Southeast Regional Land Conservancy. The honor recognizes Baker’s work to conserve over 400 acres as part of residential projects in Buncombe and Henderson counties, as well as his support for pollinator populations.
  • U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards, a Republican who represents WNC, received the 2022 Legislator of the Year Award from the N.C. Bowhunters Association. The group cited Edwards’ support of wildlife habitat research in North Carolina’s national forests while he was serving in the state senate.
  • Thirty-one WNC farm businesses received a total of $244,000 from the latest round of WNC AgOptions grants administered by the local nonprofit WNC Communities. Awardees, including Blue Ridge Blooms, Fiddlesticks Farm and Mountain Meadows Nursery in Buncombe County, will use the grants of up to $8,000 to improve the efficiency of their operations and become more economically sustainable. A full list of awardees is available at
  • Local N.C. Department of Transportation staffers received the second-place William D. Johnson Daylily Award from the Garden Club of North Carolina for plantings at Exit 8 along Interstate 240 west.

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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the former news editor of Mountain Xpress. His work has also appeared in Sierra, The Guardian, and Civil Eats, among other national and regional publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton

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