Editor’s note: In the spirit of our spring Nonprofit Issue, we reached out to volunteers from several local nonprofit organizations, asking them to reflect on what inspired them to begin their work and the impact it has had on both the community and themselves.
I’ve been volunteering with MountainTrue for over seven years now, since 2014. I responded to an email from the group in December of that year for volunteers to help with a live staking along the headwaters of the French Broad River. I don’t know how MountainTrue got my email; I didn’t know what MountainTrue was or what a live staking was, either. The weather forecast for the week looked chilly but nice, so it seemed like a good way to get out on the water for a day and learn a little about the ecology of the river.
The ecology movement really got underway in the ’60s when I was in elementary school — recycling, turning off lights, picking up litter, etc. So getting out and taking care of the environment has been a part of my life. MountainTrue has many focuses, but I’ve gravitated toward the rivers since that first day; being out paddling on the water in our area and lending a hand has been a lot of fun.
I’ve had the opportunity to pick up interesting trash on the Swannanoa, work on campsites along the French Broad paddle trail, treat hemlocks against the woolly adelgid in the Green River gorge and monitor water quality each summer. I’ve learned a lot, made some great friends and helped make the rivers a little nicer.
For more on MountainTrue, visit mountaintrue.org.