Bettye Fox Boone and Saylor Fox are volunteers with Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. The organization conserves unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic beauty in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.
How long have you been volunteering with the conservancy and what inspired you to join?
We have been volunteering with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy for 10 years. When we learned about the work they were doing to protect mountains, farms, streams and animal and plant habitats, as well as scenic beauty, we were hooked on working with SAHC.
We have worked eradicating invasive species, restoring habitats, removing trash, planting native species, improving and maintaining hiking trails and leading group hikes.
We were inspired to join by their mission to protect our precious and fragile mountains.
What have you learned about the individuals you work with and the community you serve?
We have learned that the entire staff, the board of directors and many past and present volunteers are extremely committed to protecting our mountains for future generations. We have learned to appreciate and protect the land, the view sheds, the rivers, streams and watersheds, the indigenous species, the fragile environment and the family farms that enrich our lives.
What has been the greatest reward in the work you do?
Knowing there are innumerable people who care about the same thing we do: protecting the mountains of WNC and Eastern Tennessee. After every day of hard work as volunteers, we come home happy to know we are having a positive impact on the sustainability of our land, water, habitats and recreation venues.
What advice would you offer those thinking about volunteering?
In our opinion, there is no better organization to become involved with and to support through your volunteer activities than SAHC. They appreciate their volunteers and work hard to make the experience enjoyable for everyone. Most of all, we have learned more about conservation in 10 years volunteering with SAHC than through our previous lifetimes. As volunteers, we have gained far more from our experience with SAHC than they have gotten from us!