Why I volunteer: Passion for the environment

Grady Nance

Grady Nance is a volunteer at MountainTrue. The nonprofit champions resilient forests, clean waters and healthy communities in the Southern Blue Ridge.

How long have you been volunteering with MountainTrue, and what inspired you to do so?

I started with MountainTrue after retiring to Western North Carolina 10 years ago. MountainTrue’s mission to improve our environment and preserve it for future generations is a strong value for me. My first project with MountainTrue was helping the technical team push for a better alternative to the addition of miles of large transmission lines that were being proposed by Duke Energy in 2014.

What have you learned about the individuals you serve?

As a volunteer, I indirectly serve everyone who lives or visits in Western North Carolina. As a frequent hiker and occasional kayaker, I see many people, including families on the trails or on the water, enjoying our great outdoors and whom I believe are firm supporters of our environment. As a member of MountainTrue, I have found that every staff member has a passion for the environment and their role.

What has been the greatest reward in your work with MountainTrue? 

The largest reward was Duke Energy’s decision to reconfigure the Asheville energy plant to improve air quality, close the coal-fired plant and eliminate the building of large transmission lines across our region.

And there are other important projects including:

  • Monitoring water quality and detecting the sources of pollution so they can be fixed.
  • Advocating for environmental justice so the costs and burdens of development are fair for all.
  • Improving the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest long-term plans to preserve the forests for future generations.

What advice would you offer those thinking about volunteering?

MountainTrue has many programs that need volunteers. For potential volunteers, talk to the regional director in your area and choose an activity that you would enjoy and fits with your schedule. I participated in a macrobenthic water quality training and was amazed to see and learn about all the tiny invertebrates in the water. Stream restoration, river cleanups (often followed by socialization at a local brewery) are very popular. Volunteers are needed to help organize activities, man booths or to be board members to help direct the organization.


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