Appalachian Spring 2017

We had a wonderful time with all of our members, friends, and guests last night at Yee-Haw Brewing Company in Johnson City, TN. Congratulations to our new/returning Trustees — David Erwin, Rick Manske, John Mason, Laura McCue, and Cynthia Poortenga. Thank you to our outgoing Trustees — Courtney Blossman, Jack Hamilton, Bill Lowndes, and Kathy Singleton — for your years of dedicated service to land and water conservation on behalf of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. Congratulations to Kirk Watson of Causeway Interactive, the recipient of our 2017 Stanley A. Murray Award for Volunteer Service, and a big thank you to all our sponsors and raffle item donors for helping make our event a resounding success. It was a wonderful night for our annual Appalachian Spring conservation celebration, benefit, and member event.

We enjoyed seeing many familiar faces, and quite a few new folks as well. The hearty turnout bodes well for the future of land and water conservation in our mountains, and we certainly appreciate all the interest and participation in our organization.

New Morning Gallery in Asheville, NC donated handcrafted pottery bacon cookers for our Bacon-Cooker Pong fundraising game, which was popular with attendees in the outdoor gaming area. Luckily, the early evening weather remained clear and bright, so our guests were able to enjoy the spacious patio.

Redleg Husky, an Americana duo from Asheville, provided festive music throughout the evening — pausing for the informative program and our annual SAHC membership meeting.

Executive Director Carl Silverstein outlined some of our key achievements over the past year, and Board of Trustees President Jay Leutze presided over the election of new and returning Trustees. Jeff Needham recognized the contributions of our outgoing Trustees, who were presented with framed, commemorative photo awards as tokens of our appreciation.

After recognizing our Volunteer of the Year, the celebration resumed — and a good time was enjoyed by all! We are grateful to Yee-Haw Brewing for donating $1.00 per pint from the evening sales, to help support our work, and to the staff at Yee-Haw and White Duck Taco for shopping through our new SAHC merchandise. We hope you enjoy the hats and T-shirts!

Elections to the Board of Trustees

Trustees on the Board serve a 3-year term, and may serve two consecutive 3-year terms. The following were elected to serve a new 3-year term:

David Erwin, Asheville, NC

David and his wife MaryAnn Kiefer live in Asheville. David is passionate about hiking, farmland preservation, and woodworking. He is retired from a career in the Air Force, government and aerospace industry designing satellite systems.

John Mason, Asheville, NC

John and his wife Dee are longtime SAHC donors. John has had a long career practicing law with Roberts and Stevens, focusing on trusts and estates, anti-trust, and litigation. John is an avid hiker and past board member with Friends of the Smokies.

Cynthia Poortenga, Kingsport, TN

Cynthia lives in Kingsport and is a primary care doctor. She has loved the Appalachian Mountains and SAHC for many years. Cynthia is enthusiastic about advancing SAHC’s conservation efforts and visibility in Tennessee.

Rick Manske of Asheville, NC, and Laura McCue of Arden, NC  were each elected to serve a second term as Trustee. Over the past three years, both have generously donated time and expertise to serve SAHC in this capacity.

Outgoing Trustees

As part of the program, we presented awards to recognize and thank Courtney Blossman, Jack Hamilton, Bill Lowndes, and Kathy Singleton for their dedicated service to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. We are so grateful to these individuals for sharing their time, wisdom and expertise with us — and for the positive impact they have made on our organization. You will be missed!

2017 Stanley A. Murray Award for Volunteer Service

The 2017 Stanley A. Murray Award for Volunteer Service recipient is Kirk Watson of Causeway Interactive. Kirk is the founder and principal of Causeway Interactive, an Asheville-based company which helps nonprofit organizations leverage web-based technology.

Since 2014, Kirk has volunteered his time and expertise to help us streamline data processing for our land protection, land management and donors. Kirk has helped us solve technology challenges that seemed insurmountable before we met him.

Kirk has donated thousands of dollars in time and services to SAHC. His generosity has enabled us to increase our efficiency and productivity.  We now have one streamlined database for our land protection, stewardship, and donor data. His volunteer efforts are enabling our staff to better focus on protecting and stewarding land and connecting people with that land.    

Thank you Kirk, and congratulations!  

Remaining Raffle Items

We have THREE remaining items to pick up; if you are a winner, please keep your matching raffle ticket and contact Haley Smith at 828.253.0095 ext 205 or to pick up your prize.

Salomon Men’s Boots — Winning# 741134

Salomon Women’s Boots — Winning# 741042

Signed David Ramsey print — Winning# 740983

Thank You to our event sponsors!

Thank you to all our event sponsors and raffle donors for making this event a resounding success, and a special thanks to our title sponsors, Eastman and Equinox Environmental. We appreciate your support for land and water conservation in the mountains of TN and NC!

Wilson Worley Moore Gamble & Stout PC

USA Raft 

Aloft Hotel

ALPS Mountaineering

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium

Bellagio Art to Wear

Benjamin Walls Gallery

Bettye Boone

Biltmore House

Black Dome Mountain Sports

Blind Squirrel Brewery


Boone Street Farmers Market


Carol Coffey

Carolyn Novak


Common Ground/Screen Door

Coralie Tweed Morgan

Dancing Bear Toys

David Ramsey

Diamond Brand Outdoors


Eagle Optics

Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO)

Evergreen of Kingsport

French Broad Chocolate Lounge

Hampton Trails Bicycle Shop

Hands on! Regional Museum

Jack Dalton

John Beaudet

Klean Kanteen



Liberty Bikes

Mahoney’s Outfitters

Mountain Khakis

Navitat Canopy Adventures

New Morning Gallery

Norris Bicycles, LLC


O.P. Taylor

Orvis Outfitters

Sandy Mush Herb Nursery

Shoji Spa & Lodge

Southern Craft BBQ


Ventures Birding

Witt Langstaff Photography