Today’s Our Birthday! June 10

sahc-40th-birthday-staff-picOn this date in 1974, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy was officially incorporated as a non-profit land trust. So, it’s our ‘birthday!’ We are so excited to turn 40! — And looking back over the past four decades, we know we have a lot of living to celebrate. What are some of your favorite memories/experiences with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy?

In the spirit of celebration, our staff and AmeriCorps associates took a walk outside to say “Cheers to all of us!” We’re ‘toasting’ SAHC with some of that clean mountain water we work so hard to protect. Thanks to the passion and vision of our members, Trustees, friends, and followers over the years, we’ve been able to accomplish some incredible things. Here’s to 40 years of conservation, and many more to come!

Honoring 40 Years of Service to the Roan — “For Love of Mountains”

judyandmargyclark.jpgWhen she came to Kingsport, TN in 1960, Judy Murray knew that she loved mountains. Two days after arriving, her first visit to the Highlands of Roan kindled a passion that became the driving force behind much of the preservation and habitat restoration work we and our partners have accomplished on the Roan.

This year Judy retired from her position as our Highlands of Roan Stewardship Director, and we give her a resounding and heartfelt ‘thank you’ for her dedicated service over the past forty years.

“It was the mountains that really drew me here,” says Judy. “Two days after I landed in Tennessee, I was on the Roan.” Read more

SAHC Staff Win Award for ‘Striving Not to Drive’!

SAHC staff (L to R: Pauline Heyne, Hanni Muerdter, and Michelle Pugliese) receive the workplace challenge award at Asheville City Hall.

On Tuesday, August 13, SAHC was recognized at the regular Asheville City Council meeting for winning this year’s “Strive Not To Drive Workplace Challenge” in the category for organizations of 11-30 employees. In May, SAHC staff competed with staff from other organizations, making a pledge use a mode of transportation other than driving alone for a week. Read more

Jay Leutze honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine

jayaward_enews.jpgIf you’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing Jay Leutze eloquently speak about the rare diversity of botanical life in the Highlands of Roan, or belt out a melodic serenade with his conservation song, you can understand why he was recognized this past January with the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is the highest honor the governor can bestow on a North Carolina citizen. It is presented to individuals in recognition of a proven record of extraordinary service to the state.

Over the years, Jay has been an ardent supporter of conservation. He grew up hiking, camping, and exploring the fragile wonder of the Southern Appalachians.  In 2008, Jay helped pass state legislation authorizing the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area adjacent to the Highlands of Roan. He also stopped the proposed Putnam Mine, which would have devastated views from the Appalachian Trail in the Highlands of Roan. The story of this heroic battle is the topic of his book “Stand Up That Mountain.”

We are sincerely thankful for Jay’s ongoing, outstanding conservation work with SAHC!

SAHC Welcomes new Americorps Members

 big-yellow-jump2.jpgEvery year, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy partners with a program within Americorps called “Project Conserve.” It is Project Conserve’s goal to serve western North Carolina by building stronger and more ecologically aware communities that understand the threats to their local environment. Individuals apply to join land trusts, grass-roots organizations, and various other non-profits in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee through Project Conserve in order to serve and improve their communities.

SAHC is excited to introduce four new Americorps members who will be contributing their energy, enthusiasm, and many talents with us for the next 11 months. Read more

Welcome and Thanks to our Board of Trustees

SAHC_Logo_Official-with-WebsiteSAHC is honored and excited to welcome the following new Trustees, elected to serve a new first term on the Board. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated and diverse group of people who will offer a multitude of different skills and insight to SAHC over the upcoming three year term. Here are our new Trustees:

Bill Lowndes

Bill has a long history with SAHC, as he served on the board in the 1970s, and was SAHC’s second Treasurer. In 2004, he rejoined the board, and served until 2010. Bill has been instrumental in leading SAHC’s institutional and programmatic growth over the years. Bill currently serves on the SAHC’s Planning Committee, Nominating and Board Development Committee, and Fundraising Committee. Bill’s work on the Human Resources Committee has been essential in fostering a strong relationship between board and staff at SAHC.

Kathy Singleton

Kathy lives in Kingsport, and is an attorney with Wilson Worley Moore Gamble and Stout law firm. Her passion for the outdoors and love of Roan make her an incredible advocate and representative for SAHC. Kathy comes to SAHC as an influential community leader, as she serves as the chairperson of the Scholarship Committee for the Women’s Symphony Committee of Kingsport, Tennessee. Kathy’s service with Friends in Need, INC., Kingsport Tomorrow, and Junior League of Kingsport are just several examples of her tireless efforts to improve her local and regional communities. SAHC is thrilled to have her on board this next term.

Courtney Blossman

Courtney currently lives in Asheville, after having moved recently from Coastal Mississippi. Since the 1970s, she has been a frequent visitor to the mountains and has always had a deep appreciation for the natural world. Besides her passion for protecting the environment, Courtney has also been a staunch supporter of the arts. Her contributions on the board of the Nature Conservancy-MS Chapter and as former President of the Gulf Islands National Seashore Advisory Committee reflect her passion to protect the integrity of our land for future generations. Courtney’s involvement over the last 37 years in the non-profit sector will give SAHC invaluable perspective and vision for the future.

Jack Hamilton

Jack and his family have lived in Asheville for the last 18 years, where he is a corporate and tax attorney at Roberts and Stevens law firm. He has been an active supporter of SAHC for several years and will have much to offer for the following term. He has over a decade of experience serving as the Chair of the Diana Wortham Theatre, Board of Directors, and on the Finance Committee of the United Way. Jack’s expertise and dedication will undoubtedly contribute to the development and growth of SAHC during the next term.

Jeanette Blazier and Bruce Cunningham of Kingsport, TN were also re-elected for their second three-year term.

SAHC is thrilled to have these talented, passionate, and driven Trustees to further our mission to protect and conserve the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee.  Their service and dedication to SAHC will positively affect the shape of these mountains for generations to come.

We would also like to express our deep appreciation to the following trustees who rotated off the Board this year: Joe DeLoach, Doris Gove, Bill Jones, Witt Langstaff, Jr., Tom Laughlin, and Lach Zemp. The insight, direction, and enthusiasm of these individuals have continued to cultivate a tradition of great achievement and success within SAHC. We are a deeply grateful for their hard work and service.

Area non-profit salutes employee’s 20-year tenure

kristy-the-super-star-sm1.jpgTwenty years in the same position at the same organization. That’s something to celebrate in the non-profit field, or really any profession in today’s transitioning economy.

Kristy Urquhart of Asheville has dedicated 20 years of her life to Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, primarily serving as the associate director. Her colleagues have plans to celebrate her achievements in a way that echoes the positive energy that she gives to land conservation. Read more