SAHC staff recently had the rare opportunity to work on protected conservation land inside the City of Asheville boundary. Stewardship Associate Sarah Sheeran, AmeriCorps member Anona Miller, and intern Leigh Bost teamed up with a youth group from the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly of Black Mountain to clean up trash on a portion of the Oshun Mountain (OM) Sanctuary property on Richmond Hill.
OM Sanctuary’s 42-acre urban forest overlooking the French Broad River is protected by a conservation easement with SAHC. Located near Buncombe County’s Richmond Hill Park and the state-designated Richmond Hill Forest Natural Area, conservation of the tract also helps protect tributary streams of the French Broad River Watershed from sources of sedimentation and other types of pollution.
Unfortunately, a portion of the property had been historically used as a dump site in decades prior to OM Sanctuary’s ownership.
The work day started with a hot and muggy morning. The poison ivy was strong, but so were the attitudes of the volunteers!
We started by cleaning up small amounts of trash… And then someone found a car seat — an old one. Followed by another car seat. Then a mattress frame. Then a broken birdfeeder. Then steel pipes. Then an old bathroom sink… For two hours, our middle school volunteers plowed ahead with a positive and willing attitude, collecting an assortment of refuse from bygone eras, including an old milk jar basket from Biltmore Dairy.
Eventually, we felt we got to a good stopping point, and began to haul out our catch. A neighbor came out to meet us and thank us for cleaning up the area. He offered for us to use his fence line to haul out the truckload of trash we had collected, and we felt supported by this local show of support.
We are grateful to our volunteers for making a positive impact, to the neighbors for their support, and to OM Sanctuary for working with SAHC to protect this special, forested urban area.