On Tuesday, June 21, we were invited to assist the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Conservation Leadership Corps and Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club (TEHCC) with trail improvements leading to Jane Bald in the Highlands of Roan. Our Roan AmeriCorps member Travis Bordley and CTNC Diversity in Conservation intern Tamia Dame had a lively work day with eager interns from widespread home locations, including New Orleans, Dallas, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Carl Fritz, representing TEHCC, explained how recent rain has eroded gravel from sections of the Appalachian Trail, causing large puddles to form along some stretches. This has led hikers to form a secondary path to the right of the Trail. The mission on this workday was to restore the designated trail and discourage off-trail hiking by barricading the secondary path. Read more
Saylor and Bettye live in the Valley of the Roan community near Carvers Gap. Before retiring to the Roan, Saylor worked as a hearings officer for the South Carolina Department of Justice and Bettye was a high school teacher at Chapin High School in SC. They also owned an herb farm in South Carolina, and Bettye has put her green thumb to work building raised beds at their new home on Herbert Spell Road.
They are avid volunteers who eagerly participate in workdays across our focus areas, from the Highlands of Roan to our Community Farm near Asheville. Both Saylor and Bettye have demonstrated extraordinary commitment and effort to help SAHC accomplish our land-stewardship mission.
Thank You and congratulations to Saylor and Bettye!
Middle school kids these days have a bit of a bad rap — they watch too much TV, they have no work ethic, and they never go outside. Well, whoever says that has never met the students from the French Broad River Academy. Over the past year-and-a-half the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders from FBRA have volunteered over 700 hours at the SAHC Community Farm! Read more
Where would we be without our volunteers and amazing AmeriCorps Project Conserve members? Our “Raft Out the Trash” event earlier this year reflects a stellar example of how these team members’ incredible initiative, drive and dedication help us achieve conservation success.
Since protecting the Lost Cove tract in 2012, we at SAHC have heard over and over how much this special place resonates with people. Unfortunately, however, years of illegal use had marred the beauty of the cove – and left literally tons of trash strewn about. When our AmeriCorps Outreach & PR Associate, Anna Zanetti, first scouted a hike into Lost Cove, she was appalled by what she found and commenced to plan an ambitious volunteer excursion to take care of it.
by Margot Wallston, SAHC AmeriCorps Stewardship Associate — July 2013
One of my favorite things about working in land conservation during the spring is being able to take note of the persistent emergence of botanical life after winter’s long repose. Hiking off-trail to monitor remote pieces of land affords the opportunity to witness the first signs of spring: new stems pushing up through the ground, swelling leaf buds, the first hints of color as flower petals begin to open. It’s fun to guess what identity each new plant will take on: Will a red, clenched hand atop a fuzzy stem become false goats beard? Will a blue-purple fan of soft baby leaves become blue cohosh?
I’m not alone in relishing in this annual event. Many people look forward to spring’s arrival as the best time to watch the forest reawaken after winter as wildflowers gradually begin to bloom. But spring also stirs to life a host of invasive, non-native plants which compete with our native wildflowers and trees for essential resources. One of the first invasive plants to pop up amidst our native spring ephemerals is garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Read more
The Roany Boyz began as a group of friends who liked to hike and camp together. One of the group — former SAHC president Carol Coffey — was involved with our annual Grassy Ridge Mow-off, in which volunteers spent the third weekend of July cutting back invasive plants to protect the quality of the Grassy Ridge Bald. The Appalachian Trail in this area crosses Round Bald, Engine Gap, Jane Bald, and a shoulder of Grassy Ridge. Hiking out to Grassy Ridge, Carol noticed that Engine Gap and the Southwest side of Jane Bald were rapidly being overgrown with blackberries. Judy Murray, SAHC’s head of Stewardship for the Roan Highlands at the time, agreed to provide tools, primarily weed eaters, if Carol could form a volunteer group to work at Engine Gap. So, in 2001 the Roany Boyz began volunteering to manage grassy balds habitat at Engine Gap. Read more
SAHC and a slew of volunteers spent a full day mowing, trimming, and cutting to create additional habitat for the rare and “near threatened” golden-winged warbler on Little Hump Mountain in the Highlands of Roan. The Golden-winged Warbler (GWW) is an early successional species that is dependent on a unique habitat consisting of sparse trees, shrubs, and abandoned fields. Unfortunately, the GWW’s habitat is rapidly disappearing, as old farmsteads and other early successional habitats are developing back into forested land.
Under the leadership of SAHC’s seasonal ecologist, Chris Coxen, volunteers created additional habitat space for these incredible birds in the hopes to increase the number of nesting pairs next spring and summer on Little Hump Mountain. Read more
SAHC is partnering with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Roan Mountain State Park, and the Cherokee National Forest to remove invasive garlic mustard from the park and heavily trafficked highways around Carver’s Gap and SAHC conservation properties in the Highlands of Roan. Plucking out the pesky invaders when they’re young and tender isn’t hard work, but it does take a lot of hands!
Location: Meet at the Conference Center Parking Lot – Roan Mountain State Park in Roan Mountain, TN
Date: Friday, April 26th
Start time: 9:30 am
9:30 to 9:45 – Introduction, safety talk, etc. Volunteers will be briefed, divided into groups, and dispersed across the Park and along public roadsides to pull garlic mustard. There will need to be some shuttling and driving of personal vehicles to make this happen.
9:45 am-1:00 pm – Pulling and bagging up garlic mustard!
1:00 – 2:00 – Lunch at the Conference Center and our official “weigh in”
Food/Drinks: Please bring your own snacks, lunch and bottled water. Lunch is not provided. Water and light snacks are available from the Conference Center vending machines.
Equipment/Precautions: Work gloves and trash bags will be provided. Feel free to bring personal gloves or a trowel. Pulling garlic mustard is usually easy, but a trowel can be helpful for compacted roadside soil and stubborn roots.
• You will need a hat and/or sunscreen, long pants, sturdy shoes, lunch, water, a warm layer for high elevation hiking, and rain gear. If you are allergic to poison ivy, consider wearing long sleeves and pants as a precaution.
• It may be difficult to return to your car while we are working, so you may want a bag to keep your items with you throughout the day.
• Some work sites are very steep. Please let me know before the workday if you prefer to work on flatter terrain or have medical conditions. First aid kits will be on site.
Contact info: For more info or questions, contact SAHC’s Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.253.0095 ext 210.
What is Garlic Mustard?
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an invasive, non-native plant, which has infested many parts of the Southern Appalachian region. Because it has few natural enemies in North America, it is capable of out-competing native plants by depriving them of sunlight, moisture and space. Garlic mustard is a biennial plant, meaning it has a two year life cycle. In its first year, it develops kidney-shaped leaves that grow close to the ground in what is called a basal rosette; the leaves smell like garlic when crushed. In their second year, the plants rapidly grow upward and develop small white flowers. The flowers are soon replaced by slender seed pods, which are capable of spreading hundreds of seeds once mature. Garlic mustard is a hardy plant. If you pull the plant and leave it on the ground, it may re-root or have enough energy stored in its taproot to produce viable seed after being pulled. Most compost piles aren’t maintained in a way that gets hot enough to kill the seed, which means you could end up spreading garlic mustard with your compost (The Stewardship Network). Removing garlic mustard from thoroughfares such as Roan Mountain State Park and public roadsides is crucial to controlling the establishment and spread of this invasive species in our area.
Please RSVP by emailing email@example.com if you are interested in joining us for this volunteer workday. Let’s get ’em!
Carpool Locations: SAHC Office (372 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC) 8:15 am
Please join SAHC and our partners at the the Southern Appalachian Work Center (in partnership with ALDHA) as we formalize our new trail on SAHC’s Elk Hollow Preserve.
Please come prepared to dig in trail! Wear long pants and boots and bring layers, rain gear, and lunch. SAWC will provide trail equipment and thanks to Bob’s Dairyland in Roan Mountain, we will have breakfast for volunteers. SAHC will provide light snacks and extra safety gear. Please RSVP for this event by Monday March 4th. For questions,directions to the property, and more information about carpool locations please email SAHC’s Roan Stewardship Director, Marquette Crockett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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372 Merrimon Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801