Posts

Conservation Leadership Corps on the Roan

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

Bettye Boone and Saylor Fox – 2016 Volunteers of the Year!

Saylor_bettyeSaylor 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!

Helping Hands on the Farm – French Broad River Academy

fbra_blog4Middle 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

Raft Out the Trash!

GroupwithTrashOnTractWhere 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.

Read more

Reflecting on Spring and Stewardship at SAHC

035.jpgby 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 – 2013 Volunteers of the Year

volunteergroup.jpgThe 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

Habitat Restoration Day on Little Hump Mountain

img_3157.jpgSAHC 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

Events

Roan Habitat Volunteer Work Day

Habitat Management without the Hike In!
SAHC needs a few volunteers to help with habitat management in a few spots on the top and front (parking lot) side of Round Bald. Volunteers will help hand-mow (using weed-whackers) brushy areas to maintain open grassy habitat atop the balds. We are planning two small workdays on August 10th and 12th (13th as a rain date), and this is a good chance to learn about what we do to manage these rare habitats.
We will meet at Carver’s Gap at 9:30 am and finish up around 2 pm. Volunteers should bring water and lunch, leather work gloves and eye protection. SAHC will provide cutting equipment and individually packaged ear protection.

To volunteer, email Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett at marquette@appalachian.org.

Volunteer Workday at the Community Farm

Date: Thursday, June 20th
Time: 10 – 2 pm
Where:  SAHC Community Farm

Join us this coming Thursday for a volunteer workday at our lovely Community Farm in Alexander, NC. This property provides a joint model of sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship and community education. This property is so lovely that many invasive plants and vines have decided to call our fence line along Mag Sluder Road home. This Thursday we need your help in removing them!

What will we be doing?

Vegetation Management– Removing vines and invasive plants along the fence along Mag Sluder Road.

General clean-up– Collecting debris on the property

Basic Schedule

10:00 to 10:15 – Introduction, safety talk, etc. Volunteers will be briefed, divided into groups, and dispersed across the site

10:15- 12:30– Work in Groups. Volunteers will work with teams on a specific task with a designated leader.

12:30- 1:15– Lunch.  This will be a bring your own lunch situation but snacks will be provided for volunteers.

1:15- 2:00– Work in Groups. Volunteers will continue to work in teams to complete tasks.

2019 Community Farm Volunteer Work Day Sign Up

  • First NameLast NameEmailOver 18 (Y/N) 
  • By providing your phone number, you ensure we have a way to contact you for any last-minute changes to the volunteer work day. In the event of inclement weather, we will use the contact info above to let you know by 3 pm on Friday if the workday is canceled. There is no rain date scheduled.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

Volunteer Work Day: Garlic Mustard Pull in the Roan

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

Schedule:

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”

More Info:

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 marquette@appalachian.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.

Brother Wolf Hike at Laurel Ridge 2018

Date: Friday, Nov 16th
Time: Starting at 10:00 am
Where: Laurel Ridge
Difficulty: Moderate (5)— 4.5-mile hike with some steep terrain
Cost: FREE

Join the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and Brother Wolf for a chance to walk a shelter dog on our beautiful, conserved property in Laurel Ridge.  Through this collaboration between Brother Wolf’s Outward Hound program and SAHC’s Outings program hikers will be matched up with a canine hiking companion. We will stroll through our serene 87-acre Laurel Ridge expanse in dense forest along old, healed logging roads. Along with experiencing the natural beauty of this conserved land you will be providing these dogs with an opportunity to build their social skills, relax in a calm natural setting, and some partake in some exercise! Join SAHC and Brother Wolf to give these animals a day full of the love and attention they deserve!

Hike difficulty ratings are based on this formula: (0.002 x elevation gain (ft.)) + round trip distance (mi.) = difficulty rating (1 – 10+)

REGISTRATION IS FULL – IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ADDED TO THE WAITLIST EMAIL ISRAEL@APPALACHIAN.ORG

Invasive Plant Removal Volunteer Work Day

Date:  November 20th, 2018

Time: 10:00- 3:00

Where:  Dalton Property, Madison County

Join us to learn about invasive species in Western North Carolina and remove them from one of our conservation easements in Madison County, the Dalton Property. We will include a brief lesson on the most common invasive species and how to identify them. We will be primarily concerned with Oriental Bittersweet, Stilt Grass, Spirea, Japanese Honeysuckle & Multi Flora Rose removal.

The Dalton property is located in Madison County, NC and was protected by SAHC in 2003. This 83-acre property was farmland before becoming the home of the Big Red Tomato Packing Company through 1987. The tract is now owned by the Dalton family and protected through a conservation easement with SAHC. The disturbance of the natural ecosystem on this property has opened it up to invasion from pioneer species. We hope to remove invasive plants in order to preserve natural ecosystem processes and provide a space for native plants to grow.

Volunteer activities will include invasive removal and site beautification. Work gloves, safety eye wear, hand tools, and first aid kits will be available on site.  Feel free to bring personal gloves or tools.  Please dress in layers and bring a rain jacket as we will be working at high elevations and the weather is unpredictable.

What will we be doing?

Invasive species management – we will use loppers and shears to remove invasive plants.

General clean-up– Collecting debris on the property.

More volunteer tasks will be available on the work day.

Basic Schedule

10:00 to 10:15 – Introduction, safety talk, invasive plant lesson. Volunteers will be briefed, divided into groups, and dispersed across the site

10:15- 12:30– Work in Groups. Volunteers will work with teams on a specific task with a designated leader.

12:30- 1:15– Lunch – please bring your own food.

1:15- 3:00– Work in Groups. Volunteers will continue to work in teams to complete tasks.

VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

2018 Dalton Property Volunteer Day

  • First NameLast NameEmail 
  • By providing your phone number, you ensure that we have a way to contact you in the rare event of any last-minute changes to the hike.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Roany Boyz (and Girlz) Volunteer Weekend

Join the Roany Boyz and Girlz in a weekend of jovial camaraderie while helping manage the grassy balds habitat at Engine Gap in the Highlands of Roan. Come for a day, or set up camp at Round Bald and stay for the weekend! For more info or to volunteer with the Roany crew, contact Carol Coffey at caroltee@aol.com.

2018 Grassy Ridge Mow-Off

We need YOUR help on the mountain!

Camp out or come for a day. Join other volunteers as we work to maintain the globally rare grassy and shrub balds found on Grassy Ridge, one of the most beautiful and ecologically significant sites in the Roan Highlands. We’ll cut invasive blackberries and other shrubs using weed whackers and brush cutters. Enjoy great company, great food and great job satisfaction! Our annual Grassy Ridge Mow-Off is more than just a work day — it’s an incredible way to experience in the Highlands of Roan and to share cherished moments with friends.

Backpackers and day trippers are both welcome. The hike is about 2.5 miles one way, the camping is gorgeous, and we have a job suited to almost everyone. There are several different ways to help: cutting or raking blackberries, camp organization and cooking, taking photographs, and more.

Grassy Ridge Mow-Off Schedule:

Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Campers arrive, set up your tent and return to the work site.

Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Day hikers arrive. Sign in/Orientation

Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Work time! (lunch break at 1 pm)

Saturday 4:00 p.m. – bedtime. Clean up and store equipment. Fun, Fellowship and Food time for campers!

Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. A short work day and pack out. *Everyone should be prepared to pack out group trash.

Please contact Marquette Crockett, Roan Stewardship Director at marquette@appalachian.org for more information about the work day or specific volunteer duties.

 

Sign up now to volunteer with us for the Grassy Ridge Mow-Off!

Registration is now closed. 

 

2018 Volunteer Work Day: Invasive Garlic Mustard Pull in the Roan

This year, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy is partnering with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, US Forest Service, and Roan Mountain State Park 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: Roan Mountain State Park in Roan Mountain, TN 

Date: Saturday, April 21

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.

Work from 9:45 am-1:00 pm

Lunch and “weigh in” from 1:00 to 2:00

Food/Drinks: Please bring your own snacks, lunch and bottled water. Lunch is not provided. A cooler of water will be available at lunchtime.

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. You may want a bag to keep your items with you throughout the day. It may be difficult to return to your car while we are working. 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 Roan Stewardship Director Marquette Crockett at marquette@appalachian.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 marquette@appalachian.org if you are interested. Let’s get ’em!

2018 Big Rock Creek Volunteer Work Day

Date:  April 28, 2018

Time: 10:00- 3:00

Where:  Big Rock Creek property in the Roan Highlands

Join us in partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association and Nature Valley for a volunteer work day in the Highlands of Roan!  This work day will take place on the protected Big Rock Creek property and support an initiative to connect people with land.

The Big Rock Creek property located in Mitchell County, NC was recently protected by SAHC.  Formerly the home of Trailridge summer camp, the property contains 127 acres of unique high elevation habitat and streams. It is surrounded by Pisgah National Forest on three sides and the Appalachian Trail is less than a mile to the North. We hope to improve and maintain the camping and trail facilities on Big Rock Creek to “connect people to nature”!

Volunteer activities will include trail construction, vegetation management, and site beautification. Work gloves, safety eye wear, hand tools, and first aid kits will be available on site.  Feel free to bring personal gloves or tools.  Please dress in layers and bring a rain jacket as we will be working at high elevations and the weather is unpredictable.

What will we be doing?

Trail Construction– Using hand tools to clear a short trail through the property and to build two foot bridges at stream crossings.

Vegetation Management- Planting native shrubs and wildflowers in open areas

General clean-up– Collecting debris on the property

More volunteer tasks will be available on the work day.

Basic Schedule

10:00 to 10:15 – Introduction, safety talk, etc. Volunteers will be briefed, divided into groups, and dispersed across the site

10:15- 12:30– Work in Groups. Volunteers will work with teams on a specific task with a designated leader.

12:30- 1:15– Lunch.  SAHC will provide lunch for volunteers.  Please share dietary restrictions on the registration form below.

1:15- 3:00– Work in Groups. Volunteers will continue to work in teams to complete tasks.

Thank you for your interest! Please contact Michelle Durr, Roan Stewardship and Outreach AmeriCorps service member at michelled@appalachian.org for more information about the work day or specific volunteer duties.

This event is part of WNC for the Planet! Western North Carolina is celebrating Earth Day throughout the entire month of April by coming together to act locally and think globally. This year, local community and environmental groups are teaming up to offer a myriad of service days, workshops and educational events and celebrations.

Please register below

2018 Big Rock Creek Volunteer Work Day

  • By providing your phone number, you ensure that we have a way to contact you in the rare event of any last-minute changes to the hike.
  • First NameLast NameEmail 
  • SAHC will be providing lunch and snacks during the work day. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.
  • (Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Other?)
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


This event is part of #WNCforthePlanet —  a collaboration of environmental and conservation groups in Western North Carolina to coordinate and raise awareness about events and volunteer opportunities scheduled throughout the month of April in honor of “Earth Month.” Local nonprofit organizations, universities, and businesses have teamed up to host a myriad of service days, workshops, hikes, educational events and celebrations. Join us in unifying our community to encourage and celebrate environmental stewardship for our planet and the region. More info at WNCforthePlanet.org.

Roany Boyz & Girlz Volunteer Weekend

Join the Roany Boyz and Girlz in a weekend of jovial camaraderie while helping manage the grassy balds habitat at Engine Gap in the Highlands of Roan. Come for a day, or set up camp at Round Bald and stay for the weekend! For more info or to volunteer with the Roany crew, contact Carol Coffey at caroltee@aol.com.