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Hollywood celebrities and respected journalists span the globe to explore the issues of climate change and cover intimate stories of human triumph and tragedy. Watch new episodes Sundays at 10 p.m.ET/PT, only on SHOWTIME.

The May 4 episode is called “Preacher’s Daughter,” and features  Anna Jane Joyner, WNCA’s campaign coordinator, and national Beyond Coal Campaign Director Mary Anne Hitt. Check out a sneak preview of Preacher’s Daughter here.

You can also watch the series’ first episode, in full, below. 

 

WNCA's Bob Gale works with a volunteer crew on exotic invasive plant removal at Richmond Hill Park.

WNCA’s Bob Gale works with a volunteer crew on exotic invasive plant removal at Richmond Hill Park.

Summary of Position: Recruit, train, and reward volunteers. Oversee WNCA’s volunteer program; work closely with program staff to ensure volunteer needs are filled. Ensure that inquires are promptly responded to, volunteers are prepared, events are well organized, “thank you” emails are sent, and handling data input.

Responsibilities: Corresponding by email with volunteers, signing up volunteers for WNCA events which are often on weekends, posting volunteer opportunities on “Sign Up Genius” and keeping up to date with other public posting sites. Tasks include: recording volunteer work time, surveying their experience, evaluating their work, supporting office staff in the office and at events, mailing out maps, books, T-shirts and other items for sale through our website.

Skills/Experience Required: Customer service skills, organized and proficient with MS Word, Excel, and websites, prior volunteer experience.

Training and Support for Volunteer: One week of on-site training by WNCA volunteer coordinator

Date(s) Needed and Time Commitment: June 1-July 31, 20-30 hours per week, includes some Saturdays

Benefits of Position: Experience of working in the office of an established and busy environmental non-profit. Practice with the online sign up form ‘Sign Up Genius’.

Deadline: Apply by April 30 to Cynthia@WNCA.org with resume and cover letter.

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The 15-month Opt-In SWNC project wraps at the end of May, so it’s time for one more check-in with the citizens and leaders of the region — and this will be the biggest gathering yet.

A Regional Summit dinner is planned for May 8 in the Council Fire Ballroom on the second floor of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Hotel in Cherokee. Doors open at 5:30. Dinner and the  program will begin promptly at 6.

The event is free and open to everyone, but because space is limited, reservations are required. Sign-up information is below.

Hosted by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and the Southwestern Commission Council of Governments organization, the Summit will be part report-out of Opt-In’s draft Regional Vision and part celebration of the historic collaboration that produced it. Regional business and non-profits are sponsoring the dinner to assure affordability for everyone.

The event comes in the last month of a process funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Federal Highways Administration and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. It’s overseen by the Southwestern Commission, which represents the state’s seven westernmost counties. A consulting team headed by the Atlanta-based TSW planning and design firm has worked with the Commission and with citizens and businesses to shape a draft Regional Vision.

Its purpose: To better inform regional, county and town decision-making over the next two and a half decades. The near-final draft of that vision will be the Summit’s main topic.

Western North Carolina Chancellor David O. Belcher will keynote. Government, Tribal, business and non-profit leaders at the local, state and federal levels will be among the guests and presenters.

For more information about Opt-In’s background and progress to this point, check out the project website here.

To sign up for the Regional Summit on May 8, register online here

If you have questions, please contact Ben Brown, Opt-In communications director,  at  ben@placemakers.com or by calling him at (828) 508-5002.

CONTACT:

Donna Lisenby, Waterkeeper Alliance – 828-297-3777; dlisenby@waterkeeper.org

Lisa Evans, Earthjustice – 781-631-4119, levans@earthjustice.org

Frank Holleman, Southern Environmental Law Center – 864-979-9431;fholleman@selcnc.org

Julie Mayfield, Western North Carolina Alliance – 828-258-8737; julie@wnca.org

Duke protestRaleighLate last night, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory released his so-called “Comprehensive Coal Ash Action Plan” claiming the legislation will “close loopholes in state law to strengthen the state’s ability to regulate coal ash ponds.” But comprehensive review of the proposed plan conducted by environmental experts and public interest attorneys reveals that it categorically fails to live up to the hype and meaningfully protect North Carolinians from poisoned drinking water as well as another tragic and toxic coal ash spill. Despite repeated requests by news media and environmental groups the Governor refused to release copies of the plan until 6:38 p.m. – after deadlines for most news organizations.

CCAAP would allow Duke Energy to continue poisoning North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia drinking water sources with a witch’s brew of toxic heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and selenium because it allows Duke Energy to cover up coal ash ponds with dirt and leave them unattended and unmonitored on the banks of nearby rivers and lakes. The bill is a tremendous waste of time when people and the environment are threatened throughout the state. NC citizens desperately need real solutions – not a papering over of the problem.

McCrory’s proposal bends over backwards to accommodate Duke’s discretion at every turn, providing almost infinite options for closure and leniency concerning timing, and fails to set clear deadlines and strict environmental and public health standards that Duke would need to meet. For example, there are no deadlines for initiating or completing closure or for sampling wells within a half-mile from coal ash dump sites. In general, most deadlines are left to the discretion of Duke; the few deadlines that are mentioned include a clause that allows the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources to waive the deadline.

The bill appears designed to moot enforcement action that may actually result in real deadlines and real solutions. Whole sections of the proposal were copied verbatim from the woefully inadequate and uniformly rejected proposed consent agreements for the Asheville and Riverbend coal-fired power plants. This language was crafted after months of close coordination between the Governor’s administration and Duke Energy. They are now the subject of criminal investigation.

“This proposed bill does not require a cleanup and asks the Legislature and the public to trust DENR and Duke to decide what to do with Duke’s polluting coal ash pits,” said Frank Holleman, Senior Attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “The law currently requires Duke to clean up its coal ash pollution and the Legislature and the public should not be asked to trust the two organizations which are currently appearing before a federal criminal grand jury about their coal ash activities.”

When the consent agreements were originally proposed by Duke and DENR, approximately 5,000 North Carolinians and more than 30 community groups unanimously opposed them as inadequate to protect public health and the environment.

“This is just another blatant example of the Governor completely ignoring the voters and tax payers of North Carolina by making a gratuitous attempt to exempt his former employer from any real or meaningful requirements to clean up their toxic ash ponds,” said Donna Lisenby, Global Coal Campaign Coordinator for Waterkeeper Alliance.

Judge Rideway recently ruled that North Carolina law already gives DENR the authority—and the duty—to require Duke Energy to take immediate action to eliminate the source of its groundwater pollution. That state court ruling proves the Governor’s proposal to be a thorough waste of time.

“The Governor is attempting to negotiate the terms of a weak consent agreement in the legislature. This will only serve to make the bill vulnerable to further weakening by Duke’s lobbying machine,” Lisenby added.

“The bill is riddled with loopholes that benefit Duke to the detriment of the health and safety of North Carolinians and their environment,” said Earthjustice attorney Lisa Evans. “If the goal is to close and clean up the state’s dangerous, leaking and unstable coal ash ponds, this plan is an abject failure.”

“The Governor’s current proposal makes clear that he is happy to let Duke remain in the driver’s seat rather than take charge and use the authority he already has to address coal ash pollution,” said Julie Mayfield, an attorney and co-director of the Western North Carolina Alliance. “Duke and DENR also continue to act as if environmental advocates are not part of this debate. In fact, we started this debate, and the sooner Duke and DENR realize we will be part of the solution, the sooner the environment and people will be protected from coal ash pollution,” she concluded.

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orvis storeSpring days mean Orvis Days! From seminars to food and drink, Orvis Asheville invites you to celebrate and learn about the outdoors. Come enjoy Sierra Nevada beer and help support the French Broad Riverkeeper’s efforts to protect our mountains’ most important watershed. Munch on free lettuce wraps from the gourmets at P.F. Chang’s while learning about fly-fishing, fly-tying, and our local rivers.

APRIL 26 | 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Title: Tradd Little Fly-Tying 
Tradd Little is an 11-year-old fly-tier with an uncanny skill for tying precise and creative fly patterns. Completely self-taught,
Tradd will be demonstrating throughout the day his intense and
unique approach to creating one-of-a-kind flies. Be prepared to
see old standbys as well as Tradd’s own variations that not only
are beautiful, but also catch fish!

APRIL 26 | noon- 1 p.m.
Title: Blue Wheel Drive
Blue Wheel Drive is a high energy, hard driving bluegrass band that is based out of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. The band is keeping the future of bluegrass music alive with hot instrumental playing and tight harmony singing inspired by the traditional music of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Charlie Moore, Don Reno, and the Stanley Brothers.

APRIL 26 | 1-2 p.m.
Title: Bamboo with Lou
Lou Dondero is a local bamboo rod-builder and vice president of the Pisgah chapter of Trout Unlimited. He will be discussing the lore of bamboo fly rods as well as what it takes to build one of your own. Anyone who is a bamboo-phile or simply curious about the origins of modern fly fishing is welcome.

APRIL 26 | 2-3 p.m.
Title: French Broad Riverkeeper Presentation
French Broad Riverkeeper, part of the Western North Carolina Alliance, is dedicated to protecting a vital watershed right here in our backyard. Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson will give a presentation about the state of the French Broad, their efforts to keep it clean and healthy, and what locals can do to help. All donations throughout the day will go to benefit the Riverkeeper’s efforts right here in Western North Carolina.

Please see store associates or call 828-687-0301 for details. Schedule subject to change without notice.

AmeriCorps

 

AmeriCorps Project Conserve is a national service program in which members come from across the nation to dedicate themselves to serving Western North Carolina for an 11-month service term. Members are selected based on skill, education, experience, passion and commitment to service.  Project Conserve was founded in September of 2004 as an initiative of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) to respond to the growing conservation needs in Western North Carolina.  The program focuses on collaboration with nonprofit organizations, community groups and local governments to provide service throughout the region.

WNCA has listed the following positions with AmeriCorps Project Conserve:

  • French Broad Assistant Riverkeeper
    • The French Broad Riverkeeper Assistant will work with the French Broad Riverkeeper to protect and improve the water quality in the French Broad River watershed by engaging in water sampling, education, direct conservation, and volunteer recruitment.
  • Forest Keeper Coordinator
    • Forest Keepers are citizens that love their public lands and take an active role in their stewardship and management to help protect and restore these precious forests in a time of declining government funding. The Forest Keeper Coordinator will work with a group of dedicated Forest Keepers to schedule service learning events, organize stewardship activities, archive data, and facilitate citizen involvement in land management in the biologically and culturally rich Southern Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Outings and Education Coordinator
    • The Outings and Education Coordinator will work to engage citizens in environmental protection in Western North Carolina through outings such as hikes and paddle trips, outreach, and environmental education in both schools and the community. The Coordinator will also host a variety of educational events including the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and Asheville’s weekly Green Drinks’ programs.

Click HERE to apply and be part of our awesome team!

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atc_oval_at_magnet_lgJoin the Western North Carolina Alliance and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy on Saturday, April 26 for an outing that will mix work with pleasure.

We will hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail near Max Patch that features a vivid wildflower display, great panoramic mountain views of Mt. Mitchell  to the east, the Smokies to the west, and a serious infestation of the non-native invasive plants, garlic mustard and Japanese spirea. Time will be split between enjoying wildflowers and pulling garlic mustard and spirea.

 

Hike leaders are John Odell of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Josh Kelly of WNCA.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

Details:

This is a moderate hike. All participants must come prepared for wet weather and bring food, water, sturdy footwear, and work gloves (optional).

Carpool from Asheville:  Meet at the Westgate Shopping Center parking lot across from Jason’s Deli at 7:50 a.m.

Meet at the Max Patch parking lot at 9 a.m. depart by 4 p.m.

 

Spiraea japonica (Japanese spiraea)

Spiraea japonica (Japanese spiraea)

RSVP Required:

To RSVP, please email Education and Outings Coordinator Isabelle Rios, at Isabelle@WNCA.org.

Nantahala

Asheville Citizen-Times: April 6, 2014

“The public can give input on their favorite forest views, as well as how the U.S. Forest Service manages wilderness, specially designated areas and scenic views at an April 17 meeting at Crowne Plaza Resort. This public session is the latest in the three-phase, multiyear process of revising the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Management Plan.

Forest Service planner Ruth Berner said the plan, expected to be completed by 2016, will guide management of Nantahala and Pisgah forests on how to manage for timber, wildlife, water, recreation and other uses, for the next 15 years.

Nantahala and Pisgah are two of four national forests in North Carolina, covering more than 1 million acres of the Western North Carolina mountains. Pisgah and Nantahala are among the most visited national forests in the nation, with more than 6 million visitors a year.”

MEETING DETAILS:

The U.S. Forest Service will hold a discussion on wilderness and special designated areas from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 17, with a drop-in session on the Scenery Management System following, at the Crowne Plaza Resort, 1 Resort Drive, Asheville.

To participate in the wilderness and/or designated areas discussion, RSVP to NCPlanRevision@fs.fed.us by Thursday. For more information on the plan, or to comment, click here.

To send comments, use the comment link on the above website, or click here

 

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paddletrailhomeslide

We need you to help maintain and improve the world-class French Broad River Paddle Trail! If you want to lend a hand, please contact Kirby Callaway, assistant French Broad Riverkeeper, by calling (828) 258-8737, ext. 212, or email Kirby@WNCA.org.

April 10
10 a.m-4 p.m.

Meet: At the Marathon Gas Station on Highway 64 (map)
Bring: Loppers, gloves, lunch, water. If you don’t have any tools, let Kirby know and we will provide extra.
Project: At the Little River Campsite, we will be completing work on our new composting toilet, building a new picnic table, and cleaning up invasives around the property.

April 22
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Meet: In Marshall (map)
Bring: Personal boat, weed-eater, loppers, gloves, lunch and water. Let Kirby know if you do not have these items and we will provide them.
Project: We will be cleaning up the Evan’s Island Campsite. General maintenance will include weed-eating, mowing, and clearing debris from the tent sites. We will also be repairing tent sites and leveling them for the summer. Evan’s Island is a paddle-in only site, so we will put in the river a few miles above and paddle to the site.

April 29
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Meet: Ingles parking lot (6478 Brevard Road in Etowah)
Bring: Chainsaws, loppers, gloves, lunch, water. Let Kirby know if you do not have these tools.
Project: At the Rhodes Ranch Campsite we will be building a trail throughout the campsite, cleaning up invasives along the riverbank, and sawing logs in the river that are obstructing the trail.

2014 French Broad Float

Include any important information about your schedule. If you cannot meet the group in the morning of your first day, please indicate this so alternative arrangements can be made to meet up with the group.