Sunday, December 20, 2015

End of the Year Tax-deductible Donations to Preserve the Mountains

There are dozens of worthy organizations in need of donations to continue their hard work to preserve and conserve the beauty and ecology of the mountains. Here are just a few of the many we recommend for your last minute deductible donations:

Appalachian Voices, protecting the central and southern Appalachian mountain regionLearn the ways to donate HERE.  Sign up for the newsletter, The Appalachian Advocate. Upcoming events from Appalachian Vioces:

Christmas in Old Appalachia Dec. 5-24: Join the Museum of Appalachia as they recreate Christmas from an earlier era. Admission to museum required. Norris, Tenn
First Day Hikes Jan. 1: More than 400 hikes nationwide. Find First Day Hikes near you at your local state parks
Century of State Parks Poetry Contest Jan. 1-April 1: Celebrate the centennial of the North Carolina State Park system by contributing to this poetry contest
Animals in Winter Jan. 2: Interactive Nature Foundation presentation about what animals do in winter. For ages 3-10. Wintergreen, Va
Energy Efficiency Webinar Jan. 20: Ask our panel of experts questions about how energy efficiency can reduce your carbon footprint
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference Jan. 27-30: The 25th annual conference offers informative courses and field trips, practical sessions, networking, and more. Lexington, Ky
Appalachian Studies Conference Mar. 18-20: Save the date for this annual conference to encourage dialogue, research, scholarship and creative expression in the Appalachian region. Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Get a complete calendar HERE.

Every kid in a park program
 National Parks Foundation, celebrating 48 years of supporting our parks.  The National Park Foundation works to protect national parks, connect people to them, and inspire park enthusiasts. Make an impact for America’s treasured landscapes, historical sites, and ecosystems - today, and for generations to come. Get one of the FREE national park Owner’s Guides, filled with travel tips and inside information on what not to miss. It’s your one-stop resource to discover your national parks. Find ways to donate or volunteer HERE. The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016 - join the Centennial celebration by visiting your local parks and making a donation to save our parks for another 100 years.

Every Kid In A Park - The Every Kid in a Park initiative will provide an opportunity for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year FREE of charge.

Little Tennessee River
Little Tennessee Land Trust (LTLT).  In 2015, LTLT ( to become Mainspring Conservation Trust on January 1) conserved another 300 acres of land and started the process to conserve hundreds more; restored 1,500 feet of streambanks; and connected over 2,000 children and 1,000 adults to their natural resources through education and outreach programs.

Private donations make up more than 70% of the overall funding. YOU make a difference with the support you give. As of today, they are at 90% of the 2015 Annual Fund goal with less than two weeks to meet or exceed it. Please consider helping reach this goal by including the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee in your year-end giving today.

the devastation of mountaintop removal  end mountaintop removal and coal miningThe organization couldn’t do what they do without you -- it’s as simple as that. All year long, you lent your voice to the fight against mountaintop removal coal mining. This year, you supported grassroots community leaders as they fought for an effective Stream Protection Rule, demanded firm limits on toxic selenium pollution, and began building toward a brighter future by supporting the POWER+ Plan. You helped spread the word when we launched our Communities at Risk tool, which uses 30 years worth of satellite imagery to show how mountaintop removal is getting closer to communities. Now they are asking you to be a part of one more thing this year: making the work in 2016 possible.

As we close in on the 2016 public comment periods of critical water-related rulemakings, it’s crucial that we begin the year on a strong footing -- and that can be done with your help. Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution today. Whether you're able to contribute $10, $25, $50 or more, every dollar of your holiday contribution goes directly to groups working to end mountaintop removal. Help  end 2015 by donating to end mountaintop removal. 

photo courtesy of
Friends of the Mountain to Sea Trail (FMST).  Give through Amazon Smile. Amazon has created a very easy way to give to FMST through That website works the same way works, has the same products and uses your same passwords. The only difference is that Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to the charity of your choice. When you first use, it will ask you to select a charity to receive your gifts. It's easy to find Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on the list. After that, every time you purchase through, your purchases will help build, protect and promote the MST

3 Great Ways to Support the MST
ONE: Become an FMST member. Financial donations make this trail possible. You can join online or print and mail your membership form. Your donation will leave a legacy for future generations. MST license plate with HK
TWO: Buy an MST license plate. For $30 per year, you can show the world your love of the trail and help the trail financially too. $20 of your annual fee will come back to FMST to build, protect and promote the trail. You can now order your plate directly from NC DMV.
THREE: If your employer hosts a workplace-giving campaign, look for FMST as a giving option. We are a proud member of Earth Share which promotes workplace giving for conservation and environmental groups. We are a giving option in all North Carolina state and federal employee campaigns and in many local government and corporate campaigns too. FMST code numbers are: State employee campaign - 1102; Federal employee campaign - 30392; United Way of the Triangle - 60001159.

Wildcat Mountain acquisition, photo courtesy  Foothills Conservancy
Foothills Conservancy, celebrating 20 years.  Consider including a special birthday gift to Foothills Conservancy's Annual Fund in your year-end giving, so they can continue the work of saving the places you love across the Blue Ridge Mountains and Foothills.  Tax-deductible year-end gifts payable to Foothills Conservancy can be mailed to PO Box 3023, Morganton, NC 28680, or make your gift online at  and learn more about the places you are helping protect. **Gifts "in honor" or "in memory" of friends and loved ones make wonderful holiday tributes and will be acknowledged with a special seasonal card.**

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Wave of changes shaking up Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

this article re-printed courtesy of Carolina Press and written by John Ellison

CHEROKEE NC — Recent months have seen the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians experience a shift in tribal government driven by a new principal chief. But that’s just the start of it amid a rapid succession of political, economic and social changes. The tribe has opened its second casino and a new hospital while weathering debates over disputed pay to public officials, potential legalization of marijuana and other hot-button issues. For this overview of the EBCI’s key recent changes, Carolina Public Press reviewed extensive reporting by the tribe’s official newspaper, the Cherokee One Feather, and other media outlets near the reservation, along with videos of Tribal Council meetings and public records shared by elected officials and tribe members.

Patrick Lambert, new principal chief EBCI
New principal chief brings quick shakeups -  In recent years, the roughly 15,000-member tribe, which is recognized by the U.S. government as sovereign in many of its internal affairs, has charted its own course while being buffeted by many of the same forces that impact its neighbors. It is unique in WNC in how its gaming earnings have brought potential promise and peril. In September elections, Patrick Lambert, who for 22 years headed the EBCI’s Tribal Gaming Commission, which oversees the tribe’s casino operations, won election as new principal chief with more than 70 percent of the vote. He replaced Principal Chief Michell Hicks, who held the position for 12 years and opted not to seek re-election.  

He replaced Principal Chief Michell Hicks, who held the position for 12 years and opted not to seek re-election. Taking office in early October, Lambert instituted quick changes, shuffling the tribal government bureaucracy and instructing tribal employees to become more responsive to constituents by removing TVs from their offices and answering their phones more often. He also shifted some high- and mid-ranking personnel up and down the ladder of their respective agencies, garnering some praise and criticism along the way. And he began publishing his key statements and policy steps online, often via his Facebook page, in a move that’s brought new layers of transparency and public scrutiny to tribal government.

Carolina Press is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit online news organization committed to unbiased, in-depth and investigative reporting as well as educational opportunities for journalists, students and others in the 18 westernmost counties of North Carolina. Their vision is to promote an informed, engaged electorate to ensure government accountability by building the region's most reliable public interest news source.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stories of Mountain Folk for the week of 12-5-2015

Stories of Mountain Folk is a weekly podcast produced by Catch the Spirit of Appalachia and archived at Western Carolina University.

Podcast December 5, 2015:

Storytelling: Amy shares with you the beginning of a new direction in her life - “Love and Laughter.”  Music:   “Always” , the Richard Hayman Orchestra.

Creative Corner:   Doreyl talks with Thomas Raine Crow from Tuckasegee. Thomas shares some of his poetry and “Cracked Light.”   Music: There’s A Light  by the Cockman Family.

Stories of Mountain Folk:  Amy’s guest is again Jerry Ollis from Avery County who works in the banking business. Jerry tells how he met his wife of 36 years.  Music: “Cedar Valley Christmas”  by Terry Edwards.
Minnie Casey Storyteller

Let Us March on:  Mary Sue talks with her mother, Minnie Casey, who shares stories about life in Jackson County in the 1920s.  Music:  “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” by Victoria A. Casey McDonald. 

Down Another Road:  Judy’s guest is Laura Graham Crockett from Black Mountain.  They discuss Laura’s family’s ancestors, primarily her grandmother Della.  Music: “Grandma’s Feather Bed” by Home Delivery.

Closing Song:  “Your Christmas Gift” by Steve Ivey.

Christmas Lights Walking Tour at The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville NC

Continuing through January 2, 2016   Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum    Winter Lights is a three-acre nightly walking tour of The North Carolina Arboretum's nationally-known gardens, including its Quilt Garden and Bonsai Exhibition Garden. 

Image result for images of Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum
photo courtesy of NC Aboretum

Christmas Lights photo courtesy of
     Celebrate the holidays and discover the natural beauty of western North Carolina through lighted garden exhibits and landscapes. 

The 2015/2016 Winter Lights exhibit will also include animated displays that are programmed to illuminate to the sounds of musical holiday favorites.  

In addition, there will be several new displays and family-friendly activities that will be placed throughout the gardens. The Arboretum will stay open nightly from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Tickets may be purchase online or at the facility. 

For more information about Asheville Christmas light displays
and events visit our Asheville NC Visitor Guide