On Friday, April 5 from 3-5 pm, the Blue Ridge Forever coalition of WNC land trusts will facilitate an educational forum with Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC), New River Conservancy (NRC), local leaders and state legislators at the Boone office of Blue Ridge Energy. In honor of Earth Month, these local environmental non-profits are joining with the Town of Boone and Watauga County to educate residents and public figures about the local and regional importance of conservation. BRC and NRC will highlight their current and ongoing projects, the benefits conservation provides to residents of the High-Country, and the need for public support to make it all possible.
“These state trust funds are critical for protecting and restoring clean water and providing recreational opportunities in NC,” says George Santucci. “New River Conservancy has received support for dozens of projects that have restored water quality and habitat on over 100 miles of river and streams. Healthy wooded river buffers filter out polluted stormwater runoff, improving water quality. Additionally, NRC has used these monies to add over 1,100 acres to New River State Park.”
John Ward, Boone Town Manager, will open the event with a welcome and introduction, to be followed by brief, project overviews from Charlie Brady (BRC) and George Santucci (NRC). Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion on conservation in the High Country with NC Senators Deanna Ballard and Ray Russell. We will close the day with opportunities for photos at two conservation sites– Middle Fork Greenway and Brookshire Park.
“Blue Ridge Conservancy relies heavily on grants from Clean Water Management Trust Fund to complete land conservation projects,” says Charlie Brady. “Clean Water funds not only allow BRC to expand Wildlife Resource Commission Game Lands like Pond Mountain and Three Top Mountain, but also enable us to protect environmentally sensitive lands that are home to threatened and endangered species. Grants from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund are also critically important to BRC’s goal of completing the Middle Fork Greenway, a paved ten foot wide handicap accessible greenway connecting Boone and Blowing Rock.
This event is free and open to the public. RSVP to [email protected] is requested, but not required.
About the speakers:
Blue Ridge Conservancy partners with landowners and local communities to permanently protect natural resources with agricultural, cultural, recreational, ecological and scenic value in northwest North Carolina. Charlie Brady’s role at BRC began while he was practicing at Clement Law Office in Boone. While practicing, he helped BRC navigate legalities of conservation easements and land acquisition. Charlie joined BRC as the Executive Director in 2017. A native of North Carolina and an avid outdoorsman, Charlie is enthusiastic about partnering with local and state agencies to better the lives of North Carolinians through land conservation.
New River Conservancy’s mission is to protect the waters, woodlands, and wildlife of the New River Watershed. NRC envisions a completely healthy New River watershed where people want to live, work and play. George joined NRC as the executive director in 2006, bringing with him experience as an educator for NC Cooperative Extension, public schools, Appalachian State, and Outward Bound. George has dedicated his professional life to the preservation and protection of natural wild places and is excited to share his knowledge and passion for the New River with attendees.
About Blue Ridge Forever:
Blue Ridge Forever is a collective campaign led by local land trusts and national conservation organizations. Our primary goals are to engage the public and raise financial resources to safeguard land and water in the Southern Blue Ridge for present and future generations.