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Today’s Email Announcements

1) Social Work Month Celebrated with Program March 23

In celebration of Social Work Month, the National Association of Social Workers Local Program Unit will offer two hours of ethics credit on Monday, March 23. We will meet at Watauga County Public Library at 12 p.m. for light refreshments and networking. From 12:30-2:30 p.m., Dr. Marueen MacNamara will be presenting “Human Animal Relations: Ethical and Service Implications in Contemporary Social Work Practice.” Please join us for this exciting presentation and networking time with colleagues. All professionals are welcome. $15 for the CEUs and free to NASW members.

2) Grandfather Mountain to Host Bee Colony

An ambitious group of High Country students is setting up a honeybee colony at Grandfather Mountain in an effort to educate thousands about the pollinator’s plight. But a recent reduction in grant funding for the project means the group needs additional support to fuel the project’s long-term success. They’re building buzz for the honeybee habitat with the creation of a specialty North Carolina license plate featuring honeycomb background, bee image and the words “Save the Honeybee.” The group needs at least 500 commitments to purchase the tag before April 1 for the state legislature to consider the specialty plate. For each plate purchased, $10 would go toward the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, and the remaining $5 would be split between bee research efforts at N.C. State University and the Bee Aware project at Grandfather Mountain. In 2014, students Claudia Button, Nathan Button, Kate Fitzpatrick and Maria Melissaris devised a plan to draw attention to the important honeybees, whose pollination is critical to food production. They wanted to highlight how the insecticides, herbicides and fungicides used each year by homeowners disrupt the bees’ lives and have contributed to a dramatic decline in bee populations worldwide. The Bee Aware Science Team was chosen in May 2014 as finalists in the Christopher Columbus Awards program and flew to Orlando, Fla., to compete against seven other teams. They won the competition and a whopping $25,000 grant to bring their ideas to life. To date, they’ve given presentations to 1,200 school children at five schools about the importance of the honeybee and threats to its survival, as well as sent materials home to parents about the effects of chemicals on bees. They also have addressed garden clubs, library groups and Christmas tree growers about how they can reduce or eliminate their negative impact on bees. “One kid said, ‘I thought bees just made honey,'” team member Nathan Button said. “He asked more questions about the bee hive and wanted to go home and tell his family how important the bees were.” But in January, Congress terminated funding for the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, leaving the Bee Aware project only half-funded. Now facing a shortfall, the kids need the support of North Carolina motorists to purchase the specialty license plates in order to complete the project as they originally envisioned. “When we heard that government cutbacks were going to keep us from getting the second half of our grant, we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to provide the necessary funds for the ongoing yearly expenses of the bee haven,” said team member Kate Fitzpatrick. “That’s when we decided as a team to put all our efforts into getting our plate passed.” The team has enough funding to install the hives, supply the bees and plant chemical-free flowers and plants for the bees to forage this spring on Grandfather Mountain. They’ll also install an electric fence to keep hungry bears from raiding the hives. The group also plans to create signs and supply a brochure to Grandfather Mountain’s guests to inform them about the importance of bees and how humans can help. “Grandfather Mountain is excited to host the bee sanctuary for the Bee Aware team — it’s a perfect fit for us,” said Jesse Pope, director of education and natural resources. “Installing the hives at Grandfather Mountain ensures that the team’s message will be received by nearly a quarter-million people annually, including about 10,000 students who visit each year on field trips.” What the team lacks is funding for a beekeeper to manage the hives long-term, money to replace flowers as they need replanting and help with ongoing expenses of keeping the colony abuzz. Funding from the specialty license plate will help fill this gap, the team hopes. “We have enough to do our beehive project, it’s just that we were going to do much more than just that,” Coach Jenny Fitzpatrick said. To learn more about the project or purchase a specialty Save the Honeybees license plate, visit www.beeawarenc.org. Plates must be ordered before April 1.

3) Nominations Sought for Business Scholarship

Nominations are being sought for a $750 scholarship offered by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Administrative Professionals Association (NCCEAPA) through March 17.  The scholarship is available to North Carolina residents pursuing a college degree (Associates and/or Bachelors) in business or a business-related field of study.  Applicants must be enrolled to attend classes at a college during the 2015-2016 school year. The scholarship is awarded annually to honor the work and dedication of Edith Herter and Frances O’Neal, co-leaders in forming the NCCEAPA in 1973. Qualified applicants interested in applying for this scholarship can obtain an application packet by contacting the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Watauga County Center, at 828-264-3061 or by visiting the center at 971 West King Street in Boone.

4) Stephenson Center for Appalachia to Screen Filmmaker Jesse Knight’s Latest Work, The Orbs, March 5

If you are looking for an escape from the winter blues, come to Lees-McRae College on Thursday, March 5, at 7:00 p.m. in Evans Auditorium to watch a screening of Jesse Knight’s feature film The Orbs.  As part of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia Lecture Series, Knight will discuss the process of producing a movie in Appalachia, and show his award-winning film. This event is free and open to the public. Knight teaches video production and other courses in the Communication Arts and Design program at Lees-McRae. Since earning his MFA in filmmaking at University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2002, Knight has produced a number of music videos and feature films. He produced and filmed The Orbs, a science fiction/horror film, entirely in Western North Carolina using talent from the region. The Orbs has won several awards since its release. Knight won Best Director and the film’s star Christy Johnson won Best Actress at the 2014 Killuride Film Festival. At MonsterCon 2014 and Roundcon Film Festival 2013, The Orbs was named Best Feature Film, and the Fright Night Film Festival awarded it Best Paranormal Feature. “We are fortunate to have Jesse Knight as a professor at Lees-McRae,” said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia at Less-McRae. “He represents a new generation of filmmakers who write, produce, direct and edit their work, stamping it with their individual vision. We invite everyone to come out and experience the movie and hear Jesse’s discussion.” The Stephenson Lecture Series is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the College at 828.898.5241 or communications@lmc.edu. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Lees-McRae College is a private, four-year college offering diverse baccalaureate degrees, strong athletic programs and outstanding faculty. With 950 students hailing from 31 states and more than 8 countries, Lees-McRae’s broad core curriculum is enhanced by field-specific career preparation and experiential learning. For more information, please visit www.lmc.edu or call 828.898.5241.

5) Downtown Boone EGG-Stravaganza Held March 28

The Downtown Boone Development Association, the Town of Boone, the Jones House Community Center and the Watauga County Public Library are delighted to announce the 14th annual downtown Boone Easter Egg-Stravaganza. This downtown spring tradition will take place on March 28, from 2-4 p.m. The fun begins at the Watauga County Library at 2 p.m., where children and families can enjoy live entertainment and arts and crafts followed by an Easter parade to the Jones House Community Center. Once at the Jones House, families and children can participate in the exciting Jones House Easter Egg hunts. There will be local community groups at the Jones House offering treats, games and other fun activities. Who knows? Maybe the Easter Bunny will make an appearance! We are looking forward to another wonderful EGG-Stravaganza with the Boone community. For more information call 828-268-6280.

6) International Day of Peace Planning Meeting Held March 23

For the past nine years, community members have come together to acknowledge the International Day of Peace, Sept. 21. There have been concerts, parades, art exhibits, open mics, teach-ins, vigils, puppet shows, film screenings, letter writing to prisoners of conscience, arts activities, and more. A planning meeting for IDP 2015 will be March 23rd, at the Watauga County Library at 5:30 pm.

7) Banner Elk’s Second Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Pet Egg Hunt Held March 28

Join the fun in Banner Elk for the 2nd Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Pet Egg Hunt in Tate-Evans Park! The day will begin at the Banner Elk Café with Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at 9:30 a.m.  From there, the Easter Bunny will head over to the park. The Town of Banner Elk, Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstone Cabin and Lodge are sponsoring the Children’s Egg Hunt, beginning at 11 a.m.  After the egg hunt there will be a magic show by Jacob McCormick, music, dancing, face painting and wagon rides. My Best Friends’ Barkery and the Avery County Humane Society have joined forces this year for the Pet Egg Hunt. All dogs and owners welcome! Pets must be on a leash and up to date on vaccines. The Pet Egg Hunt will begin at 1 p.m. The inaugural event last year was a great success, bringing around 500 people to the park.  Pets, children, and parents all reported having a wonderful time.  The Easter Bunny is excited to continue this fun tradition! For more information visit: www.bannerelk.org.