Today’s Email Announcements

Published Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 10:10 am

1) Habitat Dedication Ceremony May 30 for New Homeowners

Spring in the mountains may come a little later than in other parts, but it is no less glorious when it arrives. Likewise, Tony and Kawana Hanick, as with all of our partner families, had to do a lot of preparation in order to qualify for their new Habitat house. While their home was being built, they logged hundreds of “sweat equity” hours, attended homeowner education classes such as personal finance management, Habitat mortgage closing and maintenance, and have also made consistent advance payments toward their closing costs. Now it is time to celebrate their efforts and those of our volunteers at a home dedication ceremony!

Tony has alternated seasonally working at Linville Ridge and Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, both for four years, while Kawana has her hands full with their three-year-old daughter, Lettie. Kawana grew up in Avery County and though Tony may originally be from Ohio, he is now proud to call these mountains home. With family and friends close by, the Hanicks will be sure to make memories in their new home for many years to come.

Join the family and Habitat for a service of dedication and blessing at the Hanicks’ new home, 196 Fuller Ridge Road in Elk Park’s Milford Meadows Community, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 30. Light refreshments will be served. Feel free to call the office at 828-733-1909 for directions.

2) Grandfather Mountain Launches Field Trip Scholarship Fund

Grandfather Mountain is pleased to announce its Field Trip Scholarship Fund, available to North Carolina school groups who need financial assistance to defray the cost of an educational field trip to the Linville park.

The Scholarship Fund honors the memory of Nathan Pribble of Apex, who died unexpectedly in 2014 at age 18. Pribble and his family were frequent visitors to Grandfather Mountain, and after his death, his family requested that memorials be made to the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

“Nathan was a nature-lover all his life, so it was only natural that we asked for memorials to go somewhere that would mean something to Nathan,” said his mother, Robin Pribble. “Helping students that otherwise might not have an opportunity to go to Grandfather Mountain is definitely something that would matter to him.”

In addition to individual contributions made in Pribble’s memory, the fund is bolstered by a generous donation from Holbrook Field Trips, an Apex company that regularly brings school groups to Grandfather Mountain.

“We at Holbrook Field Trips are grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the Nathan Pribble scholarship fund,” said owner John Holbrook. “For the last 30 years, the mission of our family-owned company has been to provide outside-of-the-classroom learning experiences to school students through travel. The greatest reward for our efforts occurs when we observe the eyes and minds of student travelers light up when they visit an amazing place for the first time.”

“It is our hope that through this scholarship fund, we may be able to provide these life-changing experiences to students who may not otherwise have the opportunity,” Holbrook said.

Grandfather Mountain hopes to welcome its first scholarship recipients in fall 2015.

The scholarship amounts will vary based on stated need and number of students.  Scholarship recipients may use the funding for all direct expenses related to the trip, including travel, admission and meals.

 Preference will be given to: North Carolina schools (pre-K through 12th grade); Title I schools or those with demonstrated financial need; and applicants studying a specific content area or curriculum unit that would benefit from field-based study at Grandfather Mountain.

 “We feel outdoor experiences at places like Grandfather Mountain enhance a child’s understanding of the natural world,” said Jesse Pope, assistant vice president of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “School budgets have taken big hits in recent years, and teachers have a much harder time justifying field trips. We hope these funds will help kids come experience this very special place.”

Applications will be accepted through June 30 for fall field trips and Dec. 31 for spring field trips. Visit grandfather.com/group-visits/field-trip-scholarship-fund/ for more information or to download an application.

An independent selection committee will review applications and determine which schools to award scholarship funding each spring and fall. The committee includes members of the Pribble family, as well as retired teachers and other individuals.

For Robin Pribble, being part of the scholarship review committee will be a labor of love.

Robin and William Pribble brought their family to Grandfather Mountain for the first time about 15 years ago when their kids were young, and the annual High Country trips became a family tradition.

“One of the key things we did every single time was go to Grandfather Mountain,” Robin Pribble said. “That was the no-brainer.”

Nathan Pribble was imaginative, gentle, infectiously outgoing and always ready to help those who were different, his mother recalls. He loved being outdoors, hiking the trails and crossing the Mile High Swinging Bridge with his brother, Carson, and sister, Kit. In fact, he preferred Grandfather Mountain to travels across the United States and abroad, Robin Pribble said.

“If it were between visiting somewhere else or going to Grandfather Mountain, he would pick Grandfather Mountain,” she said.

The Pribble family plans to visit Grandfather Mountain in June, when they will help dedicate a bench constructed in the Butterfly Garden in honor of Nathan.

The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325 or visit www.grandfather.com to plan a trip.

3) Watauga Soil and Water to Meet on May 27

The Watauga Soil and Water Board will have a regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 27 at the Soil and Water office, 971 W. King St. in Boone. The public is invited to attend.

4) Boone Community Appearance Commission to Meet May 26

The Town of Boone Community Appearance Commission will meet on Tuesday, May 26 at 6 p.m. in the Planning and Inspections Upstairs Conference Room located at 680 W. King St. Agenda items will include: discussion of color requirements, downtown design guidelines discussion, other matters by board members or staff.

5) Boone Sustainability Task Force to Meet May 28

The Town of Boone Sustainability Task Force will meet on Thursday, May 28 at 1 p.m. in the Planning and Inspections Upstairs Conference Room located at 680 W. King St. Agenda items will include: endangered species, farmers’ market update, composting update, solar maps discussion, bike proposal, sustainability charrette discussion.

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