Maintain True West, NC
Dates: March 21st – March 29th
Group Size: 2 student leaders, 8 participants
Running as the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition for 25 years, MountainTrue West is a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining a healthy water in creeks, lakes and rivers that flow into the Hiwassee River. The Coalition worked with local landowners, governments, schools and businesses to understand and address threats to the water resources. With a staff of knowledgeable professionals, the Coalition planned and implemented volunteer-powered projects to solve problems before water quality was beyond reasonable recovery. The Coalition also monitored water quality across the region and conducted education programs for all ages about water quality concerns and what individuals can do to help. MountainTrue West is continuing the work of the Hiawassee River Watershed Coalition by teaming up with other nonprofits and continuing to ensure high water quality in North Carolina as well as the states and watersheds downstream.
The team will primarily be working on issues related to the environment. This includes removing invasive plants from streamside buffer areas along past stream restoration projects, as well as other activities such as tree planting or installing live stake vegetation. There will be education opportunities about ecology and the reasons behind the efforts to control invasive exotic plant species, as well as the bio-stabilization techniques we use for streambanks, basic plant identification skills and values of native plants. Team members will also get a snapshot of nonprofit operations and some of the advantages and disadvantages of nonprofit work. The team will have an orientation session at the beginning of the week that is a sort of "crash course" that will make the team aware of why this work is important.
There will be opportunities to explore the cities that are in the Hiawassee River Watershed. The team will also have an opportunity to check out more of the trails in the area as well as visit a folk school.
Food, Lodging, Travel:
The team will travel by 12-passenger van from St. Paul to North Carolina. While the team is working with Mountain True West, they will be staying at the Hinton Center in Hayesville, NC. The team will be staying in the Sells Cottage at the Hinton Center equipped with a kitchen, a community room, and beds with linens provided by the Hinton Center. The long drive will result in the team staying at a church or community center along the way, organized by the two student leaders. Food will be provided by the site and the VISION program.