Appalachian Trail Conservancy Hosting Environmental Monitoring Workshop on May 26

On May 26, 2012 ATC will be hosting a training workshop for environmental monitoring efforts on the A.T. The workshop will be held at Chestoa, near Erwin, and will commence at 9 am. The morning session will provide an overview of ATC’s efforts to monitor the seasonal life or phenological cycles of common plants including leaf-out, flowering, fruiting, and leaf-drop in the fall. The workshop will provide instruction on how to collect and report observations from established sites in the A.T. corridor. Phenology monitoring is a very intuitive exercise that does not require technical experience or botanical skills. People of all ages are encouraged to participate. The afternoon will be spent discussing rare plant monitoring. The workshop will serve as an introduction for new monitors and a refresher for past and current rare plant monitors. Participants will discuss how to locate monitoring sites using GPS technology, how to collect monitoring data, and how to report findings. For those interested in monitoring this field season, there will be a brief discussion of site assignments. There is no cost for the workshop and ATC will provide handouts and other training materials. Equipment will be provided by ATC staff, but participants are encouraged to bring their own GPS, binoculars, compass, or other equipment which may be used in the field. Participants are also asked to provide their own lunch and water, wear long-pants, boots, and layer appropriately for variable weather. To register for the workshop or get more information, please contact ATC’s Resource Management Coordinator John Odell, telephone (828) 254-3708, jodell@appalachiantrail.org.

Volunteer Opportunities at the 2013 Appalachian Trail Biennial Conference

Joe DeLoach and Steve Perri, atchair@tehcc.org, reporting

In 2013 the five Deep-South Appalachian Trail-Maintaining clubs will host the biennial national meeting of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The meeting will be held July 19-26 on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, about a 2½ hour drive from Kingsport. We are one of the host clubs along with the Carolina Mountain Club, Smoky Mountain Hiking Club, Nantahala Hiking Club, and Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. More specifically, we are responsible for workshops at the conference. We’d welcome anyone who is interested in presenting a workshop, and we will need volunteers to moderate the workshop sessions which are currently scheduled for Saturday and Sunday July 20-21. Volunteers are also needed to lead hikes; around 170 hikes will be offered during the week, and a leader and a co-leader is needed for each hike. Bruce Bente from the Carolina Mountain Club is leading the hiking program. If you’d like to help with the hikes, please contact Bruce at bbente@bellsouth.net. Any volunteers with interests in artwork and/or photography are invited to help organize and judge digital photography and children’s artwork competitions. Finally, volunteers are needed to work at the registration, housing, hikes, excursion, and information desks. If you are willing to help in this fashion, please contact Peter Berntsen of Smoky Mountain Hiking Club (rennur99@bellsouth.net) who is in charge of volunteer recruitment. It takes hundreds of volunteers to make a meeting like this happen. We certainly need more than two TEHCC people to help with the conference and with the workshops, so please consider volunteering. For questions about the Biennial meeting, contact Joe or Steve.

Open Letter from the President of Friends of Warriors Path

Dear Community Members,

Great things are happening at Warriors’ Path State Park!  We are blessed to have a park that includes horse stables, golf, swimming pool, camp grounds, hiking trails, biking trails, walking trails, a universally accessible playground, a universally accessible tree house,  a walking trail for the sight impaired, a lake with boating and fishing, a marina, tennis courts, picnic pavilions galore, and a planned amphitheater.  If that is not enough, we also have a dedicated staff always ready to serve the citizens of this great community.  And the numbers of volunteers helping to maintain our park is growing by leaps and bounds.  What more could we want?

Glad you asked.  We would love to have you become a Friend of Warriors’ Path State Park.  As a Friend, you would be kept apprised of the happenings at the park, invited to participate in and help plan key events, assist in maintaining the park, and suggest ways to improve the park.  Each year we have several “Volunteer Work Days,” where hundreds of people come out and participate in work teams.  We have cleaned Darrell’s Dream Boundless Playground, cleaned the stream that runs through the park, rebuilt the amphitheaters at the camp grounds, planted flowers throughout the park, mulched areas, and cleaned up the hiking trails.  Friends also help with the Autumn Festival, where hundreds of citizens come to be a kid again and enjoy the exhibits, eat the soup beans and corn bread, listen to the music, get their faces painted and enjoy the hay ride.  But there is much more to be done and we need your help.

If you are interested in getting involved, please complete the Friends of Warriors’ Path State Park Form and include the application fee; the money is used to assist staff with the Autumn Fest, to purchase the materials needed for maintenance, to purchase needed items for the rangers to work with area schools and scouts, and to help offset the expenses of the park when the state is unable to help because of budget woes.

We are really looking forward to 2011-12 and your joining us to make our park the standout in the state park system.  If you have questions, email Betty DeVinney at bdevinney@charter.net or call 423-967-2381.

Warm Regards,

Betty DeVinney, Friends President

GSMNP S.W.E.A.T. Crew Needs Volunteers

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has just put out a press release looking for volunteers to help out with their trail maintenance efforts in the Smokies. It sounds a lot like their version of Damascus Hard Core, so if you’re looking for more, or missed out on this year, here’s chance to do more AT maintenance. SWEAT Crew ATC Press Release has all of the details.