Friday, September 30, 2011

Organic After Hours

With a little bluegrass music in the background, Cooperative Extension, New River Organic Growers, and Vidalia restaurant teamed up to host the September Boone Area Chamber "After Hours" event to increase awareness of local foods. High Country Local First, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, and High Country CSA were also at the event to raise the business community's awareness of local agriculture. Chef Sam from Vidalia prepared a variety of appetizers from local foods including BLTs made from pork belly, micro-greens, goat cheese, and tomato "caviar", and pumpkin cupcakes. He also provided a cooking demonstration in the Ag Center kitchen that wowed attendees. Boone Area Chamber Director Dan Meyer spoke about the the importance of supporting the local food economy and attendees had an opportunity to meet some of the folks working with local food production and promotion in the High Country. Local farms represented included Zydeco Moon Farm, Watauga River Farm, Heritage Homestead, and Sunshine Cove Farm.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Less Rain Down the Drain

Most rain that falls on hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, roads, and parking lots flows directly into our creeks and rivers.  These high flows carry pollutants, cause flooding, erode streambanks and disturb habitat.  In contrast rainfall on natural surfaces like forests and meadows soaks into the ground, replenishing groundwater and streams.  Rainscapes are landscape enhancements that reduce stormwater runoff from properties.   Rainscapes simulate natural drainage to intercept, capture and absorb rain into the ground. 
Protect our headwater streams through Rainscapes.
Rainscaping helps to reduce: stormwater runoff from properties, drainage problems, pollution entering streams, water use during dry spells, water bills, mowing, fertilizer and pesticide use and rainscapes can enhance aesthetics, bird and other wildlife habitat, and property values.   As homeowners and property managers become more aware of the issues of stormwater management many of them are choosing to manage the runoff from their homes and businesses with rainscapes.

Examples of Rainscapes:  
Rain gardens - shallow depressions and serve as landscape features that can effectively collect and treat stormwater and reduce localized flooding.  Rain gardens can be integrated into the existing landscape as a retrofit or be included in the initial landscaping plan.
Dispersing water from downspouts - A downspout is a vertical pipe used to drain rainwater away from buildings to protect foundations. They are usually directed onto a driveway, or into a pipe or ditch that flows to a creek. Disconnecting the downspout flow from this system keeps rainfall on-site to spread over grass, landscaping, or into a wooded area.  How to install? The procedure for disconnecting the downspout will vary depending on where you want to direct the water. If the runoff from your roof flows directly onto pavement, consider using downspout extenders to direct the water to a grassed, wooded, or landscaped area. Runoff collected in a rain barrel or cistern can reduce your water bill. Dispersing from a downspout may involve cutting the downspout; attaching elbows, extensions, and splashblocks to direct the water flow away from the house or into a rainbarrel. There is very little maintenance involved afterwards.
Rainbarrels and Cisterns- A rainwater harvesting system, including small rainbarrels and larger cisterns, captures stormwater runoff from a roof and stores the water for later use. A rainwater harvesting system can be used to wash cars, outdoor furniture, or water gardens—even when water restrictions prevent the use of municipal water for those purposes. The chlorine-free rainwater also contains nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus that can help plants grow when it is used for irrigation. By using rainwater for purposes that don’t require treated drinking water, we reduce the demand on municipal water supplies and increase the sustainability of drinking water supplies.
Conservation Planting - Conservation plantings use native and/or drought tolerant plants that are adapted to local rainfall and soil conditions to replace part of your traditional lawn. When established, conservation plantings need much less maintenance than a lawn, though weeding and mulching will help keep it looking attractive.
Protect streams by planting trees and shrubs on the banks.
Tree Planting - By controlling erosion, reducing runoff through infiltration, and trapping sediment and toxins, trees help communities to save money. Trees lower temperatures through shade and evapotranspiration, which reduces energy needs and costs. Trees raise the value of homes and attract businesses and tourism. Urban trees reduce the “heat island effect,” cooling our cities by as much as 9 degrees. Trees remove harmful gases that contribute to smog, acid rain, and the greenhouse effect.
Info in this article is from the NC State WECO website:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cove Creek Farm Heritage Day

Turkeys strutted, apple butter was cooked down, corn was milled, 'taters were sold, and hit-n-miss engines sputtered last Saturday at the Cove Creek Farm Heritage Day festival. Despite morning rain, the sky blued up around lunch time and visitors from around the county got to visit an old-timey country fair---Cove Creek Farm Heritage Day. This was the first year that Cooperative Extension played a role in the event. Information and demonstration booths were set up to showcase 4-H and the Watauga Christmas Tree Association. Master Gardeners were on hand to answer plant clinic questions and Richard Boylan organized an on-site seed swap for folks wishing to diversify their landscape and gardens. Extension worked with the Farm Heritage Day organizing committee to offer contacts and exhibitors to help bring even more "Farm" to this annual Farm Heritage event. Ian Snider's draft horses for logging, the Norris family's "Goat Green" goats, and Colleen Moe's turkeys were big hits with the kids.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Modern Health Epidemics Solvable by Community Design

Imagine living in a Boone where every road has been built with the intent of allowing walkers, bicyclists, motor vehicles, and the AppalCART equal access. You may walk or bicycle to work or school without fear of being run over. Children have “play dates” by simply meeting neighborhood friends next to a stream, on a sidewalk, or on bikes. Fresh, healthy, affordable food is accessible to all.
Last week, community leaders had the privilege of spending time with Mark Fenton, a nationally recognized public health and “built environment” expert. Mark is passionate about changing the way we have been building our communities to combat the twin epidemics of inactive lifestyles and poor nutrition in our country.
Our next generation may be the first in recent history to have shorter life-spans than ancestors, thanks to chronic diseases brought on by modern society inflicted epidemics. Included are some cancers, high blood pressure, diabetes and diseases of the heart.
The only way to fix rising health care costs is to look at the root of the problem. Bottom line…it’s very difficult to take care of our basic needs of physical movement and a healthy diet anywhere in the U.S., except in a few communities who have made strong efforts to address the local environment.
Even though we know how good physical activity is for us, less than 25% of adults get the 30 minute per day, 5 day a week minimum that’s recommended for health benefits. The recommendation for children is one hour per day or more, which even fewer achieve. Mark contends that we need to entirely change the way our communities are developed to make a difference in childhood health and quality and length of life for the next generation. Instead of building another ugly big box store that is only accessible by car, communities should think of ways to enrich central areas that are accessible by all modes of transportation.
As a society, we should make it easy to get the recommended 30 minutes a day of movement without planning a stop at the gym. Simply walking or riding a bicycle as a form of transit could add up to 30 minutes and big health and societal benefits. Our entire community has to realize the importance of this idea. 
To begin with, our leaders have to make certain that walkers, bicyclists, AppalCART, and motor vehicles are treated as equals when roads are built or improved. Community leaders also need to be proponents of farmers’ markets by allowing them to utilize public land when available, pro bono or with minimal fees, to make fresh produce more affordable.
As citizens, we have to be vocal about supporting the efforts. When community meetings for Department of Transportation, county, or town improvement projects are happening, be there to voice your opinion about the importance of treating all modes of transport as equals. Let community decision makers and planners know how important local farmers’ are to us, and why they need inexpensive locations to sell healthy food.

With cool weather infiltrating the high country, soup season has returned. This recipe serves 4 – 6, but consider doubling and freezing some for a busy day.

Butternut Harvest Stew
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 ½ pounds lean, boneless pork or chicken, cut in ¾ inch cubes (preferably purchased from a local farmer)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
Heat butter or olive oil over medium low to medium heat in soup pot. Add ingredients and sauté until meat is no longer pink.

3 cups chicken broth
¼ teaspoon crushed rosemary
¼ teaspoon rubbed or ground sage
1 bay leaf
Add, cover and simmer for 20 minutes

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 medium apples, chopped
Add and simmer until squash and apples are tender, around 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and serve.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with NC Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups., (828)264-3061

Watauga Agent Wins Regional Award

Wendy Patoprsty, Watauga's NCA&T Natural Resource Agent, was recently awarded the Outstanding County Extension Program Award at the Southern Region Water Conference in Athens, Georgia for her overall county programming efforts. This is a USDA-NIFA award to recognize an outstanding Extension program in water resources over a 13 state region. Congratulations, Wendy!!

Environmental Field Days

Each year, the Watauga Cooperative Extension assists the county's Soil and Water department with Environmental Field Days. Over 300 of the county's 5th graders from most of the county schools come out each year to the Valle Crucis Community Park to learn about the environment, rotating through different stations. This year, Meghan Baker introduced the kids to the basic principles of Integrated Pest Management while Karee Mackey taught kids the finer points of cultivating earthworms and their benefits to soil through vermicomposting.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall 2011 Operation Medicine Cabinet


Watauga County, NC - Do you have outdated or unused prescription drugs, over the counter medications, syringes or other medical supplies? Drop them off at the sponsored take-back centers this October. Any prescription or over the counter drugs will be accepted, no questions asked.

Across Watauga County drugs will be collected on Saturday October 8th, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, in conjunction with Hazardous Household Waste Collection Day. Two new take-back locations have been added in Beaverdam and Beech Mountain, bringing the total number of locations in Watauga County to seven. Take-back locations will be available at the Beaverdam Volunteer Fire Department on Bethel Road, Beech Mountain Town hall, Foscoe Fire Department, and the three Food Lion stores in Watauga County: the Highway 321 store in Boone, the Highway 421 Deep Gap store, and the Blowing Rock store.

ASU will hold its take-back on October 7th, from 11:00am to 2:00pm in the Plemmons Student Union building.

On Oct. 3, 2009, a broad coalition of community partners came together to create the first ever prescription drug take-back day in the High Country. The event was a huge success, and collections have been held twice per year since then, once in the fall and once in the spring. In total the past four collections have safely disposed of over half a million pills and 60 gallons of liquid medication, making this one of the most successful drug take back programs in the state. Organizers hope to continue this success and collect even more drugs this fall.

The disposal of prescription drugs has long been a dilemma, and many medicine cabinets contain unused or outdated medications. Among teenagers, the fastest growing illegal drug use is the abuse of prescription drugs. The most common method of obtaining prescription drugs is by raiding the medicine cabinet of a friend or family, then consuming the pills or selling them.

“From a law enforcement perspective, one of our most important jobs is to work diligently and proactively to prevent drug abuse,” said Watauga County Sherriff Len D. Hagaman. “By hosting an amnesty day that allows the public to turn in any kind of unused or unwanted medications, hopefully, we will keep those drugs off the street and out of the hands of children.”

Another problem with outdated or unused prescription drugs is that people dispose of them improperly by flushing them down the toilet. If their home is connected to a local wastewater treatment facility, then the drugs wind up in either the Watauga River or New River. 

“A recent investigation by the Associated Press found a whole host of pharmaceuticals-including antibiotics, pain medication, anti-depressants, sex hormones, heart and blood pressure medicine-in the drinking water supplies of more than 40 million Americans,”[1] said Donna Lisenby, Watauga Riverkeeper.

ASU biology and chemistry students and faculty have conducted environmental tests to determine the effects of estrogenic compounds (including estrogen pharmaceuticals, plasticizers, and many alkylphenol surfactants used in detergents, cleaners, and emulsifiers) on male fish populations in the South Fork of the New River.

The results indicated that 60 to 66 percent of two species of male fish below the WWTP effluent are being feminized; tests with rainbow trout have yet to be conducted.

“Although preliminary tests have shown that pharmaceutical estrogens in the river just below the WWTP are right at levels known to cause feminization, it is unlikely that these levels persist very far downstream,” said Dr. Shea Tuberty, of ASU’s biology department. “Any attempt to reduce the quantity of pharmaceuticals in water is a significant step towards environmental conservation.”

Community members reached out to law enforcement officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Sheriff’s Department as well as the Boone, Blowing Rock and Seven Devils Police Departments. The river conservationists and law enforcement community united to fight the problem of prescription drug misuse.

“It has been an amazing testament to the collaborative spirit of our community to see how enthusiastically people have united to help host Operation Medicine Cabinet,” said Wendy Patoprsty, Watauga County Extension Agent. “We have over 30 community partners, including, Helen M. Clabough Charitable Foundation, MountainKeepers, Watauga River Conservation Partners, Towns, and police departments of, Boone, Blowing Rock and Seven Devils, the Ashe and Watauga County Sheriff's Office, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Safe Kids North Carolina, Boone Drug, Watauga County Recycling/Solid Waste Department, Watauga Riverkeeper, Appalachian Voices, Food Lion, CVS, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Trophy Water Guide Service, Rotary Club of Blowing Rock, The National Committee for the New River, MPrints, NC Cooperative Extension Service, Precision Printing, the Smoky Mountain Center and Appalachian State University just to name a few,” she continued.

“On behalf of all our partners, we are pleased to offer this opportunity to our citizens to safely dispose of unused or unwanted medications properly, and we hope you will come see us on Saturday, October 8th, and be a part of the community effort to save the rivers and kids from drugs,” said Watauga County Recycling Coordinator Lisa Doty.

To find out more about the event visit


Youth Water Art Show Sponsored by Watauga River Partners to be held at Art of Oil during the Downtown Boone October Art Crawl

Water is the key to life and youth involved with the Watauga Hispanic Summer Camp learned all about watersheds, clean water, and aquatic life with Artist Mar Startari-Stegell and Extension Agent Wendy Patoprsty.  The youth created individual art pieces with a water theme this summer and it will be on display during the October Art Crawl at the Art of Oil and you are invited to join us in celebrating our water in the High Country.   
Youth Creating Water Themed Art
 The first summer session the kids learned about fish and their adaptations to different environments through the use of an ancient Japanese art form called Gyotaku.   The Watauga River Partners purchased about 25 fish replicas for Watauga Riverfest years ago for kids to learn about fish anatomy and how they are adapted to live in water.  The Gyotaku fish replicas can be painted and printed onto paper using different colored paints.   The results can be beautiful. 
The second session the kids used water, paint, straws and forced breath to create aquatic looking ecosystems on canvas.  The art project was sponsored by the Watauga River Partners whose main goal is protecting our headwater streams through community education.   The finished artwork will be on display as will information about protecting our water resources at the October Art Crawl at the Art of Oil located at 819 West King Street, Downtown BooneThere will be tasty treats and beverages along with live music.  The art crawl is from 5-9pm.  Hope to see you there!  For more information about the Art of Oil visit their website at

Trash to Art "Visions of our Future" Competition

2004 competition - The Can Dance
Thinking of trash typically makes us think of dirty, smelly items that will end up in the landfills or on the sides of roads as litter.  But much of this “trash” is recyclable, reusable, and is a resource we shouldn’t so quickly “throw away”.  Where is “away” anyways?  It’s still on the planet.   Trash doesn’t have to go to a landfill or be a part of a negative environmental impact.  It can be recycled, reused and redesigned into beautiful art as well as functional items. 

Won’t you please join us in creating “Visions of our Future” trash art!  You may be wondering, “What is Trash Art?”  As part of the educational campaign for keeping litter out of our environment and waterways, the Mountain Keepers, Watauga River Partners, Watauga County Recycling, Watauga County Extension, Town of Boone, Watauga CountyLibrary, Elkland Art Center, Mast General Store, Stickboy Bread Co., and Earthfare, are sponsoring a “trash to art” contest.  

According to Watauga County Recycling Coordinator, Lisa Doty, an average of eight tractor trailer loads a day are sent to a landfill in Lenoir.  Last year 39,784 tons of trash were exported out of Watauga County at a cost of $1,330,991.  Recycling is not only good for the environment, but also for the County’s budget since we receive revenue from the sale of recycling.  Recycling rates for all materials have continued to increase over the past few years with a 61 percent increase in plastic recycling since plastic bottles were banned from landfills in October of 2009, but there is still a lot of recyclable material that is being thrown in the trash.  According to Watauga County Extension Agent, Wendy Patoprsty, “during this Falls River Clean Up, about 35% of the litter collected was glass and plastic bottles, and aluminum cans.”
Phone face created in 2004 Trash to Art Competion

We throw away a lot of good trash.  It’s amazing how usable our trash is, and we want to see the trash get a second life!  Cindy Ball of Elkland Art Center says “trash is a really affordable medium to work with and its totally available, everywhere, literally.”   It’s fun to start rethinking trash and how to minimize local and global impacts.  Judith Winecoff of Watauga Library makes a good point when she said “we’re doing two things at once, cleaning up as we create art.  So many times we don’t realize how much trash and litter is out there until we work with it and then we begin to take notice.”   According to Marsha Story “recycling has skyrocketed over the last quarter in the Town of Boone, in fact curbside residential recycling was 81% participation over the last quarter!” 

Entries can be brought to the Watauga County Library from October 3-8.  Please turn your artwork in to Judith Winecoff.  Judging will take place the week of October 10th.   Rules: The art can be no larger that 3ft x 3ft and must be creations that consist of at least 90% reused or recycled materials, nothing in the art can be purchased!  There will be two age divisions, youth 16 and under and adults over 17.

Awards will be given in each division to the top three and each participant will receive a gift package and certificate.   Art must be picked up the week of October  24th and you will receive your gifts and awards when art is picked up.   Please contact Wendy Patoprsty at 264-3061 or email with any questions.

2011 Watauga River Clean Up Results

Dumpsters are full, sneakers are wet, smiles are wide and the Watauga River is a whole lot cleaner!   Thanks to the 114 volunteers who cleaned up 3,740 pounds of trash on Saturday, September 10, 2011!  2010 results were 126 volunteers with 1,940 pounds.  See below the pics for more info.

This year’s river clean up could not of happened without the River Captains.  These are the people who shuttle, transport trash to the dumpsters, and provide leadership for the volunteers who show up to their site.  This year’s River Captains who led volunteer efforts in the Watauga Watershed include:  Barbara Michel of ASU Walker School of Business, Donna Lisenby and Erin Savage of Appalachian Voices Riverkeeper, Dick Hearn, Joan Hearn, and Teresa Buckwalter from the Watauga River Partners, and Travis Small, Andi Cochran of Appalachian Geographical Society, Jaimie McGirt, and Andy Hill.   Foscoe Fishing Company, Appalachian Angler, Watauga River Angler, and River and Earth Adventures are always ready to help out in any way that they can and I surely appreciate their help this year. Thank you all so much!!!

GDS disposal service was a tremendous help, providing open-top dumpsters across the watershed for volunteers to utilize!  Thank you so much GDS for helping to keep our rivers clean!!!  Watauga County Sanitation, Watauga County Maintenance also provided resources to ensure a safe and effective clean up.  Dee Dundon also helped tremendously with glove organization.

Some of the peculiar items volunteers found include a laundry basket, jock strap, boot, iron sink, microwave, engine block, plastic sled, buried gas tank, desk, bed springs and chairs.  The most common item found was beverage bottles and cans, approximately 300 lbs got recycled, but a lot didn’t.  So much stuff in the river I would never go barefoot!!

From Foscoe to Guy Ford Rd, volunteers got stinky, wet and dirty cleaning up the Watauga River - Walter Wall, Molly Miller, Elizabeth Blakely, Don Barten, Zackary Cockerham, Tammy Crumpler, George Rice Crumpler, Justin Allen, Terry Mitchell, Jennifer Brown, Sharon Cumbie Katie Brown, Hannah Stafford, Erin Jones, Phoebe Pollitt, Kai Benza, Katie D’Jernes, Cynthia Davis, Doug Washer, Day Wall, Ben Merritt, Parker Cannon, Cole Finley, Bricatta Travatelo, Allison Rodrigue, Stephanie Buescher, Andrew Hill, Ryan Scott, Chappy Cottwell, Andrew Brown, Melissa Alla, Ryan Walker, Hannah Sheets, M. Randall McNeil, Nancy Fisher, Mollie Jones, Madison Heaton, Joey Bennett, Lydia McDuffie, Daybelis Boyd, Kaitlyn White, Claire Phipps, Erika Barnett,  Sandy Ziegler, Kathy Brown, Ryan Sigsbey, Erin Savage, Emily Morris, Laura Gagliardo, Stephen Davanzo, Mike Mayfield,  Kayley Dana, Ian Myers, Kasey Wagnespack, Katie, Nilges, Megan Tweed, Sarah Tubaugh, Fleming Talton, Johnny ONeal, Jake Duckwall, Alan Marshall, Carson Garrett, Robin Hale, Philip Green, Matthew Helton, Haley Griffith, Sarah Rapp, Amy Rolf, Chelsea Konopka, Terra Davis, Becky Vang, Nick Tompkins, Jacob Michel, Steven Michel, Sean Cain, Katherine Tully, Jennifer Francavilla, Jason Kirschner, Tim Hetherington, Kyle cicenia, H. Patrick DeHart, Adam Letherby, Daryl J Barker Jr, Keith Delgado, Greg Astolfi, Kathryn Wheeler, Marlou Wheeler, Rose Wheeler, Karl Wheeler, Rosi Goetz, Wendy Lewis, Carol Babyak, Jordan Seagraves, Madi Barker, Karson Collins, Joseph Laclzey
Danielle Mulinhill, Kenare Wilsonand the Watauga High School Environmental Club and Lees McRae Community Club.

 Thank you to all the folks who contributed to this year’s Watauga Watershed Clean Up!  I am so grateful to be a part of this caring community!   We will have another clean up in June.  If you are interested in participating please contact

Wetland Workshops For Teachers

November 11 & 12, 2011
Hosted at Watauga High School in Boone, NC
Workshop website:
Space limited; register online today!

ASU’s Southern Appalachian Environmental Research & Education Center (SAEREC) has invited staff of Environmental Concern Wetland Learning Center to lead two workshops on their award-winning wetlands curricula for formal and informal educators.
  • Friday, November 11, 9 AM - 4 PM – WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands
    $45* includes WOW! curriculum and additional course materials
  • Saturday, November 12, 9 AM - 3:30 PM – POW! The Planning of Wetlands
    $50* includes POW! curriculum and additional course materials

Registration required – click here to register
(look under the November section of this site).
* Scholarships: ASU is sponsoring registration scholarships for a limited number of teachers, and we are fundraising to support additional scholarships. Interested teachers please contact Laura England at
  • Watauga County Schools will award CEU credits to teachers who complete these workshops. Teachers in other counties may check with their district office about receiving CEUs.  If you need documentation for this or otherwise need assistance getting confirmation of CEU credits from your school district, please contact Laura England at
  • Both WOW! and POW! are approved Criteria I Workshops for the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program. They can also be counted towards Criteria II or Criteria III if all Criteria I hours have been fulfilled.
SAEREC thanks the following partners for sponsoring registration scholarships for teachers: Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics, National Committee for the New River, Watauga River Partners


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sustainable Business Summit

Are you interested in

- Growing your business with sustainable business practices and principles?
- Exploring sustainable business opportunities?
- Sharing your sustainable business experiences and hearing those of others?
- Understanding how to use sustainable practices and products as a market differentiator for your business?

If you said “yes” to any of these, you need to attend! Come to get inspired and leave knowing what to do and how. The Summit features Dr. Pat Long Director of the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University. The Sustainable Business Summit will be held on September 30, 2011 from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center.

The Intent of the Summit is to expose participants to the compelling opportunities and benefits of incorporating sustainability practices or products into their business models, offer opportunities to hear from and talk to local business leaders who are successfully incorporating sustainable products or practices in their businesses, provide opportunities for participants to learn how to make their sustainability initiative a market differentiator, provide “how to” information on how to incorporate sustainability practices in the everyday operations of a business, allow participants to network and meet other business leaders interested in or actively incorporating “green practices and products.

Pat Long is the Director at the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University. He has extensive experience in grappling with the competing requirements of regional development and resource conservation. He comes to ECU from the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder, where he established the nation's first sustainable tourism center. Long holds tenure in ECU's College of Business and applies a much-practiced interdisciplinary approach in guiding the development of a new MS degree offering in Sustainable Tourism, as well as directing the Center's plans for multi-campus partnerships. He served for a number of years as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Rural Tourism Foundation as well as President/CEO of that organization. His scholarly publications have appeared in Annals of Tourism, the Journal of Travel Research, the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, the Journal of Business Research and Tourism Management, among others.

The Agenda:

8:30 Registration
9:00 Welcome and Overview of the Day
9:15 Choosing Sustainable Business Practices – why it’s the “Smart Business Direction”
10:00 Networking Break
10:30 Panel Discussion - Sustainable Business Practitioners
Networking & Lunch with Panelists
1:00 Workshops
- Making Sustainability a Market Differentiator
- Sustainable Business basics -Green Business Plan Certification
2:30 Adjourn to Tours (Optional)

To Register:
Send name, email, phone number and address with registration fees to:
MountainKeepers, PO Box 21 DTS, Boone, NC 28607
Fees for the summit are $40.00 or $20 Members of MountainKeepers, $50 on 9/30/11
Register by 9/21/2011 to qualify for lunch, please let us know if you prefer a vegetarian option
Make Checks payable to: MountainKeepers

This Summit is presented by MountainKeepers, in partnership with the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, Center for Sustainable Tourism @ ECU, ASU Office of University Sustainability. For more information about MountainKeepers visit, www.mountainkeepers. Display Table Space is Available call 828-268-0637 or email

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nickels-For-KnowHow...Fertilizer Referendum Vote, November 16

A self-assessed, state-wide check-off that supports agricultural research, extension, and teaching programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at NC State University will be held Wednesday, November 16, 2011 subject to approval by the Board of Agriculture. Users of feed and fertilizer in North Carolina will vote on November 16 whether to continue the voluntary 15 cents per ton self-assessment on fertilizer and animal feed produced in our state. Since 1951, the Nickels check-off has been voted on every six years and has passed in the 13 previous referenda by an average 90% favorable vote.

Dean Johnny C. Wynne of CALS says: “Virtually every significant advancement in agriculture in the last 60 years has received Nickels funding at some point. Without Nickels, our College would not be able to serve the citizens of North Carolina as well as we do.”

In addition, Nickels for Know-How provides support for fund raising efforts in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences that generate over $20 million annually in private contributions. This is a $50 return on every $1 dollar invested. Some of the entities that Nickels provides support include the NC Cooperative Extension Service Foundation, the CALS Research Foundation, the NC 4-H Development Fund, the NC FFA Foundation, the NC Family & Consumer Sciences Foundation, and the NC Dairy Foundation. Voting will be held at the Watauga Cooperative Extension Center on Wednesday, November 16. For more information, you can contact Jim Hamilton @ 828.264.3061

Friday, September 2, 2011

Horse Show

Teens plan horse show

If you know any horse enthusiasts, you probably know that enthusiast is an understatement.  Horse lovers are passionate about horses in so many ways.  Jacqueline Walczak and Jazmyne Maxwell are carrying their passion for horses to a new level.  The two Watauga High students have avidly participated in horse show for years.   They have traveled across the state to participate in horse shows.  Several years ago, they participated in the local 4-H horse show.  With a gap of several years in that show, the teens saw many reasons to continue to have a local show and decided to do something about it.  They began initiating their vision for a local horse show to re-emerge.  Now, all their work and planning is coming to fruition.  The Blue Ridge Open Charity Horse Show will be held the weekend of September 24-25 at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve.

The teens took the best from horse shows they had been to and created their own class list with different horse competitions.  The show is for all ages and abilities and is designed to be fun.  They also felt it important to donate proceeds to charity and have selected animal friendly charities to support.   They are eager to share the fun and enthusiasm with others.

To support or attend the show, visit their website or call Watauga County 4-H at 828-264-3061.  They are even on Facebook.  The date to pre-register is Friday, September 9, but participants may register the day of the event as well.  Pre-registration forms, manuals and more information are posted at

Producer Grants to Further Sustainable Agriculture Now Available

Producer Grants to Further Sustainable Agriculture Now Available

GRIFFIN, Georgia – Calls for Proposals for the 2012 Producer Grants, intended for farmers/ranchers and farmer/rancher organizations throughout the Southern region, are now available from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) program.

Proposal submission deadline is 11:59 Eastern Standard Time on Nov. 15, 2011.  Announcement of grants will take place in February 2012.

Producer Grants are used to conduct projects that solve problems farmers face and to develop information on what works and what doesn’t so that other farmers and ranchers facing those same problems can benefit from the results of the funded project. The grants are not designed to pay a farmer to farm. They are designed to take some of the financial risk away from trying a solution.

Projects may be funded for up to two years for a project maximum of $10,000 for an individual producer or $15,000 for a producer organization. Producer organizations should be comprised primarily of farmers/ranchers and must have a majority farmer representation on their governing board.

Log on to to download the current Calls for Proposal. The Calls for Proposal includes application information, program priorities, use of funds, proposal submission instructions, and contact information. Be sure to carefully follow the information in the Calls for Proposals when submitting your grant. Failure to follow the submission guidelines may result in your proposal being rejected.

Focus areas for Producer Grants include beneficial insect habitat, alternative crops/livestock, organic agriculture, sustainable marketing products, sustainable grazing systems, soil organic matter, building/protection/management, increasing sustainability of existing farming practices, appropriate technology and agroforestry/water quality.

SARE is a competitive grants program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote research and education about sustainable agriculture. Southern SARE is administered by a host consortium consisting of the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Oklahoma.

For more information on Southern SARE, log on to, follow us on Twitter at, or fan us on Facebook at

Western NC Bio-energy Field Day

Event:             Western North Carolina Bioenergy Field Day
Date:               September 14, 2011
Time:               12:30 Registration, 1:00-5:00 Educational Presentations and Demonstrations
Contact:           Ron Gehl,, 828-684-3562 x129
North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services invite you to attend this event designed to provide a time for researchers to share the latest information of the work being conducted on energy crops in Western NC.  Tours of research plots and processing equipment demonstrations will help extension personnel, growers, researchers, and private industry learn how we are working to meet the state’s renewable fuels and energy goals of the future.  The afternoon event will cover topics including the science of cellulosic fuel production, production of energy grasses, cultural management of bioenergy crops, high-oil crops and biodiesel production, sorghum production for biofuels, breeding efforts  and genetic improvements of biomass crops, and short rotation woody biomass and southern hardwoods for bioenergy. Speakers include NC State University researchers in Soil Science, Horticultural Science, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Forestry and Environmental Resources.  Field demonstrations will include biomass pelleting, oilseed crushing and biodiesel production, and sorghum harvest, squeezing, and distillation.  The field day is free and open to the public.  For more information, please visit or contact Ron Gehl at of 828-684-3562 x129.

Also, the Western NC State Fair will be going on that week, about 2 miles from the station, so you can make an afternoon and evening enjoying NC Agriculture!