Happy New Year to all of WATR’s members and friends
Year 2011 ended with an impressive list of accomplishments, to be summarized elsewhere.
Now I would like to go over our intentions and our plans for the coming year. With challenging economic times, it is more important than ever that we get volunteer effort and donor assistance in order to accomplish our goals. Naturally, you and all our green friends want to know what we will get done in the coming year and how to get involved.
In December, the board and I addressed leadership needs and started upgrading our financial procedures for more transparent accountability.
Craig Green, our president, will rotate off the board. Tim Cochran, owner of a Swain excavating company, will move to our Advisory Board.
Three new faces will join us, each with essential skills needed by our association. Bill Lee – former newspaper reporter (and much more) will oversee and assist with our communications. Julie Thorner, owner of WillowWorks in Bryson City, is a marketing professional, and she will direct our efforts in publicity. TJ Walker, one of the founding members of WATR and owner of the Dillsboro Inn, will help coordinate our efforts at the Scotts Creek Stream-Buffer Demonstration Trails with the Aldermen and merchants in Dillsboro – his efforts will help as the Demo Trails serve as the focal point for a larger outreach initiative. We continue to look for financial expertise in the form of a Treasurer for 2012.
With this new talent in mind, I am developing the WATR Annual Work Plan for 2012 with board and volunteer input.
The key event will be the January WATR Public Meeting where members can meet the new board nominees and the ongoing board members, and hear about 2012 programs and tasks. The board and I will describe the programs, ongoing and applied-for grant projects, and member-supported projects. Projects include monitoring, reporting mud sources and following up, and much more.
There are also event projects – like outreach at Sylva’s Greening Up the Mountains, Swain’s Freedom Fest, our WATR Summer Picnic, and Fall Dinner. To the best of our abilities we will spell out the projects – show how they fit into our mission – and show where you can make a difference. We will have actual lists of tasks – small and large – critical to meeting our objectives for 2012.
We have an outreach project supported by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation that will be wrapping up this spring, plus a new project “River Cane education and mapping.” That was launched in November and that will wrap up in September. Opportunities for your involvement!
Work on the Scotts Creek Stream Buffer Demonstration Trails in Monteith Farmstead Park will continue. Because our first grant expires in early January, we are currently composing a follow-on grant application to the NC Conservation Fund. Although the extent of efforts will be determined by funding, WATR staff and our MFP group are committed to making our demo trails an effective backdrop for experiential environmental education in our wonderful watershed. We want to show western North Carolinians and landowners, in particular, the importance of good riparian zone stewardship.
So come join us on January 23, 2012 at 5:30 socialize or 6:00 (start of the meeting) at the Sylva Town Hall for our January Public Meeting. Be prepared to hear all the ways you and other green-minded friends can join in and protect our magnificent mountain water resources.
Right-now Job! If you can help supply refreshments, the meeting will be jollier, more fun, and – maybe – more productive. Call the office.
— Roger Clapp