WATR recently learned that its proposed project, “Experiential Environmental Education in Dillsboro, Jackson County,” was accepted, and it will be funded by Resourceful Communities, a program of The Conservation Fund headquartered in Chapel Hill.

     The good news is that WATR will receive funding, the challenging news is that we asked for $15,000 and we have been awarded only $5000.
The grant has two objectives:
First, we will create an interpretive Buffer Trail at Montieth Farmstead Park in the natural area next to Scotts Creek.  Why is this so important?  Stream ecology is really protected by stream-side buffers for many reasons, and builders and landowners, by and large, do not know these reasons.
Second, WATR will complete a feasibility study for a Watershed Activity and Discovery Experience (WADE) Center – a hands-on learning center focused on our mountain watersheds.  Dr. Dan Perlmutter is leading this part of the grant.  He has already convened the first of several brain-storming workshops.
So the challenge is how to do much of what is promised with less resources.  The only way is to depend more on volunteer help.  Free construction by crews from the Oconaluftee Job Corps is central, but we may have to look for donations to cover material expenses.  Watch for a planning session at MFP in the near future.