Speak out in support of the 2015 Park and Rec budget

Below is a message from County Manager Dena Diorio. Make plans to attend at least one of the meetings and speak out about increased funding for nature preserves, greenways, and other Mecklenburg Park and Recreation programs.

Click on the link to learn more about the Mecklenburg County Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

Taking the FY2015 Budget ‘On the Road’

In anticipation of presenting my recommended budget to the Board on May 29, over the next few weeks I will be making informational presentations to six different civic groups throughout the County.

During these “roadshow” presentations, I will be talking about how the overall budget process works and then taking questions from the audience. I believe these interactive, face-to-face meetings will help increase public engagement and interest in County government as we head into FY2015.

My first presentation will be at Charlotte Senior Centers, Inc. at 2225 Tyvola Rd. on Wednesday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more dates and locations, please see the calendar reminders below.

Calendar

Environmental Leadership Workshop -Taking Passion and Activism to the Next Level

Make plans to join us this coming Saturday! The workshop is free but please RSVP to register.

Enviro Leadership Workshop May 10 2014

Please join us for for a workshop to find out how you can do more in your community and become a leader! For most people activism consists of lobbying officials from ‘outside’ the decision making process, but you can help change the future by getting involved in decision making on the inside. At this event you’ll hear from environmental-minded local leaders, learn how to make positive changes in your local community, and explore how to go from concerned citizen to service on a board or commission.

Event Details

When: 9:30am – 11:30am, May 10, 2014

Where: Central Piedmont Community College, Elizabeth Classroom Building, Auditorium Room #ECB 1106

Cost: FREE, light breakfast and refreshments will be provided from 9:30am-10:00am.

For more information or to register: leadership@ncconservationnetwork.org

*Pre-registration is required for this event.

 

 

And the winners of the 2014 Sustain Charlotte awards are…

Congratulations to all these companies and individuals that help to preserve and protect our environment!

Here’s the announcement from Sustain Charlotte:

WHAT A NIGHT!
We’d like offer a heartfelt word of thanks to everyone who helped make our 3rd Annual Community Sustainability Awards + Earth Day Celebration such an inspiring evening!

270 gathered at UNC Charlotte Center City to celebrate the 2014 Sustain Charlotte Awards.

This was our biggest awards event yet — here’s a few numbers!

  • 270 attendees!
  • 200 pounds of electronic waste collected from attendees for responsible and localrecycling by eCycleSecure!
  • 70 nominees honored!
  • 18 sponsors!
  • elected officials in attendance including: Charlotte Mayor Clodfelter, Charlotte City Council Members Autry, Lyles, Mayfield, Kinsey, and Howard and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Cotham!
  • waste created!  All items needed are being reused or composted!
(L-R): Charlotte Mayor Clodfelter, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Cotham, City Council Member Howard

Sustain Charlotte Founder and Director Shannon Binns opened the evening by reminding the audience that, “We are all just a few of the one billion people who are participating in an Earth Day event today, making it the largest civic observance in the world. The tremendous turnout this evening is a testament to our region’s growing awareness and commitment to caring for that which sustains us, and those who will come after us.

Sustain Charlotte Executive Director Shannon Binns

City Council Member John Autry welcomed the audience by thanking our nominees, and Sustain Charlotte, for making our community better: “It’s wonderful to have a partner like Sustain Charlotte — an organization you can count on for accurate information, strong advocacy, and a passion for a sustainable community.

 

                        
City Council Member John Autry
Keynote speaker Alicia Roskind, founder and owner of Okra Yoga, Massage, Tea & Coffee, spoke about the importance of vision and intention as Charlotte moves toward a more sustainable future:The Charlotte 2030 Vision for Sustainability that Sustain Charlotte launched four years ago laid the foundation of possibility and created an open invitation for others in the Charlotte community to create, dream, and inspire change. And those people being honored tonight accepted this invitation and are helping realize this vision, whether knowing it or not, by having their own unique and powerful visions for themselves, our community, and our world.”


Keynote speaker and founder of Okra Alicia Roskind
Ashley Batey of WBTVgenerously donated her time and talent as our Master of Ceremonies during the awards presentation.

WBTV Meteorologist Ashley Batey
In addition to highlighting 70 local organizations and individuals for their innovative work to move us towards sustainability, we presented 11 awards to our most outstanding nominees as selected by a panel of Sustain Charlotte volunteers.  
And our 2014 winners are…

Danny Pleasant (far left) and Vivian Coleman accepting 2014 Transportation award on behalf of Charlotte DOT.
2013 winner Ray Atkinson (center) presenting.

Tobe Holmes and Allison Billings (center) accepting 2014 Land Use award for Charlotte Center City Partners.
2013 Buildings + Homes winner Craig Lewis of Lawrence Group (far left) and 2013 Parks + Open Space winner Jim Garges of Mecklenburg County Park & Rec (far right) presenting.


Mike Davis accepting 2014 Energy award on behalf of the NC Sustainable Energy Association.
CMS’s Diana Kooser presenting on behalf of 2013 winner Phil Berman.


Ronnie Goins (L) and Joe Fass (R) accepting 2014 Waste Reduction award on behalf of Eaton Corporation.
2013 winner Jennifer White presenting.


Rebecca Cheatham, June Blotnick, + Mary Stauble accepting 2014 Air Quality award for Clean Air Carolina.

Sustain Charlotte Board Chair Jenifer Daniels presenting on behalf of 2013 winner Leslie Rhodes of Mecklenburg County Air Quality.


Leconte Lee (center) and Nick Nock (right) accepting 2014 Food award for their business, Go-Go Fresco.
Sustain Charlotte Board Chair Jenifer Daniels presenting on behalf of 2013 winner Cassie Parsons.


Julie Stancil, Bridgett Williams + Kelly Merkl accepting 2014 Social Equity award on behalf of MGR Charlotte.
2013 winner Barney Offerman presenting.


Rick Roti, Debra Glennon, + Ron Shearin of the Charlotte Public Tree Fund accepting the 2014 Water award.
Diana Daniels presenting on behalf of 2013 winner Rick Gaskins of Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation.


Joe + Pamela Robinson accepting the Sustainable Economy award on behalf of their business, PPRE Forevergreen. 2013 winner Shannon Johnson with Albemarle Downtown Development presenting.


Billy Booe accepting Outstanding Educator award on behalf of winner Cindy Moss with Discovery Education.
2013 winner Regina Guyer of UNC Charlotte presenting.


2014 Overall Outstanding Leader David Walters of UNC Charlotte.
2013 winner Bill Gupton of the Central Piedmont Sierra Club Chapter presenting.


All award plaques made from Forest Stewardship Council certified bamboo – a fast growing resource!

Although there could only be one winner per category, we want to congratulate ALL of our nominees for the amazing work they’re doing!

What does McCutcheon decision mean?

McCutcheson Decision

McCutcheon vs. Federal Elections Commission

Last week the Supreme Court handed down a narrow 5-4 ruling, striking down a decades-old cap on the total amount an individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle. Prior to April 2, an individual donor was capped at giving $123,200 in a two year election cycle to federal candidates, political action committees (PAC), and political parties. After this very narrow Supreme Court decision, an individual can now contribute more than $3.5 million to candidates, political parties, and PACs. This means one person can give the maximum amount to every single House and Senate race, party and PAC. Super wealthy donors can give money to uncontested races, then those candidates can redirect the money to targeted races.  

The original lawsuit was brought to the Supreme Court by climate change denying, coal businessman, Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee. McCutcheon wanted to be able to have even more influence over elected officials.
Let’s be clear, the elimination of this cap does not help you or me. Only around 1200 Americans met the cap of $123,200 in recent elections. To put this into context, $123,000 is more than double the typical income of an American household. This only helps the 1% of the 1%. When creating policies, elected officials will be even more accountable to wealthy polluters, instead of every day Americans. 
 
What McCutcheon does not do
1) It does not lift the contribution cap to individual candidates. However, the Supreme Court left the door open to potentially overturn campaign contribution limits in individual races. 
2) It does not affect super PAC contributions. McCutcheon was solely about contributions directly to candidates, parties and PACs. 
 
What is the Sierra Club doing about it?
The Sierra Club, along with NAACP, Communications Workers of America and Greenpeace, created the Democracy Initiative to help address some of the greatest threats to our democracy: the undue influence of money in politics, unprecedented attacks on voting rights, and dysfunction of the U.S. Senate. The Democracy Initiative has grown to 44 endorsing organizations, including MoveOn.org, SEIU, AFSCME, National Council of La Raza, and Common Cause. Collectively, we are working to engage issue-based membership organizations to engage more deeply to restore our democracy to one of, by and for the people. 
 
To better incorporate this work into all levels of the Sierra Club we recently created the Sierra Club Democracy Program. The same corporate polluters we all fight against to defend our air and water, are the same people pumping money into the pockets of candidates and the same people supporting laws that suppress voters. We mobilized around the McCutcheon decision with Sierra Club members and staff participating in rapid response events around the country on the day the decision was handed down. With a diverse range of coalition partners we are building a movement of organized people to push back on organized money. 
 
What you can do 
1) Help spread the word. Share this image on Facebook.  
2) Along with our allies we are working to mobilize letters to the editor to local and state papers. 
    *We will provide sample LTE language and messaging in a follow up email. 
3) In the coming weeks, we are reaching out to Sierra Club chapter leaders and staff about how to
    engage more deeply in this work over the long term. 
 
More information on McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission 
1) Sierra Club Statement & Blog on McCutcheon
2) Analyses of McCutcheon decision by Demos
This is a fight we can win because organized people can beat organized money.
Thanks,
Courtney

Courtney Hight
Director, Democracy Program
Sierra Club
50 F Street NW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20001

 

Help Mecklenburg Park and Recreation Plan Its Future

Do you like trees, trails, nature preserves, greenways, parks, environmental education, sports facilities, and other venues that make our county greener and more sustainable? I thought so! Then take some time and share your thoughts about the future plans for our Mecklenburg Park and Recreation!

P.S. Why not also get out today and explore a new county park or nature preserve? And when you see a Park & Rec staff member, thank them for preserving and protecting our special areas!

Meck Park and Rec

Help Park and Recreation Plan Its Future

The Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department is updating its comprehensive master plan, and they want your input.

The master plan is more than just a capital investment plan. It includes recreation and educational program services, policy recommendations, service levels, revenue/sponsorship/cost recovery recommendations, and marketing. Park and Recreation updates the master plan every five years in an attempt to ensure services are closely aligned with the needs of our residents. It serves as a “blueprint” for future initiatives, facilities, and programs, as well as strategies for accomplishing the goals of the plan.

View recommendations and provide input here

Advocating With Compassion – April 27th

Make plans to join our environmental justice partner, North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light, as they sponsor this powerful workshop on how to become a better steward and advocate for our environment.

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Free Workshop!
Advocating With Compassion

Hilton Charlotte University Place
April 27th 2014, 3 – 5 pm

NC Interfaith Power & Light invites you to join us for a workshop on the moral call to be good stewards of Creation.  We will explore what it means to be an advocate and why the faith voice is so valuable in public policy.  Presentations will also include how the policy process works, the current political lay of the land in NC, pressing environmental issues before the NC General Assembly, and ways your community can make a difference.

Our presenters are:

Please join us for this workshop and discover ways your faith community can effectively call for change!Free and open to the public.  Please register now by clicking this link

For more information please contact: Veronica Shingleton veronica@harmonizingstrategies.com

Spring Cleaning, Homemade and Detoxified

Here’s the latest info from the Sierra Club daily tips “The Green Life”. If you like what you see here, you can signup for some great tipis and stories. So roll up your sleeves and tackle Spring Cleaning in a greener way!

It's time for spring cleaning. Attempting to spiff up every nook and cranny in your home can be stressful

Spring Cleaning, Homemade and Detoxified

It’s time for spring cleaning. Attempting to spiff up every nook and cranny in your home can be stressful, but did you also know it can expose you and your loved ones to dozens of harmful toxins? Just thinking of the harsh fumes and neon hues must have you wondering if there’s a better, safer way.

Get cleaning!

Green Spring Cleaning: Save the Paper Towels Book Review Wednesday: Home Cleaning Green Spring Cleaning: Clean Slate, New Habits

NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – March 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

Before long, 55 days to be exact, the 2014 session of the legislature will convene in Raleigh.

But please don’t wait until May 14 to ask your legislator to take action to close down Duke Energy’s unlined coal ash ponds that are threatening our state’s rivers and groundwater!

Whether you’ve never met your state legislator in before, or if you’ve  known him or her all your life –  now is the time to talk coal ash. Calls, email and personal  meetings with legislators to rally support for a ban on wet coal ash ponds is urgently needed. To get involved with the Sierra Club’s Volunteer Lobby Corps, please contact chapter organizer Zak Keith (zak.keith@sierraclub.org).

But the Sierra Club isn’t only about protecting our natural resources–it’s also all about promoting and exploring them.

Much of this March newsletter is dedicated to North Carolina’s wilderness areas. There’s a contest for folks who want to visit all of the wilderness areas in North Carolina. We also have tons of outings coming up for you to join.   Four of them are coming up this Saturday!

We hope you enjoy this issue of Footnotes, and are getting geared up for an action packed year ahead of us!

With warm wishes,

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

Coal Ash Update

You know the basics by now.  Nearly 40,000 tons of coal ash ran into the Dan River last month. Since then, the news has been changing every day.  That’s why we have a Coal Ash Updates page on our website.

To stay current on the latest from news outlets all over the country about what’s happening right here in our back yard,  bookmark the Coal Ash Updates page, and you will always have the most recent news on the coal ash spill!

What’s in Your Lake?

Jordan Lake - Background - convio123.jpgjlaa action button123.png

You likely remember that the state legislature froze protections for Jordan Lake last year. The Jordan Lake Rules were adopted in 2009 in an effort to clean up the lake, which is a popular recreation destination and a source of drinking water for 300,000 people. Last year, those clean-up rules were delayed for three years and, instead, the legislature directed nearly $2 million in taxpayer funds to a pilot project to lease 36 floating water mixers. Meanwhile, developers will get a three year reprieve from having to control the runoff that is plaguing the Lake.

Click here to tell the Army Corps of Engineers to protect Jordan Lake.

The Army Corps of Engineers? Yes. The Corps has the final say in whether or not the water mixers can go into the lake There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about the water mixers in Jordan Lake.

Click here to read about some of the reasons that replacing the long negotiated Jordan Lake Rules with water mixers is a bad idea. And then send your thoughts on to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Calling All Politicos (For Members Only!)

Register-Today123.jpg

Don’t miss this opportunity to deepen your knowledge and learn from the best.  Join Chapter Political Committee Chair Harry Johnson & former chair Ken Brame as they cover the basics of the Sierra Club Political Committee and get you ready for the ever exciting political season ahead. The training will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in Greensboro. Registration is required (but it’s also free).

The meeting is for Sierra Club members who want to participate in this year’s elections on any level. Topics for the day include: an overview of the political landscape, introduction to the endorsement process, building a local political committee, managing a volunteer field campaign, and more!

Click here to register today to make sure you are prepared to make a difference in this year’s political campaigns in your community!

Are You Up for the Challenge? Get Ready to Explore Our Wild NC

Wilderness Explorer Patch.jpg

This time of year, Sierrans are ready for winter to be over and outdoor adventures to begin in earnest.  This year, they are in for a treat.  The Wilderness Committee has announced the Explore Our Wild NC Challenge. The only question is: are you up for it?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NC Wilderness Act and to increase awareness about our state’s 12 wilderness areas and 5 study areas, the NC Sierra Club is offering a certificate and limited edition patch to anyone who visits all of these areas.

We cannot think of a better way to experience our state than getting outdoors and exploring every one of its true wilderness areas. Click here if you want more information or have already decided that you want to register for the challenge.

Wilderness Study Areas

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act, each month we will highlight a wilderness area or a piece of history about how these areas became protected.  This month, we celebrate the Wilderness Study Areas in our state.

Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) share many of the same characteristics of designated Wilderness Areas but have not yet received full designation by the US Congress.  There are five WSAs protected by the US Forest Service in North Carolina.

In Nantahala National Forest we have Overflow Creek and Snowbird. In Pisgah National Forest, we have Harper Creek, Lost Cove and Craggy Mountain totaling 25,816 acres.  Most were set aside by the NC Wilderness Act of 1984 and have since been recommended for wilderness designation, however some have been threatened with declassification.

These areas could potentially be impacted through the comprehensive revision to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests’ Land Management Plan which is currently underway.  Please see these documents which were released earlier this week for more information about the revision plan: Scoping Letter from the US Department of Agriculture and An Explanation of the Need to Change the Plan.

Many Wilderness Study Areas were first identified by the Forest Service’s Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE) of 1972 and the RARE II report of 1979, which was more thorough.  Although restrictions for usage are less stringent, WSAs are intended to receive the same protection from development as Wilderness Areas until such time as Congress decides to take action.

Click here to learn more about these study areas. Maybe then you can start planning your next hiking trip!

Wilderness Study Areas.jpg

Featured Wilderness Outing!

April 5 – Harper Creek Waterfalls in Harper Creek and Lost Cove Study Areas

This hike is part of the Our Wild North Carolina Celebration!  This is an easy day hike about 7 miles total. The falls are about 200 feet high and are in the Wilderness Study Area which is nestled in the adjacent areas of Avery, Burke and Caldwell Counties. Aside from the falls, the study areas are a regular nesting site for Peregrine falcons.

You will need to bring lunch, water, and rain gear. For more information call Joel Wooten at 336-466-1314 before 9:00 pm at or email him at joeltotopmountain@gmail.com.  Wilderness outings are limited to 10 hikers.

Inner City Outings Program

barber-hike.jpgKaran Barber, Charlotte ICO Chair, leads a recent outing.

Charlotte Inner City Outings officially announced the launch of a new program to connect area youth with nature. Inner City Outings (ICO), is a community outreach program of the Sierra Club that seeks to provide urban youth and adults with positive outdoor experiences. The goal of Charlotte ICO is to allow participants to discover the beauty of wild places and learn how to enjoy and protect our wild environments.

The Charlotte ICO Group will work with local agencies and community centers to lead hikes and other outings. The program is made possible by its volunteers who give generously of their time and skills to participate in training, receive first aid education, and lead outings. All ICO volunteer leaders undergo special training and screening to work with youth.

Individuals, agencies, and organizations that are interested in supporting or participating in Charlotte ICO should contact Karan Barber at Karan@e-corps.org or (704) 588-3297. The only experience required is a passion to share enthusiasm for kids, teaching, the outdoors, and having fun.

For more information see the Charlotte ICO website, http://charlottesierraclub.org/outings/inner-city-outings/, and the Sierra Club ICO Website, http://content.sierraclub.org/outings/ico.

Upcoming Events

April 25 -  2nd Annual Sustainability Summit: The Planet, People, Economy, & Community – Wilson, NC

This event is presented by Wilson Community College, Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, NC Sierra Club Medoc Chapter, and the Wilson Sustainable Community Council.

With a comprehensive agenda, and less than 100 tickets remaining, this year’s summit is surely going to be a hot event!  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the 2nd Annual Sustainability Summit. Click here to get your ticket today!

May 3-4 – Sierra Club Outings Leader Training – Sesquicentennial State Park, Columbia, SC

If you want to be a new Sierra Club Outings Leader, or if you want to renew or expand your current training, this training is for you!!!!

Training will cover:

  • OLT101 – Basic outdoor leadership training and a requirement for all Sierra Club Outings Leaders that must be renewed every 4 years.
  • OLT201  – Advanced outdoor leadership training,  recommended for all leaders and required for any Outings Leader who wants to lead Level 2 outings (outings that are overnight and away from cars).
  • Watercraft Safety – Recommended for anyone who wants to lead canoe/kayak outings.
  • CPR/First Aid – Basic first aid is required for all Sierra Club Outings leaders and must be renewed every 4 years.

Open to all current Sierra Club members. Click here to sign up!

For more information, contact: Kelly Mieszkalski, North Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, (919) 624-2225 or kellymieszkalski@yahoo.com

Upcoming Outings

March 22 – 8:00 a.m. – Guided Bird Walk at Sandy Creek Park – Durham

As part of Durham’s Annual Creek Week celebration activities, the Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club will be hosting a guided bird walk around Sandy Creek. The terrain is rather flat but may be a bit wet in spots–please wear closed toed shoes and bring your camera and binoculars! You will be able to share binoculars if you don’t have your own, so don’t let that keep you from coming!

Led by two wonderful bird guides, there will be two smaller groups walking around the park. The guides are Brian Bockhahn, a State Park Education Ranger, and Robert Meehan, a local expert birder. All attendees (at all Creek Week events) will get a raffle ticket to win one of two Ivy Rain Barrels, courtesy of the City of Durham.

This outing is limited to 24 participants. Click here to RSVP via our Meetup. You may also RSVP by contacting Kelly at kellymieszkalski@yahoo.com (or 919.624.2225).

March 22 – 9:00 a.m. – Cook’s Wall Loop, Hanging Rock State Park – Hanging Rock

The hike will begin on the Hanging Rock trail but leave it to ascend the ridge line to Wolf Rock, on to House Rock and Cook’s Wall, and return via Magnolia Springs trail and the lake. Major views will be enhanced along the way by the bare trees. Hike length is about 6.5 miles with a 500 feet elevation gain.

Bring water, lunch, rain gear and wear hiking footwear. For more information contact Tom Mann at  twmann@bellsouth.net or 336-760-0265 (before 9:00 p.m.).

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. – Backpacking Conditioning in Umstead – Raleigh

Join Sierrans for a backpacking conditioning hike to test your trail legs! The group will cover about 6 miles in 3 hours using a combination of trails and old fire roads. Along the way folks will talk about the gear in your backpack and best practices for minimizing the load.

Meet in the Reedy Creek parking lot in back right corner by 9:45 am. Look for the orange Honda Element with LOTS of stickers on the back. The entrance is located off I-40 at exit 287. Map to parking lot: http://goo.gl/maps/VcigC

Group size is limited to 15 to minimize impact on the ecosystem. Please contact trip leaders, Debra & Jeff Rezeli, at rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. – Green River Gamelands – Pullium Creek Trail – near Asheville

This hike is moderate with some easy level of difficulty. The trip will be approximately 6.5 miles round-trip on this there & back trail with elevation gain of 900 ft. The group will meet in Asheville at 10 am and return about 5:45 p.m.. It’s a beautiful trail that ends up at the Green River just below the narrows, with rapids moving through large boulders. On the way, there’s a tedious creek crossing with wiggly step-stones, so wear good footwear and consider a hiking pole. Plan to learn about the beautiful early-blooming wildflowers there as well.

NOTE: Sorry, no doggies this trip due to Pullium Creek crossing. Hike leader Lisa McWherter at lisamcw2@gmail.com or 828-713-4994.

April 5 – Harper Creek Waterfalls in Harper Creek and Lost Cove Study Areas

This hike is part of the Our Wild North Carolina Celebration!  This is an easy day hike about 7 miles total. The falls are about 200 feet high and are in the Wilderness Study Area which is nestled in the adjacent areas of Avery, Burke and Caldwell Counties. Aside from the falls, the study areas are a regular nesting site for Peregrine falcons.

You will need to bring lunch, water, and rain gear. For more information call Joel Wooten at 336-466-1314 before 9:00 pm at or email him at joeltotopmountain@gmail.com.  Wilderness outings are limited to 10 hikers.

April 19- Grandfather Mountain Photography Workshop – Grandfather Mountain

Join the Sierra Club Foothills Group’s own award-winning 19-year old nature photographer, Avery Locklear, for a free outdoor photography workshop along the scenic Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park.  Ms. Locklear, who also serves as Vice Chair for the Foothills Group, will be sharing her expertise for capturing the mountainous landscapes and the rare flowers of springtime at Grandfather Mountain. Be sure to check out Avery’s nature and wildlife photography on her website: http://www.averylocklearphotography.com

This photo hike and workshop is open to photographers of all ages and is family-friendly. Bring a camera of any kind, a tripod if you have one, water, and lunch. Because the weather at Grandfather Mountain can vary a great deal, dress in layers and be sure to include a  wind-resistant outer layer. Advance registration is required; the event will be limited to 15 participants. To register, please contact Vance Parker by April 15, 2014 at vance@vparkerlaw.com or at (336) 768-0481 before 10:00 p.m.

April 26- Discover Mountain Biking Adventure in the Great Smokey Mountains – Bryson City area

Join the Sierra Club and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), the Southeast’s premiere outdoor adventure outfitter, for a big day of mountain biking in the Smoky Mountains. This full day instructional activity is a great introduction to the sport of mountain biking. Get correctly fitted on your mountain bike and outfitted with the proper gear. Then head up to the Flint Ridge trail system to learn the basic skills needed to enjoy the sport of mountain biking. You will learn the basics in proper riding position, cornering, braking, shifting and riding skills.After lunch you will head to Tsali National Recreation Area, the “Southeast’s mountain biking mecca”, to test out your newly acquired skills by riding one of 4 different loops.  This course emphasizes the sport of mountain biking, and enjoying the scenery and camaraderie of riding. Please see:  http://www.noc.com/noccom/adventures/biking/mountain-biking/

The cost for this program, which includes one of NOC’s sturdy Specialized mountain bikes adjusted to the rider, a helmet, instruction, and a full day of riding is $119 per person.  The charge for participants with their own mountain bike is $79/person.  Camping will be available at Turkey Creek Campground near Tsali National Recreation Area on Friday night April 25th and Saturday night April 26th for $10/person plus $4/vehicle.  Guests may remain in the area Sunday for more mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, or zip lining conducted on their own.

This outing will be limited to 15 people with registration closing on April 12th, 2014.  Please register in advance of this date with Vance Parker, at e-mail vance@vparkerlaw.com or by telephone before 10:00 p.m. at 336-768-0481.

April 26- Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie National Forest – Montgomery County

Join Sierrans to test your beginner backpacking skills in the little known Uwharrie National Forest, less than 2 hours from the Triangle. Then group will cover about 12 miles over 2 days using the Uwharrie Trail and Dutchman’s Creek Trail..

Those who can will meet in Raleigh at 8:00 am for caravaning to the Wood Run Trailhead, where the group will set out on foot down the Uwharrie Trail. Participants will backpack approximately 6 miles on Saturday and set up camp along Big Island Creek. Sunday morning the will pack up and continue back to the trailhead on the Dutchman’s Creek Trail, about 6 miles.

Group size for this trip is limited to 5 tents/15 people due to space restrictions of campsite. Please contact trip leaders at rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.

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Did you know you can make a monthly gift to the NC Sierra Club? Find out how you can make a sustaining gift by visiting our website, or contacting the Chapter office at 919-833-8467.

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2014 Mecklenburg State of the Environment Report

The 2014 Mecklenburg State of the Environment Report has been released. Here’s background and information about the report.

Understanding the County’s Environmental Condition: 2014 State of the Environment Report

Every two years, the Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA) produces a State of Environment Report (SOER). This publication helps us understand our current environmental condition, while identifying strategies for ensuring that we have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and healthy land on which to live and recreate.

The 2014 SOER provides an update from the 2012 SOER, along with trend analysis of priority environmental indicators in Mecklenburg County.

Analysis of the trend changes from 2012 to 2014 show that Mecklenburg County’s air quality could be better, surface water quality remains partially impaired, and our recycling rate has room for improvement.

Among the highlights:

Water Quality–The 2012 SOER showed that waste recycling and lake water quality were “getting better.”  In 2014, the new analysis shows this improvement has slowed down.

Commercial Waste–The amount of commercial waste going into the landfill remained the same as in 2012. The good news is that this amount is 57% below what it was in 2008.
Residential Waste–Household waste amounts remain below one ton per home, unchanged from 2012.
Recycling Center–More customers are visiting the County’s full-service centers, nearly 465,000 last year. Also, 966 tons of electronic waste (computers, phones, etc.) was collected.
Air Quality–continues to improve, with the air quality index down more than 25 percent and trending in the right direction.

This 2014 SOER expands on the traditional identification of priority environmental indicators in Mecklenburg County by providing a trend analysis for each environmental indicator during recent history. Each SOER chapter button below provides a list of recommended actions for addressing these priority environmental indicators as well as informative and fun videos.

Visit Air Quality's Chapter Page Visit Land's Chapter Page
Visit Water's Chapter Page Visit Waste's Chapter Page

Environmental Indicators
Environmental Indicators can be found through the chapter buttons above or via the table below. This website will be updated as either the indicator trend changes or as new information becomes available.

Environmental Indicators Key

Air

indicator
Overall Air Quality

indicator
Ozone

indicator
Particulate Matter

indicator
NOx, SO2, CO, Lead

 Land

indicator
Climate Change and Wildlife

indicator
Nature Preserves

indicator
Greenways

indicator
Facility Planning

 Waste

indicator
Commercial Waste

indicator
Yard Waste

indicator
Residential Waste

indicator
Household Hazardous Waste 

 Water

indicator
Groundwater

indicator
Lakes

indicator
Public Involvement 

indicator
Streams

If you are interested in exploring trends back to 1987, you are encouraged to read the 2008 SOER. If you are interested in learning more about how Mecklenburg County’s State of the Environment reflects on our region, you are encouraged to read the 2010 SOER or the 2012 SOER.

The entire report is available at 2014 SOER. If you have questions, please contact LUESA Director Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi at 704-432-6201 or email.