A special thank you to Mariana Kneppers, a 2018 graduate from Elon University, who volunteered her time and talents to create these informative videos of some of the Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas. Marinana heard about Carolina Wetlands Association at the NC WRRI’s annual meeting in March and approached Rick Savage about how she could help the organization. We identified social media help was needed and she created these videos in response to that need. Mariana has moved to California but she will forever support wetlands in the Carolinas!
The Carolina Wetlands Association welcomes two new members to the board of directors and one returning member. Please meet Heather Clarkson and Tara Allden who join Chad Gutherie who have started new 3-year terms.
Heather is a native to the lowcountry of South Carolina, where she spent much of her childhood exploring the forested wetlands of Edisto Island and the ACE Basin. Heather’s love of mother nature and all Earth’s children led her to pursue a career in conservation; she attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia for both undergraduate and law school, and focused her studies on wildlife, endangered species, water resource, and coastal management policies. In the summer of 2016, Heather joined Defenders of Wildlife as the Southeast Program Outreach Representative, where she serves as the lead staff member for coastal Carolina issues as well as represents Defenders in the Wetland Forest Initiative. Currently, Heather lives with her husband and their canine children in Durham, NC.
Tara moved to Columbia, SC in 2014 and works at Kimley-Horne Associates. She is an ecologist and environmental attorney, specializing in developing and implementing compensatory mitigation projects and experienced in wetland delineation and permitting and NEPA documentation. She most recently spent 11 years working as a mitigation banker, assisting in the development of entrepreneurial wetland, stream, and nutrient mitigation banks in North Carolina and beyond. Tara is the current president of the South Carolina Mitigation Association and a member of the S.C. Bar Association’s Regulatory Law and Lawyers’ Wellness committees. Tara was an author on the Transportation Review Board’s publication Legal Aspects of Conservation Easements: A Primer for Transportation Agencies (2013) and Brownfields to Green: A Proposal for Redevelopment of Brownfields Property or Natural Resource Value in The Environmental Law Reporter (2016). Tara lives in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband, Andrew, and daughter, Kathleen.
Chad began his career in conservation in Snohomish County, Washington. As an employee of the County, I worked to protect existing salmon spawning grounds and to restore areas that had been destroyed due to conversion to agricultural use or development. I next worked with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission as conservation and land manager. During my time with the WRC, the WRC acquired over 60,000 acres in wildlife habitat. Most recently, I worked as a Project and Program Manager with the Trust for Public Land. I was lead manager on two of TPL’s initiatives in North Carolina, the Mark’s Creek Initiative and the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative. Over six years, TPL, in partnership with local conservation groups and governments, protected over 3,000 acres in Wake, Durham, Johnston and surrounding Counties. The preservation of water quality and wetlands was a critical component in the mission of each of these organizations.
We are a 100% volunteer organization with no staff. That means our board often fills many different roles including planning, reviewing policities, volunteering at events, meeting with stakeholders, advocating for wetlands, and raising funds. They donate their time, talents, and resources for teh sustainability and success of the organization.
Wetlands play an important role in both the ecology and economy of the Carolinas. They are beautiful, magical places and are sanctuaries for people and wildlife. These hardworking ecosystems provide natural flood control and filter runoff, which helps keep our rivers, lakes, and drinking water clean.
Join us to celebrate our wetland treasures by attending one of the five field trips planned this May. The tours are free but donations would be greatly appreciated to support this program. Space is limited for each trip, so register today.
The new year is well upon us and we have some new announcements to make. First, we have four new Board members: Geoff Gisler, Senior Attorney and Leader of Southern Environmental Law Center’s Clean Water Program; George Matthis, President of River Guardian Foundation; Clint DeWhitt, Environmental Projects Manager for the Kanuga Foundation; and George Howard, CEO of Restoration Systems. We are excited to have these very talented members join our board and look forward to their contributions to CarWA in the following years. Be sure to welcome our new Board members!
Second, yours truly (Rick Savage) was re-elected President, and Kim Matthews was elected Vice President. Kim is a project manager at RTI, International and has been on the Board since CarWA was created. She is the newsletter editor and Co-Chair of the Development Committee. Kim has had a tremendous impact on CarWA and truly has been a constant in the organization that everyone can depend on. Be sure to say congratulations to Kim!
Looking forward to the new year, we have work groups resulting from the Board Retreat that will be working to complete their mission. The Advocacy work group is working on guidelines and policies to guide CarWA’s involvement in key wetland issues. The Sustainability work group is developing a plan for consistent funding, staff, and organizational structure. The Core Competencies work group is defining what programs and areas that CarWA will focus on for the next couple years. The result of all three work groups will contribute to the development of a strategy plan.
Finally, our giving campaign was a huge success; thank you so very much, it is our supporters that form the backbone of CarWA. If you have not contributed, please consider doing so, as we are getting ready for our next wetland treasures program and expanding our wetland tours opportunities. And we are always looking for more volunteers on our committees and in our various events.
2017 was a good year for CarWA. We had a successful Wetland Treasures campaign with the tours to all the sitesl. We also had a tour of a restored wetland and that tour had a waiting list!
We had a Board retreat to assess where the organization is and where it needs to go. It was well attended; and we had several workgroups formed to implement the results of the retreat. The next several board meetings will also work on the results of the retreat.
CarWA was a significant player in the wood pellets forum that was presented in Wilmington in September. Over 100 people attended the forum and got a different perspective on the wood
pellets issue. We also gave several presentations at the NC Museum of Natural Science on wetlands and again participated in Reptile and Amphibian day. We were participants in the Mud Day at the Walnut Creek Wetland Park. And speaking of the Walnut Creek Wetland Park, we had two participants from CarWA as part of a citizens planning committee for the design of the “Park” at the Walnut Creek Wetland Park and wrote part of the master plan! Other events were attended to promote wetlands and the work of CarWA such as Arbor Day in Cary and Think Blue in Durham.
CarWA is also on the steering committee of the Wetland Forest Initiative with 20+ other conservation organizations that will cover 14 southeastern states. This initiative is gaining momentum and is working on its strategy plan, with is a major work item for CarWA in 2018! We also have four new Board members: Geoff Gisler, George Howard, George Matthis, and Clitt DeWhitt. Be sure to welcome them as they take on the challenges facing CarWA.
For 2018, we have another set of Wetland Treasure to announce. The tours to these sites will involve a huge effort from a lot of people and our Program Committee will be leading our Treasure
work. We plan to have at least a couple additional wetland tours this year so stay tuned. Also for 2018, we will continue a youth movement that was started in 2017 with a 14-year-old from
Enloe High School. This will involve partnering with the NC Wildlife Federation and the Walnut Creek Wetland Park. And there will be many other events we will need to attend and continue to spread the word about the value of wetlands and the work of CarWA. The results of the Board retreat will continue to be a major focus in the next year.
While there are many other work items and events for the coming year, one of the most frequent comments about the organization is the need for a staff and sustainable funding! Which our Giving Campaign is a crucial step in that direction. If you have not contributed to CarWA during this campaign, please do so! We really need everyone to participate in this effort and provide financial support for CarWA’s work! A $25 donation will get you a magnetic bumper sticker with the CarWA logo!
Finally, I want to thank all of our volunteers who have given time beyond their normal duties to make CarWA successful. You are all wonderful and thank you for your efforts to keep CarWA working. And to all our supporters, have a wonderful and safe Holiday and enjoy your time with family and Friends.
Come take a walk in the woods with some of the greatest wetland experts in the Triangle! Carolina Wetlands Association wants you to come out and learn about how created wetlands work for the health of our landscapes and larger ecosystems.
Dr. Curt Richardson, Director of Duke University Wetland Center, will be leading a two hour walking tour through the Duke University’s Stream and Wetland Assessment Managment Park (SWAMP). Please bring water, snacks, sturdy walking shoes and other items to make your tour pleasurable.
When: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST
Please park in the Al Buehler Trail parking lot on the south side of NC-751 between Science Drive and Duke University Road. The lot will be available starting at 9:30 am on Saturday morning. There will probably be a sign at the entrance saying the lot is reserved for Duke basketball parking only, but the attendant will be expecting the CarWA tour group.
Each car must display a parking permit, which will be provided as a pdf after individuals are registered for the event. Drivers should print one out in advance and display it on their dashboards.
We look forward to seeing you,
Carolina Wetlands Program Committee
It is hard to beleive that the Carolina Wetlands Association started just 2 years ago. See our Annual Report for an overview of our accomplishments! Click here to view report
We celebrated our success and with a picnic amongst the trees at Duke Forest where our wetland supporters and their families joined together for an evening of food and good conversation. Thanks to everyone who attended!
Wow, what a wonderful national wetlands month for CarWA. We announced five new wetland treasures, five new tours and they were all full or nearly so! One press article was written about the Hobcaw Barony tour. Thanks go to Dan Hitchcock (Hobcaw Barony), Alvin Braswell (Robertson Mill Pond and Scuppernong) , Lizzy Stokes-Cawley (Scuppernong), Laura England (Congree and Kanuga), Frank Henning (Congree), and Clint Dewitt (Kanuga). It took and lot of great people, coordinating with other people to pull off five very successful tours. And the people attending the tours were all smiles, everyone seemed to enjoy exploring wetlands, especially wetland treasures!
There are two people that have been critical to the success of the Wetland Treasures program. Amin Davis has been the quite force behind the success; leading, shepherding, coordinating, nudging, as needed to make things happen. Amin has served as the Co-chair of the Program Committee since it started two years ago and fostered the “flagship program” of CarWA. Thank you, Amin, for putting CarWA on the radar with the Treasures program!
And of course, Laura England. She had worked for Wisconsin Wetlands Association and was a key developer of their Wetland Gems program. Her, leadership, persistence, persuasiveness, and previous skills made CarWA’s wetland treasures program a success. Believe me, it would not have happened without Laura. She was instrumental to selecting the treasures both years, then coordinated the tours on several of the treasures. Laura is truly a gift to CarWA and this organization is probably several years ahead of its time because of her contributions. Thank you, Laura, for your tireless effort to get CarWA off and running!
CarWA is very fortunate to have so many great volunteers. We want to honor you all for your hard work, so please join us for our annual meeting on June 25.
Thanks all and get out and explore a wetland; who knows, it may be our next treasure.
Wetland Treasures Field Trip Series a Big Success!
CarWA recently concluded our 2017 Wetland Treasures field trip series. This spring, around 75 wetland enthusiasts joined us on five tours exploring this year’s recognized sites, including Hobcaw Barony Wetlands (Georgetown County, SC), Congaree National Park (Richland County, SC), Scuppernong River Swamp (Tyrrell County, NC), Robertson Millpond (Wake County, NC), and Kanuga Bog (Henderson County, NC). We thoroughly enjoyed celebrating these natural wonders with you!
CarWA sends special thanks to all of our field trip leaders and coordinators for making these field trips possible—Dan Hitchcock, William Conner, George Chastain, Greg Cunningham, Laura England, David Shelley, Lizzy Stokes-Cawley, Amin Davis, Alvin Braswell, Howard Phillips, Walter Davenport, and Clint Dewitt.
If you’re interested in learning more about these sites and visiting them on your own, go to our Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas webpage and check out the site fact sheets.
We hope to see you on a future wetland field trip!
One thing that is becoming obvious to me is that Carolina Wetlands is getting noticed. More and more I am going to meeting and/or meeting people and when I say that I am with Carolina Wetlands, they “oh I have heard of that organization”. This is music to my ears; we are having an impact and people are taking notice. We all need to continue to spread the word about wetlands and their value to our wellbeing!
In February, Alvin Braswell and I gave a presentation to the Science Café at the NC Museum of Natural Science. The presentation was entitled, “Do you really want to drain the swamp?”. We had a lot of fun doing that event and we had over 60 people attend. Alvin gave another presentation of Wetlands and Amphibians and we had an exhibit at Reptile and Amphibians Day at the museum, were we had over 200 visitors and over 50 who signed up for the newsletter. I have also been contacted by a business whose owners were at the presentation and wants to do a fund raiser for CarWA. Stay tuned!
I want to bring attention to our wetland treasures announcements for 2017 and the associated tours. They are truly filling up fast so you better register soon! The very hard work done by Laura England to coordinate the entire process is simply amazing! She has work with me to partner with the Wetland Forest Initiative to co-sponsor two of our tours and to write a news article on our wetland treasures and the tours. A big thanks goes to Laura and Amin Davis and their team for making the 2017 wetland treasures a tremendous success.
Finally, I was invited to have lunch with the Nature Conservancy at their conservation meeting at Singletary Lake State Park. There I met a few people I already knew and met many new people who want to help promote the organization and wetlands. I was there to present the certificates to two of our 2016 wetland treasures, Antioch Bay and Green Swamp. They were very excited about the recognition and they want to help us organize tours of both of these sites in the very near future. I also talked to several of the folks who manage several of their wetlands and they want to consult us on best management practices and on how to monitor their health, so get ready Science Committee, this is good news!
Lastly, I still want to encourage you to take our supporter survey. Taking the survey does not obligate you to anything, but it serves the organization by recognizing the tremendous talent we have and that can help us get funding and grants. This will allow the organization to begin to hire a small staff and great expand our influence. So if you never do anything else for the organization, please take the survey, it is very valuable information for us to have and it will remain confidential.