All posts by Kim Matthews

CarWA partners with others organizations to create NC Aquatic Data Hub

The North Carolina Aquatic Data Hub is a new initiative for connecting aquatic monitoring efforts across the state in order to better understand the condition of North Carolina’s waters and to maintain and improve them. NCADH provides the resources and training for new groups and existing organizations to contribute to and access a statewide network of aquatic data.

The North Carolina Aquatic Data Hub has been made possible by a $160,000 two-year grant awarded by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation  to support a statewide citizen science water quality monitoring project to New River Conservancy on behalf of multiple non-profits and agencies across the state.

Press Release

2017 Wetland Treasures Announced

Each May during American Wetlands Month, CarWA will recognize several wetland sites in North Carolina and South Carolina. The long-term goal is to recognize high quality representatives of each of the wetland types found in each ecoregion of North and South Carolina (Mountains, Piedmont and Coastal Plain). Collectively, Wetland Treasures will represent the wetland heritage of the Carolinas.

2017 Wetland Treasures

We are thrilled to recognize and celebrate our second class of Wetland Treasures sites! Click the links below to open a fact sheet and learn about the ecology, significance, flora and fauna, and more for each site:

Click here to find to sign up for field tours!

Message from the CarWA President

March 2017 – Message from the President

Hello wetland supporters!

A lot of what I do is network with other organization to make them aware of CarWA and what we can do for them as we have the best wetland talent of any organization!  I attend a lot of meeting and workshops to promote wetlands and the organization.  I also work with all CarWA committees to facilitate collaboration and to encourage their great work for wetlands.  Much of this information is typically reported at the Board meetings and are recorded in the minutes, but I felt this information needs to be in the newsletter – more so than in the Board meetings.

First I would like to make you aware that the 2017 Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas will be announced soon and we are hosting tours to each site in May. Stay tuned, you will want to be a part of these events.  I also want to announce that Erin Bradshaw Settevendemio is our new Public Information Coordinator.  She is doing wonderful posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make sure you are following us on social media to get the latest information.

One of the meeting I attended recently was the meeting of the Cape Fear Arch in Burgaw, NC.  This is the second meeting I have attended and each time I find more people to meet and to let them know about CarWA.  I am hoping that in the future CarWA will play a larger role in the Cape Fear Arch as this is critical wetland area in both NC and SC and includes one of our wetland treasures (Green Swamp) and many endemic species.

I also want to let you know about a potential concern with an industry that may be impacting wetland forests in our states.  Recently, I attended a meeting organized by the local chapter of the Sierra Club to organize an education forum on the wood pellet industry.  I recommend reading this article published by Yale University School of Forestry to understand this issue.

I also met with Ron Sutherlin of the Wildlands Network.  Ron was instrumental in helping to “save” the Hoffman Forest (and the wetlands contained within) and is working to create wildlife migration corridors throughout North America.  We discussed potential opportunities for our organizations to work together. Please contact me if you are interested in this effort.

Most recently, I met with Gale Adcock in the NC House of Representatives.  She represents a district next to mine, but I know her from being a former council member of Cary.  We had a great meeting and she will be a big environmental supporter.  Last fall, I met with Representative Pricey Harrison from Greensboro and I also found her supportive of our organization. We need to find out more ways to connect with our elected officials.

Finally, I am in the process of talking to folks from the NC Sentinel landscape partnerships and the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative to see how CarWA can play a role in their efforts.  I will have more on that next newsletter.

If you have any questions on any of these efforts, please contact me,

Thanks much and get out and enjoy a wetland,


Giving Campaign

We are excited to kick-off our first annual giving campaign.  Donors will receive a calendar for a donation of $25 or more.  These calendars were created with pictures of wetlands in North and South Carolina submitted by our supporters.  Additional calendars are $15 each.  Order and pay online.



Happy 1-year Anniversary to the Carolina Wetlands Association!

It’s hard to believe that it was only last June that we had the first meeting of the Association and our board members were elected!  Thank to everyone who has volunteered at an event, participated in a committee and became a supporter!

Here is a list of just some of the things we accomplished:

  • Developed a mission statement and vision
  • Developed and approved our by-laws
  • Develop our logo
  • Launched a web site and pages on Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Raised over $2000 in funding
  • Successfully received our 501(3)(c) designation from the federal government – all donations are now tax-free
  • Participated in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences on Science Saturday
  • Sponsored a both at the NC Museum of Natural Science Reptile and Amphibian Day
  • Participated in Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations in Cary, NC
  • Sponsored a table at the NC Arboretum in Chapel Hill
  • Developed our Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas and recognized five special wetlands
  • Sponsored field trip to two of our wetland treasures

Mason Farm Field Tour

When:  Saturday, November 5th, 1:00 – 3:00 PM (rain date: Sunday, Nov. 5 at 12 noon)
Where: NC Botanical Gardens in Orange County, NC —directions here

Description: Tour two valuable wetland areas—Big Oak Woods and Morgan Creek Floodplain Forest—that are part of the NC Botanical Garden’s Mason Farm Biological Reserve. Big Oak Woods is one of the largest tracts of mature bottomland swamp forest remaining in the Piedmont, with some trees exceeding 300 years of age. Morgan Creek Floodplain Forest is part of one of the largest, most intact tracts of Piedmont swamp forest remaining. Field trip will be led by the wonderful Johnny Randall, Director of Conservation Programs at the Botanical Gardens.

Registration required; to reserve a spot, email Laura England (

Note: Mason Farm is open to the public for free, but contributions to Mason Farm can be made through (which provides all their management funds).

Learn more about Mason Farm, CarWA Wetland Treasure Site.

Wetland Photo Contest

See YOUR Photo in our 2017 Wetland Calendar!

We are inviting submissions for our 2017 wetland calandar, which will be available for sale in October.  If your photo is selected, you get a FREE CALENDAR!

We are looking for reasonably high-resolution photos of landscapes, close-ups, plants, animals, water…anything related to wetlands.

Deadline for submission: Extended until September 30!

Location: Limited to North and South Carolina

Each person is limited to submitted 12 photos.

Send your photos, along with the location of the photo, and your thoughts about your photo to:

Kirstie: Kim:

Order your CarWA T-shirts

Show your support and enthusiasm for the Carolina Wetlands Association by ordering a t-shirt!

Color: Lime green

Size: Adult (unisex)

Cost: $15 ($17.50 for 2XL and 3XL) (plus $5 shipping per order to mail the shirt directly to you)

Payment Option: Paypal or Check

Pre-order deadline: July 31, 2016

Front pocket of shirt:

Logo Carolina Wetlands Association

Back of Shirt:

…because wetlands matter!


To order a shirt, contact

Indicate the quantity and size (S, M, L, XL, XXL, or XXXL) of shirts you want to order.  If you are located in the Raleigh-Durham area or near one of our Board members, you may not need to pay for shipping.

Year in Review

by Rick Savage, CarWA President

The Carolina Wetlands Association was a year old on June 18, 2016 and CarWA got two big birthday presents:  A fun annual meeting on June 26 and a letter from the IRS acknowledging that the Carolina Wetlands Association is a 501(c)(3) charitable, educational and scientific nonprofit organization.

So what is the state of the Carolina Wetlands Association after one year?  Amazing accomplishments with amazing people is the only way I can think of describing it succinctly.

First, our Program Committee lead by Amin Davis, and with Laura England, started the Wetland Treasures of the Carolinas project.  The wetlands were selected by the Committee in consultation with experts from the Natural Heritage programs in North and South Carolina. Significant help was received from Michael Schafale, Alison Weakley, and Alvin Braswell.  Many volunteer hours were put in by Laura and Amin to make this project happen!  In May, 2016, National Wetlands Month, our Wetland Treasures were announced: Francis Beidler Forest in Harleyville, SC; Phelps Lake in Washington County, NC; Mason Farm in Orange County, NC; Antioch Bay in Hoke County, NC; and Green Swamp in Brunswick County, NC.   Stratford Kay and the rest of the Program Committee also developed a general brochure which has been used at several events to publicize CarWA.  The committee’s Museum Task Force worked with the NC Natural Science Museum and CarWA has presented on wetlands research in NC and the starting of CarWA.  Alvin Braswell, Stratford Kay, Grace Lawrence, and Amin Davis have led this effort and will continue to do so as several more presentations are being planned.

The Science Committee, co-chaired by Ginny Baker Daniel and Robert Truesdale, have developed Wetlands 101 for the website. This information explains wetlands, why they are important, and the different types of wetlands is the Carolinas.  Heather Pattie, Katie Luciano, Amy James, and Ginny have led this effort.  The Science Committee is also investigating citizen science possibilities and cataloging wetlands research being conducted in NC and SC. CarWA has also been in communication with the Triangle Greenways Council and the Science Committee will lead efforts to survey some of their sites for wetlands.

The Regional Coordinators Stakeholder Engagement Committee has had one meeting and are planning a second one soon.  This committee will be important to coordinate activities to across both states, and to understand regional/local wetland issues, and to identify regional/local conservation/environmental organization that we can partner with.  They will also be creating a database of wetland land owners that we may work with in help manage their wetland.  This committee is being led by Carrie Caviness and Lindsey Smart.

The Policy Committee, led by Steve Rebach and John Dorney, is also just getting started.  This committee is tracking federal, state and local legislation related to wetlands and will focus on educating legislators about the importance of wetlands.

The Advisory Committee, led by Grace Lawrence and Lundie Spence, assists the Board of Directors with special tasks and gives advice and comments on Board actions.  This committee recently recommended that CarWA develop a business plan to help guide the organization into the next few years.

The Development Committee, let by Kim Matthews and Rick Savage, have worked to maintain the CarWA web site and Facebook page.  Kim has done a masterful job taking the major responsibility of handling this work and especially making our newsletter a success.  More than 200 people are on our email distribution list and they have heard about us through various media.  There was an article in the Cape Fear’s Going Green about CarWA and our wetlands treasures project.  We also have 200 people following us on Facebookincluding several devoted followers from Europe.

Lastly, The Finance Committee, led by Kristie Gianopulos, had done a good job establishing our bank account and managing carefully managing our limited funds this first year. With our new nonprofit status and the hopeful awarding of grants, this committee will be playing major role on tracking expenditure and determining how the money is to be used!  There is a Grants Task Force, led by Steve Rebach and John Dorney and assisted by Amy James, Chad Guthrie, Carrie Caviness, Amin Davis, and Kristie.  They are exploring government and non-government grant opportunities.

I want to thank Board of Directors officers for all they have done: Vice President, Steve Rebach; Secretary, John Dorney; and Treasurer, Kristie Gianopulos.  John’s minutes are very thorough and are available on ourwebsite.   Steve has written a narrative about CarWA to be used with grant applications.  Kristie had taken very good care of our money, and has been our unofficial graphic designer. She developed our logo, designed posters used at public events, and designed our new t-shirts!  I also want to welcome Kristine Cherry, our newest board member, who has vast experience in running a nonprofit and promises to give SC another major voice in CarWA.

The structure and foundation of CarWA is sound and in good hands and the leadership is in place to evolve the organization into a sustainable and vibrant future.  So given our accomplishments, what is next?

The first item is that we must have plans for our future.  The Development Committee has started a Marketing Plan and launched a successful fund raising campaign to raise $850 necessary for our 501(c)(3) application.  The marketing plan needs to be refined to help spread CarWA’s message in all areas of media.  We are in need of a Public Information person to help with these efforts. If you have any of that experience, please consider volunteering!

The second (and third) items are the development of a Business Plan and a Strategic Plan.  They may be separate documents or they may be combined.  We will start the process with 2-3 Board members drafting the plan and then the rest of the Board will review and provide comments!  We will discuss this item at our next Board meeting later this month.

The fourth item is creating informal partnerships with other organizations such that we can help each other with common issues.  We have become an affiliate with the NC Conservation Network and we have been invited to become an affiliate with the NC Wildlife Federation.    We are also considering becoming affiliated with the SC Wildlife Federation and SC Conservation Coalition.

We have committed to close partnerships with The Triangle Greenways Council (NC) and the River Guardian Foundation especially on future grant opportunities.  And we are talking with the NC Natural Science Museum about doing presentations and exhibits on wetlands.  More recently, the Spruill Farms (NC) expressed interest in becoming an affiliate of CarWA.  They also would like us to do a site visit and inventory of their wetlands. These relationships promise to be beneficial as we are being recognized as having the best pool of wetland talent, both in science and policy, and our expertise is being sought.

We also have been in contact with other organizations including the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the NC Coastal Federation, the Town of Cary (NC), and the Walnut Creek Wetlands Center (Raleigh, NC).  What we need to do is develop more of these relationships with communities, organizations, and museums throughout the Carolinas.  I encourage everyone (especially those outside of the Triangle Area) to work with the Regional Coordinators Committee to establish these kinds of relationships.

The fifth item is to develop a relationship with Duke University to allow students to do projects for CarWA. Project ideas include how to communicate our message to legislators, landowners and others on the values of wetlands and who benefits from wetlands by conducting a social network analysis or using survey tools.  We also expect that students could help with wetland site assessments.

Eventually, the Carolina Wetlands Association must obtain grants, carry out projects to further our mission, and potentially have a paid staff.  We will be encouraging the use of wetland science to influence wetland policy and management practices to local and state officials and to landowners and communities who depend on their wetland resources.  Our supporters and dedicated volunteers have made the organization what is it and what it will be.  Please continue to show your support and volunteer your time by serving on a committee or helping with a special event or program.  Volunteers are critical to the success of this organization and we definitely need more participation so we can do more!

Thanks to you all for all you do!