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Spring Cleaning, But Outside

 
Valle Crucis Park Work Day

 

Warmer temperatures beckon us all to shake off the winter blues, put on a light jacket, and head outside. The call of spring is a primal urge to celebrate the end of the long nights and short days, to be outside again feeling the warmth of the sun, to begin anew. In this season of renewal, many of our local partners need your help to welcome residents and visitors who are also experiencing the whispers calling them to explore.

Mast Store works with a number of organizations that conserve open spaces and natural areas for the enjoyment of others. After the winter season when few venture out, they need a little help to tidy up for visitors. If you want to assist with a little spring cleaning, but you’d rather do it outside, here are a few ideas for you.

Valle Crucis Community Park – This 20-acre oasis alongside the Watauga River is a special place for the community and the Store. They are planning a work day in April and one in May. Watch their WEBSITE or Facebook page. ** Photo above courtesy of Valle Crucis Park

Friends of the Reedy River – The river that is the lifeblood of Greenville is the primary interest for this group. A workday is scheduled on Saturday, March 16 from 8 a.m. until noon. All you need to do is to wear long pants and old sneakers (or waders, if you have them), put on a little sunscreen, and bring a reusable water bottle filled with water. Trash grabbers, gloves, trash bags, and other tools will be provided. Meet at 701 Cleveland Street or 205 Cedar Lane Road. Here’s a LINK for this cleanup and THIS ONE includes to other events you might want to help with.

Friends of Harbison State Forest – This active group in Columbia has many avenues for volunteers to participate. If you enjoy writing, then they’d love to have you help with their newsletters or grant writing. If you have website knowledge, assistance with design and updates is always welcome. And, if you just love digging in the dirt, there’s a constant need for trail maintenance. While no date is set for a workday, reach out to them on their WEBSITE.   

WildflowerPiedmont Land Conservancy – Conserving land and open spaces for future generations is the primary charge of the PLC, but they also plan hikes and projects on some of the acreage that’s in its trust. In the spring and fall, volunteers are needed to help with a six-acre wildflower garden, the Emily H. Allen Wildflower Preserve, Friendship Garden located near Historic Bethabara. It is home to more than 500 species of native plants. Contact Mindy Mock (mmock@piedmontland.org), if you’re interested.

Friends of the Smokies and Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway/Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation – These two groups support the two most visited units in the National Park Service, and both need your help. With ranger and maintenance positions unfilled, the people who love the parks and live nearby are pitching in to make the visitor experience the best it can be. For some undertakings, special training is required to be a VIP, Volunteer in Parks, but for others, all you need to do is show up with a desire to help.

Campground CleanupComing up in March and April, the Blue Ridge Parkway needs help getting campgrounds in order for visitors. Duties include leveling tent pads, restoring firepits, and clearing debris. The campground clean-ups are a part of Project Parkway, a collaborative effort between the National Park Service, the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. Keep an eye on the Parkway’s Facebook page for times and info. ** Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Parkway NPS

In the Smokies, opportunities abound for adopting a trail or helping out on a trail maintenance day. Perhaps the most straightforward program where anyone can help is the Trails Forever Project. Participants must commit to at least one seven-hour workday. This year’s Trails Forever project is the Trillium Gap Trail. Work days are Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. running from May through mid-September. Follow this LINK to learn more about all opportunities to volunteer in the Park, including the Discover Life in America project that collects and identifies species, including many newly-discovered plants and animals.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does highlight several groups the Mast Store works with across our communities where you can head outside and make an impact.