Happy Thursday OM Sanctuary followers! Today I would like to share my project with you: The Green Initiatives at OM Sanctuary. Visionary Founder and President Shelli Stanback enlisted my assistance earlier this spring to be the catalyst for continuing conservation and restoration work of the 40 acre forest. In early June the OM Sanctuary team had a meeting with two members from the Asheville Chapter of The Nature Conservancy: Michael Horack, Associate Director of Philanthropy, and Adam Warwick, Southern Blue Ridge Stewardship Manager. During this meeting an outline was completed about what my duties would be this summer as intern. My primary task is the completion of the Holistic Forest Management Plan. This plan will include information about the land acquisition, the natural and cultural resources that are located on the property, the usage of the property and the management activities and intent. Both Adam and Mike are terrific resources for some of this information and I occasionally do work at their downtown office. I was also fortunate to have spent time with their AmeriCorps intern Kathryn Selm, who visited OMS on two different occasions to walk the forest trails with me and identify many of our native and invasive plant species. Yesterday I completed the OM Sanctuary Forest Guide, which includes information and photographs for 50+ species. Pictured on the right is a photograph of my favorite plant that was identified: a Maidenhair fern, which is native to the Western North Carolina bio-region.
Besides taking steps that have been outlined, the OMS team has also been working to build partnerships with other community organizations who have their own Green Initiatives to share.
Two weeks ago the OMS team met with Dr. David Ellum; Chair of the Environmental Studies Department, Professor of Sustainable Forestry, and College Forest Director at Warren Wilson College. He shared his research that he has been conducting with students on his “Forest/Field Edge” project. His project involved four aspects, in order of priority: health of the ecosystem, educational value, recreational value, and products. The OMS team wanted to have this discussion with him in hopes that some of his strategies and techniques could be incorporated on the OM Sanctuary property sometime in the near future to remove hard forest to landscaped edges. (Picture on the left: OMS Caretaker & Landscaping Brian Hines, OMS summer intern Rachel Newcomb, Warren Wilson’s Dr. David S. Ellum, and OMS Communications & Landscaping Aaron Lodge)
This is only what has been accomplished so far. We have many plans in the making so keep your eyes open for updates about the Holistic Forest Management Plan happening at OM Sanctuary.