Trust SummaryProtecting Our Little Corner of the Southern Blue Ridge
The Balsam Mountain Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and was formed by the Balsam Mountain Preserve Company (BMP) LLC in 2000. Initially, the Trusts role was to inventory and manage the Preserves land; conduct conservation education programing for Balsam Mountain Preserve members and the general public; be a consulting resource for homeowners; and provide regional environmental leadership.
Since those early days, the Trust has expanded its reach beyond the boundaries of the Preserve to become a regional leader in conservation education. Trust staff recognized the need for quality, accessible conservation-based programming in the local school systems and partnered with the Jackson and Haywood county school boards to design curricula that addressed state science standards while inspiring students to be stewards of the incredible natural resources of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains.
Currently the bulk of the Trusts work centers around presenting Bird of Prey and other wildlife outreach programming throughout Jackson, Haywood, Macon, and Swain counties. The Adopt-A-School program brings science curriculum to 10 partner schools in Jackson and Haywood counties at no cost to the schools. In 2014, the Trust became a host site for the Conservation Trust of North Carolina (CTNC) AmeriCorpsprogram. The AmeriCorps members have helped expand the Trusts reach by providing free pollinator education programs in schools and libraries.
Most recently, the Trust worked with its Board of Trustees to allow increased community access to Preserve lands through registered programs and have instituted a grant program for local conservation efforts. It continues to provide interpretive and experiential programs for Balsam Mountain Preserve members and is constantly working on new seasonal exhibits for the Nature Center.
We look forward to many more years of interpreting, enjoying, and protecting our little corner of the Southern Blue Ridge.
Natural and Cultural Resource Stewardship
Regional Environmental Leadership
The Trust is uniquely situated as a nonprofit operating from within a private development. Although we now serve a broader community across Western North Carolina, we are still closely tied to the community of Balsam Mountain Preserve and remain a beneficial resource for everyone that calls the Preserve home.
- Provides management expertise to maintain and interpret the bounty of natural and cultural resources found on the Preserve which belong to each member of the community
- Offers consulting services to each member before, during and after homestead construction
- Provides botanical inventories for each homestead
- Develops environmental education and cultural arts programs available to every age group for lifelong learning
- Produces publications that engage, enlighten and entertain community members
- Cultivates and encourages participation from community members which assists them in developing a ‘sense of place’
- Maintains (and encourages the use of) a nature center that serves as the operational heart of the Trust and its activities
Sabrina Watkins, chair – Sylva, NC
Jan Kohl, treasurer – Charlotte/Sylva, NC
Sheri Straw – secretary – Waxhaw/Sylva, NC
Dr. Stephen Barnett – Atlanta, GA
Rob Colton – Boca Raton, FL
Kathy Nervie – Sylva, NC
Chip Schuppert – Katy, TX
Louise Sparks – Sylva, NC
Mary Staton – Charlotte, NC