April 19, 2017—Balsam Mountain Preserve, a conservation-oriented residential community set on 4,400 acres in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains, created the Balsam Mountain Trust to provide expertise in managing the 3,400 acres of protected acres within the Preserve and consulting during the construction of individual homesteads.
Today, the Balsam Mountain Trust inspires people to be responsible stewards of the natural and cultural resources of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains through education and conservation leadership. A nonprofit operating from within a private development, the Trust serves a broader community across Western North Carolina but remains a beneficial resource for everyone that calls the Preserve home.
Naturalists employed by the Trust at its onsite nature center conduct scientific research and develop environmental educational programming for both residents and for the local community. The following is a sample of newly announced summer programs open to public. For more information, please visit balsammountaintrust.org.
Creature Feature: Radical Rattlers
Saturday, April 29
2:00pm – 3:30pm
Timber rattlesnakes are one of most misunderstood snake species and yet play a critical role in regional ecosystems, such as here in the southeast. As these creatures begin emerging from their winter dens this spring, join the Balsam Mountain Trust naturalists and their resident rattler to learn about their fascinating natural history, what to do if one encounters them, and why nature developed a snake species with such potent venom.
Double Top Expedition
Saturday, May 6
10:00am – 3:30pm
Mountain wildflowers are one of the defining and most delightful features of spring in the southern Appalachians. Balsam Mountain Preserve’s Double Top Trail is home to many of these unique blooms that are found nowhere else on the Preserve. Join the Trust naturalists on a hike and hunt for the beautiful flora and fauna of spring.
Helping Birds Along the Way, International Migratory Bird Day
Saturday, May 20
10:00am – 3:00pm
“Helping Birds Along the Way” is the theme for this year’s International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), the only international education program that celebrates the migration of nearly 350 bird species between their nesting habitats in North America and wintering grounds in Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean. This year, IMBD will celebrate the importance of stopover sites, crucial refuges where migratory birds rest and refuel before continuing on their remarkable journeys. Because these flights can stretch thousands of kilometers across continents and oceans, the birds depend upon a handful of resource-rich and strategically located habitats to acquire the energy-rich fat stores they need to survive.
To celebrate IMBD, the Balsam Mountain Trust is hosting an “International Migratory Bird Day” festival at the Jackson County Recreation Complex in Cullowhee, N.C. The event will feature guided bird walks, live bird demonstrations, educational stations and prizes. Admission is free.
Summer Reading Program
Thursday, July 20
11:00am – 12:00pm
The Balsam Mountain Trust animal ambassadors, along with a Trust naturalist, will present a program around the national summer reading theme of “Building a Better World.” This program is offered free to the public by the Jackson County Public Library.
Birds of Prey
Sunday, August 20
11:00am – 12:30pm
Join Executive Director Michael Skinner to learn about the Trust’s Birds of Prey program and watch first-hand flight demonstrations with resident raptors Luna, Apollo and Cheyenne. This program will be held at the Cradle of Forestry and is free.