A message from Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust’s Dr. Gary Wein

As Executive Director of Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, I want you to know that we miss seeing our land trust family in person but that our important conservation work continues.

We miss seeing many of you on the trails, in our halls and at our programs. We miss seeing your children at our afterschool programs and we miss working alongside our volunteers at our properties. 

However, we are proud of our community for staying apart physically while coming together in other ways to ensure we all weather this storm the best we can, together. 

While our staff is not working out of our offices at the Peggy Crosby Center right now, our vital conservation work continues from our home offices and on our properties, when appropriate and safe to do so. 

It is essential that we all do our part to slow the spread of this virus and we want you to know the additional steps we are taking to help, besides working remotely. We have cancelled all of our in-person programming through May 15 based on Governor Cooper’s executive orders to close NC schools through this date. Also, all staff, board and committee meetings are being held online only.

We know that nature is good therapy, but we also recognize that it is essential that we all do what’s best for our community and remain physically distant from each other. We understand that many public trails have closed due to overcrowding.

At this time, we believe our trails have not experienced overcrowding so for now, our trails will remain open.

We have posted signage on all our public trails stating a new rule for their use, effective immediately: all visitors to our properties MUST keep to themselves and maintain at least six feet apart from others at all times. At this time, our properties are not to be used as gathering places, rather we ask that everyone who wants to use our trails respect the rules and use our trails only to isolate outside.

We will be installing trail counters on our most popular trails and also asking that if anyone notices any cases of overcrowding at any of our trails, please contact us immediately at info.hitrust@earthlink.net. Your safety is our top priority.

While all of us are having to make major adjustments, we are grateful that some things remain the same – like the many gifts of spring.  Our staff is working hard to provide you with resources to help still enjoy the beauty of springtime and to stay connected with nature right in your own backyard or online in the comfort and safety of your home. 

Our Spring Awakens series will highlight various gifts of spring and will be highlighted weekly on our Facebook and Instagram pages and can be found on our website: http://www.hicashlt.org.

If you or someone you know has young children at home while schools are closed, we can help with our new Backyard Explorer series. Our on-staff environmental educators have been working on simple lesson plans to keep young curious minds engaged and learning about our natural world. 

All lessons can be downloaded and printed or used straight from your smartphone and all will only require, at most, a few simple items you probably have at home. 

We are exploring other ways to stay connected so please stay tuned.  

Ours is a tightknit and strong community and we are all working together to slow the spread of the virus. Now is a critical time for us all to work together so that we can get past this challenging time as quickly and safely as possible. 

Thank you for doing your part and thank you for being an important part of the land trust community. Please reach out to me anytime at hitrust@earthlink.net.  We look forward to seeing you again soon.

  • HCLT Executive Director Gary Wein

Photo at the top of the article of Gary Wein courtesy of HCLT.

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