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Archive for May, 2011

Blue Ridge Assembly has started planting their first garden! The 2,000 square foot space is situated next to Lake Laurel and features an assortment of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and squash.

Van Burnette, member of the Assembly’s Maintenance department, is heading up the exciting¬† project. Outside of Blue Ridge, Van is a local farmer and entrepreneur at Hop N’ Blueberry Farm, which produces hops, blueberries, and a variety of native medicinal herbs for the local public and businesses. Van has decades of experience in Appalachian mountain ecology and agriculture and is hopeful about the garden’s success at Blue Ridge.

We plan to use many of the harvested vegetables at the salad bar in the Dining Room and the garden could even be incorporated into some of our environmental education programming in the coming years. Blue Ridge staff also hopes that the project inspires guests and the community to grow their own food and support local farming.

We are looking for Volunteers! If you would like to help out in the garden this summer, please contact Brent Haddas, Property Director at bhaddas@ymcabra.org for more information.

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Blue Ridge staff at the Ambassador send-off

In other news, this afternoon we said farewell to Clark Devore, the next Blue Ridge Ambassador. Clark will head to the Romford England YMCA on Saturday for a three-week volunteer staff exchange program through the YMCA and the Blue Ridge Fund. He will be submitting regular blog posts, so readers can follow along on his adventures abroad. Safe travels, Clark!

Clark and Andrew, last year's Ambassador to the Romford YMCA

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Mountain Stream Discovery at Blue Ridge

One of our most popular environmental education programs is our Mountain Stream Discovery, where participants collect and study various aquatic specimens from the streams on Blue Ridge grounds. Through hands-on exploration, they will draw conclusions about the stream’s overall water quality. Participants are given free-roam of our flowing mountain streams, observing aquatic specimens like salamanders, crayfish, and macroinvertibrates in their natural habitat. It is a fun and educational activity that encourages students to connect with nature one-on-one.¬† Recent updates to the program include water quality testing kits and the launching of the Assembly’s first “Citizen Science” log, where program participants assist Blue Ridge staff in collecting and recording data about the biodiversity and environmental conditions of the stream over time.

Female crayfish with eggs

For more information on this and our other environmental education programs, you may contact our Program Director, Peggy Eckel at peckel@ymcabra.org

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