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Welcome!

The Western North Carolina (WENOCA) Group is a part of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club. Its area of interest covers the counties of North Carolina west of Buncombe county except for Transylvania, Henderson and Polk counties. Those three counties are covered by our sister organization the Pisgah Group.

The group usually meets on the first Wednesday of each month. The meetings start at 7:00 p.m. with half an hour of social get together, program beginning at 7:30. The meetings are held in Asheville at the Unitarian Church, 1 Edwin Place at Charlotte Street. The form of the meeting is a brief session of announcements and business followed by a presentation about an issue in which the WENOCA Group is interested. A list of the forthcoming programs can be found under WENOCA News.

The WENOCA Group is an all-volunteer group with no paid staff. It is governed by an executive committee of seven members elected by the membership. Contact information for the members of the executive committee is provided on the excom page.

Visit our Volunteer Opportunities webpage to find out how you can get involved in our local outings, educational programs and events, membership recruitment and engagement,  fundraising, and advocacy efforts. There are opportunities to volunteer for many different types of tasks, to fit all types of schedules and time commitments. We need your talents and energy to help green Western North Carolina.

After you learn about our work, please consider becoming a member of the Sierra Club.  You can join on line using our secure server. Join now to receive a Sierra Club backpack as a welcome gift!

If you are a member, you can also renew your membership online via the same secure server. If you are not sure about joining the Sierra Club, follow this link to read why you should join us.

The WENOCA Group and the National Sierra Club are the same 501 C (4) non-profit legal entity. The local WENOCA Group is empowered to speak on behalf of the entire Sierra Club on issues that fall wholly within the Group’s geographic jurisdiction. The Sierra Club engages in the full range of electoral politics allowed by law. Because the Club has registered political action committees at the federal and state level, the WENOCA Group is able to make political endorsements at every level of government within its political boundaries, from US Congress to local county commissioner and council elections.

 

Monday, June 5th, 2017
Written by Deborah

Alert: contact Buncombe County Commissioners to support this year’s budget for energy efficiency.

Attend & speak Tues, June 6 at 5 pm (200 College St, 3rd floor), or email the following 7 commissioners:     
brownie.newman@buncombecounty.org , jasmine.beach-ferrara@buncombecounty.org, alfred.whitesides@buncombecounty.org, ellen.frost@buncombecounty.org, joe.belcher@buncombecounty.org, mike.fryar@buncombecounty.org, robert.pressley@buncombecounty.org
 
Talking points:
We strongly support full funding of the local clean energy proposals by the Energy Innovation Task Force including recommendations for low-income weatherization, helping improve energy efficiency for non-profit and other community organizations, and exploring broader use of renewable energy on public buildings, including schools. The 2017/18 budget to fully implement these recommendations is $560,000, with future yearly goals of $500,000.
 
It would be great to have some people speak at the beginning of the Buncombe County Commission meeting about the importance of prioritizing clean energy at the community level. Each person has up to 3 minutes to comment.
 
Alert: Contact Tim Moore, NC House Speaker, or your Representative if outside Buncombe County, to oppose “Billboard Protection Act.” Vote will be in the next few days.
Talking Points to be against:
The bill would allow as many as 10 digital billboards per mile; would take away local governments authority to regulate billboards; would make NC taxpayers pay more money to billboard companies for removals and relocations; would allow more cutting of trees around billboards.
 
If you live outside of Buncombe County, please contact your state house representatives (contact your Representative) and ask them to oppose  House Bill 581 as soon as possible because it will be voted on in the next few days, and let them know that you don’t want your city or area to look like Gatlinburg.  If you live in Buncombe County contact House Speaker Tim Moore and ask him not to support HB 581, 919-733-3451, Tim.Moore@ncleg.net.
 

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
Written by Deborah

June 7 at 7pm: How We CAN Prevent a 3rd Gas Powered Electric Plant by Duke Energy, An Update on the Energy Innovation Task Force

Join us on June 7 at 7pm as we welcome Julie Mayfield of Asheville City Council, Brownie Newman of Buncombe County Commission, and Jason Walls of Duke Energy, who will provide an update on the County-City-Duke partnership to reduce energy use in Buncombe County and to avoid construction of a new natural gas peaking unit.  The Energy Innovation Task force has been working for just over a year and has made recommendations to the City and County for new programs and investments, and Duke has made groundbreaking announcements on deployment of new technology in our area.  Come hear the update.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Pl, corner of Charlotte & Edwin
Contact: Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176

Sunday, April 30th, 2017
Written by Deborah

Wed, May 3 at 7 pm “Flowers, Trees, and Mountains of our Appalachian Spring”

Sierra Club will present on Wed, May 3 at 7 pm “Flowers, Trees, and Mountains of our Appalachian Spring” with Scott Dean, naturalist and photographer.
Scott has been a part of both UNCA & Great Smoky Mountain Spring Pilgrimages for years, and teaches at the Arboretum.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1 Edwin Pl, (corner of Charlotte & Edwin) in Asheville
Contact: Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176.
Free & open to the public

Thursday, April 27th, 2017
Written by Deborah

Friday April 28, 9:00 am, UNCA

UNCA Student Environmental Center has been granted the right to speak to the UNCA Board of Trustees to present a request for divestiture from fossil fuel funds; UNC Asheville at Brown Hall #217,  contact James Smith, jsmith18@unca.edu, 919-724-5087; UNCA students are requesting the community to come and support

Thursday, April 20th, 2017
Written by Deborah

Fri, Apr 21: Climate Change Film from Leonardo DiCaprio

Follow Leonardo DiCaprio, United Nations Ambassador for Climate Change, as he travels around the globe to witness first hand the effects of climate change and what can be done to solve the problems, through interviews with global leaders such as Pope Francis and former President Obama.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place (corner of Charlotte and Edwin)
Sponsors: WNC Sierra Club (WENOCA) and Creation Care Alliance of WNC.
Contact : Jane Laping, janelaping@sbcglobal.net or 828-277-7342  Donations requested.

Thursday, April 20th, 2017
Written by Deborah

Sat April 29 10-2 pm. Peoples’ Climate March in Asheville

Vance Monument, downtown Asheville, Sponsors: Indivisible Asheville WNC and 350 Asheville; contact: Ken Brame, kenbrame@sbcglobal.net, 828-423-8045 to march under Sierra Club banner or volunteer to help.

Thursday, April 20th, 2017
Written by Deborah

Friday April 28, 9am-12 pm

UNCA Student Environmental Center presents to UNCA Board of Trustees request for divestiture from fossil fuel funds; UNC Asheville at Brown Hall #217, time TBA between 9-12 pm; contact James Smith, jsmith18@unca.edu, 919-724-5087; UNCA students are requesting the community to come and support

Thursday, April 20th, 2017
Written by Deborah

Apr 22, 10 am – March for Science

March for Science, start at Ashton Park, 197 S. French Broad, Asheville; end at Pack Square, 1 Pack Square,
contact: Luke Shealey, lukeshealy99@gmail.com,  828-702-1122

Saturday, March 18th, 2017
Written by Deborah

Asheville Citizen Times article March 18 on WENOCA Sierra Club Chair

Judy Mattox, 71, took a winding path to her job as executive committee chair of WENOCA Sierra Club, a chapter of the national Sierra Club, one of the oldest and most politically powerful environmental nonprofits.
She grew up in Oklahoma, earned a degree in English from Northwestern University and taught at schools and at a shelter for runaways. But she also was a farmer, social worker, teacher and actor. She was living and working on her organic farm when she met her future husband, Ken Brame, political chair of the national Sierra Club chapter. The couple moved to Asheville nine years ago.


 
“I got roped in,” Mattox said. But she’s glad to be at the rodeo, her lively description of the Sierra Club’s mission clearly showing her passion for the work. “We do the fun stuff, and we do the really heavy stuff.”
The WENOCA group hosts presentations by environmental experts, leads hikes and nature outings, and also advocates among the public and politicians to affect positive environmental change.
 
“We’re really proud of our work on coal ash. We’re shutting down coal plants, getting coal ash removed, and calling on politicians to take action to prevent climate change and to fund research into climate change and fund the Environmental Protection Agency,” Mattox said. “We’re trying to prevent a third peaking gas power plant from being built in Asheville.”
 
She is also proud of the club’s work on the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest Revision Plan, which will guide management of the two largest forests in the state for the next 15 years.
“The forest is just healing and love and nurturance. We as humans have to have the forest and so it’s important to protect it and to have a good management plan that everyone can live with and keep Congress from privatizing these lands.”
 

Judy Mattox is the chair of the executive committee of the Sierra Club of Western North Carolina. Members of the Sierra Club are all volunteers, and the grassroots organization lobbies for environmental preservation.

Saturday, March 18th, 2017
Written by Deborah

Wed April 5 at 7pm the Sierra Club presents: Hope in the Form of Wind & Solar Energy

Michael Shore will speak about past, present and future of wind and solar energy. Michael was co-founder of First Light Solar in 2006 and is now President of BarberWind Turbines. Learn about the success of renewable energy!

Location Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin place, corner of Charlotte and Edwin.
Contact: Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, (828) 683-2716
Free and open to the public