Home

fall-mountains-jeff

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 Thursday of each month. The meetings start at 7:00 p.m. with the program beginning at 7:15. 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, November 26th, 2018
Written by Deborah

WNC Sierra Club Honors Local Individuals, Institutions, Businesses

Asheville, NC – November 11, 2018: The WNC Sierra Club will present its annual Environmental Recognition Awards on December 6 at its Potluck Holiday Party. The awards are made in recognition of local individuals, institutions and businesses whose actions reflect their commitment to preserving the environment.

The party gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, Asheville. Please bring a dish to share, as well as your own dishes and silverware. This event is free and open to the public.

This year’s six awards are:

Green Elected Officials: City of Asheville  

Julie Mayfield, Ashville City Councilwoman, and John Noor, Chair, Asheville Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment Commission, are recognized by the Sierra Club for their leadership in getting the City of Asheville to set a goal of having city government operations transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 and supporting the Buncombe County Goal of having the entire county transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2042. 

Thanks to Noor’s leadership, this goal was approved by the Sustainability Advisory Committee in August. Thanks to Mayfield’s leadership, this goal received a unanimous vote of the Asheville City Council on October 23.

    

Government Sustainability: NC Army National Guard Field Maintenance Shop #1

The North Carolina Army National Guard Field Maintenance Shop #1 proactively works to ensure environmental protection. In 2017, the shop received a Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Sustainability. It also placed second in the 2018 Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards in the Sustainability, Industrial Installation category. The FMS 1 facility also won 1st place for the Environmental Quality category at the National Guard Bureau level for the 2018 competition.

In 2016 and 2017, the shop exceeded expectations in reducing hazardous and universal waste, as well as reducing the use of water. In each of the last two years, it diverted 15 tons of oil, rubber, plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, antifreeze, batteries and wood pallets from landfills. It also replaced its outdated lighting fixtures with LED lights,

Green Business of the Year: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Both LEED ® and Zero Waste certified, Sierra Nevada boasts:         

  • Provision for alternative transportation (bicycle parking and two electric vehicle charging stations)
  • Stormwater management that collects rain water and repurposes it for irrigation and other non-potable water uses (uses 40% less potable water than a similar, traditional building), low-flow toilets and faucets, low-water-use plants and native species
  • An estimated 2,200 photovoltaic solar panels and Capstone Microturbine technology that converts methane biogas captured at its on-site wastewater treatment plant into electricity
  • Recycling and composting programs used during construction enabled the brewery to divert 81% of its waste from the landfill.
  • A healthy, indoor environmental quality. Adhesives, sealants and flooring were selected to reduce chemical concentrations. Lighting and thermal comfort systems were designed for energy efficiency. 99.8% of the facility’s total solid waste is diverted from landfill through reuse, recycling and composting.

Conservation Advocate – Will Harlan

Will Harlan, Editor-in-chief, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, is being honored for his lifetime commitment to conservation. In 2018, he created and went on to direct I Heart Pisgah to celebrate and safeguard the wildest and most biologically important places in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. It now includes more than 100 businesses and organizations, and thousands of individuals, who support more protected areas in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. He also founded and organized Friends of Big Ivy, a grassroots organization that protects the old-growth forests and wild areas of the Craggies and Big Ivy section of Pisgah National Forest.

An award-winning journalist, he has written for National Geographic Adventure and appeared in Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and on The Oprah Winfrey Show. His book, Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America, was a New York Times bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Discover Award Finalist, winner of the Society of Environmental Journalist’s Rachel Carson Book Award, and one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2014.

Environmental Organization of the Year: Energy Savers Network

   

Energy Savers Network (ESN) is committed to helping solve the climate crisis by helping people. ESN mobilizes volunteers to focus on improving the homes of lower income people, offering free upgrades, energy saving education, and referrals to agencies that offer more comprehensive repairs and weatherization. Upgrades include weather stripping, water heater insulation, custom interior storm windows, LED lights, water saving fixtures, duct sealing, and minor repairs that save energy. Starting from the first completed home in December 2016, ESN has assisted more than 200 families, including 168 over the past 12 months. ESN’s long-term goal is to serve as many as 500 homes per year.

Director Brad Rouse is aided by staffer Yulia Shaffer ad volunteer Alice Wyndham.

Naturalist, Educator and Wildlife Rehabilitator of the Year: Carlton Burke

Naturalist and educator Carlton Burke lives in Mills River, NC where he operates an educational service called Carolina Mountain Naturalists. This organization specializes in presenting live animal and nature programs and displays for area schools, summer camps, and many other organizations. Burke is a state- and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator with Carolina Mountain Wildlife Control. He also served as the Curator of Exhibits at the Western North Carolina Nature Center, Asheville, for more than 25 years. and can be heard each Saturday morning co-hosting Nature News, a local, hour-long radio program. He also teaches with the Blue Ridge Naturalist program at the NC Arboretum, and works with Muddy Sneakers.

For more information, contact Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Paul Simon donates $25,000 to Muddy Sneakers

Mountain Express: “Muddy Sneakers is incredibly grateful to be the North Carolina recipient of a recent contribution from legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon. As part of his Homeward Bound farewell tour, Simon awarded a gift of $25,000 to Muddy Sneakers to grows its work of awakening in children a deeply felt connection with the natural world. Muddy Sneakers partners with public elementary schools in North Carolina to bring fifth graders onto nearby protected lands to supplement classroom science instruction.” Read more from Mountain Express.

Monday, November 19th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Sierra Club Awards and Potluck Holiday Party Thurs Dec 6, 6:30

Sierra Club will celebrate the holidays by proudly presenting our yearly awards to environmental heroes. We will also honor our volunteers who worked in the election, and many of our endorsed candidates will be present.
Please bring a potluck dish with a card listing the ingredients, and your own place settings.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Pl. (corner of Charlotte St & Edwin)
Contact: judymattox@sbcglobal.net   828-683-2176
Free & open to the public.
 
Monday, October 29th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Sierra Club presents on Thursday Nov 1 , 7 pm, “Citizen Science”

Sierra Club presents on Thursday Nov 1 , 7 pm, “Citizen Science: what you can do to help our water, urban trees, as well as other environmental protections.”
Alison Ormsby, UNCA Professor of environmental studies along with a panel from Environmental Qualitly Institute and the Treasured Trees program for Asheville/Buncombe County will discuss how you can help.
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.
Wednesday, October 24th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution for 100% Renewable Energy

The Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for city operations to be powered by 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 and supporting the Buncombe County Goal for the entire county to be powered by 100% Renewable Energy by 2042.  Asheville lived up to its nickname of Climate City USA and takes a leadership role in the southeast by recognizing how critical it is to take action on climate change and taking this aggressive action said Ken Brame, local Sierra Club leader in thanking the mayor and council for setting this goal.  The Sierra Club along with the WNC Coalition for 100% Clean Energy, and students from UNCA and Asheville High School presented over 1400 letters and signatures urging passage of the resolution to show the broad community support for taking action now.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Sierra Club presents on Thursday Nov 1 , 7 pm, “Citizen Science”

Sierra Club presents on Thursday Nov 1 , 7 pm, “Citizen Science: what you can do to help our water, urban trees, as well as other environmental protections.”
Alison Ormsby, UNCA Professor of environmental studies along with a panel from Environmental Qualitly Institute and the Treasured Trees program for Asheville/Buncombe County will discuss how you can help.
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.
Thursday, September 27th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Take Action for 100% Renewable Energy for Asheville

Last December, we got Buncombe County to adopt a 100% Renewable Energy Goal that requires county operations to be powered by 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 and for the entire county to meet that goal by 2042. We now need the City of Asheville to adopt the same goal. On Oct. 23rd, the Asheville City Council will vote to set the same goal. Please take a minute and send them an email or make a phone call asking them to pass this resolution. You can send an email to all council members by sending to this email address: AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov  

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018
Written by Deborah

Thursday Oct 4 , 7 pm, “Cultural & Human History of the Pisgah & Nantahala Forests”

Sierra Club presents on Thursday Oct 4 , 7 pm, ” Cultural & Human History of the Pisgah & Nantahala Forests,” by author Marci Spencer. Hear stories behind our local spectacular scenic beauty by our local author of numerous books.
 
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.
Tuesday, August 28th, 2018
Written by Deborah

Thursday Sept 6 at 7 pm, ” Protecting Our Environment –Who We Elect Matters”

Sierra Club presents on Thursday Sept 6 at 7 pm, ” Protecting Our Environment –Who We Elect Matters”. Note the Thursday date.

Come hear what you can do to help elect an environmental majority to the NC State House &

 Buncombe Ct Commission. 

Tired of all of the attacks on our environment by the NC General Assembly? Ken Brame, NC Sierra Club Political Chair, will talk about why we need to elect good environmental state legislators, why this fall’s election will be a “wave elec
tion” that will strongly favor Democrats, and what each of us can do to take advantage of the “wave” to elect an environmental majority to the NC State House and the Buncombe County Commission. A “wave election” is one in which one political party significantly out performs expectations allowing that party to win seats that ordinarily would not be likely.

Location Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, corner of Charlotte  and Edwin.

Contact: Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, (828) 683-2176

Free and open to the public.

Friday, August 17th, 2018
Written by Deborah

City of Asheville’s Sustainable Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE) passes resolution

The City of Asheville’s Sustainable Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment (SACEE), which develops and recommends policy concerning sustainability to City Council, just yesterday passed a resolution calling on the City to transition its municipal operations to 100% renewable energy by 2030. This is one more step in Asheville’s transition to a clean energy future!

SACEE is recommending that City Council adopt this resolution, but before it can be voted on by City Council, it will go to the Planning and Economic Development Committee to consider the financial implications of making this energy transition. The committee consists of Council Member and MountainTrue Co-Director Julie Mayfield and Council Members Gwen Wisler and Vijay Kapoor. We know Julie supports the resolution, so we need to reach out to the other members to ask for their support.

Today, we hope you’ll act in two ways:

  1. Contact members of SACEE to thank them for their visionary commitment to a clean energy future.
  2. Contact Council Members Wisler and Kapoor and ask them to recommend this resolution be approved by Council. As the costs of transitioning to renewable energy continue to decrease and clean energy creates economic benefits for communities all across the nation, we know it is both possible and economically beneficial to meet this goal.

Gwen Wisler email: gwenwisler@avlcouncil.com

Vijay Kapoor email: vijaykapoor@avlcouncil.com 

And here’s the message they would send to Wisler & Kapoor:

Dear Council Members,I’m writing today to urge you to recommend that Asheville City Council adopts SACEE’s resolution calling for municipal city operations to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

As tracked by the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, across the U.S. over 70 cities, more than five counties, and one state have already adopted ambitious 100% clean energy goals. Five cities in the U.S. – Aspen CO, Burlington, VT, Greensburg, KS, Rock Port, MO, and Kodiak Island, AK – have already hit their targets. The goal proposed in SACEE’s resolution is also consistent with clean energy goals that Buncombe County has already committed to.

As the costs of transitioning to renewable energy continue to decrease and clean energy creates economic benefits for communities all across the nation, we know it is both possible and economically beneficial to meet this goal and to join our nation’s cities that are leaders in sustainability.

Thank you for your consideration.