NATURE FUN DAY AT THE CONFLUENCE NATURAL AREA

Reptile Safari at the Confluence

Sign up for one or more nature explorations.  Group sizes are limited to 10 and masks must be worn where we cannot spread out.

Where: Confluence Natural Area, 4214 Highland Farm Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278.

When: Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

From Hillsborough take Hwy 86 North away from town 1.6 miles from US70. Turn left on Coleman Loop 1.1 miles. Turn left on Highland Farm Rd 2.4 miles. The Confluence is on the left. There is a large sign and a gravel driveway.

Cost Per Person: $5 adults; $3 Eno River Association Members and children under age 18 (plus a processing fee)

Register: Nature Fun Day

Questions: education@enoriver.org or (919)620-9099 ext. 1204

Rain or Shine!

8:00 AM – Birding the Eno: Join us on a morning discovery of the birds of the Eno.  We will use sight and sound to identify who is flying through the fields, trees, and sky.  Good for both new and experienced birders.  Bring your own binoculars but we will have a few to share.  This will be about a mile and half walk over 90 minutes.  No dogs please.  Suggested ages 10 and up.

9:00 AM – Wildflowers of the Confluence: Find out what is blooming in the fields, forest, and flood plain this fall.  We will get into some of the life history and benefits uses of the plants. This will be on easy to moderate trails for about two miles in a leisurely 2 hour walk with lots of stops.  Suggested ages 12 and up.

10:30 AM – Reptile and Amphibian Safari: The Eno River Association maintains cover boards and tree frog tubes at the Confluence and we will be setting out turtle traps in advance.  Come along with us as we check them for turtles, snakes, toads, frogs, lizards, and salamanders.  This will be on easy to moderate trails with short excursions into the woods for about two miles in a leisurely 2 hour walk with lots of stops.  Suggested ages 8 and up.

2:00 PM – Insect Expedition: Discover the fascinating life of bugs buzzing around us.  We will explore our six-legged neighbors in the fields and forest.  Collection nets, containers, and magnifying glasses provided. Cameras encouraged.  90-minute program.  Suggested ages 8 and up.

4:00 PM – Seining the Creeks: We may get wet!  Lots of cool fish call the creeks of the confluence home.  Some familiar, others not well known.  We will run nets and check fish traps, identify the fish we find and learn thing about their sub-surface lives.  Must be able to wade in shallow water (up to your waist) on uneven or muddy creek bottom. Wear footwear that can get wet and suitable to protect your feet from rocks and sticks.  This is a two-hour program.  Suggested ages 11 and up.

7:00PM – Bat Survey: Using computerized equipment we will capture and identify the echo-location calls of bats native to the Eno.  We have enough tablets for everyone to work in pairs.  Discover the variety of bats flying around us when it is too dark to even see they are there.  Learn about how theses bats live and why they are important to us. This is a 90-minute program.  Suggested ages 10 and up.

Reenvisioning Fall Events & Programs

Association to support personal and small group outdoor experiences

Due to safety concerns stemming from the ongoing global pandemic, the Eno River Association is re-imaging several of its popular in-person fall events and programs. While experts agree that outdoor experiences are among the safest ways to recreate during the pandemic, the Association will focus its efforts on small group and individual programs that highlight the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Eno River basin.

The music and camping event known as JamborEno that takes place at the Association’s Confluence Natural Area in Hillsborough has been cancelled, as well as the hands-on environmental education event Stream-In at Eno River State Park. The Association will no longer be co-hosting the Eno River Run; interested participants should check the Bull City Running website for details and alternative programming.

Instead, the Association plans to provide environmental education programs for individuals, small groups, and families throughout the fall, and supplemental STEM educational programs for local students and learning pods. Additionally, to offset the cancellation of large group stewardship and trail workdays, the Association will be supporting small group service projects for workplaces, families, and pandemic pods. Due to a significant increase in traffic in parks and natural areas since the beginning of the pandemic – up to 68% in some cases – trash and trail erosion has increased. This small group stewardship series will help tackle the ongoing strain on park resources and provide a safe way to give back and commune with nature.

“Having access to safe, outdoor activities has never been more essential to the health of our community. Since the outbreak of the global pandemic, citizens have flocked to our parks for recreation and respite in record numbers. Never has the need for open spaces and safe, outdoor activities been more apparent.” commented Jessica Sheffield, Executive Director of the Eno River Association.

On October 3, the Association will host an education event at their Confluence Natural Area. The program will feature some of the popular activities from their Eno River Field Station and iWalk the Eno Summer Camp program and will support youth and adults of all ages. Attendance will be limited, and participants will be required to sign-up for specific timeslots.

To support the strain on school districts, parents, and students, the Association’s education team has also created a catalog of available programming ranging from hands-on STEM activities to local history topics to cultural arts. Learning pods are encouraged to use these resources, as well as online educational videos and other self-serve content, to create physical or virtual field trips to the Eno River this fall.

“Even in these tough times we are finding ways to provide opportunities to be safely outdoors, have fun, and grow the public’s knowledge and stewardship of natural resources,” adds Dave Cook, Education Coordinator. “You have to know it to appreciate it, and appreciate it to care for it.  We want everyone to know and appreciate the natural, cultural, and historic treasure that is the Eno, and from there grow support for open spaces and clean water. The health and well-being of our community depends on programs like ours, that inspire an environmental ethic.”

Funding from the Merck Foundation and the placement of a Resiliency Fellow by the Conservation Trust of North Carolina (AmeriCorps Program) is helping make these new programs possible. The Association website will be updated with more information and links to register closer to the events: www.enoriver.org. Individuals or companies that want to learn more about service opportunities on Eno River trails this fall should contact Tom Davis, Stewardship Coordinator, at tom@enoriver.org or 919-620-9099 x206. Those with questions about the education program, may contact Dave Cook, Education Coordinator, at dave@enoriver.org or 919-620-9099 x204.

Take Action to Protect Orange County Lands & Waters

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners are poised to vote on Lands Legacy Funding and the proposed Research Triangle Logistics Park (RTLP) development in September. Their decisions will result in either a strong, positive impact for both the Eno River and our community, or in a negative, lasting scar on both. Read the full statement here.

Next week, on September 1, it is critical that they fully fund the Lands Legacy program in the County’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for years 2 and 3 of their budget. Please write to your Orange County Commissioner in support of this vote or email them all ocbocc@orangecountync.gov.

The second issue is the proposed Research Triangle Logistics Park (RTLP). While development is important to our region and our communities, it must be done in a way that fits with existing uses and preserves our natural assets. Please let the Orange County Board of County Commissioners know you want to hear them vote “NO” on September 15th to this RTLP proposal as it doesn’t yet offer the appropriate protections for the natural community and Orange County neighbors. More information, a petition, and a direct link to email your commissioners is included on the Save Hillsborough website.

View the complete letter from the Eno River Association by clicking here.

Eno River Association Awarded Catalyst Fund Grant to Catapult Wildlife Corridor Conservation

Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina

The Eno River Association was awarded the highly competitive Catalyst Fund grant from The Network for Landscape Conservation to further coordinate the efforts of the Eno-New Hope Landscape Conservation Group.  From more than 100 applicants nationwide, 13 were awarded catalyst grants and the Association was the only North Carolina group to receive funding.

The Eno-New Hope Landscape Conservation Group is a network of land trusts, conservation groups, educational institutions, local governments, and ecologists who have aligned to conserve the natural habitats and the connections between them in the Eno River and New Hope Creek watersheds to protect biodiversity and natural resources for current and future generations. Funding will be used to hire a coordinator and to solidify group governance structures. The funding will also enable the group to develop a strategic action plan to guide implementation of its existing landscape conservation plan. By leveraging the momentum generated by the completion of the plan, this new support will build critical capacity within the group to advance collective action around its vision to conserve landscape connectivity within the Eno-New Hope landscape. Read the full press release here.

A letter to our community…

Photo by Linda Yao

The centuries-deep cultural history in the Eno River basin is rich, and injustice, inequity, and racism are tragically foundational to much of that history. The most recent murders of two innocent Black men – George Floyd and Amaud Arbery- and a Black woman – Breonna Taylor- have opened centuries-old wounds of racism inflicted on the Black community. We see you, and we stand with you in the call for justice and equity.

The land conservation movement is not separate from these acts of injustice. The initial concepts of land conservation were exclusionary. Preservation and protection were done for the benefit of white men of privilege. Too often, early conservation work overlooked and marginalized the needs of communities of color and created an unequal access to nature. We are committed to seeing that that is not the legacy of conservation in the Eno River basin.

Conservation at its core is the celebration of diversity; diversity of plants, diversity of animals, diversity of landscapes, and diversity of cultures and people. To truly conserve and protect the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Eno River basin -our mission for the past 54 years- we must uplift the marginalized stories and work to overcome the injustice that has been wrought on the Black and Indigenous communities in the basin.

Are we successful in this effort so far? Is our work reaching the marginalized communities along the Eno as it runs thru Orange and Durham Counties? Are we engaging in meaningful partnerships with low-income communities and communities of color? Are we modeling equity and inclusivity in the way we work, and in our public-facing programs? Humbly, we cannot answer yes to these questions. Not yet.

In 1966, the Eno River Association was founded by a group of inspired Durham citizen who were not afraid to speak up for something they knew was important, and we will not shy away from that calling now. In the tradition of our spirited founders, Eno will advocate for what we know is important- racial justice, equity, and inclusion.

The Eno River Association Board of Directors and Staff

Orange County Proposal to Slash Funding for Land Protection

Update June 10: Commissioners protected conservation easement funding in this year’s budget.

Thank you all for your time, support, and effort to contact the Orange County board of commissioners last week. Your voices were heard, and last night in their budget meeting the commissioners protected the conservation easement funding in the coming budget!! A link to that video is below.

And, while they delayed the vote that could affect the lands legacy program, most commissioners stated they will NOT cut that funding when it comes up for vote in September!! This is good news.

Please continue to let your local officials know how important these land conservation programs are in our community.

Sample Talking Points

Here are some sample talking points you can use to craft your letter or remarks, but it is by no means comprehensive. The proposed changes will have long-term affects on social & environmental justice, climate change, and other issues that may reflect your passions and values as well.

  • – Proposed FY 2020-21 CIP amendments CIP-004, CIP-005, and CIP-006 affect the Lands Legacy and Conservation Easement Programs in Orange County, cutting all funding from these programs for the next three years.
  • – Since 2000 over $8 million in other funding–from grants and landowner donations–has been raised for land protection due to the Lands Legacy Program and Conservation Easement Program.
  • – Nearly 4,000 acres within Orange County have been protected through these programs; creating parks for underserved populations within our community, improving water quality for over 500,000 citizens, ensuring viable farmland into the future, ensuring climate change resiliency, and improving the overall health and wellbeing of Orange County residents.
  • – Investments in land protection today provide lasting, positive impacts on our community into the future.  Proximity to parks and open space enhances the value of residential properties and produces increased tax revenues for communities. Open space captures precipitation, reduces stormwater management costs, and by protecting underground water sources, open space can reduce the cost of drinking water up to ten-fold. Improving access to public open space has the potential to increase levels of physical activity, and to have mental health benefits and reduce healthcare and other costs.
  • – Without the financial commitment of the County, land trusts would no longer be able to leverage grant funds to support land acquisition. In most cases, funding partners require matching resources, especially from municipal and county governments.

Read our full statement here:


County Manager’ Recommended FY 2020-21: https://www.orangecountync.gov/714/County-Budgets (Please note the Operating Budget is a 500 page, 20MB document)

Budget amendments, as proposed by the BOCC and staff
https://www.orangecountync.gov/2147/Proposed-Budget-Amendments Reference lines CIP-04, CIP-05, and CIP-06


Previous Posts

BOCC Virtual Budget Public Hearing June 4, 2020 Meeting – 7:00 p.m.

The Board of Commissioners is conducting a Virtual Budget Public Hearing on Thursday, June 4, 2020 where they will hear comment on proposed capital improvement plan amendments which impact three years of funding for land protection. These cuts over time have the potential to significantly reduce the amount of open spaces and harm clean water and conservation efforts for many years to come.

Eno River Association is asking members to participate in this meeting by providing public comment through either:

• Written submittals by email 

• Speaking during the virtual meeting 

Detailed directions for providing comment are in the document below. Your comment must be submitted by Thursday, June 4 at 3pm.

Members of the public will be able to view and listen to the meeting via live streaming video at http://www.orangecountync.gov/967/Meeting-Videos and on Orange County Gov-TV on channels 1301 or 97.6 (Spectrum Cable).

NEW LAND PRESERVATION FUND IN ORANGE COUNTY

Eno River Association is pleased to announce a transformational new instrument in the conservation and protection of lands within the Eno River basin.

The Roberta and Herman Brown Land Preservation Fund provides resources to maintain and purchase land and easements in Orange County. This fund was established through a nearly $2 million bequest from the estate of Joyce Brown, daughter of Roberta & Herman.

“Orange County lands along the Eno River have and continue to be a high priority for our watershed protection plan. As these past years have seen incredible population growth in the County, it is essential that we continue to proactively preserve open spaces, protect wildlife corridors, and provide outdoor areas that all citizens can enjoy,” said Jessica Sheffield, Executive Director in a statement to its members.

Joyce Brown, 2012

A long-time advocate for the environment, Joyce Brown was elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council in 1989. During her 12-year tenure, Ms. Brown focused on environmental and energy conservation, as well as neighborhood preservation. Ms. Brown was also active with several environmental groups throughout her lifetime, including Eno River Association, the North Carolina Conservation Council, Sierra Club, Citizens Against Shearon Harris, among others. Ms. Brown had deep Orange County roots, and was a direct descendant of Matthew McCauley, one of the original land donors who helped create the University of North Carolina.

In 2012, Ms. Brown was honored as a community treasure by the Chapel Hill Historical Society, and she reflected on her hopes that “the community will be cognizant of environmental resources as they plan for potential growth.” Her bequest will help carry on this dream: preserving natural lands in Orange County, and ensuring those lands support the needs of a growing community.

The timing of this gift coincides with the opportunity to help the Eno River State Park complete its master plan, which envisions an over 6,700-acre park. Currently the Park encompasses 4,500 acres leaving over 2,000 to be acquired, much of it in Orange County where pressure from developers can mean inflated property values. The Brown gift will help the Association leverage funding from other sources for these purchases, as well as close a large gap in protection between Duke Forest and the Association’s Confluence Natural Area near the headwaters of the Eno River, also in Orange County.

“Joyce Brown’s generosity will have an impact on the river and the plants and animals that live there for generations to come. But lands in the Eno River basin are extremely desirable, and we will make great strides in completing the State Park Master Plan when many others combine their generosity with Ms. Brown’s. The Eno River runs through the lives of millions of people, and we know they will be inspired to join in the work to protect the river,” said Don Moffitt, board chair for the Eno River Association.

The Roberta & Herman Brown Land Preservation Fund will join the Margaret C. Nygard Acquisition Fund and the Allen Lloyd Fund for the Upper Eno as dedicated funding to help purchase and steward properties along the Eno River. Individuals who want to learn more about planned giving or opportunities to get involved should contact Director of Development, Emily Hill at 919-620-9099 or learn more here.

2020 Festival for the Eno Canceled

Photo by Caroline Cockrell, Festival for the Eno 2019

It is with deep sadness that we announce the cancellation of the 41st Festival for the Eno, scheduled for July 3 and 4, 2020. We do this following much thoughtful deliberation and in consultation with our many partners including the City of Durham, Orange and Durham Counties, NC State Parks, and many local participants, sponsors, artists, and friends. We waited as long as possible to make this decision, in hopes that we could present some scaled-down version of this beloved annual tradition this summer.  Unfortunately, we can no longer see any feasible way to produce an event of this magnitude and complexity while ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved. 

Due to the continued uncertainly about the future spread of the COVID virus, we do not plan to reschedule the 2020 Festival for the Eno.

We are heartbroken that we will not get to see everyone “on the Eno” this July, but hope to see you in smaller gatherings – on the trails and along the river banks in some of the over 7,400 acres of protected lands preserved through our efforts.  We hope resume planning live events later this fall, and will incorporate as many elements of the EnoFest into these events as is practical. We look forward to seeing you at West Point City Park on Independence Day weekend 2021.  In the meantime, we will continue to promote the nature, culture and history of the Eno River through virtual experiences, and self-guided activities – accessible online via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and the Festival website.

The Festival for the Eno is our largest public event and our greatest opportunity to raise awareness & funds that protect the land & water quality of the Eno River. We need to raise $50,000 to offset the loss of the 2020 Festival and continue our advocacy, education, and awareness efforts for the Eno River basin. You can help by making a donation to our Festival Fund or purchasing an Eno River T-Shirt or Poster. More Festival merchandise coming soon!

Thank you to our Festival sponsors:

See the complete list of sponsors at EnoFest.org

Celebrate Earth Day 2020

Photo by Dalvin Nichols, www.8bitphotog.com

There are so many ways to celebrate our beloved river and our earth today, and we hope you’ll take part in at least one of them:⁠

…download our Treasure Maps for the Confluence Natural Area⁠

…color a page from our coloring book

…represent the Eno River (and support our work) with a purchase from our online store⁠

…become a member by making a gift to our 40-mile Challenge in honor of Earth Day⁠

…sing along with our I Love the Eno music video…

…hug a tree, take a hike, meditate in the woods…⁠ ⁠

Whatever you do, we hope it brings you joy! ⁠Happy Earth Day!

DUKE ENERGY SUPPORTS HANDS-ON, FEET WET PROGRAMS ON THE ENO

A $15,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation will help bring environmental education and outdoor experiences to more than 2,500 youth and adults in the next year. The grant was awarded to the Eno River Association, which will use the funds to connect people with the Eno through its education and outreach programs.

Seeking to excite participants in protecting the Eno River, the Association provides hundreds of conservation, science, and history programs through field trips, outreach to schools & community groups, education at community events, program support to Parks within the watershed, Sunday afternoon guided hikes, and other programs open to the public at little or no charge.

A key focus of the award is supporting the Association’s youth education programs which support 1,100 youth annually. iWalk the Eno Science & Nature Day Camp and Eno River Field Station, the Association’s unique summer STEM programs serve youth age 8-15 with in-depth science and nature experiences. These programs focus on hands-on, feet-wet, experiential learning with the Eno River serving as the classroom, laboratory, and research station.

Funding from Duke Energy will provide scholarships for students to attend the camps at low or no cost. Durham and Orange counties have higher-than-average rates of low income and minority populations, and the Association has responded by removing barriers to participation for these populations.

“We have a lot of smart, enthusiastic kids who want to attend summer camp or explore careers in STEM, but not all families can afford that experience. Thanks to funders who care like Duke Energy, we can bring these kids to the River, and excite them about our wild places. We are building future conservationists.”

Dave Cook, education & outreach coordinator

With the help of its partners, the Association provides scholarships for all students, additional funding for free- and reduced-lunch participants, and resources in Spanish and English. All other youth education programs and field trips are provided to schools and community groups at no charge, and the Association prioritizes the 18 Title One public schools in its service area. Additional funding is provided by the Burroughs Wellcome Student Science Enrichment Program and donations from Association members.

“Science education and environmental stewardship are two critical focus areas for Duke Energy. The Eno River Association’s programs are proven to support achievement and enthusiasm for science, and we’re happy to make this opportunity available to kids from diverse backgrounds across the Eno watershed.”

Duke Energy’s Indira Everett, district manager for government & community relations in Durham and Orange counties

iWalk the Eno runs June 16-19 and 22-26 for youth 8-12 and Eno River Field Station runs July 27-31 for teens 12-15 with a strong interest in science or natural resource conservation. The Eno River Association continues to monitor health guidelines and school schedules, and refunds will be available should the camps be cancelled. More information and updates will be shared via the Association website.

Duke Energy has reaffirmed their commitment to their nonprofit partners and has promised flexibility in response to COVID-19 impacts.