By Basil Camu
On the 4th of July some years ago, my wife and I took our 10-month-old son for a hike before food and family festivities. After looking online, we came across Triangle Land Conservancy’s website and chose Horton Grove Nature Preserve in Bahama, NC. We were also intrigued by the TLC’s Hiking Challenge, which encouraged participants to visit all 6 of their nature preserves. So off we went!
It was a warm, quiet morning at Horton Grove, perfect for piquing our sense of adventure. As we walked, we not only discovered the enchantment of the native meadows and forests, but we also learned the history of the land. It was an incredible journey back to nature and back in time. By the end of the 5th mile, we arrived back at our car, excited about visiting TLC’s other sites in the coming months.
We continued our local hikes and fell in love with the riches our local lands have to offer. Through these adventures, we discovered that beautiful vistas, magical wetlands, and songbirds shrilling happily in old forest stands are not the sole preserve of the Appalachians or the coastline. They are right here in our backyard. TLC is doing an incredible job preserving these ecologically critical and historically significant natural sanctuaries.
The more I learned about TLC and the more I experienced their work, the more I wanted to help.
Let me back up to explain a bit more about me. I co-own Leaf & Limb. We are a mission-based tree service using our craft of tree care to create positive impact for our community and environment. On the first Friday of every month, we put aside our normal work and pay our staff to volunteer with local non-profits and deserving organizations. We also donate money and resources to worthy causes. Over the last 2 years, we have donated close to $250,000 in financial contributions and services. As it so happens, we had been looking for a worthy foundation to support in a matched fundraiser for 2018.
I had the chance to connect with TLC via ActivateGood, an organization that helps coordinate all of our volunteer activities (This is my plug for ActivateGood – get involved! They are great!) ActivateGood arranged a Leaf & Limb work day at TLC’s Blalock House on the first Friday of September. Once we connected and had the chance to talk, I knew TLC was exactly the organization we had been looking to support with our 2018 fundraiser. Their mission philosophy is closely aligned with ours; we both care greatly about restoring and preserving a healthy, happy planet.
One of the areas of great interest to us here at Leaf & Limb is soil. We believe that healthy soil is the foundation for happy trees. Through years of practice and education, we have also learned that healthy soils form the foundation for a healthy planet. Many of our most pressing environmental issues are the result of the abuse and degradation of our precious soils. If we could get more organic matter back into our soils and restore the majority of our soil back to a healthy state, we could solve many of our most pressing environmental issues quickly.
All this is to say that we are thrilled to be donating to and helping raise money for TLC’s soil restoration project at Walnut Hill in Eastern Wake County. This is such an important project because it can provide a model for others to begin their own soil health initiatives.
Farmers and land managers are not the only people touched by this issue. The average homeowner or community also has a stake in maintaining soil health. Even owning something as simple as a lawn requires that you tend to the health of your soil. Do not blast your yard with fertilizers, herbicides, and mosquito sprays. These are poisons that turn soil to dirt, destroy your property’s ecosystem, and can make you sick.
We all have a part to play in this quest to heal our planet, and no grand gesture is required to begin. Start by planting some native perennials to help our honey bees. Or next time you are walking, bend over to pick up that plastic bag floating down the sidewalk. Or stop using disposable straws.
We are proud to support TLC, and we look forward to continuing this partnership for years to come.