We wish you a New Year filled with hope, good health, joy, and peace of mind.
Thanks to you it has been a wonderful year. Here are some highlights:
We made the final payment on Karen Cragnolin Park in January -- Amboy Road never looked better! That is another $1.2 million we raised for the river revitalization effort and another step closer to implementing the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan.
We have completed 4 rounds of testing at Karen Cragnolin Park (the old EDACO junk yard on Amboy Road) you will start to see some progress in the next few months as we begin the planting for our phytoremediation.
We hosted a "Build your own rain barrel" event in the Spring and helped 30 local homeowners install rain barrels on their property. Hosted rain barrel construction and installation training this winter for Asheville Green Opportunities new WaterTeam.
We empowered 1,430 volunteers to put in 2,500-plus hours, collecting 647 bags of trash, 236 tires and an assortment of TVs, toilets, mattresses, hubcaps, toys, and other debris.
We also recruited and coordinated a 100-strong army of volunteers to make RiverFest - our big annual riverside party - a successful event.
We were voted the "Best Environmental Non-profit" by the readers of MountainXpress for the fifth year in a row.
We are co-sponsoring the River Management Society Conference here in 2012 and expect over 400 river experts from across the country and Canada to come to WNC.
We hosted "South America as told by Water" slideshow presentation by Cathy Holt.
We hosted a series of French Broad River Paddle Trail Community Planning Meetings, giving the public a chance to learn about - and have input into -- the French Broad River Paddle Trail, a canoe camping trail along the French Broad River through North Carolina.
We have raised over $105,000 in grant funding for the planning, construction, and management of the French Broad River Paddle Trail. Volunteers and the Advisory Council have put in over 1000 hours of volunteer time assisting in developing the Trail User Guide and Design Guidelines, as well as on-the-ground research.
We developed and launched a residential stormwater management handbook and certification program, WaterRICH - Water Reuse, Infiltration and Conservation at Home. RiverLink has specifically designed WaterRICH to assist homeowners in understanding rainwater management and conservation techniques that will help recycle and infiltrate water in their own yards.
We hosted and received proceeds from the 4th Annual Winter Warmer Beer Festival on Saturday, January 22, 2011.
We named Silver-Line Plastics, The Pink Dog Creative Studios and the Wedge Brewery as the 2011 RiverBusiness Award winners.
We donated funds and acted as fiscal agent for the Blue Ridge Bike Club and partnered with a Buncombe County and the City to buy another 12 acres (known as the Waller Tract) that extends up Hominy Creek.
We hosted the 2010 Fins & Gills Classic at the Asheville Outdoor Center on Saturday, May 14, primarily to get fishermen on the French Broad River and rods & reels in the hands of young anglers.
We completed the LinkingWaters Urban Watershed Project at our friend Michelle Smith's house, an initiative to increase community action and promote permaculture, and to make clear the benefits of effective, economical, safe, and appropriate means for handling stormwater and replinishing the water table.
We installed information kiosks at The ByWater and the RiverLink Sculpture and Performance Plaza and signs at Malvern Hills and West Asheville Park to provide additional information about our projects and the water quality measures implemented along with the stream restorations.
The RiverLink Sculpture and Performance Plaza was the site for the Asheville Rites Project, a collaboration between muralist Molly Rose Freeman, dancer Garth Grimball and musician Michael Libramento that attracted a crowd of over 300 people.
We hosted a series of Invasive Species training sessions to teach the public about the invasive species threatening our native flora and how to deal with these pests.
We produced a weed guide detailing the exotic invasives that plague our area and means to control them.
We taught water-related lessons to approximately 4,000 children ages K-12.
We had a visit from a three-member team from Brazil that was arranged by the State Department. They came to learn how we engage the public on the issues surrounding water.
Two members of RiverLink team, Executive Director Karen Cragnolin and former AmeriCorps Member and Education Coordinator Hayley Smith, went to the Project Wet Blue Planet Conference in Bozeman, Montana to show off our newly-constructed model of the urban water cycle.
We hosted a conference for The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS), using simple do-it-yourself techniques -- cameras mounted on balloons and kites -- to produce inexpensive satellite imagery of the Wilma Dykeman Greenway and the French Broad River through the City of Asheville.
We held the 4th annual "Voices of the River: Art and Poetry Contest," with over 100 kids participating. Prizes were awarded for poetry, 2-D and 3-D art, with an award ceremony at the Holly Room of the A-B Tech Library. The deadline for 2012 submissions is March 9.
We won the 2011 Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina for our work with Baker Engineering for our Rhododendron Creek (West Asheville Park) stream restoration.
The RiverLink Board of Directors voted unanimously to develop a greenway from 12 Bones to the Smith Bridge (Haywood Street) and presented the unanimous vote to Asheville City Council. Their reply has been favorable though construction is as yet unconfirmed, but we may see a greenway running through that area in 2012!
We asked the city to donate a parcel of land they own at the Pearson Bridge for the new Outdoor Sports Adventure business we are planning. This past summer we acquired the old tire store on the south side of the Pearson Bridge and the north side of the bridge was donated by Marge and Jake Michel.
We facilitated the transition of the Richmond Hill Inn to Oshun Mountain Sanctuary, a center for health and wellness, and remain a fiscal agent for the Sanctuary.
We held a successful summer camp, including an overnight camping experience for the kids.
Peace and Joy in 2011,
Karen, Bunny, Dave, Nancy, Nikki and Worth