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FEB. 7, 2017

Alumni Gatherings 2017

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Eagle’s Nest and The Outdoor Academy are hitting the road this winter and spring! There are great opportunities for you to meet new friends or reconnect with the old at Regional Alumni Gatherings in your city!

Last week Liz Snyder travelled to our nation’s capital and hosted a really fun Happy Hour event at District Kitchen in Woodley Park. This group of “Capital Nesters” has been getting together frequently over the years, and in 2016 they collectively donated over $3,000 for scholarships for other DC area kids to attend camp and OA. What a cool way to give back to a place that we all know and love! This year, their goal is to raise $5,000, providing even more youth with the transformative experience of natural living.

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To all those living in the Lone Star State: Reily, OA Admissions Counselor, is coming to Texas this week! She is hosting Open Houses in Austin and Houston for prospective students, then going out on the town to meet with Alumni! Reily, a semester 25 alumna, is excited to meet and greet other alums in the area. Join her in Austin on Friday, February 10th at Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery , and in Houston on Sunday, February 12th at Goode Company BBQ.

Austin Tx Alumni Gathering Details

Houston Alumni Gathering Details

We are hosting many more events around the country in 2017…with dates and locations to be announced soon and in the Spring edition of The Eagle, our bi-annual newsletter! If you would like to receive a print version of this newsletter (and have not in the past…) fill out this online form with your contact information!

Looking forward to seeing all you alumni out there this year!

Cara Varney, Development Director 

FEB. 6, 2017

Winter Weather Advisory

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What has been up with the weather this winter?  If you’ve been lucky enough (or unlucky enough, depending on your frame of mind) to live in the southeast, you’ll know that we have had an unseasonably warm fall and winter.  Sure we’ve had the rogue snow or ice storm, but really 65 and sunny on Christmas Day?  Not too shabby.  But if you’ve been waxing your skis since September, you’re probably still in the shed scratching your head and staring at the webcams out in Utah.

But none of this should really have you down.  Winter is actually one of my favorite seasons to get out and do my “summer” sports.  There is nothing like the feeling of biking down your favorite trail alone at sunset with just you, the bare trees, and the crisp air.  Or the joy of throwing on your harness and roping up for a midnight ascent up the Nose of Looking Glass to catch the “Super-dooper Moon” just weeks before the winter solstice.  What about paddling in January?  Its 70 degrees and overcast, but you’re out in a t-shirt and splashing down the Tuck after a good night’s rain.

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It really is amazing the way Western North Carolina has it all, and not just the greatest of the sports, but the flexibility to do each of your favorite hobbies (or at least my favorite hobbies) in every season.  For nearly 90 years kids have been flocking to WNC in the summer to join Eagle’s Nest for a rip-roaring summer of learning new skills in a fun environment.  And a huge component of our program teaches these kids how to live and love their experiences in nature, whether through backpacking, climbing, or just walkin’ through the creek.

But once they leave they think that those experiences have to stay back at camp, or in the summer, which is so far from true.  The reason we give them this knowledge is so eventually they will have the power to make this happen on their own, and by all means they should.  I moved to WNC knowing this is where I could do all the things I loved to do, and learned to do when I was a camper.  Little did I know that I’d be picking up some hobbies on the way, and learning that the “off-season” is more than just the slow time at work.  It’s the time when it feels “off” to be climbing in short sleeves or strange that you have the perfect weather to paddle  without a dry suit.

Think back to your days of summer, and the things you love about the warm air and the cool rivers.  Now think about how you can make those things happen for you right now, where you are.  Sure you might be walking through the sand, or fishing through the ice, but you can still being doing the things you love, even if the sun does go down 3 hours earlier.  This is the time to shake things up and remember that even at 4 months away, summer is just around the corner.  But please, don’t forget your headlamp.

Marlin Sill, Hante Director 

JAN. 23, 2017

On the Road Again

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When I first started working full-time for Eagle’s Nest the focus of my job as an intern was to market for camp by traveling across the Southeast to give slide shows at campers’ homes. Back in those days I traveled with a slide projector and two full carousels of slides. It’s hard to image that campers and their families sat with rapt attention as I rhythmically clicked through 200 or so slides telling story after story about what awaited them at Eagle’s Nest.

I loved everything about those early years “On the Road” for Eagle’s Nest. I learned so much from staying with camper families and witnessing their daily lives and routines. Those times with seasoned parents informed my own routines when I became a parent years later.  It was also fun to reconnect with campers from the previous summer and hear their accolades about their experiences at camp and on Hante. At each party tended to be a bit of a mini reunion, and throughout the slide show campers would share their stories about going down sliding rock for the first time, or how many hotdogs they ate at the cookout, or about the counselor that comforted and supported them. Some stories were outrageously funny, and others where touching and made me realize the value of the work that I was doing by being a teacher and caregiver to children. And of course, I loved being able to escape to the warmth and sunshine of Southern Florida in January. Who wouldn’t!

Throughout my years at Eagle’s Nest, I’ve continued to travel to campers homes and tell people about the wonderful place I spend my summers. These days, I’m not the main “roady”, but I still get out there, and my heart is still warmed by the hugs and the stories that great me.

Tomorrow, I’m heading back out on the road. This time I’m going somewhere I’ve never gone to recruit campers – New England! I guess I’ll be trading in the sunshine of Florida for the snow in Massachusetts. I’ll be giving parties in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and I’m so excited that two of the parties and at the homes of staff members that I worked with in the 90ties. They are parents now and their children are campers. I think that the parents may be more excited about the party than the kids.

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Liz, Marlin and I still have room in our calendars this year, and we would love to travel to see you. At Eagle’s Nest, we rely on our camper families to share Eagle’s Nest with their friends. You are our best recruiters and we need your help to introduce more kids and families to Eagle’s Nest. Could you host a party? Don’t worry, we won’t bring 200 slides! But we will bring a camp presentation that we can watch while eating pizza and cho chos. If so, please contact me (paige@enf.org) or Liz (campassistant@enf.org) and we’ll help you set it up. It’s easy and fun, and it is a huge gift to Eagle’s Nest!

Paige Lester-Niles, Camp Director

DEC. 19, 2016

Let Me Tell You About Camp

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I had the pleasure of traveling to Atlanta and have a table at a camp fair. It was a great camp fair, and I am so thankful that Eagle’s Nest was able to participate in it. There were all types of programs, and everyone showcased the different types of adventures available to children. People really pulled out all the stops. Some tables had flat screen TVs playing their camp video, large banners that almost touched the ceiling, and giveaways on their table. Do you know what I had on the Eagle’s Nest table? Trinkets. I had baskets woven by friends, beautiful pottery, and a couple of stained glass pieces. I even filled one pottery piece with glitter. I thought that was a nice touch! Comparatively speaking there wasn’t much on our table. I had parents walk up to the table and look above my head for a banner that stated who I was and where I was coming from. To their questioning looks I answered, “I would love to tell you about the wonderful place that is Eagle’s Nest!” That got their attention and I was able to convey the love I have for our foundation. I connected with the people who visited our table, and I invited people to our Atlanta camp party.

That was special to me. Just like camp, our table was simply magical. It showed what kids can do when given the opportunity to spend time at the Nest. To me, that is the most special part about Eagle’s Nest Camp. Kids grow by learning compassion and building confidence within themselves. I was also excited because towards the end of the day one of my past table children, Abby, stopped by. Abby went to camp, was a JC, participated in the Hante program, and was a student at The Outdoor Academy. We ran to greet each other from across the room. That type of friendship is what we build here at Eagle’s Nest. We were very excited to see one another. You could tell by the laughs and smiles we shared. The Eagle’s Nest Camp community extends past the summer and across the country. I believe camp is a wonderful experience that every child should have the chance to enjoy.

Ayana Brown, Camp Program Manager

DEC. 5, 2016

What’s in those Waters?

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Was that a common mudpuppy or maybe even a hellbender hiding under that rock?  It could have been here in the Little River or in Eagle’s Nest Branch, especially 100 years ago when the waters ran much cleaner and fresher.  We know that the Eastern Hellbender can still be found in the Davidson and Mills Rivers cascading out of Pisgah National Forest just up the road.  Is the Little River clean enough yet to again host these increasingly rare salamander species?

That is exactly what our new land conservation easement is hoping to help.  By diligently working to protect our streambanks, removing invasive species and ensuring the riparian buffers are strong we can make a difference in our water quality.  Reducing run off and silt even a little bit makes a big difference to all the creatures who call our waterways their home.

Explorer’s Club Summer 2017 we should do a monitoring of our water and see what we think – could a hellbender or mudpuppy live in it?   Can we find any?  If you are game for this project think about signing up for Explorers Club next summer!

Mudpuppy

Mudpuppy

Cool Facts about the Common Mudpuppy: Necturus maculosus

  • It is a  carnivorous amphibian
  • They are also called waterdogs and are one of the very few salamanders that can make a noise – sounds a little bit like a dog bark
  • They can grow to be 16 inches long but average about 11 inches
  • They have external red gills and 4 toes

Cool Facts about the Eastern Hellbender: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis

  • They are the largest aquatic salamanders found in the U.S.
  • The can grow as big as 29 inches – big enough to eat a water snake
  • They absorb oxygen through their skin – the young ones have gills but they lose them at about 18 months old
  • Hellbenders are nocturnal, coming out of their rocky hide-aways at night to feast on crayfish and other creatures

Check out this video on these amazing creatures! 

Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director