Places for Awe

Each year, in our Annual Report, we gratefully recognize our donors and report back on all the good work that YOU are making possible! In 2023, you protected special places that provide wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, clean water, productive farmland, climate solutions, outdoor classrooms, parks and trails, and so much more.

Thanks to you—and to these special places—we all have more opportunities for awe. This sense of wonder and connection to something larger than ourselves helps us to live a more inspired life. Awe gives us the strength to get through hard times. It inspires us to find purpose and passion in our work, to be present with our loved ones, and to approach problems with creativity.

As you look through this report on your impact in 2023, imagine all of the positive change flowing out from these special places where you made a difference. Thank you!   

2023 Conserving Carolina annual report cover
Annual Report cover, with photo by Sharon Mammoser.


2023 Conservation Highlights

Willow Creek at Pleasant Grove restoration
Photo by Max Cooper

You are making an amazing difference for the land you love! We are so grateful for all of the expanded parks and preserves, the rail trails moving forward, the restored wetlands, and the protected wild places. Here are some of the the highlights that came out of your support last year. 

On top of all this, we also increased community engagement to more than one event every day, on average. And we expanded our AmeriCorps programs, bringing more talent and energy to support both conservation and climate solutions in North Carolina.

1. Little River Wetlands

27 acres of exceptional wetlands, near a rare mountain bog. 

2. Bracken Preserve Addition

34-acre expansion will allow 2-3 miles of new trails. 

3. Everett Road

18 acres purchased for French Broad River access and potential restoration.

4. Big Branch Falls 

45-acre nature preserve includes waterfall with unique plant community.

5. Evans Mountain

Conserved 361 forested acres, protecting 6.6 miles of streams.

6. Pleasant Grove

70-acre natural floodplain restored along French Broad River.

7. Ecusta Trail

Construction has started on 19-mile rail trail linking Hendersonville and Brevard.

8. Sargeant Family Preserve

9 acres with old growth trees provide a haven for wildlife.

9. Dodd Meadows

Stream restored and trail built in Habitat for Humanity neighborhood.

10. Saluda Grade Trail

Secured $12 million in state funding for proposed 31-mile rail trail.

11. Greenhaven Farm

Easement on 109 acres expands protected land near Pearsons Falls.

12. Norman Wilder Forest Addition

36.5 acres added to popular local hiking spot.

13. Little White Oak Mountain 

140 more acres added to local park near schools.

14. Buffalo Creek Park Addition

21 acres purchased for a key link in Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail.

15. Joel Ridge

174 more acres protected as part of vast project with epic trails.

The Whitesides family at Dodd Meadows, where we restored a natural area in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.


Recognizing Our Members, Donors, and Volunteers

In our Annual Report, we recognize all of our members and donors. We give special recognition to our Guardians of the Green business members, Summit Society major donors, and our Land Legacy League of donors who are planning a legacy gift to Conserving Carolina. In addition, we recognize all gifts made in honor or memory of a loved one. Donors who are also volunteersconservation landowners, Ecusta Trail donors, or Hiking Challenge or Outdoor Challenge completers are honored as well. Thank you for all the ways you support Conserving Carolina!

Our mission is to protect, restore, and inspire appreciation of the natural world. You make it possible. Thank you!


Joel Ridge forest
Joel Ridge, where we are steadily adding to thousands of protected acres and where we plan to connect two state trails. By Leah Swann.