June Monthly Newsletter

Dear Friends,

While we at RiverLink strive towards Wilma Dykeman’s ideal that “the river is for everyone…” we know that, for our black communities, this is not often the case. We strongly believe that Black Lives Matter in the watershed just as they matter everywhere else. We know you will stand with us to make sure our ideals become a reality for our region and nation.

In addition to the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 situation, we are also focused on the future of our organization. It’s no secret that these are challenging times financially, and your support helps create environmental and economic vitality for the French Broad River Watershed.

We also want to share that, after a very thorough process with our neighbors and stakeholders, we have put the Cotton Mill Property on Riverside Drive up for sale. Proceeds of the sale will be invested back into our mission so that the impact of the river will be preserved for future generations. It is also likely that several endowments will be set up to support our programs and to provide foundational funds for the Woodfin Greenway and Blueway and Karen Cragnolin Park projects.

These are challenging times, but we are also being presented with important opportunities to remake how we treat each other and how we treat our watershed. We at RiverLink look forward to continuing along that journey with you.

 “As we have misused our richest land, we have misused ourselves; as we have wasted our beautiful water, we have wasted ourselves; as we have diminished the lives of one segment of our people, we have diminished the lives of ourselves.” – Wilma Dykeman, Neither Black nor White


Garrett and the RiverLink Team

Honoring Inspiring Women

Jean Webb Fishing
Jean Webb & husband Chic

We are nearing the end of our Spring Campaign and we want to thank all the people who have donated. Many of you shared inspiring stories or quotes about powerful women in your life, and we wanted to share this quote about environmental visionary Jean Webb with you.

My donation is in honor of my mother, a trailblazer who quietly but tenaciously advocated for clean water and enjoyment of one of Asheville’s fabulous resources, the French Broad River..  Her leadership made a tremendous difference to our community.” – Laura Webb

Program Updates

Environmental education

At RiverLink, we believe strongly that racial justice is environmental justice. We continue to strive to make the environmental field inclusive for all people of different backgrounds, races, and experiences. In our upcoming Learn to Love the River email series we are profiling two amazing women, Majora Carter and Dr. Wangari Maathai . Read on to learn about the amazing contributions they made!

Majora Carter

Majora Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx, a nonprofit focused on urban development, education, and environmental justice. Her belief that “Your environment will reflect on you,” has helped change the South Bronx environment to provide a healthier reflection for the people of that community. Learn more about Majora Carter by clicking here.

Dr. Wangari Maathai

Dr. Wangari Maathai was an educator, powerful voice for women’s rights, activist and environmentalist who greatly influenced her home country of Kenya’s community and environment. Dr. Maathai was the first African woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded in 2004 for her contributions to “sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Click here to learn more about Dr. Maathai.

Water Quality

Reduce your impact, install a rain barrel

This year, in order to comply with social distancing, we are hosting a virtual rain barrel workshop. When you purchase your 55 gallon rain barrel kit we will send you a how-to video that will walk you through the setup process. Rain barrels are a great way to save water in your garden, and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff going into the French Broad River. By installing a rain barrel, you’re also supporting RiverLink’s mission to promote the ecological vitality of the French Broad River.

Land Conservation

Giant Chicken of the Forest Mushroom

We wanted to share this photo of what we think is chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sp.), a desirable and delicious shelf fungus that is often found growing on downed logs in wooded areas. This massive fungus was found at one of RiverLink’s easement properties in the Arden area, on a tributary to Cane Creek. While we were thrilled to find this, we do not advise eating mushrooms in the wild unless you are positive about the identification!

Other News

Anna Miller Headshot

Volunteer of the Month

Anna Miller is our volunteer of the month! She holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and an M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho. Since graduating, Anna has taught environmental and wildlife education in both GA and SC and she is thrilled to continue educating students by serving as the Education Coordinator at RiverLink. Anna hopes to expand her own knowledge about the Western NC area and the French Broad River while nurturing a sense of wonder and place for the students she will teach throughout the year.