Tennessee Grandfather Cleans Up Creek, Wins Volunteer Award

Sierra Club members Carl and Iva Lee Wolfe moved from Florida to Mountain City, Tennessee, three years ago, after Carl retired. That’s Carl at left, pictured, with granddaughter Mariah.

“We were impressed with the beauty of the area,” says Iva Lee. “But the condition of the road and the nearby Falls at Fall Branch was a disgrace.” For years people had been tossing trash onto Fall Branch Road and dumping garbage, tires, old appliances, gas tanks, and assorted junk into the branch, which flows into Lake Watauga, a source of drinking water for the area.

After finishing work on the couple’s mobile home, Carl, then 68, began venturing out to bag trash along the road. But he soon deepened his commitment—literally—rappelling 50 feet down into the creek to clean up trash at the base of the falls.

“Some folks said it couldn’t be done,” he says, “but when someone tells me I can’t do something, I want to prove I can.”

The pace picked up in 2007 when Mariah moved to town and began helping out, pulling up the trash by rope that her grandfather had bagged. Over the last six months they have hauled more than 60 large garbage bags out of the creek, emblazoned with Carl’s handwritten message. 

Carl and Iva Lee speak at Kiwanis and Sierra Club meetings, encouraging others to get involved. Carl also volunteers at the local recycling center and transfer station. This fall he was nominated by the mayor for a Governor’s Volunteer Award, presented by Volunteer Tennessee to one person from each county in the state. Carl received his award on October 27 in Nashville.

“Carl is a humble man,” says Iva Lee, “but he hopes this will motivate more people to volunteer and get involved in the community. This isn’t our land; it’s provided for us. We’re the caretakers, and we could all be better stewards.”

Reproduced with permission from the Sierra Club Grassroots Scrapbook website © 2008 Sierra Club. All Rights Reserved.

Largest Wind Turbine In NC to be Installed by ASU’s Renewable Energy Initiative

Story by Jamie Goodman
Harkening back to 1978, when the little town of Boone, NC was chosen as one of only 17 test sites for a NASA-sponsored wind experiment—and the location of the largest of the wind generators in that project—the small mountain metropolis will once again be on the forefront of wind energy development when the largest community-scale wind turbine in the state is erected on the campus of Appalachian State University.

This time, however, research is a little more advanced, and the turbine will point the right direction into the wind.
Standing 37 meters (121 ft) tall with a 21 meter (68.9 ft) blade span, the Northwind 100 turbine, slated for installation in April, will be erected into a class two to three wind zone and is projected to produce 147,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The purchase and installation will cost an estimated $529,000, and the turbine will be erected adjacent to the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, ASU’s on-campus dining and public lodging facility.

The project is overseen and funded by the Renewable Energy Initiative, a student-run, student-funded program at Appalachian State University. According to Crystal Simmons, Chair of REI and current project manager for the Broyhill Wind Project, since REI’s inception four years ago a community-scale wind turbine was always on the wish list.

A public educational forum and Q&A session is scheduled for March 4, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center in Boone. Simmons stressed that anyone interested in the project is welcome to attend, not just the university or local communities. 

The organization also plans to install a 36-panel solar thermal system on the roof of the university’s Student Union, which will use the sun’s energy to heat water for two dining facilities located within the building. The system, which will provide up to 60 percent of the water needs for the dining facilities, will cost an estimated $153,000 and is slated for installation by the end of April.

For more information on the ASU Renewable Energy Initiative or their projects, visit rei.appstate.edu.


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