Front Porch Blog

Earth Day Event Raises $10,000 for Keeper of the Mountain Larry Gibson

Larry Gibson speaks to the crowd
Larry Gibson speaks to the crowd
John Ruth leads the impromptu auction for the Vespa
John Ruth leads the impromptu auction for the Vespa
The coordinating committee for the Larry Gibson Earth Day event and fundraiser
The coordinating committee for the Larry Gibson Earth Day event and fundraiser
View more pics from the event

By Tricia Feeney

On Earth Day in Boone, N.C., Keeper of the Mountains Larry Gibson spoke at Appalachian State University and to a downtown gathering at The Greenhouse about the destruction caused by mountaintop removal.

Appalachian Voices and the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy teamed up with local volunteers, student group ASU Sustainable Energy Society, and a West Virginia-based Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition for a truly grassroots effort to honor Larry on Earth Day. The coalition effort was a success! Together, we collected enough donations to install a security system at Larry’s homeplace on Kayford Mountain, W. Va.

Larry is a leader in the movement to end mountaintop removal. He started organizing to protect his homeplace in 1985 and successfully protected 50 acres, which now sit like an island in the middle of a 7,000-acre mountaintop removal site. Larry has dedicated his life to ending mountaintop removal and protecting Appalachian mountains. From his educational park, a rare spot where people can witness mountaintop removal first-hand, Larry has empowered thousands upon thousands of people to take action and defend Appalachian land and heritage. Because of his activism, Larry and his family have suffered escalating levels of violence.

To help raise funds, a drawing was held for a new Vespa Scooter. The winner of the Vespa was a local man, Ray Moltz of Blowing Rock, N.C., who immediately gave the keys to Larry. He then asked the crowd to participate in an auction for the new scooter, with the proceeds going to Larry’s cause. Another man, John Ruth, volunteered to be the auctioneer, and after a lively bidding “war,” over $800 more was raised from the highest bidder!

Appalachian Voices and AIRE – along with online donations, local volunteers, and ally organizations – successfully raised the needed $10,000 to keep Kayford Mountain and Larry Gibson safe! The Earth Day Spirit was definitely alive in Boone on April 22.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support Larry, and to those who contributed to make this grassroots effort a success!

If you are ever in Boone, Please Support the Restaurants that donated food for the event.

  • The Bead Box
  • Our Daily Bread
  • Melanie’s
  • Pepper’s
  • Stick Boy Bakery
  • Char
  • Jimmy Johns
  • Lynne Lear

Thank You to the Musicians:
Major Sevens
Jordan Okrend

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