Create opportunities to experience the outdoors, respond to climate challenges, and promote a resilient mountain environment.
Finding solutions for environmental and climate challenges
Protecting local, state, and national parks in forests, trails, and watersheds
Building resilience in our community to prevent climate related disasters
Mitigating the effects of floods, landslides, drought, wildfires, storms, and degrading of our environment
Creating outdoor experiences to cultivate care for the environment
Preserving our farmlands and promoting sustainable agriculture
Decreasing utility costs by encouraging sustainable, energy efficient practices for homes and businesses
Environmental Action Community of WNC is a non-profit organization founded in January 2023. We were developed through the merging of two pre-existing organizations, the Outdoor Mission Community (OMC) and WNC Climate Action Coalition (CAC).
OMC and CAC found natural connections in our missions and overlapping efforts across Western North Carolina (WNC). We first came together to work on reducing single-use plastic bags through a joint project launched by OMC called, “Bring Your Own Bag Haywood.” Next, grants were received from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to clean up informal campsites at Lake Fontana. OMC joined with Haywood Community College, HIGHTS, and later CAC and Shining Rock School to work side by side "Returning Campsites to the Wild." This grant partially funded Creation Care Camp also, a free, one-week summer camp for youth focused on care for the environment. They worked on efforts to clear trails, restore stream banks, and clean up creeks. In working closely together and combining our efforts, the Environmental Action Community of WNC was born.
EAC is influenced and inspired by the local mountains, home to a unique temperate rainforest with outstanding biodiversity. The dynamic region is home to two pristine watersheds and is surrounded by protected lands: Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Pisgah National Forest, and Nantahala National Forest. Importantly, this area is the ancestral homeland of the Cherokee people and the still current home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. We are dedicated to protecting this important ecosystem and the people who live here.
More information will be coming soon about the following committees, teams, projects, and initiatives including:
Writers Group/Monthly Columns/written articles
Educational meetings with expert speakers, video showings
Youth Climate Conservation Corps
Creation Care Camp
Energy efficiency/solar energy/electric vehicles
BYOBHaywood: reduce single use plastic bags
Green Business Initiative
3R’s: recycling, composting, plastic reduction
Sustainability and Resiliency Initiatives for governments, businesses, homeowners
Pollinator gardens/rain gardens/native plantings/eliminating invasive species
Creation Care ministries at local churches
Campsite, roadway, creek, and lake clean ups in local areas
Backpacking for women
Wilderness programming for disadvantaged youth
Learn more about the organizations that started EAC of WNC
The mission statement of OMC was to: "equip, educate, and empower people to experience the wilderness and stewardship of the environment as they grow in relationship with each other and the Creator." In Sept 2019 Outdoor Mission Camp, a 16 year long summer camp for youth with a faith based focus, mutually agreed to part ways with its parent organization, Youth For Christ. A name change came and Outdoor Mission Community became its own non-profit. OMC invited other non-profit partners to join them and assisted them in living out their mission statements: • Haywood Waterways (assisting with creek clean ups) • Big Brothers Big Sisters (getting “bigs” and “littles” into the outdoors) • HIGHTS (Helping Inspire Gifts of Hope, Trust, and Service - assisting youth to become active with caring adults on environmental care projects) • Haywood Community College (bringing Bring Your Own Bag Haywood to the early college classroom and Lake Fontana campsite clean ups) • Camp Henry at Lake Logan (assisting with trail building) • Haywood Recreation & Parks (sharing a van and hike leader knowledge) • Wilderness Trail • Wild Intent • Youth Climate Conservation Corps (YC3) • Creation Care Alliance • FUMC • Grace Episcopal • WNC Climate Action Coalition OMC led hiking, backpacking, biking, canoe and camping trips. They also sponsored Leave No Trace and Wilderness First Aid classes, offered Paddling Basics, helped with stream and lake clean ups. OMC supplied outdoor gear and took people out in the wilderness, teaching youth about the environment through day and overnight camps. OMC’s concern for the environment increased at the same time as the focus on faith based work decreased. Grants were received from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for 3-4 grant cycles. This allowed OMC to take students out for campsite clean ups at Lake Fontana, a project called, "Returning Campsites to the Wild." Partners from Haywood Waterways, HIGHTS, HCC, Shining Rock School, CAC and more joined in to help. In Nov ‘21 concern about the problem of plastics was discussed by several OMC board members & friends. Starting early in 2022, these efforts led to BYOBH (Bring Your Own Bag Haywood), Creation Care Camp, and the idea to join with WNC Climate Action Coalition.
WNC Climate Action Coalition was founded in late summer 2019 in response to growing concerns about the warming of our planet and its effect on our region. Their mission statement was to: "connect the growing awareness of the effects of climate change with local efforts to protect our mountain region’s people, environment, economy, health, and recreation." As a non governmental, non partisan organization of volunteers, CAC formed teams and committees to address ways to intervene and reverse the effects of climate change in the western North Carolina region. These teams were: • Youth Climate Conservation Corps • Reducing plastics and increasing recycling thru our ‘3 R’s’ team • Launching monthly columns in both newspaper for education and advocacy • Public education programs including movies and speakers and addressing specific climate effects here including flooding. We partnered with other organizations such as Haywood Waterways, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Creation Care Alliance, Climate Reality Project, Indigenous Environmental Network and OMC. In addition, we connected with local churches, municipalities, and agencies as we found a lot of concern about the effect of climate change in WNC.