Open House at the Gerton Volunteer Fire Department
As our community prepares to move into fall season, I wanted to say “Thank you for your continued support of the UHNGCC and the few projects we have focused on during this year.” We have done a great job supporting our neighbors at the Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach, kept up with our Highway Pick-up commitments and tackled some long-needed projects to maintain our Building.
The Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach continues to need our help with food donations, school supplies and funds for assistance with utilities for our local families in need. We are collecting donations at the Gerton Post Office and delivering supplies to the HNG Outreach on a regular basis – Thank You for your continued support!
We will be sponsoring our next Highway pickup on Friday, November 5. Please join us at 10 a.m. to support a litter-free community and meet some new neighbors.
After a successful 4th of July event at the Community Center, the Board has made the decision to put a hold on our reopening because of the sharp increase in Covid cases in our area. We are working hard to balance the needs of our community, financial needs of our center, and the safety of our membership and Gerton residents. Several members of our Board of Directors along with a great team of volunteers have been busy at work converting the old Library space into a Community Room that will be previewed in the coming months.
During the storm this past week, we saw what I believe was a record rainfall in our area, which caused several of our creeks to flood. This unprecedented flooding caused damage to Community Center property where we lost several feet of the sloping creek bank behind the building. We are working to assess the damage and formulate a plan to secure the foundation of our structure but also a plan to avoid future issues. I am submitting a damage report to the WNC Community Foundation in hopes that we may qualify for some type of financial assistance for this project.
In closing, I want to thank the individuals who made donations for the purchase of additional American flags. Our older flags have taken a beating in the storms and will be retired at the end of this season. I will be purchasing new flags, poles and brackets with the donations--hopeful that with the retirement of the older flags and the addition of our newer ones, we will have a bigger showing next year. The maintenance of our Center requires a lot of funds and your donations are always appreciated.
Have a Safe and Happy Fall,
Rains Result in Flooding Waters in Gerton
The rain also did damage to the back side of the UHNGCC. Rock and some retaining support will be added to the far NorthWest side of the building. Already work has begun--clearing the path to get the rip rap to its destination. A big thanks to Stan Mobley and his vigilance in watching out and acting quickly to get on top of our newest challenge. (see below)
And it appears the water also eroded the wall behind the picnic shelter on the far side of Kelly Road. Rip rap will be added here as well. (see below)
Monarch Butterfly Release on July 1
40 Gathered to Participate
Getting Passionate About Monarchs
by Linda Reandeau
Maybe some of you gathered in the Chestnut Hills commons area on July 1 for a monarch butterfly release. It was an informative and fun experience, and we were all excited as we released about 100 butterflies. As Native Americans have done for many generations, many of us made wishes as we released our monarchs.
Last year I purchased a swamp milkweed plant and was delighted to find a tiny caterpillar on it. After a few days, however, the little caterpillar was not to be found and I assumed a predator had found it. This summer I added several common milkweed plants to my garden. Imagine how excited I was to find some monarch eggs on a couple leaves just days after the release.
Wow, I have monarch eggs, now what? Knowing that only one percent of eggs result in a live butterfly in the wild, I decided to give my four caterpillars a little better chance. Monarch caterpillars live about 10-14 days and after a couple of days living in a Mason jar, I knew they needed a bigger home, so I promptly ordered a mesh butterfly enclosure. Our front porch became the home of the enclosure, providing shelter from wind and rain and protection from predators. Caterpillars eat milkweed almost nonstop, go through several molts and grow 2,700 times larger before turning into a chrysalis. It is important to provide fresh milkweed leaves daily and clean the enclosure often because not only do they eat a lot, they also poop a lot!
About 3-5 days after the final molt and when the caterpillar has eaten enough, it searches for a place to form its chrysalis. It spins a web of silk and then hangs in the shape of a “J.” It may hang in this shape for up to a day before going into its chrysalis, a process that takes only a few minutes. In chrysalis, the adult butterfly develops for approximately 10-14 days.
The new chrysalis is a bright green, but toward the end of its metamorphosis, it turns black and then clear, and you can clearly see the black and orange of the butterfly at this time. Once hatched, the new butterfly pumps fluids into its wings and stays in a hanging position as its wings unfurl and dry. After a few hours, it began fluttering around the enclosure, announcing it was ready to enter the world. Bidding her safe travels, we released her where she promptly found a begonia flower and sampled the nectar. Next, the butterfly searches for a mate, reproduces, and the process begins again!
It can take 4-6 generations of monarchs to make their way to their northernmost breeding grounds in southern Canada before the final generation, called the super generation, migrates back to their winter home in Central Mexico or the California coast. They follow a pattern that leads them into the unknown, flying forward not knowing where they are going and fully trusting that when their journey ends another generation will pick up where they left off.
Butterflies have been around for close to 200 million years, and the monarch is a very ancient creature that has been revered and symbolized by cultures across history. In their winter home, monarch butterflies are believed to be spirits of people who have passed on. Most migrate to Mexico, and they arrive at the same time each year, coinciding with Mexico’s most celebrated festival, the Day of the Dead, around the same time as we celebrate Halloween. Mexican folklore tells us these butterflies come to visit relatives on these holy days to provide comfort to the families of the deceased.
It is said that up to 100 million monarchs migrate each fall. But did you know that this migration is seriously threatened by human activities (pesticide use and habitat loss) in both their summer and winter sites? Many resources are available online regarding these threats as well as ongoing conservation efforts.
If you are interested in helping the monarchs that come through our area, one of the easiest things you can do is to plant milkweed. There are more than 100 species of milkweed native to the United States and Canada, with about 15 species here in North Carolina. Milkweed is a perennial plant and depending on the variety, the flower colors range from brilliant pinks to oranges, a sure delight in any garden! They produce large seed pods from which you can collect seeds to share or keep and plant the next spring. Milkweed is the only food source for monarch butterflies as it contains the nutrients to support their genetic requirements for survival.
Get passionate about Monarchs and milkweed. If you plant it, they will come!
July 4th Community Cook-Out: WE'RE BACK!
(or we thought we were until Delta Variant raised its ugly head)
Why Composition Books Matter in Prison
Providing composition books has long been part of our ministry at Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women. During the past 18 months, it has been more important than ever. It’s probably not difficult for anyone reading this to relate to “lockdown.” But imagine it without control over the television remote or without internet access. Imagine it with limited phone time and maybe with 31 other people listening to your end of the conversation!
Finding ways to process the pandemic in prison sometimes includes a composition book. For some women, it has been a way to write out goals and transition plans. Others used them to write poetry or even their memoirs. With no volunteers coming into the prison during COVID times, and especially when no groups larger than FOUR were allowed to meet at the chapel, the chaplains sent out inspirational writings with reflection questions. Journal prompts helped women to push back against the brain fog. Here’s an example:
You exist TODAY. Let go of the past and the future for a few minutes, and think about how you can make meaning out of the life you have right now. If that’s difficult for you, look around at people who live with you. Who is making the most of each day? How are they doing it? Which people are making the world a little brighter and lighter right now? How do they do that? Maybe you could have a conversation with them. Tell them what a difference they are making. Sometimes the people with the brightest outlook need a little lift, also, and when you validate them, you become part of the light this world desperately needs!
In your journal, write your thoughts, your prayers, your concerns, and especially your gratitude list!
The chaplains and residents of Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women are grateful for the many individuals, organizations and churches who support us by providing tangible resources like journals and greeting cards, and for the monetary contributions that provide community-funded chaplains who insure the spiritual needs of women are met, no matter their faith affiliation.
Mission Statement for the Ministry of Hope
As the sole source of funding for the interfaith chaplaincy program at Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women, Ministry of Hope nurtures a safe space for residents to foster personal transformation, inspire future growth, and uncover the potential for new beginnings.
Vision Statement for the Ministry of Hope
Having benefited from Ministry of Hope’s gifts of authentic connection, genuine belonging and deep healing, participants are empowered to create a better life for themselves and contribute positively to their communities.
Work Ongoing to Clean up Library
and Convert to Community Room
Last Summer 2021 Litter Sweep
ECHO of the Gorge is published bi-monthly by the UHNGCC. News and photos may be sent to Margaret Whitt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos for this issue provided by Margaret Whitt, Mike Hamlin, Stan Mobley, Travis Waldron, Linda Reandeau, Sylvia Sane, Chuck Mallory
Officers of UHNGCC for 2021: President - Stan Mobley; Vice-President - Jim Earnhardt; Secretary - Karen Owensby; Treasurer - Sylvia Sane; Board Members - Jean Bradley, Chuck Mallory, Margaret Whitt