Education Center in Asheville NC

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Love Your Work and it Becomes Play

Love Your Work and it Becomes Play

By on Oct 27, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

While the carbon footprint project continues to develop and expand in scope, this week’s blog post is aimed at highlighting some of the hospitality and extra-curricular activities Evan has been able to experience as an intern at OM Sanctuary. Hey everyone, This past week has been very productive in terms of project development and networking including a follow-up visit with some of the amazing staff at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. As a land trust, their work continues to provides benefits both seen and unseen to the Appalachian region. This week I wanted to touch on some of the additional aspects of my internship experience including the hospitality staples of guest-services, policy, planning, and management. In addition to this, I have been able to participate in many of the daily holistic classes offered right here at OM Sanctuary. Together, these experiences have a produced quite a unique internship experience. While I am able to absorb a lot of guest services experience throughout the workweek, I tend to have my head buried in research and writing from Monday until Thursday. For this reason, Friday is my designated “hospitality day” where I focus on honing the skills necessary to be successful in the tourism industry. Working from the reception desk has afforded me the opportunity to interact with guests and facilitate communication between them and other staff members including housekeeping, kitchen staff, and management. There is a strong sense of satisfaction that comes with this type of work, for example: after referring an out-of-town guest to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, they returned the following day to thank me for making their stay even more memorable. Helping people connect to nature is part of what sustainable tourism is all about.. As an intern, I couldn’t ask for a better workplace climate. The ambiance here at OM Sanctuary is highly conducive towards relaxation and rejuvenation, and this same feeling can be observed in the yoga classes offered here throughout the week. Beginning in October, I have had the pleasure of attending these classes instructed by Sue Ann, the programs coordinator here at OM Sanctuary (formerly of the renowned Salt Spring Centre of Yoga), as well as Elle Jai, a local instructor who...

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Retreatant Reflections pt 2

Retreatant Reflections pt 2

By on Oct 22, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

Here is the second installment of our retreatant reflections blog posts! This is what Susan Marshall had to say about her experience at OM Sanctuary: “The OM Sanctuary is a delightful gem that I was fortunate to discover during my first visit to Asheville! From the charming, beautifully appointed rooms — complete with fireplace and whirlpool tub — to the lush and peaceful grounds, the OM Sanctuary was the perfect space to relax at the end of my days exploring all that the area has to offer. It truly reflects the best of Asheville — serenity, balance, wellness, beauty and nature, and nurturing welcome. All the thoughtful touches made it an extraordinary and memorable experience, from the affirmation card on the bed to the thoughtful recommendations by staff to the artwork and calming atmosphere. I look forward to calling the OM Sanctuary “home” when I return to Asheville!” -Susan Marshall, Arlington, VA. Do you have an OM Sanctuary experience to share? Contact Lia at...

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Building Partnerships

Building Partnerships

By on Oct 20, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

This week Evan was able to meet some of OM Sanctuary’s community partners who are on the forefront of local sustainability and conservation initiatives. By establishing and maintaining a healthy partnership with the local community, OM Sanctuary is in a better position to achieve its sustainability goals. Please allow him to share some of these experiences with you… Greetings everyone, This past week has been an incredible success thanks to the extensive network that OM Sanctuary has established and maintained with other local and like-minded organizations. These organizations, including the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and Dogwood Alliance have a drive to create real and lasting positive change in the direction of sustainability. Let me introduce you to some of these wonderful and environmentally impactful people! A stay at OM is complete once you’ve been able to enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the waterfall in the Serenity Labyrinth Garden. It was here that I had the pleasure of conversing with Carl Silverstein, the Executive Director of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC). Carl’s work involves establishing relationships with private landowners who wish to have their lands placed under the legal protection of conservation. THE SAHC’s expertise is invaluable when it comes to understanding the value of land in its natural condition rather than its potential for development and it can definitely be applied to the conservation easement SAHC holds here at OM Sanctuary. Another individual with an equally impressive background is Danna Smith, Executive Director of Dogwood Alliance. Danna has been instrumental in bringing local and regional sustainability projects to life. Carbon Canopy is one of these projects and Danna provided some much needed clarity on how the process of carbon offset valuation works. I was also excited to see Danna express excitement at the possibility of doing a similar project but on a much smaller scale with OM Sanctuary, especially since the organization strives to be a model for others wanting to offset their own carbon footprint. This is an inspirational step to take as I move forward in my project and I am excited to see how it unfolds. In pursuit of furthering my own education and sustainability experience, the next step for me is to reach out...

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Celebrating Conservation at OMS

Celebrating Conservation at OMS

By on Oct 15, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

OM Sanctuary is happy to announce continued stewardship of 42 acres of local growth forest! Last year, with the help of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, we officially put the majority of the 54 acre OM Sanctuary property into conservation easement, which protects this area from development in perpetuity. Additionally, the conservation offsets the organization’s carbon footprint. The easement, which overlooks the French Broad River, protects a healthy wooded area containing cove forest, oak forest and low mountain pine forest, with mixed hardwoods. The easement also contains pools in the river floodplain that provide habitat for wildlife and endangered species such as salamanders, other amphibians, and reptiles. This type of conservation of the natural growth forest at OM Sanctuary helps to protect the tributary streams of the French Broad River Watershed from pollution as well. Here at OM Sanctuary, it is a part of our mission to offer education that reflects a connection to mind, body, and spirit, as well as to nature. In alignment with this ideal, we offer a 1 mile trail into this protected acreage so that retreatants can explore this area and see the beauty that nature has to offer. By hiking in our easement, retreatants can experience firsthand the different types of trees and wildlife that the conservation serves to protect. This kind of personal experience is step one on the path to becoming a personal environmental steward. This is just one of many ways in which OM Sanctuary offers holistic education, helping individuals bring these values into their own lives. “Natural places are essential for human health,” says Shelli Stanback, OM Sanctuary Founder and President. “Once forested areas have been lost to development, they are gone forever. We must preserve them now for our sake, and for the sake of the future generations. With few urban open spaces remaining near Asheville, protecting the forest with a conservation easement was the clear, sustainable choice.” [Quote taken from Conservation Easement Press Release]. Sources and Citations: 1.To read the original OM Sanctuary press release about our Conservation Easement click here. 2. To learn more about the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, please click here. 3. To check out the article featuring our Conservation Easement in The Asheville...

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Conservation Allows for a Breath of Fresh Air

Conservation Allows for a Breath of Fresh Air

By on Oct 12, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

This week Evan discusses some of what he has discovered about the easement and the process of conservation. Effective environmental stewardship presents many challenges and overcoming these allows the benefits of natural ecosystem services to be felt far and wide. Greetings everyone! The second week of my project is geared towards research and exploring some of the many routes available to me when it comes to valuing land and understanding the natural systems that add to that value. Aside from carbon sequestration, the 41 acres of urban forest located at OM Sanctuary offer aesthetic beauty, a habitat for a variety of species and a buffer against runoff and flooding. This becomes even more important when you consider the easement’s proximity to the French Broad, a river that has been flowing since the time of Pangea and whose watershed supplies drinking water to over 1 million people. Ensuring future generations are able to appreciate these same benefits requires diligence and planning. One of the responsibilities of maintaining an easement is the removal of non-native invasive species (NNIS) and taking measures to ensure that native flora are able to flourish in their place. This is much easier said than done and one of the most effective methods involves arranging a controlled burn of the acreage with the local fire department. Provided by the North Carolina Forest Service in August of this year, The Forest Stewardship Plan advocates for two to three of these burns over the next decade. After speaking with Jonathan and Shelli, I am happy to say that the first of these burns is in the works and will be happening in the Spring of 2017! Calculating how the removal of these NNIS will affect the carbon footprint of the OM Sanctuary is just one of the many questions I plan to take into account during the research phase of my project. Stay tuned next week as I meet some fascinating individuals on the forefront of sustainability and conservation here in North Carolina! Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments you may have concerning the project or my research at [email protected] Take care,...

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