Natural Living & Education Center in Asheville NC

Blue Ridge Mountains

Building Partnerships

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,


Evan and Danna Smith of Dogwood Alliance.

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 to MountainTrue, an organization that has helped OM Sanctuary make progress towards the complete removal of invasive species on the property. If volunteering to help remove some of these invasives is something you are interested in, please contact OM Sanctuary Volunteering. Based on my brief introduction with MountainTrue after their retreat here at the Sanctuary, it’s clear that they possess an energetic and contagious passion for the environment and sustainability; a most admirable trait.
Next week I’ll be covering some of the hospitality and sustainable tourism activities I’ve been able to experience during my stay here so don’t forget to check in!

Thanks for your continued interest in my project and, as always, please contact me at [email protected] with any questions or comments.


Find out more about these organizations here:


Dogwood Alliance:


Related Tags