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SAWS Newsletter | Outreach Edition

A Sunny Day at the Arboretum


Our Partnership and Community Outreach Coordinator, Leandra Taylor, joined the Project Lighten Up Summer Day Camp for a nature hike at the NC Arboretum. Project Lighten Up “is a unique summer day camp and afterschool program that blends education and recreation into everyday activities. This educational opportunity for low-income and minority youth provides meaningful education with a focus on developing the self-esteem of youth in a positive camp environment.”

The hike was an opportunity for Leandra to share her love for hiking and nature with the youth participating in the summer camp. They explored a trail at the arboretum and spent time searching for cool mushrooms and critters in the forest.

“It was really great to reconnect with a few kids that I met last year during the same program. They remembered the nature journaling activity that we did together, so it was nice to see them for another outside adventure. I’m definitely looking forward to next time!”



Kenan Fellows Program / STEMwork Professional Learning Institute

SAWS hosted teachers participating in the Kenan Fellows Program. STEMwork is a blended professional development program that supports North Carolina K-12 educators in establishing and sustaining education-industry partnerships with local STEM employers while providing a framework for taking those partnerships into the classroom through project-based learning (PBL).

Leandra hosted nature hikes in Linville Gorge and Bent Creek Experimental Forest. While enjoying time on the trail, Leandra gave a quick introduction to SAWS including our work stewarding wilderness, educating the public, and focusing on workforce development. The groups also spent time brainstorming potential project-based learning opportunities for teachers to bring back to their classrooms. We’re looking forward to joining in the classroom and bringing students out for time on the trail.


Meet the Mountains Festival ‘22

It was great to connect with folks in Johnson City, Tennessee for the Meet the Mountains Festival. The festival celebrates and showcases Northeast Tennessee’s outdoor opportunities in hopes of growing the outdoor recreation economy. The SAWS booth provided participants the opportunity to learn more about wilderness and traditional tool use and even try their hand at the crosscut saw.


Join Us for Public Lands Day ‘22

SAWS is celebrating Public Lands Day, in Big Laurel Branch Wilderness. We’ll be doing some

light maintenance on trails while enjoying time outside. The day will include clearing the trail of trees and cutting back overgrown vegetation.

At the end of the day, we will have a cookout at the picnic area that overlooks the Little Laurel Branch Waterfall that tumbles out of the wilderness into Watauga Lake.

Sign up and find more information about the event contact:

We hope to see you on the trail!


Please continue to support SAWS’ work. Join us on a volunteer day, follow us on social media, contact us about scheduling a training, or donate today at the button below. We rely on your support to execute our mission and serve the communities and wild places we love so much.

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