Last Updated on March 20, 2022 11:48 am
Come join the Town of Boone in celebrating Earth First Friday on April 1 from 5-8 p.m. The public is invited to the Jones House lawn to learn how Boone is prioritizing programs that promote sustainability through water conservation, tree canopy development, alternative energy, local food systems, and climate awareness.
Earth First Friday may be on Aprils Fool Day, but the Town of Boone doesn’t joke around when it comes to its commitment to sustainability and its ambitious goals to pursue climate neutrality and address climate change. In fact, as of February of this year, Boone is the first city in the state of North Carolina to generate all of its municipal electricity from renewable energy sources. What’s more, the Town of Boone has set ambitious but attainable goals towards achieving carbon neutrality and transitioning to 100% clean renewable energy.
In January 2021, the Town of Boone created the position of Sustainability and Special Projects Manager, a role filled by George Santucci, who brought with him a wealth of experience that includes 15 years as director of the New River Conservancy. Since that time, the Town has advanced leaps and bounds in exploring green energy sources, improving water quality and stream restoration, promoting climate action, supporting local food sources, and championing resilient city planning and affordable housing.
2022 marks the Town of Boone’s Sesquicentennial celebration, and likewise April is the 150th celebration of Arbor Day. In honor of this occasion, the Town of Boone’s Sustainability Department will be giving away 150 trees native to Western NC, along with information sheets on appropriate care.
“We want Boone’s reputation of sustainable practices to continue for 150 more years and beyond,” says Santucci. “What better way to carry on this legacy than to distribute 150 native trees among members of the community?”
At 6 p.m., there will be a presentation recognizing Boone, NC as a certified Tree City USA, a designation the town has had nearly 30 years now. This honor recognizes cities that actively promote healthy and sustainable urban forestry practices.
Also a Bee City USA, the Town of Boone is part of a national movement dedicated to the conservation of bee pollinators and their habitats. High Country Beekeepers, which hosted the new annual Bee Festival last fall, will be on-site with an observation hive, honey samples, and educational materials.
In addition, the Town of Boone’s Public Works Department, which coordinates a number of earth-friendly initiatives like Every Drop Counts, Adopt-A-Street/Stream, Watch For Me NC, and recycling programs, will be at the Jones House telling more about their efforts.
“We hope this event will bring the community together and to raise awareness about steps the Town of Boone is taking to become more sustainable and to educate people about what they can do to help look after our environment and natural resources,” says Santucci.
Guests are encouraged to hang out on the Jones House lawn throughout the evening to enjoy activities, games, music, snacks, and give-aways from the Town of Boone. Live old-time string music from the Heel Raisers will be powered courtesy of the Appalachian State University Sustainability Energy Society’s solar panel trailer. Solar-powered Betty’s Biscuits food truck will also be on-site serving up their delicious biscuits.
During the evening, docent-guided walking tours will be available as part of the Boone 150. The roughly 1.25-mile loop through the newly-designated downtown historic district includes more than two dozen points of interest, and this month’s edition will include an environmental focus. The self-guided tour will be available throughout the year and guided tours will be offered each First Friday up through the fall.
Other local groups and organizations will be present at Earth First Friday to share more about their earth-friendly endeavors in the community, including Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, Watauga County Farmers’ Market, New River Conservancy, and ASU’s Renewable Energy Initiative.
Earth First Friday is made possible by the Town of Boone and the Downtown Boone Development Association, with support from community partners. For more information about Earth First Friday, visit joneshouse.org or call 828-268-6280. To learn more about Sustainability in Boone, visit townofboone.net/sustainability.