Established in 1966, the Eno River Association is an accredited land trust and conservation nonprofit driven by a mission to conserve and protect the natural, historical, and cultural resources of the Eno River Basin.
Through a strategic planning process begun in 2021, the Eno River Association developed strategic priorities to guide and measure movement towards the achievement of our vision.
For a thriving, resilient, inclusive Eno River we must succeed in these three areas:
- Have generational impact on the Eno River
- Foster connections to the Eno River & honor cultural diversity
- Bolster organization inclusivity & resiliency
Click through the gallery below to explore our vision document.
Explore the Strategic Plan:
HAVE GENERATIONAL IMPACT ON THE ENO RIVER
Create a network of critical habitat centered on the Eno River watershed by increasing the protected land in Orange and Durham counties by increasing the pace of protection by 20%.
- Implement a strategic conservation plan (SCP) which identifies the Eno River Association (ERA) priorities for ecological, cultural, and historical protection within three years.
- Catalyze a coalition of organizations interested in advancing the network of land and water resources with ecological, cultural, and historical value within three years.
- Identify at least 3 land use policies that prioritize protection of water quality and natural habitat within two years and advocate for their adoption at the county level by the fifth year.
- Develop criteria for ecologically sustainable development as a guide for staff and developers to protect the Eno River within one year.
- Proactively participate in activities monthly and build 5 significant relationships with individuals, elected officials, and entities that influence land use decisions to support ecological conservation and the protection of cultural and historical values.
- The Festival for the Eno highlights the highest priority protection needs of the watershed annually.
On priority protected lands within the Eno River watershed maintain and improve their ecological, cultural, and historical conservation values.
- Update management plans for all ERA properties to the latest Land Trust Alliance standards including restoration and adaptation needs to address climate change and identify priority action items for ERA lands open to the public within three years.
- Over the course of this plan, support at least 2-5 partners in implementing management plans for priority properties they have identified and when requested provide support as appropriate to individual landowners in the watershed about stewardship practices.
- Work with 2-3 local government entities and N.C. State Parks to develop policies and practices that will enhance the priority of ecological function on public lands in the basin within four years.
- Within the first year, function as the ‘Friends of Eno River State Park’ to develop and support at least one priority project annually in the park in partnership with N.C. State Parks.
- Within the first six months, convene quarterly meetings of the Eno River State Park Park Advisory Committee.
- Through the Festival for the Eno an additional 2-3 land stewards are recruited annually.
- Activities at the Festival for the Eno demonstrate the opportunities for individuals to better manage their land to improve the ecological health of the watershed.
- Offer 20-30 land stewardship volunteer opportunities annually.
Improve the resilience and adaptability of the Eno River, its tributaries, and watershed lands to climate change, urbanization and other threats.
- Within the first year, develop an ERA position statement on resiliency and adaptation to climate change for the watershed.
- By the second year, assess and develop a strategy to build the infrastructure and capacity needed to successfully implement a watershed restoration and resilience program to improve water quality and natural function building on the City of Durham’s Eno River Watershed Improvement and Management Plan.
- Within the first year of this plan, develop and implement an annual climate change education plan to address climate change understanding within our community.
- Update management plans for all ERA properties to the latest Land Trust Alliance standards including restoration and adaptation needs to address climate change and identify priority action items for ERA lands open to the public within five years.
- The Festival for the Eno highlights the impact that climate change and urbanization is having on the Eno and the communities through presentations and other creative activities.
Engage with community partners to advocate for the protection of the Eno River and the communities that depend on it.
- Proactively identify 2-5 community organizations and potential advocacy partners annually to build relationships and partnerships that will reduce ecological and cultural injustice.
- Reduce silos between community partners by joining, establishing, or convening regular check-ins, working groups, or strategy sessions including leading an active Land Use and Advocacy Committee and at least 2 additional on-going collaborations annually.
- Mobilize staff, board, and volunteers to engage in civic & business groups in Durham and Orange counties by sponsoring 6-8 talks annually with those groups by the fourth year of this plan.
- Activate the next generation by engaging with 3-5 public schools annually by the third year of the plan, and offering graduated Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and environmental education experiences that culminate in participants taking action and educating their own communities.
- Proactively participate in monthly activities starting in the first year of the plan that build relationships with individuals, elected officials, and entities that influence land use decisions to support ecological conservation and the protection of cultural & historical values.
- The Festival for the Eno annually highlights at least one major area of advocacy for the Association and the Eno River community.
- Through the Festival for the Eno 3-10 members are recruited to the Land Use and Advocacy committee annually and at least 5% of attendees are added to the Association’s advocacy member list.
BOLSTER ORGANIZATION INCLUSIVITY & RESILIENCY
Advance internal practices that support inclusivity, efficiency, adaptability, and ensure organizational and financial sustainability.
- In the first year, evaluate organizational structure and create a Staffing Plan that identifies 3-5 years of personnel gaps, growth opportunities, and succession planning for staff, board, and volunteer committees to support strategic planning goals.
- Within a year, develop a financial plan for supporting the strategic plan, including a 3-5 year capital improvement plan (including property management plan implementation, Eno offices, and Park partner needs), and policies for deferred maintenance and balancing fiscal responsibility with organizational efficiency.
- Develop long-range marketing and communications goals for the Association and a process for creating annual plans to support these goals within the first two years.
- Create growth and sustainability in member-base by investing in and prioritizing lead-generation onsite at parks, through education and outreach programs – especially the Festival for the Eno – and in digital communications, aiming for at least 3,000 new records annually.
- Revise the membership program within three years to reflect inclusive membership levels (advocate, volunteer, and donor) and establish systems for tracking, valuing, communicating with, and recognizing all types of member contributions equitably.
- Grow contributions from individuals to the operating fund to +$750,000 annually by ensuring +50% annual donor retention and +20% new donor growth year-over-year, and by expanding the Sustainer, Wildflower, and Legacy Societies by the end of the plan.
- Provide flexibility for land protection priorities by growing the Margaret Nygard Fund to +$2 million by 2027, equivalent to the Roberta and Herman Brown Land Preservation Fund for Orange County.
- The Festival for the Eno is annually profitable with the net revenue divided to provide 25% to a ‘rainy day’ fund and 75% allocated to supporting the Association.
Foster a positive and inclusive workplace culture that is desirable for exceptional staff and volunteers, and allows them to excel.
- Within three years, revise and improve the employee benefits package to reflect industry-wide leading employee benefits.
- Within one year, revise and improve the employee handbook policies and ensure they reflect the Association’s commitment to inclusivity and equity.
- Within one year, ensure advertising, hiring, and onboarding practices are clearly enumerated and follow best practices for supporting inclusivity and equity.
- Ensure the racial, geographic, and socio-economic demographics of our watershed (% BIPOC, % Durham and % Orange County, and % low-income) are represented in our board, staff, and volunteers within five years.
- At least annually, host a staff retreat to celebrate accomplishments and create shared strategies to resolve challenges impacting staff.
- Provide opportunities for at least one training and other career growth opportunity for staff and board members by building this into the staff schedule and organization budgets annually.
- Offer equity and inclusion training for all staff and board members within the first year with a goal of 100% participation.
FOSTER CONNECTIONS TO THE RIVER & HONOR CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Provide inclusive, welcoming, and meaningful opportunities and experiences for people to deepen their connection to the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the watershed.
- Offer at least 50 experiential educational programs annually about the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the watershed starting in the first year of the plan.
- The Festival for the Eno annually engages a minimum of 20% of the attendees in educational activities highlighting the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the watershed.
- Grow the number of annual graduated STEM and environmental education experiences for youth, that culminate in participants taking action and educating their own communities to 12 by the end of the plan.
- Within three years, develop programming that attracts new people to the Association and the Eno especially people of color.
- At least 15% of our community programs (hikes, etc.) are designed to be fully accessible to the public regardless of physical ability and language skills within two years.
- Increase inclusivity and representation of the demographics of our watershed in all Association printed and digital materials, photography, way-finding and informational signage, and marketing materials within the first two years.
- Incrementally increase the number of land stewardship volunteer opportunities to at least 20-30 annually by the fifth year of the plan.
Preserve and celebrate the Eno River watershed’s culture and history emphasizing the non-dominant regional cultures while embracing and uplifting new ideas and cultural differences.
- Implement a strategic conservation plan (SCP) which identifies ERA priorities for ecological, cultural, and historical protection within three years.
- Mobilize a staff advisory Culture and History Committee within one year to support the capacity of the Association in the work of discovery, preservation, and celebration of the rich heritage and community of the Eno River watershed.
- In the first two years build trust and by the fourth year grow collaboration with historical and cultural resource preservation groups and community groups to identify and preserve priority features within the watershed.
- Develop standards and policies for confidentiality and records retention within the first eighteen months in order to identify and enter into an agreement with an appropriate public archive for the donation, accession, and digitization of Eno River Association archives within four years.
- Build trust and grow collaboration with the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation to support the community engagement they desire along the Eno, and develop education programming with them and at their pace about the indigenous people living along the Eno River.
- Proactively participate in activities and build relationships with individuals, elected officials, and entities that influence land use decisions to support ecological conservation and the protection of cultural and historical values.
- Grow the programming at the Festival for the Eno to highlight the natural, cultural, and historical resources of the watershed within the structure of the Festival within one year.
Your Support Ensures a Thriving, Resilient Eno River
From stewardship, to education, to the Festival for the Eno, there are hundreds of ways to give your time while enjoying all we’ve helped protect.
Share your voice to protect the Eno as increased development and climate change threaten water quality.
Provide a steady stream of support by becoming a Sustaining Member with a monthly donation.
Make a critical investment in expanding our green corridor and growing community engagement in conservation with a philanthropic gift.