Reenvisioning Fall Events & Programs

Association to support personal and small group outdoor experiences

Due to safety concerns stemming from the ongoing global pandemic, the Eno River Association is re-imaging several of its popular in-person fall events and programs. While experts agree that outdoor experiences are among the safest ways to recreate during the pandemic, the Association will focus its efforts on small group and individual programs that highlight the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Eno River basin.

The music and camping event known as JamborEno that takes place at the Association’s Confluence Natural Area in Hillsborough has been cancelled, as well as the hands-on environmental education event Stream-In at Eno River State Park. The Association will no longer be co-hosting the Eno River Run; interested participants should check the Bull City Running website for details and alternative programming.

Instead, the Association plans to provide environmental education programs for individuals, small groups, and families throughout the fall, and supplemental STEM educational programs for local students and learning pods. Additionally, to offset the cancellation of large group stewardship and trail workdays, the Association will be supporting small group service projects for workplaces, families, and pandemic pods. Due to a significant increase in traffic in parks and natural areas since the beginning of the pandemic – up to 68% in some cases – trash and trail erosion has increased. This small group stewardship series will help tackle the ongoing strain on park resources and provide a safe way to give back and commune with nature.

“Having access to safe, outdoor activities has never been more essential to the health of our community. Since the outbreak of the global pandemic, citizens have flocked to our parks for recreation and respite in record numbers. Never has the need for open spaces and safe, outdoor activities been more apparent.” commented Jessica Sheffield, Executive Director of the Eno River Association.

On October 3, the Association will host an education event at their Confluence Natural Area. The program will feature some of the popular activities from their Eno River Field Station and iWalk the Eno Summer Camp program and will support youth and adults of all ages. Attendance will be limited, and participants will be required to sign-up for specific timeslots.

To support the strain on school districts, parents, and students, the Association’s education team has also created a catalog of available programming ranging from hands-on STEM activities to local history topics to cultural arts. Learning pods are encouraged to use these resources, as well as online educational videos and other self-serve content, to create physical or virtual field trips to the Eno River this fall.

“Even in these tough times we are finding ways to provide opportunities to be safely outdoors, have fun, and grow the public’s knowledge and stewardship of natural resources,” adds Dave Cook, Education Coordinator. “You have to know it to appreciate it, and appreciate it to care for it.  We want everyone to know and appreciate the natural, cultural, and historic treasure that is the Eno, and from there grow support for open spaces and clean water. The health and well-being of our community depends on programs like ours, that inspire an environmental ethic.”

Funding from the Merck Foundation and the placement of a Resiliency Fellow by the Conservation Trust of North Carolina (AmeriCorps Program) is helping make these new programs possible. The Association website will be updated with more information and links to register closer to the events: www.enoriver.org. Individuals or companies that want to learn more about service opportunities on Eno River trails this fall should contact Tom Davis, Stewardship Coordinator, at tom@enoriver.org or 919-620-9099 x206. Those with questions about the education program, may contact Dave Cook, Education Coordinator, at dave@enoriver.org or 919-620-9099 x204.

Eno River Association Awarded Catalyst Fund Grant to Catapult Wildlife Corridor Conservation

Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina

The Eno River Association was awarded the highly competitive Catalyst Fund grant from The Network for Landscape Conservation to further coordinate the efforts of the Eno-New Hope Landscape Conservation Group.  From more than 100 applicants nationwide, 13 were awarded catalyst grants and the Association was the only North Carolina group to receive funding.

The Eno-New Hope Landscape Conservation Group is a network of land trusts, conservation groups, educational institutions, local governments, and ecologists who have aligned to conserve the natural habitats and the connections between them in the Eno River and New Hope Creek watersheds to protect biodiversity and natural resources for current and future generations. Funding will be used to hire a coordinator and to solidify group governance structures. The funding will also enable the group to develop a strategic action plan to guide implementation of its existing landscape conservation plan. By leveraging the momentum generated by the completion of the plan, this new support will build critical capacity within the group to advance collective action around its vision to conserve landscape connectivity within the Eno-New Hope landscape. Read the full press release here.

Take Action to Protect Orange County Lands & Waters

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners are poised to vote on Lands Legacy Funding and the proposed Research Triangle Logistics Park (RTLP) development in September. Their decisions will result in either a strong, positive impact for both the Eno River and our community, or in a negative, lasting scar on both. Read the full statement here.

Next week, on September 1, it is critical that they fully fund the Lands Legacy program in the County’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for years 2 and 3 of their budget. Please write to your Orange County Commissioner in support of this vote or email them all ocbocc@orangecountync.gov.

The second issue is the proposed Research Triangle Logistics Park (RTLP). While development is important to our region and our communities, it must be done in a way that fits with existing uses and preserves our natural assets. Please let the Orange County Board of County Commissioners know you want to hear them vote “NO” on September 15th to this RTLP proposal as it doesn’t yet offer the appropriate protections for the natural community and Orange County neighbors. More information, a petition, and a direct link to email your commissioners is included on the Save Hillsborough website.

View the complete letter from the Eno River Association by clicking here.

OneEno Weekend July 3-5

The Festival for the Eno may be cancelled, but we’ve got a whole lot of celebration in store for you! Visit www.enofest.org to get in on the fun.

OneEno PreGame – Friday, July 3 from 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Carolina Theatre – Durham Convention Center Plaza. Get your official Eno t-shirts, posters, and raffle tickets. While you’re there, pick up some dinner to-go from food trucks (Bull City Street Food or Morfa Empanadas) or get delicious fresh popcorn, snacks, and beer & wine concessions take-out from the Carolina Theatre.

OneEno Live BroadcastFriday, July 3 at 8pm. Streaming live from the Carolina Theatre of Durham and hosted by Joe Newberry the show features musical acts, information about local foodways, profiles of local artists & venues, environmental education, and of course, the Eno River. Rebroadcasting Saturday, July 4, and streaming on-demand July 5-10. Visit www.enofest.org for streaming details.

OneEno Online Silent Auction – Friday, July 3 – Sunday, July 5 at 8pm. Packed with over 70 art, travel, and exclusive Eno experiences. Proceeds benefit the Eno River Association’s mission to conserve and protect the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Eno River basin.

OneEno Raffle – tickets available through Sunday, July 5 at 8pm. The raffle may be virtual, but the prizes are real – real awesome! A Confluence Campout for 10, a 2-person inflatable kayak, and a picnic lunch from PICNIC top the list of over a dozen items. $10 each, or by 6 for $50. Limited quantities available so your odds are great!

Virtual Craft Show – Come meet some of the craft artists you would have seen at this year’s Festival for the Eno. We’ve included links to their online stores so you can support these artists and get a little something nice for yourself.

July with the Eno – Take in your favorites of Festival for the Eno in a new way with our July with the Eno Checklist. Have a picnic along the Eno, shop for art, listen to some incredible tunes — you can still enjoy all this and more, even without a Festival gathering.

A letter to our community…

Photo by Linda Yao

The centuries-deep cultural history in the Eno River basin is rich, and injustice, inequity, and racism are tragically foundational to much of that history. The most recent murders of two innocent Black men – George Floyd and Amaud Arbery- and a Black woman – Breonna Taylor- have opened centuries-old wounds of racism inflicted on the Black community. We see you, and we stand with you in the call for justice and equity.

The land conservation movement is not separate from these acts of injustice. The initial concepts of land conservation were exclusionary. Preservation and protection were done for the benefit of white men of privilege. Too often, early conservation work overlooked and marginalized the needs of communities of color and created an unequal access to nature. We are committed to seeing that that is not the legacy of conservation in the Eno River basin.

Conservation at its core is the celebration of diversity; diversity of plants, diversity of animals, diversity of landscapes, and diversity of cultures and people. To truly conserve and protect the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Eno River basin -our mission for the past 54 years- we must uplift the marginalized stories and work to overcome the injustice that has been wrought on the Black and Indigenous communities in the basin.

Are we successful in this effort so far? Is our work reaching the marginalized communities along the Eno as it runs thru Orange and Durham Counties? Are we engaging in meaningful partnerships with low-income communities and communities of color? Are we modeling equity and inclusivity in the way we work, and in our public-facing programs? Humbly, we cannot answer yes to these questions. Not yet.

In 1966, the Eno River Association was founded by a group of inspired Durham citizen who were not afraid to speak up for something they knew was important, and we will not shy away from that calling now. In the tradition of our spirited founders, Eno will advocate for what we know is important- racial justice, equity, and inclusion.

The Eno River Association Board of Directors and Staff

Orange County Proposal to Slash Funding for Land Protection

Update September: Years 2 and 3 up for a vote by County Commissioners.

Read our latest statement. Please continue to let your local officials know how important these land conservation programs are in our community.

Update June 10: Commissioners protected conservation easement funding in this year’s budget.

Thank you all for your time, support, and effort to contact the Orange County board of commissioners last week. Your voices were heard, and last night in their budget meeting the commissioners protected the conservation easement funding in the coming budget!! A link to that video is below.

And, while they delayed the vote that could affect the lands legacy program, most commissioners stated they will NOT cut that funding when it comes up for vote in September!! This is good news.

Sample Talking Points

Here are some sample talking points you can use to craft your letter or remarks, but it is by no means comprehensive. The proposed changes will have long-term affects on social & environmental justice, climate change, and other issues that may reflect your passions and values as well.

  • – Proposed FY 2020-21 CIP amendments CIP-004, CIP-005, and CIP-006 affect the Lands Legacy and Conservation Easement Programs in Orange County, cutting all funding from these programs for the next three years.
  • – Since 2000 over $8 million in other funding–from grants and landowner donations–has been raised for land protection due to the Lands Legacy Program and Conservation Easement Program.
  • – Nearly 4,000 acres within Orange County have been protected through these programs; creating parks for underserved populations within our community, improving water quality for over 500,000 citizens, ensuring viable farmland into the future, ensuring climate change resiliency, and improving the overall health and wellbeing of Orange County residents.
  • – Investments in land protection today provide lasting, positive impacts on our community into the future.  Proximity to parks and open space enhances the value of residential properties and produces increased tax revenues for communities. Open space captures precipitation, reduces stormwater management costs, and by protecting underground water sources, open space can reduce the cost of drinking water up to ten-fold. Improving access to public open space has the potential to increase levels of physical activity, and to have mental health benefits and reduce healthcare and other costs.
  • – Without the financial commitment of the County, land trusts would no longer be able to leverage grant funds to support land acquisition. In most cases, funding partners require matching resources, especially from municipal and county governments.

Read our full statement here:


County Manager’ Recommended FY 2020-21: https://www.orangecountync.gov/714/County-Budgets (Please note the Operating Budget is a 500 page, 20MB document)

Budget amendments, as proposed by the BOCC and staff
https://www.orangecountync.gov/2147/Proposed-Budget-Amendments Reference lines CIP-04, CIP-05, and CIP-06


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BOCC Virtual Budget Public Hearing June 4, 2020 Meeting – 7:00 p.m.

The Board of Commissioners is conducting a Virtual Budget Public Hearing on Thursday, June 4, 2020 where they will hear comment on proposed capital improvement plan amendments which impact three years of funding for land protection. These cuts over time have the potential to significantly reduce the amount of open spaces and harm clean water and conservation efforts for many years to come.

Eno River Association is asking members to participate in this meeting by providing public comment through either:

• Written submittals by email 

• Speaking during the virtual meeting 

Detailed directions for providing comment are in the document below. Your comment must be submitted by Thursday, June 4 at 3pm.

Members of the public will be able to view and listen to the meeting via live streaming video at http://www.orangecountync.gov/967/Meeting-Videos and on Orange County Gov-TV on channels 1301 or 97.6 (Spectrum Cable).