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

Previous Posts

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).

Eno Zoom Backgrounds

Bring your friends and family to the Eno by using these backgrounds on your next Zoom call.

What’s your favorite? Consider joining us to help protect these beautiful spaces by making your membership gift.

Instructions for Use:

  1. Download your favorite picture by clicking on the thumbnail below to enlarge it on your screen.
  2. Right click and select Save Image As… Navigate to your preferred folder. Click Save.
  3. During your next Zoom call, using the Desktop version of Zoom, click the ^ arrow next to Start/Stop Video.
  4. Select Choose a virtual background… (If prompted, click Download to download the package for virtual background without a green screen.)
  5. A new window will open. Click on [+] at the right under your image. Select Add Image.
  6. Navigate to the folder that contains the Eno picture you saved in Step 1, select that picture, and click Open. Your picture will appear behind you in the preview window.
  7. Close this window to return to the meeting window.

For more tips and troubleshooting, check out Zoom’s detailed instructions.

Wildflower Society

Photo by Joe Liles, Wildflower Society Member

Members of our Wildflower Society have made a special commitment to the Eno River Association with their annual contribution of $500 or more. The support of these members allow us to be strategic, proactive, and responsive to new land protection opportunities as they arise. Wildflower Society members receive invitations to special events and priority listing in our newsletter unless they wish to remain anonymous.

Make your membership gift to join the Wildflower Society online.

Wildflower Society Members as of March 2021

Meredith Barrett & Aaron Stoertz
Bill & Carol Charping
The Estate of Joyce Brown
Lonna & Richard Harkrader
George & Rosemary Kolasa
Jennifer & Lance Rogers
Clare & Richard Weinberg
Aaron & Mandy Wilkinson
Cathie & Tim Wilkinson
Hilary & Andrew Wilkinson

Donna Baird
Andy Balber & Frances Kerr
Ann Louise Barrick & Joyce McNeill
Bascom Hall McKay & Frances Clayton McKay Charitable Fund of Triangle
Community Foundation
Lynn Bowlby & Neal Ready
Brenda Brodie
David & Carol Bunnel
Susan Gidwitz & Gail Freeman
Virginia Gilbert
Richard Low & Anne Almond
Mary Love May & Paul Gabrielson
Stuart & Linda Paynter
Mollie & Bill Purdy
David & Olivia Singleton
Julia Tyler
Charlie Wilson
Chuck & Jean Wilson

Anthony & Paula Adams
Kristin & Will Anderson
Greg Beck
Larry Bohs & Elizabeth Searles-Bohs
Michael W. Broome & Lisa L. Lorenzin
James Brosnan
Joel Bulkley
Rick Burt
Jeff Chase & Nonna Skumanich
Maria & Curtis Chi
Kevin & Patti Clayton
Don & Judith Cox
Mary & Mike Czysz
Barbara & Tom Driscoll
David & Angela Duty
Dr. Harold Erickson
Chris Eubank & Lisa McQuay
Mike Giarla & Ellen Michelson
Christy & Jim Gudaitis
Tony & Grace Hackney
Carson Harkrader & Gary Kueber
Joyce Hopkins
Alice & George Horton
Janet Jezsik
Ryan & Rebekah Kelly
Charity Kirk
Trish Kohler
Randy & Cathy Lambe
Geri LaPlaca
David & Lissa Lutz
Cathy Murphy & John Manuel
John & Margaret March
Debbie & Richard Marion
Julia Marshall
Jennifer McDuffie & Hal Kuhns
Janis McFarland & Richard McLaughlin
Brian & Sarah McGiverin
Karen McLachlan
Laurie McNeil & Pat Wallace
Art Mines & Elizabeth Dyer
Bonny Moellenbrock & Michael Lowry
Julie & Rich Mooney
Fred & Cathy Myers
Carolyn Norris
Chris & Kelly O’Toole
Fred Parham
John Pearson & Gail Goodling
Bercedis Peterson
Diana & Barry Phillips
Peter & Ona Pickens
Bruce Pitner
Beth Preslar & Raleigh Roark
Marilyn & Richardson Preyer
Ellen & Ken Reckhow
Chris Richmond & Lucy Wilson
Elizabeth Robbins
Beverly Scarlett
Greig & Kristen Schneider
Anthony & Stella Schomberg Fund of Triangle Community Foundation
Pete & Margaret Schubert
Kathleen & Todd Shapley-Quinn
Scott & Sarah Sipe
Aimee Tattersall
Amy & David Turner

Sue Alexander
Carol Anderson
Phyllis & Bob Andrews
Jenny Arcino & Ryan McCarty
Dawn & Joel Battiste
Eric Bauer & Darcie Smith
Beverly Bell & Lucy Piner
Rebecca & Greg Berenfield
Steve Booth & Mary Lou Rollins
Bill & B.J. Boyarsky
Tim Brooks
Shannon & Stephen Brown
Zachary Brown
Ann Bushyhead & John Valentine
Gene & Susan Carlone
Richard Carroll & Doreen Collins
Thomas & Susan Carson
Jeanne & Bob Chamberlin
Julie Chappell
Christina Chia & Gary Ashwill
Sara & Rush Childs
Catherine Cole
Tom Cole
Ann Colosia
Sandra Cook & Chuck Darsie
Donna Deal
Fred Dietrich & Jenny Tenor
Margaret Donnelly
Anne Christine Emler
Karen Fieselman
Dale & John Fluke
Mike & Ruth Freeman
Susan Garrity
Jane Gledhill
Edd & Gita Gulati-Partee
Amy Laura Hall
Maggi & Ron Hall
Albert & Elizabeth Harris
Emily K. Hill
Jonathan & Sarah Hodges
Elvira & Tom Howard
Sally & Rob Jackson
Peter & Sandra Jacobi
Barry & Robin Jacobs
Helen Kalevas & Todd Dickinson
Ann & Bill Kirkland
Jeffrey & Lynne Koweek
Joyce Kurpiers & Tim Kelly
Harriet & Michael Lakin
Joe & Judy Liles
Charles Lohr
Croft Long
Laura Lunsford
Chris & Anna Lynch
Jennifer Maher
Lisa McQuay & Chris Eubank
Pam Mears & Steve Pomeroy
Don Moffitt & Sidney Cruze
Jonas & Maggie Monast
David Montgomery
Pamela Morse
Michael & Morgan Moylan
Thomas Narten & Susan Rodger
Robert & Vicki Nebes
Michelle Nowlin & John Tallmadge
Gene & Sara O’Neill
Mary Panek
Emily & James Pearce
John Petranka & Sally Gewalt
Milo Pyne & Alexa McKerrow
Betsy Rainoff
Holly Reid & Rich Shaw
Jean & Dan Ricca
Allison Rosenberg & Logan Everett
David Roswell & Margaret Heraty
Cynthia Satterfield
Jonathan Scott & Barbara LeVarge
Ernie & Valerie Sears
Jessica Sheffield
Claudia Sheppard
Paul Sherblom
Gwen Silver
Joyce & Jim Snapper
David Sutton
Ruth & John Stanton
Aviva Starr & Sherry Samuels
Tyson Steffens
Richard Stern
Anna Stout
Tom Struhsaker & Theresa Pope
Russell Thomas
Karen & Tom Tierney
Susan Van Eyck & Barry Johnson
Alexander Van Nievelt
Heather Washburn
Emily Eve Weinstein
Renee Weisner & Ken Schmader
Tom & Kate Whiteside
Connie Winstead & Bo Glenn
Sarah & Mike Woodard
Brent Wootton
Bonnie Wright & Martin Eakes
John & Nancy Wyman


Eno River Association is pleased to announce a transformational new instrument in the conservation and protection of lands within the Eno River basin.

The Roberta and Herman Brown Land Preservation Fund provides resources to maintain and purchase land and easements in Orange County. This fund was established through a nearly $2 million bequest from the estate of Joyce Brown, daughter of Roberta & Herman.

“Orange County lands along the Eno River have and continue to be a high priority for our watershed protection plan. As these past years have seen incredible population growth in the County, it is essential that we continue to proactively preserve open spaces, protect wildlife corridors, and provide outdoor areas that all citizens can enjoy,” said Jessica Sheffield, Executive Director in a statement to its members.

Joyce Brown, 2012

A long-time advocate for the environment, Joyce Brown was elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council in 1989. During her 12-year tenure, Ms. Brown focused on environmental and energy conservation, as well as neighborhood preservation. Ms. Brown was also active with several environmental groups throughout her lifetime, including Eno River Association, the North Carolina Conservation Council, Sierra Club, Citizens Against Shearon Harris, among others. Ms. Brown had deep Orange County roots, and was a direct descendant of Matthew McCauley, one of the original land donors who helped create the University of North Carolina.

In 2012, Ms. Brown was honored as a community treasure by the Chapel Hill Historical Society, and she reflected on her hopes that “the community will be cognizant of environmental resources as they plan for potential growth.” Her bequest will help carry on this dream: preserving natural lands in Orange County, and ensuring those lands support the needs of a growing community.

The timing of this gift coincides with the opportunity to help the Eno River State Park complete its master plan, which envisions an over 6,700-acre park. Currently the Park encompasses 4,500 acres leaving over 2,000 to be acquired, much of it in Orange County where pressure from developers can mean inflated property values. The Brown gift will help the Association leverage funding from other sources for these purchases, as well as close a large gap in protection between Duke Forest and the Association’s Confluence Natural Area near the headwaters of the Eno River, also in Orange County.

“Joyce Brown’s generosity will have an impact on the river and the plants and animals that live there for generations to come. But lands in the Eno River basin are extremely desirable, and we will make great strides in completing the State Park Master Plan when many others combine their generosity with Ms. Brown’s. The Eno River runs through the lives of millions of people, and we know they will be inspired to join in the work to protect the river,” said Don Moffitt, board chair for the Eno River Association.

The Roberta & Herman Brown Land Preservation Fund will join the Margaret C. Nygard Acquisition Fund and the Allen Lloyd Fund for the Upper Eno as dedicated funding to help purchase and steward properties along the Eno River. Individuals who want to learn more about planned giving or opportunities to get involved should contact Director of Development, Emily Hill at 919-620-9099 or learn more here.

2020 Festival for the Eno Canceled

Photo by Caroline Cockrell, Festival for the Eno 2019

It is with deep sadness that we announce the cancellation of the 41st Festival for the Eno, scheduled for July 3 and 4, 2020. We do this following much thoughtful deliberation and in consultation with our many partners including the City of Durham, Orange and Durham Counties, NC State Parks, and many local participants, sponsors, artists, and friends. We waited as long as possible to make this decision, in hopes that we could present some scaled-down version of this beloved annual tradition this summer.  Unfortunately, we can no longer see any feasible way to produce an event of this magnitude and complexity while ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved. 

Due to the continued uncertainly about the future spread of the COVID virus, we do not plan to reschedule the 2020 Festival for the Eno.

We are heartbroken that we will not get to see everyone “on the Eno” this July, but hope to see you in smaller gatherings – on the trails and along the river banks in some of the over 7,400 acres of protected lands preserved through our efforts.  We hope resume planning live events later this fall, and will incorporate as many elements of the EnoFest into these events as is practical. We look forward to seeing you at West Point City Park on Independence Day weekend 2021.  In the meantime, we will continue to promote the nature, culture and history of the Eno River through virtual experiences, and self-guided activities – accessible online via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and the Festival website.

The Festival for the Eno is our largest public event and our greatest opportunity to raise awareness & funds that protect the land & water quality of the Eno River. We need to raise $50,000 to offset the loss of the 2020 Festival and continue our advocacy, education, and awareness efforts for the Eno River basin. You can help by making a donation to our Festival Fund or purchasing an Eno River T-Shirt or Poster. More Festival merchandise coming soon!

Thank you to our Festival sponsors:

See the complete list of sponsors at EnoFest.org