Honoring Native American Heritage Month

November is National American Indian Heritage Month. The Eno River Association joins in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. We have recently updated our Land Acknowledgment Statement as further commitment to practicing inclusion daily.

Photo by Mike Salemi

The Eno River Association respectfully acknowledges that the land that we are on today is the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi, the Tutelo, the Shakori, the Cheraw, and the Eno. They descended from an ancient tribe called the Yesah and spoke dialects of the Siouan language. The Eno River Valley was their home as it was for Woodland Natives for thousands of years before the arrival of people from other continents. We recognize Indigenous peoples as the original stewards of this land.

The mission of the Eno River Association includes the protection of the natural, historical, and cultural resources of the Eno River Basin. That protection is mostly necessary due to colonial practices and an economic system of land use and ownership that has often degraded our environment and dispossessed many peoples of color in the Eno River Valley.

This acknowledgement is part of the education and practice of inclusion we seek to demonstrate to our community to recognize and respect the history of this land and this river, and all peoples and beings on the Eno through time.

Protection Added To Nancy Rhodes Creek

Nancy Rhodes Creek

On October 30, 2020, the Eno River Association accepted the donation of a conservation easement on an 8.8-acre property in Durham adjacent to Eno River State Park across from the Pump Station Trail access. The Nancy Rhodes Creek Conservation Easement was generously donated by Weaving Water, LLC with support from Triangle Community Foundation and will help to ensure the protection of water quality to Nancy Rhodes Creek and the Eno River. It also protects a portion of an important Natural Area and plant species. This land was formerly part of Dr. Robert Holloway’s Farm and contained the collect structures associated with the former Rivermont Carbonated Spring Water. To learn more, click here.


Reptile Safari at the Confluence

Sign up for one or more nature explorations.  Group sizes are limited to 10 and masks must be worn where we cannot spread out.

Where: Confluence Natural Area, 4214 Highland Farm Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278.

When: Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

From Hillsborough take Hwy 86 North away from town 1.6 miles from US70. Turn left on Coleman Loop 1.1 miles. Turn left on Highland Farm Rd 2.4 miles. The Confluence is on the left. There is a large sign and a gravel driveway.

Cost Per Person: $5 adults; $3 Eno River Association Members and children under age 18 (plus a processing fee)

Register: Nature Fun Day

Questions: education@enoriver.org or (919)620-9099 ext. 1204

Rain or Shine!

8:00 AM – Birding the Eno: Join us on a morning discovery of the birds of the Eno.  We will use sight and sound to identify who is flying through the fields, trees, and sky.  Good for both new and experienced birders.  Bring your own binoculars but we will have a few to share.  This will be about a mile and half walk over 90 minutes.  No dogs please.  Suggested ages 10 and up.

SOLD OUT! 9:00 AM – Wildflowers of the Confluence: Find out what is blooming in the fields, forest, and flood plain this fall.  We will get into some of the life history and benefits uses of the plants. This will be on easy to moderate trails for about two miles in a leisurely 2 hour walk with lots of stops.  Suggested ages 12 and up.

SOLD OUT! 10:30 AM – Reptile and Amphibian Safari: The Eno River Association maintains cover boards and tree frog tubes at the Confluence and we will be setting out turtle traps in advance.  Come along with us as we check them for turtles, snakes, toads, frogs, lizards, and salamanders.  This will be on easy to moderate trails with short excursions into the woods for about two miles in a leisurely 2 hour walk with lots of stops.  Suggested ages 8 and up.

LIMITED AVAILABILITY! 2:00 PM – Insect Expedition: Discover the fascinating life of bugs buzzing around us.  We will explore our six-legged neighbors in the fields and forest.  Collection nets, containers, and magnifying glasses provided. Cameras encouraged.  90-minute program.  Suggested ages 8 and up.

4:00 PM – Seining the Creeks: We may get wet!  Lots of cool fish call the creeks of the confluence home.  Some familiar, others not well known.  We will run nets and check fish traps, identify the fish we find and learn thing about their sub-surface lives.  Must be able to wade in shallow water (up to your waist) on uneven or muddy creek bottom. Wear footwear that can get wet and suitable to protect your feet from rocks and sticks. UPDATE: We can provide gators.  This is a two-hour program.  Suggested ages 11 and up.

SOLD OUT! 7:00PM – Bat Survey: Using computerized equipment we will capture and identify the echo-location calls of bats native to the Eno.  We have enough tablets for everyone to work in pairs.  Discover the variety of bats flying around us when it is too dark to even see they are there.  Learn about how theses bats live and why they are important to us. This is a 90-minute program.  Suggested ages 10 and up.

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.