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.
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.