The Transylvania Times -

Staff Reports 

Reserve Names Top Local Volunteers


January 28, 2019

Courtesy Photo

The Reserve's top volunteers were Molly Tartt and Paul Cooper.

Brevard's Molly Tartt and Lake Toxaway's Paul Cooper have been named as Southern Highlands Reserve's 2018 Volunteers of the Year.

Southern Highlands Reserve, located off Summit Ridge Road in Lake Toxaway, is a 120-acre native plant arboretum and research center dedicated to sustaining the natural ecosystems of the Blue Ridge Mountains, according to its website.

In a press release, the Reserve said it wants "to honor our volunteers for their exceptional commitment and support of our mission."

"Volunteers are vital to our success as a growing nonprofit organization," release said. "The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding volunteer for his or her valuable and selfless dedication and contribution to enhancing efficiency within the organization, as well as spreading awareness throughout the community."

This year, the Reserve had a tie: Tartt and Cooper.

As a member of the Waighstill Avery Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Tartt worked with her group to find a long-forgotten red spruce forest originally planted by the DAR in the 1940s near Devil's Courthouse off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Deeply inspired by this history, the release said, she became a strong supporter of the Reserve's red spruce restoration work.

Tartt works in the Reserve's Nursery Complex repotting young red spruce and is an avid supporter, the release said, of the Reserve of within the community.

Cooper is a nature enthusiast and long-time volunteer at the Reserve, the release said, who "holds a special affinity for the Reserve."

"Each year, he logs more hours than any other volunteer," release said. "His love of story-telling and the Reserve make him a natural fit as our Visitors' Days docent."

To learn about becoming a Southern Highlands Reserve volunteer, contact [email protected]

The Reserve is open April to October for garden tours by reservation only.


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