The Transylvania Times -

Rosenwald News


August 15, 2019

Kelsey Morrow is a teen staff writer for the online blog "Rise & Shine Star."

Nature takes center stage today. Towards the beginning of summer, I stopped by Rise & Shine for a visit. As I was leaving, a group of scholars and volunteers were just coming back from a hike. The day was hot and, to varying degrees, the students were registering that fact. Most everyone looked like they had had a major trek in the woods. Definition of trek? A long, arduous journey, especially one made on foot.

Fast forward to this week and I discovered from two sources, Elizabeth Pell and John Wiseman that everything changed after the third to fourth hike. Instead of dragging feet, a little grumbling and not being able to complete the Bracken Mountain Trail hike, students were now running, enjoying never before seen vistas and luxuriating at the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow... a discovered waterfall. Both of these separate reports made me smile. How wonderful for these youngsters to discover nature's treasure right within walking distance of where they live. How delightful for them to stay the course, for their reluctance to give way to pleasure. But don't take my word for it, or that of the volunteers, listen to one of the Rise & Shine teen staff writers: Kelsey Morrow's article is entitled, "Couple shares love of outdoors with Rise & Shine scholars." She writes: You walk up steep trails surrounded by green leaves and trees of all sizes. You can see other people in front of you walking the same path and some going the other way. Trails with twists and turns of different heights. Every time you do the same trail you get farther toward your goal. This is what Rise & Shine scholars see when they hike with volunteers. This summer, Rise & Shine Neighbors in Ministry is giving scholars the opportunity to go on hikes on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Bracken Mountain Reserve in Brevard. This program is led by John Wiseman, 66, and Kim Coram, 56. The goal is for the students to stay connected to nature and encourage them to hike more during the school year.

"We both believe nature is a healing place, and we want to share that with as many kids as possible," Wiseman said. "We're just trying to get them to experience the outdoors."

The distance some scholars have hiked has increased each week, and in the third week of the program four Level 3 scholars hiked a 6-mile loop with 900 feet of climbing.

"Their fitness is incredible," Coram said.

Volunteers from groups such as Conserving Carolina and Southeastern Off-road Bicycle Association (SORBA) hike with the students. They help the student learn new things along the way, such as photography and identifying different kinds of birds and plants. The volunteers go with the scholars at the scholars' pace. The volunteers are a big help with the hikes.

Coram and Wiseman are avid mountain bikers and hikers who once owned a bike shop in Parkersburg, W. Va. An outdoor recreation program that Coram attended in high school "changed my life," she said. She wants to share the experience that she had with other children.

To make this happen, the couple organized a bike camp in DuPont State Recreational Forest last summer. In the fall, they hope to form a Rise & Shine Hiking club.

"The goal is to create an opportunity, so kids who really want to do this, can do it," Coram said."

Kelsey is a 13-year-old Brevard resident and incoming 8th grade student. She writes for the Rise & Shine Star with fellow peer writers, Nichelle Stanton and Josue Alvarado.

In other nature news, have you heard about "The Peace Tree Garden Project?" It is a relatively new initiative emerging minutes of downtown Brevard within the Rosenwald community. The volunteer pilot project is an inspired effort by Morning Glory Inspirations, in collaboration with Brevard Housing Authority. It includes community-minded volunteers, like yourself, to come on board and "adopt" designated outdoor spaces. High on our list are perennials, pollinators, non-invasives, edibles and natives.

The project's vision is one of outdoor beautification in predominantly low-income outdoor spaces, inspiring participants to take an active interest in both the great outdoors and fellow community members. The Peace Tree Garden Project has a feel-good component as it gently nudges you to come outside and allow nature to gift you with its inherent magic, to be involved, participate and care about each other, to learn about stewardship and to enjoy the priceless shared experience along the way. You couldn't ask for a better gift for your general health and well-being.

From a Cedar Crest resident, "I'd like to see something green and beautiful to attract the hummingbirds, the butterflies, bees and birds. Even though I am disabled, I would love to help if I can."

Referencing St. Francis of Assisi, she was enthusiastic in her feeling that The Peace Tree Project could be "a meditation garden." Peace from nature and promoting its care, "That'll be a beautiful thing! There is a great need for peace and for people coming together to get off of street drugs."

Hardworking volunteers finally get to put shrubs, flowers and seeds in the ground, followed by a rich layer of mulch. One of the many highlights of the day was the arrival of a first butterfly.

Leading the way, the pilot project began last week at BHA's Cedar Crest development with a wonderful group from Conserving Carolina's Summer of Service program. This is the second year that we have had this particular group involved with Rosenwald projects. Once again, they are notably industrious, positive and great team workers. In addition to the tremendous work that they accomplished to date, it has been heart-warming to witness interactions with housing residents and to already feel benefits from the day-to-day activities.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or adopter, contact me for more information at either or

(Newsworthy items for submission for Rosenwald Community News are welcomed from community members, churches, clubs and groups. If you have an idea for a story or interview for me to capture, let me know at nicola@com or call (828) 421-8615. Enjoy your week.)


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