Haywood Waterways Association has presented its 2021 Pigeon River Award to Western Carolina University for making significant contributions in the protection of water and land resources in the neighboring county.
WCU has long supported Haywood Waterways with volunteer contributions through the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning and Office of Sustainability and Energy Management.
Haywood Waterways is one of some 20 programs and organizations in Haywood County supported by WCU’s community involvement and outreach. Student, faculty and staff volunteers help through awareness efforts and initiatives such as storm drain stenciling, trash cleanups, invasive plant removal, planting riparian vegetation and water quality monitoring.
Each year, WCU has a campus theme that directs a lot of that work and for the past two years that theme has been “Water”. This led to the hiring of three interns to help implement Youth Conservation Corps projects.
Lauren Bishop, the university’s chief sustainability officer, serves on the Haywood Waterways board of directors. “Service is a such a large part of our culture here on campus,” she said. “So, our partnership over the years has really been a natural fit, to send students for fundraising events and other programs. It has been mutually beneficial for everyone.”