Non-Profit spotlight… Friends of Roan Mountain share spotlight on local nature

Published 9:27 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2022

BY GRACIE FIELDS
STAR CORRESPONDENT
The Friends of Roan Mountain is a local non-profit that educates those interested in learning about local nature while giving back to Roan Mountain State Park.
“The main goal for this organization is to help anyone and everyone learn about the beauty of our local nature,” said Gary Barrigar, the president of the organization.
The group hosts Naturalists Rallies four times a year. The rallies began in 1958 and have been continuous for over 60 years.
Much of the organization’s funding is through their yearly memberships, donations, or money raised through the rallies.
“We currently have over 300 members; it’s amazing to see how many people are interested in learning about our area,” said Barrigar.
Throughout the years, The Friends of Roan Mountain have partnered with others from Roan Mountain State Park, the U.S. Forestry Service, and many naturalists from all around the country.
The group’s partnership with the state park has allowed it to contribute to the owls and their homes along with the research regarding bryophytes, or mosses, in Roan Mountain.
“We recently had the opportunity to help restore Twin Springs Picnic Area, and we ultimately want the public to be able to use it again,” said Larry McDaniel, the organization’s vice president.
Many of the organization’s activities are inclusive of those who are just learning from experts in the area. The annual Spring Rally is an opportunity arising for those interested in learning about nature.
The rally includes presentations from educated naturalists, hands-on learning experiences, and much more.
“We really just want people to be interested in learning about this beautiful area. Our rallies are designed for amateurs, experts, and everyone in between,” said McDaniel.
All proceeds from the rally go towards The Friends of Roan Mountain and the betterment of the organization.

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