The highlight of Tuesday's Dedication was a Seisin Ceremony, a ritual dating back to the days of freehold estates, in which the grantors of property presented the grantees with a clump of dirt and, in return, the grantees gave a bunch of leaves and twigs. In these pictures, Sterling and Barbara Whitener and family members are shown presenting a cup of earth from Sterling Creek Park to Eric Hiegl, Blue Ridge Conservancy Director of Land Protection & Stewardship, and Watauga County representatives Joe Furman, Director of Planning & Inspections & Economic Development, and Stephen Poulos, Director of Parks & Recreation. In exchange, Eric, Joe, Stephen, and Ann Browning, Executive Director of Middle Fork Greenway, presented the Whiteners with a basket of leaves, thus sealing the transaction.
Since late Fall, 2014, when the 0.9-mile section of the paved greenway trail from Tweetsie, through Mystery Hill, the DOT culvert, to and through the donated Whitener property was completed, the volunteers of the Middle Fork Greenway Task Force have been busily sawing dead trees, removing stumps, grading, pruning, clearing brush, sowing grass seed, planting milkweed to attract Monarch butterflies, and building and installing picnic tables--to prepare Sterling Creek Park for public use. Plans are for New River Conservancy to fortify the park's streambanks with several varieties of native livestakes and rooted plants this fall, and for volunteers to gather one Saturday in October to carpet bare sections of the riparian buffer with native shrubs which will be donated by The Mustard Seed.
Walk, run or ride your bike from Tweetsie to Sterling Creek Park. Pack your lunch and sit at one of our picnic tables (lumber for two generously donated by Watauga Building Supply, and two donated by Lowes Building Supply). Fish in the sterling stream, chase a leaf, sit on a boulder and read a book, recite a poem, pick up litter, and thank your lucky stars, as we do everyday, that there are people like the Whiteners willing to share the beauty of their land with all of us. photos by Karen Keys
|Sterling & Barbara Whitener, Beth Goode, daughter of Donald & Elizabeth Whitener, Dana Whitener Froetschel, Barbi Whitener|