*After three incredibly meaningful years of volunteer and corps programming, we are currently taking a hiatus from this project to focus on our new sister program in Vermont, Sugar Mountain Center, which is in the development and construction stages. We anticipate programming beginning in Spring 2019. Follow our progress on our blog!
We would like to thank all of our corps members, partners, and supporters for helping us do some incredible work over the last few years.
Here is a link to our 2015 annual report to learn more about some of the work our members have done in the Southeast:
The mission of Smoky Mountain Corps is to build future leaders in conservation and sustainability by engaging young adults in direct service to communities and natural spaces, while fostering the principles of sustainable living, environmental stewardship, and active citizenship in the Southeast.
About Smoky Mountain Corps
Smoky Mountain Corps is a training center and residential facility that runs service learning programs in conservation skills, sustainable agriculture, and low-impact living. The center is located in Burnsville, North Carolina, on an 11 acre homestead which contains numerous garden sites, infrastructure, and sustainable systems. Utilizing the resources of the center, corps members and volunteers will be provided with opportunities to implement sustainable projects in disadvantaged communities in the region which will address needs such as; food security and health, energy, and technical skill development.
Residential Leadership Corps Program Overview
Smoky Mountain Corps hosts a residential leadership development program located at the Burnsville facility, adjacent to Pisgah National Forest in Western North Carolina. Corps members between ages 18-25 work together to complete conservation and sustainability projects in both urban and natural spaces, which seek to improve environmental, economic, and social sustainability throughout the region. In addition, the residential site functions as a venue for projects and and hands-on education for the corps by featuring a community space, organic gardens, sustainable energy systems, and other initiatives.
The program begins with an extensive orientation and training period, followed by a project season. Members of the program complete a series of 8 day projects with public agencies and community partners. These projects are based directly on current community and environmental needs, and may include trail building/maintenance, habitat restoration, invasive species removal, reforestation, construction/maintenance of community gardens, support for local farmers markets, community supported public art projects, environmental education, and public workshops. The crew will often camp during project hitches in remote settings. When not in the field, corps members engage in frequent trainings and workshops, and participate in sustainable agriculture and other projects at the SMC facility.
In addition to technical and leadership skills, a goal of the program is to provide members with an opportunity to foster an ethic of personal responsibility and cooperation by developing an inclusive residential community. Unless working remotely during project hitches, members will live on-site in a communal facility and participate in communal activities such as; daily chores, meals, weekly meetings, special interest committees, and recreation. Corps members will engage in ongoing discussions about community matters, and are partially responsible for crafting their own rules and policies with oversight by program staff.