The Nature Center
Many communities claim to have an on-site Nature Center, but you'll be hard pressed to find one like this anywhere in the North Carolina mountains. The Balsam Mountain Trust operates the Nature Center, and it serves as one of the social and educational heartbeats of the community.
Two full time, on-site naturalists are based at the Center, and together they develop a staggering collection of year round multi-generational programming for members of ages. The variety of activities include guided nature hikes, bird watching classes, botanical walks, family focused programs led by a full-time Activities Director, a nature and cultural arts program, and several weeks of outdoor summer kids camps.
Unique to Balsam Mountain Preserve is the birds of prey program. Several species - including a bald eagle, a red tail hawk, a falcon, and a screech owl - call the Nature Center home. Take a journey to learn more about the birds of prey program.
The Nature Center is but one component of the Balsam Mountain Trust, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization funded, in perpetuity, by real estate transfer fees as well as donations and grants. The Trust provides stewardship and management of the 3,000 acre conservation easement. The Trust also participates in educational outreach and scientific research, partnering with area colleges and universities on a variety of research projects.
"One of the main reasons Julie and I chose Balsam Mountain Preserve as the place to build our retirement home was our intense interest in nature. We were striving to find a place where we could live in, learn about, and participate in the beauty of our surroundings. The Trust helps provide us with all of that, as well as the ongoing oversight needed to protect this natural setting. Additionally, we respect the Trust's efforts to share its programs and knowledge with our neighbors outside the Preserve".
- Sam Belfore, Ormond Beach, Florida and Sylva, North Carolina
"Balsam gets me closer to the woods to walk through, the fish to go after, and the big night sky to gaze at, a wonderful combination that renews my sense of awe at the wonder of it all."
- David Kitchens, Atlanta, Georgia