2023 Annual Meeting

Friends of DuPont Forest members gathered at Holmes Educational State Forest on a beautiful spring afternoon on April 15th for the 2023 Annual Meeting.

2022 Update

Thanks to the  support of our friends, members, and donors, Friends of DuPont Forest accomplished a lot in 2022.

  • We secured  $100,000 in grant funding for the Master Recreation Plan from the Henderson And Transylvania County Tourism Development Authorities.
  •  We were also awarded  $10,000 from the Henderson County TDA and $8000 from the Transylvania County TDA for the Share the Trails campaign. These funds helped pay for a new website and print materials designed to educate visitors on how to share the trails and take care of our Forest.  The new website is scheduled to launch this month! Stay tuned! 
  • Our trail crew put in more 1600 volunteer hours partnering with the N.C. Forest Service to maintain over 20 miles of trails.
  • We launched a new Invasive Plants Removal program also in  partnership with the Forest Service and MountainTrue.
  • In August we hosted a Policy Breakfast for local elected officials to highlight the economic impact of DuPont Forest in Henderson and Transylvania counties and the importance of planning for its future.
  • Thanks to a generous grant from the Athletic Brewing Two for the Trails program, we provided trail maintenance training for 15 trail crew members and two Forest Service staff.
  • Our Events Committee organized 18 members-only events on the history of DuPont Forest and its unique ecosystem.
  • On September 24, we welcomed 700 people to the 5th Annual DuPont Forest Festival with hikes, rides, and activities celebrating the adventure found in DuPont Forest.
Past and present Friends of DuPont Forest Board Members

2023 Planning

This year we are going to keep building on that success. 

  • We added more trail crew work days to tackle more trail maintenance.
  • We will provide additional training opportunities for the trail crew and Forest Service staff
  • The Henderson County TDA recently awarded us a  $4000 grant to help fund the 6th annual Forest Festival and $17,000 grant for the purchase of a mini excavator for the Forest Service.
  • Our events committee has been hard at work and has an impressive slew of members-only events lined up including a mushroom hike, astronomy event, and history tour of  Lake Julia.
  • Mark your calendars for the DuPont Forest Festival on September 23, 2023 

Our accomplishments are due to the work and talents of our board and committee members. We welcome all our members to get involved! 

Welcome New Board Members

Laura Early

Laura is originally from South Carolina. She moved to Hendersonville in 2021 from the Georgia Coast where she served as a naturalist on Little St. Simons Island, a sea turtle technician on Cumberland Island, and as the executive director of the Satilla Riverkeeper.

Laura is the Eastern Program Manager for SouthWings, a nonprofit environmental organization that coordinates a network of volunteer pilots who support the environmental movement by providing unique aerial experiences. 

Laura Early
Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick has called Henderson County home since 2000. He graduated with an engineering degree from Georgia Tech, a Masters in Business from James Madison, and has been the Vice-President of Operations at SylvanSport in Brevard since 2012. 

Prior experience includes time as a manufacturing engineer and production manager for a global automotive supplier, executive director of a local non-profit affordable housing agency, nuclear engineer, as well as board member for a number of community organizations.

Wende Fonvielle

Wende is from North Carolina and now lives in Hendersonville. She spent her career in education all over the state for 30+ years teaching pre-K thru community college. For 22 of those years, Wende had the privilege to plan and integrate outdoor learning and environmental project studies with the Academically Gifted curriculum.

Wende taught subject themed camps at the WNC Nature Center for multiple summers, was Outings Chair for the Cape Fear Sierra Club, active with the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project, and more recently volunteered at the Pisgah Forest Visitor Center. 

Wendy Fonvielle
David Thomas

David Thomas

David lives in Brevard. He is an avid mountain biker (375+ rides in DuPont in the last 6 years) and volunteer in DuPont.

Prior to his retirement, he served as the Director of Fulfillment and Logistics at Gaia Herbs in Mills River. He has a long career in supply chain, business management, and operations at several large corporations in Kentucky. He volunteered with the National Paddling Film Festival as the Project Manager/Treasurer for 25 years to fund river conservation and access.

Wes Dickson

Wes Dickson was lucky enough to have been born in Brevard NC and was raised at the base of DuPont Road in Little River Valley. He always dreamed about the outdoors. One of his first mountain bike rides was Sky Valley Rd. to Pinnacle Mountain. Rd. with his dad. He was hooked. Not knowing what he was doing, but knowing that he loved mountain biking more than anything else in the world, Wes opened Sycamore Cycles in downtown Brevard and operated it for 22 years. Last summer, he sold Sycamore Cycles. Now he has the time and is ready to give back to the community that gave me so much through serving as a Friends of DuPont Forest Board Member.

In addition to his involvement in the biking community, Wes served on Brevard City Council for four years. He was the city parks and recreation chair and city representative on the tourism development authority.

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