All our projects have these key attributes:
- We tackle tough projects with far-reaching effects, just not immediate resolutions
- We bring together all the interested parties in one room to work on common challenges
- We work to overcome difficulties in communication and disparate motivations
- We capture the financial and political resources to get the job done
- We keep people moving together towards their shared goals
- We bring all our varied networks, talents, and disciplines to address the problems at hand.
Cherokee Cultural Corridor
Macon, Jackson and Swain Counties, North Carolina
Convened to address a crisis in the stewardship of a culturally-sensitive site in Franklin, NC, Catalpa Partners with the support of Mainspring Conservation Trust brought together citizens from Macon County and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to mend the 240-year divide between the two communities. Through this reconciliation process, Mountain Partners was born, a joint community initiative focused on co-management of historic, cultural, and natural sites in a 60-mile corridor rich with history between Cherokee and the Georgia state line (The Cherokee Cultural Corridor). Mountain Partners, aided by Catalpa Partners, has formed an independent 501(c)(3) organization to manage the Corridor project and interpret the cultural history of the Corridor. The Corridor will officially open in 2018 with interpretive hubs at Cherokee, the Nikwasi Mound in Franklin, and the Cowee Mound area in Macon County.
Rutherfordton, North Carolina
This project addressed chronic unemployment in the Foothills region of North Carolina economically devastated by the collapse of the textile industry, by reviving small farm businesses growing specialty crops. Recognizing that the extremely limited broadband connectivity in this county was retarding economic and intellectual growth and preventing the formation of home businesses, Foothills Connect designed a municipal fiber optic network to connect over 30 public buildings, including 23 schools, throughout the 550 square mile county, and then raised $1.4 million to install the network. Farmers were then trained in computer, Internet and financial literacy and, through a specially-designed website, displayed the real time inventory of hundreds of small farm businesses for sale and delivery to urban consumers and restaurants throughout the region.
Western North Carolina
Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership
The 1.3 million acre Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest embarked on a 20 year cycle of planning in 2014, but suffers from a lack of identity among the public, declining budgets, conflict among constituents, and a lack of connection to the rural towns and communities that control the politics of the region. Catalpa Partners with the support of the Wilderness Society worked to overcome a history of conflict and gridlock among forest constituents. We designed and launched a multi-stakeholder process involving conservation groups, wildlife/hunting/angling organizations, recreation groups, forest products businesses, economic agencies, and cultural heritage groups. Now existing as a stand-alone citizens’ organization, the collaborative is designed to support the Forest Service beyond the planning cycle as a long-term volunteer organization. The Forest Partnership is taking steps toward becoming a lasting voice for innovative management and public investment in the public forests of Western North Carolina.
Indigenous Cultural Plant Restoration and Access
This project is creating new pilot collaborations between the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, The Center for Native Health, and federal agencies (the National Park Service and US Forest Service, the UNESCO-SAMAB [Southern Appalachian Man and Biosphere Program], the National Institute of Environmental Health, and the Smithsonian Institution). These collaborations are centered around the management and restoration of traditional plants on Federal lands. The project utilizes cross-cultural negotiation to meld scientific and traditional knowledge perspectives on cultural landscape management, and to create new relationships that can support future innovative partnerships between tribes, minority communities, and science and land management agencies.