<div class="sub_header"><h2><span>Setting the Scene</span></h2></div>

The Purpose of the Strategic Plan is to provide a perpetual ‘Road Map’ to guide the planning and activities to be carried out by the Balsam Mountain Trust (BMT) during the 2017-2020 time frame. The following key points were used in creating the map:


Our Mission

The Balsam Mountain Trust inspires people to be responsible stewards of the natural and cultural resources of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains through education and conservation leadership.


Our Vision

  • Enhance our position as a key environmental education partner with schools, community and government organizations, reaching diverse audiences and inspiring lifelong stewardship of the natural world.
  • Establish BMT as a regional field research site, partnering with universities, regional biological stations and other similar organizations to expand research opportunities in western NC.
  • Embrace and practice sustainability in all operations and facilities, serving as a leader for the BMP community.


Key Stakeholder Groups

The Strategic Plan incorporates and addresses the interests of the following constituencies:

Members of Balsam Mountain Preserve

By delivering programs that educate and enrich this constituency

Local and Regional Communities

By delivering Environmental Education (EE) programs to local schools and other related institutions germane to our mission

Research Partners

By providing secure and accessible resources (e.g., land, water, flora, fauna, etc.) and supporting the facilitation of research projects on the Preserve

Strategic Plan Road Map

We have identified Strategic Initiatives to be evaluated and pursued in the 2017-2020 time frame in the the following categories:

Key Focus Areas – critical to the Trust’s mission

  • Environmental Education
  • Natural/Cultural Resource Stewardship and Research
  • Nature Center

Support Services – essential to implement all work

  • Fundraising
  • Management
<div class="sub_header"><h2><span>Education</span></h2></div>


Provide cohesive education programming which encourages active environmental conservation in our region.


Enhance our position as a key environmental education partner with schools and community organizations, reaching diverse audiences and inspiring lifelong stewardship of the natural world


Strategic Initiative #1: Implement core messages into all EE programming:  Nature is valuable inherently and for the resources it provides to humans;  What BMT does to make a difference (BMT mission and our role in conservation); What individuals can do to make a difference (provide direct actions and service options where appropriate)

Strategic Initiative #2: Establish BMT as a key environmental education partner in schools and libraries, helping to create an informed and environmentally conscious population

Strategic Initiative #3: Increase member participation in programs, offering a variety of services that expand Balsam Mountain Preserve  members’ knowledge of their local area and care for the Preserve’s natural and cultural resources

Strategic Initiative #4: Determine, and continue to evaluate, the optimal animal collection complement to meet Trust’s education needs

<div class="sub_header"><h2><span>Natural and Cultural Resource Stewardship and Research</span></h2></div>


Facilitate platforms for the collection, evaluation and dissemination of scientific research results and best management practices applications, by which stakeholders can cultivate a resource stewardship ethos both on the Preserve and in the Trust’s service region.


Establish BMT as a regional field research site, partnering with universities, regional biological stations and similar organizations to expand research opportunities in Western NC.


Strategic Initiative #1: Encourage, solicit and implement 1-2 research projects annually through application, interest, evaluation and relevance to Balsam Mountain Preserve and the region

Strategic Initiative #2: Evaluate, prioritize and implement routine long-term data collection, inventories, forest health evaluations, etc., relevant to the Trust’s mission

<div class="sub_header"><h2><span>Nature Center</span></h2></div>


Strategic Initiative #1: Establish the permanent home for the Trust (Nature Center and offices)

<div class="sub_header"><h2><span>Essential Support Services</span></h2></div>

 Fundraising Initiatives

Strategic Initiative #1: Increase the income for the Trust in order to support the educational programming, natural and cultural resources, and management and facilities initiatives

Strategic Initiative #2: Build awareness of BMT’s value and importance to the owners at Balsam Mountain Preserve and its considerable public outreach to surrounding communities

Strategic Initiative #3: Expand outside funding through grant applications and increasing Adopt-a-School business sponsor support

Strategic Initiative #4: Consider feasibility of a capital campaign for a new Nature Center


Management Initiatives

Strategic Initiative #1: Ensure the continuous high-value staff support (volunteers and AmeriCorps partnership) necessary to allow all BMT’s expanding programming to be delivered

Strategic Initiative #2: Continue to improve efficiency and effectiveness of BMT operations



For the full version of the Strategic Plan, including metrics for progress assessment,
please click below:

Authors, 2016
Board of Trustees: Rob Howard, Janie Stratigos, Ed James, Linda Outlaw, Mary Arbaugh, Al Tunstall, Carol Landers, Sheri Straw, Peter Bates, Peter Smith

Staff: Michael Skinner, executive director; Rose Wall, senior naturalist/education director; Jen Knight, senior naturalist/education director