Volunteers play a critical role in helping us achieve our mission at Southern Highlands Reserve. Since launching a formal volunteer program in 2019, we have grown significantly in scope and numbers. Each week on volunteer day, we welcome as many as a dozen participants. In 2022, our 15 volunteers completed nearly 800 hours potting up plants in our nursery, leading tours as docents, tracking phenology, extracting and cleaning seeds, weeding and planting.
Every year we honor one volunteer of superstar status. The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding volunteer for valuable and selfless dedication and contribution to enhancing efficiency within the organization as well as spreading awareness throughout the community. It is our pleasure to name Molly Tartt as Southern Highlands Reserve’s 2022 Volunteer of the Year.
In her enthusiastic and upbeat way, Molly has been a cheerleader for SHR for many years and has sung our praises throughout our community. Molly is a member of the Waightstill Avery chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and has garnered their support for SHR in many ways since becoming a volunteer for us. She has organized volunteer groups to pot plants and clean seeds at SHR. They participated in a large red spruce planting at Flat Laurel Branch. This year, in addition to a generous donation from the chapter, Molly and several members took part in the Capitol Christmas Tree project, sending Ruby the Red Spruce off on tour to Washington, D.C.
Molly is not new to reforestation efforts. In 2016, she led the charge to find North Carolina’s lost Jubilee Memorial Forest of the Daughters of the American Revolution. As part of a national conservation project in the late 1930s, North Carolina DAR chapters sponsored 50,000 trees to be planted on 50 acres in Pisgah National Forest between Devil’s Courthouse and Mount Hardy Gap — an area that had been logged extensively. The DAR dedicated and marked the forest in 1940, but as years passed it was lost to neglect and new growth. Thanks to Molly’s efforts, she and DAR members rediscovered and rededicated the forest in 2016.
Molly grew up in Mayfield, Kentucky, and has lived in Brevard for 58 years. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Murray State University and a degree in elementary education from Western Carolina University. She taught elementary school for 34 years in the Transylvania County school system. Molly raised two children with her husband of 57 years and has two grandchildren. She is a bright light of joy and optimism and an integral part of our community. We are so thankful for her enthusiasm and support.
If you are interested in joining our volunteer team, please complete our online application here.