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McKinney Meadows Project

SHR shared their knowledge of design and horticulture to help develop a conceptual master plan, management, and maintenance plan for the McKinney Meadow in Cashiers, NC.

In our efforts to forward sustainable ecological design in our community, staff shared their knowledge of design and horticulture through participation in the development of a conceptual master plan, management, and maintenance plan for the McKinney Meadow in Cashiers, NC. The creation of the master plan was a critical step in submitting the land into a land trust for conservation.

Two organizations formed together with SHR to begin a community group known as the Friends of McKinney Meadow. With this initial core group formed, partners began reaching out to local organizations to fundraise and “friend-raise.”

The management plan contains three phases to be conducted over the next 5 years. In the first phase (1-2 years), partners would raise community awareness about the project in order to build additional collaborative partnerships from local and regional organizations and businesses that would be appropriate stakeholders in the project. In order to build partnerships and support for the project, a sign would be established on site, depicting the master plan and final outcome of the meadow.

During the first phase, basic site preparation work would begin. The site would be managed for grading and invasive species removal in order to reduce the overall cost of the project long-term. Evergreen and deciduous plantings would also occur early in the project in order to minimize encroaching invasive species. Using the principles of “right plant, right place,” the master plan calls for full evaluation of the appropriate native species for each area of the meadow. During this phase, materials would be sourced, such as the bee boxes, shrub island donors, and wetland plant donors.

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After two years of fundraising and friend-raising, the installation phase will begin. Installation would begin around Earth Day, providing a good time for public relations activities. Partners would invite patrons to be the “parent” of a tree or shrub, allowing the project to source its plant material from the community at large, thus enrolling the community to become a part of the project and ensuring its long-term success.

The final phase of the project includes mowing a path through the meadow to create connectivity between adjacent land parcels. Ongoing maintenance for the next several years would be established through community partnerships and monitored by the Friends of the McKinney meadow interest group.

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