MAY 7, 2009 ISSUE

Elk Knob Community Heritage Organization Becomes Nonprofit

The Elk Knob Community Heritage Organization (EKCHO) has reason to celebrate—it has received its official letter of designation from the IRS as a nonprofit organization.

It all began nine years ago as Elk Knob communities faced radical transformation due to a proposed ski slope and gated community. The communities worked closely with the Sustainable Development Program at ASU, the Nature Conservancy and the state to establish Elk Knob State Natural Area in 2003.

Residents of Meat Camp, Pottertown and Sutherland, along with the ASU Center
for Appalachian Studies and the Sustainable Development Program, as well as the new Elk Knob State Natural Area partnered to plan a celebration for the new park and the inaugural Elk Knob Headwaters Community Day was held in 2005.

This unique tradition has continued and helped to bring about a new community-led organization, EKCHO, whose purpose is to promote the natural and cultural heritage of the Elk Knob communities through natural resource protection, education and historical preservation.

Funded through a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, EKCHO held its first official board meeting in May 2008. Since then, it has concentrated efforts on identifying projects that promote the natural and cultural heritage of the area including the annual Elk Knob Headwaters Community Day, educating the community on the benefits of land preservation, discussing a heritage museum and conducting a community needs assessment.

“The future seems bright for these communities,” said Community Organizer Meghan Minton. “They have been fortunate to not only have the foresight but also the resources to protect their rich history and culture that is directly related to the land on which they live. They will be very successful in future endeavors because it is obvious that they are driven by more than personal motive, but for the overall betterment of the community for present and future generations.”

EKCHO wants every member of the Elk Knob community to be involved and to understand the importance of their heritage. People can get involved in a variety of ways: serving on the board of directors and/or project committees, volunteering and donations. “May will be a busy month full of opportunities for people to get involved,” said Minton. On Saturday, May 16, EKCHO is hosting a free Hotdog Social and Community Needs Survey, and the Elk Knob Headwater’s Community Day committee is meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, May 18. Both events will be at Proffit’s Grove Baptist Church in Meat Camp.

Many people have made EKCHO possible, said Minton. “A few individuals do deserve special thanks, including all of the community members, John Lanman our consultant, Larry Trivette at the park, Pat Beaver, Chuck Smith, Tommy Walsh, Kristin Cockerill, Doug Sharkey all from ASU and the Proffit’s Grove Baptist Church. From the depths of our hearts, ‘Thank you.’ Without your time and dedication we would not be where we are today,” said Minton.

For more information about EKCHO and how you can get involved, contact Minton at 336-846-8727 or click to ekcho.shutterfly.com.