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DURHAM, N.C., March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Nature Conservancy, North Carolina Chapter, staff and volunteers announced that they have met and exceeded the $15 million Wild North Carolina campaign goal. The chapter has raised over $19 million for North Carolina's environment -- $15,018,870 in cash donations and $4 million in gifts of land. Wild North Carolina is the largest private fundraising effort for the environment ever undertaken in the state.

"Wild North Carolina is a success because of the great outpouring of support we have received from our members," said Scotty Cramer of Winston-Salem, campaign co-chair. "1,380 citizens answered the call of the wild and joined our campaign to save North Carolina's wild and scenic areas. These conservationists are helping safeguard a healthy environment for future generations."

"The campaign is funding the protection and management of some of North Carolina's most ecologically critical and threatened natural areas, including Grandfather Mountain, the lower Roanoke River floodplain, and Nags Head Woods," said Esten Mason of Charlotte, campaign co-chair. "Many of our state's most imperiled natural communities and species have a new lease on life, thanks to Wild North Carolina."

Two leadership gifts totalling $6,870,900 created great momentum for the campaign. A bequest from the estate of Mary Whiting Ewing of Chapel Hill garnered approximately $3.8 million for the chapter. A generous gift of $3,070,900 from Fred and Alice Stanback of Salisbury, Lawrence Stanback of New Orleans, and Brad Stanback of Canton, allowed The Nature Conservancy to purchase 291 acres of Grandfather Mountain's Wilmor tract.

The Stanback family also helped close the campaign successfully. Fred and Alice Stanback and Elizabeth Stanback of Salisbury made a $264,000 challenge gift to the campaign to help the chapter expand its Bluff Mountain Preserve. Other campaign donors matched their gift.

Duke Power Company and Crescent Resources, Inc., made the largest corporate gift to the campaign with a donation of $500,000. The banking community was also a strong supporter of the campaign: NationsBank made a $300,000 gift to the campaign and Wachovia Bank of North Carolina, N.A., made a $250,000 gift.

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Inc. led the foundations in donations to the campaign, making two gifts totalling $400,000 for the conservation of the lower Roanoke River floodplain.

Funds from Wild North Carolina are supporting Nature Conservancy protection and land management efforts at the following natural areas:

-- Grandfather Mountain (Avery, Caldwell, and Watauga Counties)

-- Black River (Bladen and Pender Counties)

-- Nags Head Woods (Dare County)

-- Carolina bays (Hoke, Robeson, and Scotland Counties)

-- Mountain and Piedmont bogs (from Henderson County to Clay County,

in Avery, Watauga, Ashe, and Allegheny Counties, and in a few

instances in the Piedmont)

-- Lower Roanoke River floodplain (Bertie, Halifax, Martin,

Northampton, and Washington Counties)

-- Longleaf pine forest community (Southeast Coastal Plain)

The major components of the Conservancy's conservation programs for Wild North Carolina are:

-- Natural Area Protection ($7.2 million) -- In many cases, outright purchase of threatened habitat is the best means of ensuring its protection. The campaign enabled The Nature Conservancy to purchase land for its preserve system and work with landowners to encourage conservation easements on key private land.

-- Stewardship Resources ($3.7 million) -- Long-term funds are critical to the proper management of preserves and the care of rare plants and animals. Stewardship activities include controlled burning of longleaf pine forests, research, and trail maintenance.

-- Land Preservation Fund ($2.1 million) -- The Nature Conservancy maintains this revolving fund exclusively for land acquisition. Chapter offices use this fund to respond rapidly to urgent protection opportunities.

-- Ecosystem Protection ($1.5 million) -- Efforts to preserve two outstanding ecosystems in North Carolina - the lower Roanoke River floodplain and the longleaf pine community - require funds for land acquisition, planning, scientific research, and restoration of habitat.

-- Campaign Associated Expenses ($500,000) - Only about 3 percent of the funds were used to cover the expenses associated with fundraising for the campaign.

Wild North Carolina, which was announced in May of 1994, was part of an international effort by The Nature Conservancy to save the "Last Great Places." The Last Great Places campaign raised $300 million for land conservation in the United States and internationally. The $19 million raised in North Carolina was counted under the national total, while all funds were directed to conservation priorities in the state.

The Nature Conservancy is an international, non-profit membership organization. The mission of the North Carolina Chapter is to find, protect, and maintain the best examples of ecosystems, communities, and species native to the state. The chapter has protected 375,937 acres in North Carolina with funds obtained from gifts from its 22,500 members. For more information, contact: The Nature Conservancy, North Carolina Chapter, 4011 University Drive, Suite 201, Durham, NC 27707, 919-403-8558.
 -0- 3/12/96

/CONTACT: Ida Phillips Lynch of The Nature Conservancy, North Carolina Chapter, 919-403-8558/

CO: Nature Conservancy, North Carolina Chapter ST: North Carolina IN: ENV SU:

CM -- CHTU008 -- 1379 03/12/96 11:36 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 12, 1996

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