Sustainability was first defined by the United Nations’ Bruntland Commission in 1983. “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs", and Lake Norman has made recent efforts to achieve just this. The Lake Norman community is built upon a fragile yet beautiful lake ecosystem, and our community prides itself on maintaining the natural beauty of our lakeside environment. Certain businesses and non-profits have shown exemplary efforts on preserving the natural beauty of Lake Norman, and featured below are some organizations who have gone above and beyond.
Businesses Going Above & Beyond
The Carolina Raptor Center is a staple in the Huntersville community, and they have structured their organization to focus on educating the community on the importance of environmental sustainability and the role of birds of prey in the ecosystem.
As apex predators, birds of prey help maintain an ecosystem’s health through removing sick or weak animals, and keeping species populations at a healthy level. Through community and youth outreach along with their avian rehabilitation program, the Raptor Center is a leader in the community of environmental activism. The Center hosts educational programs with local schools where students can meet birds on the glove as an educator talks about topics such as ecosystems, human/environmental impacts, pollutants and bioaccumulation.
They also provide extensive information on the process of how to rescue injured birds of prey, with nearly 1,000 injured birds brought in to the Jim Arthur Raptor Medical Center by concerned Lake Norman citizens.
The Range at Lake Norman is the only shooting range in Cornelius that sets itself apart from other ranges being the first solar-powered shooting range in the United States. The majority of their power is generated from a host of 21 solar panels lined along the building’s roof. The installation of these solar panels is an exciting first step towards decreased greenhouse gas emissions and an effort to lessen fossil fuel dependence.
This locally owned company stands out through its technological advancement with a state-of-the-art air filtration system. Their “triple filter system” ensures the highest quality of air you breathe in and helps maintain the range’s safety. The range is also the first shooting range in the state owned by women, Tricia Sisson and Trish Stukbauer.
Pickled Peach is a local favorite based off Main Street in downtown Davidson and is widely recognized for serving honest, simple food with great taste. Locally owned and operated, there is a strong focus on the quality of ingredients used and sustainable methods in sourcing nutrient-dense ingredients with a great taste.
Inspired by Southern cuisine and homestyle cookbooks, their rotating menu features farm-to-table sandwiches and sides all made with meats roasted in-house and vegetables grown by local farmers.
Through choosing organic produce and natural/grass-fed meats along with sourcing ingredients from local producers, Pickled Peach is able to provide nutritious and quality dishes while minimizing their ecological footprint.
If the restaurant options weren’t enough, owners Jen and Travis Kentz are opening a market beside the restaurant which will feature cold pressed juices, smoothies, coffee and artisan groceries along with take-out dinners from the restaurant. Keeping consistent with their main restaurant, all groceries and ingredients used are sourced from reputable suppliers that share the same approach to food as Pickled Peach.
Davidson College is a leader amongst educational institutions in modeling sustainability leadership on its campus. Through their Sustainability Office, the university has committed to advancing sustainability literacy and efficacy within the town of Davidson.
Student involvement is one of the primary ways in which sustainability initiatives are carried out on campus. Students are able to impact their community through work study positions within the Sustainability Office and the Farm at Davidson College or participate in student organizations such as the Environmental Action Coalition or the Patterson Court Sustainability Council.
The Environmental Studies program offers both a major and minor, and serves as a route for students to research and understand sustainability initiatives through collaboration with faculty. Davidson’s 200-acre Ecological Preserve provides unique recreational and research opportunities to students, located adjacent to campus.
Noble Non-Profits in LKN
Catawba Riverkeepers is a non-profit organization which exclusively covers the 8,900 mile span of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin. The Catawba River flows through 26 counties across the Carolinas, providing electricity and drinking water for over 2 million residents. Through providing scientific and up-to-date research about the water, the Catawba Riverkeepers help protect and enhance the river for generations to come.
Catawba Riverkeepers is made up of professionals in the fields of science and environmental advocacy along with a host of dedicated volunteers through the community. Their efforts include patrolling the basin waterways to ensure regulatory compliance, testing the water for contaminants and meeting with elected officials to educate them on how to ensure the future safety of our waterways.
Organized river clean-ups are another effort that the Catawba Riverkeepers have hosted consistently, with major clean-ups on inaccessible areas and shoreline restoration projects. You can make an impact too, as they encourage residents like yourself to take part in protecting our waterways through local and basin wide clean-ups, citizen science programs such as Water Watcher, and letter writing and public comment opportunities to speak on behalf of our waters.
Founded by former Vice President Al Gore, the Climate Reality Project is a non-profit dedicated to advocacy and education towards climate change. Our Lake Norman, NC Chapter covers North Mecklenburg County along with Iredell, Catawba and Alexander Counties. Originating from five individuals in 2019 who were inspired by finding climate change solutions for agricultural businesses in the region. The chapter focuses on keeping the Catawba River clean and unsullied along with developing educational materials for youth related to the climate crisis. Also, there have been multiple efforts towards supporting indigenous communities in pipeline protests.
Overdevelopment, pollution and dwindling natural resources are issues all too prevalent for our upcoming generations, and Davidson Land Conservancy has dedicated itself to help preserve the complex ecosystem that makes our Lake Norman region such a coveted destination. Through focusing on four different aspects of conservation, this non-profit organization has established itself as a leader in sustainability within the town of Davidson.
The first pillar of conservation is land conservation, and they achieve this pillar through educating landowners on eco-friendly methods of maintaining their land. The second pillar is preserving the tree canopy, and they achieve this through recruiting volunteers to plant trees along with expanding canopy coverage. The third pillar of conservation is expanding greenways and trails, and they achieve this through their development and creation of new greenways in the area. The fourth and final pillar is preserving wildlife corridors, and they achieve this through identifying and mapping key wildlife habitats in Davidson.
Project for Innovation, Energy & Sustainability
The Project for Innovation, Energy, and Sustainability (also known as PiES) is a non-profit organization established in 2010 helping green businesses develop and grow. Located in downtown Davidson, PiES receives support from regional universities and places an emphasis on recycling, energy efficiency, sustainable operational methods and renewable energy. Using their experience to support startup companies, the group offers assistance in public relations and marketing along with networking events like the monthly “Green Drinks” event. PiES has won the Region of Excellence Award for Growing the Economy from the Central Council of Governments.
Protecting Our Towns
Town of Cornelius
In March of 2018, Cornelius implemented a provision focused on Environmental Protection within their Land Development Code focused on the conservation of our current environmental resources, focused on components such as tree protection and removal, landscaping, water conservation and land suitability. Within the provision, the Town of Cornelius stated that certain vegetation and topography should be prohibited from development and any new construction on wooded sites should be developed with a focus on maintaining the natural characteristics of the site. The provision also outlined specific requirements for landscaping, such as the minimum requirements for new tree planting in both urban and residential developments. By establishing a section dedicated to Environmental Protection, the Town of Cornelius hopes to preserve the natural beauty that makes Cornelius such a desirable place to visit and live.
Town of Davidson
The Town of Davidson established a Sustainability Committee, a group of members from the Town's Livability and Planning Board, designed to lead Davidson in their sustainability efforts. Founded in Fall of 2020, the committee's main goals are to maintain a vibrant community and economy while protecting the natural environment for generations to come.
This is achieved through educating community member, update municipal standards, and supporting energy efficiency efforts along with supporting renewable energy initiatives. The Sustainability Committee also emphasizes the importance of supporting water quality initiatives, enforcing affordable housing developments and uphold community containment policies.
Town of Huntersville
The Town of Huntersville has created a 2030 Community Plan outlining the importance of the enhancement and preservation of Huntersville's natural environment along with the implementation of sustainable transportation and land use policies. Through the establishment of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) technology, Huntersville plans to reduce their dependence of non-renewable resources along with mitigating their ecological footprint. Also, the Town of Huntersville has also acknowledged the importance of the Triple Bottom Line, a global commitment to guide communities in achieving balance economic development and societal growth within environmental protection.
Through an emphasis on sustainable business practices and a deliberate focus on the environmental impact of commerce, the Lake Norman community has developed methods and systems which minimize their ecological footprint whilst still supporting the local community. However, the only way we can preserve the beauty of our community is through preserving our environment. Let us know how you are making an impact in your community through our social media channels, just tag us @VisitLakeNorman!