It’s been just about 10 years since the day Joe-Ann McCoy, then living in Iowa and working as the national medicinal plant curator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, got a life-changing call from her home region of Western North Carolina.
It was the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville, and they wanted to know if she’d be interested in trading her secure government job for a position funded by grants and contracts, moving to the Asheville area, and starting up a seed bank.
It’s one of those summer days that’s so hot and humid it’s impossible to walk even two steps without sweating, and inside the butterfly house the air is even heavier, thick as a tropical rainforest.
But, for the butterflies, it’s perfect.
As manager of Waynesville’s urban forest, it’s safe to say that Jonathan Yates likes trees. So when Diane Kornse of the Mountain View Garden Club approached him last fall to ask if the town had any project in the wings that the club could help tackle, Yates was ready with an answer.
“I said, ‘Actually, I do have an idea I’ve had for years, but it would really require something like a garden club to make it happen,’” Yates recounted.