Family Passion for Conservation and Environmental Education

Green River Preserve is a coed summer camp located on a 3,400-acre private wildlife preserve, purchased by Alex Schenck and his wife Laurie in the early 1950s as a place to spend weekends and summers. In 1987, Alex left his business career to fulfill a lifelong dream of sharing the magic of the Green River Valley with children through a natural science-oriented summer camp. 

Today, the next generation of Schencks, Sandy and Missy, build on the family tradition of outdoor education. In addition to the nonprofit summer camp, they launched two educational programs within the camp, SEE (School of Environmental Education) and KALE (Kids Agricultural Experience). Muddy Sneakers, a separate nonprofit organization based on the camp’s model, is now a thriving environmental education program serving Western North Carolina.  

Alex Schenck served on The Community Foundation Board of Directors from 1987 to 1990, so the family was familiar with CFWNC’s services for nonprofits. In 2002, Green River Preserve set up a fund at The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to support camper scholarships. “Our family has had a donor advised fund with The Community Foundation since 1995, and we have a good relationship. It was an easy decision to place the assets at CFWNC,” said Missy Schenck.

“We have a strong belief in philanthropy and giving back to our community; it is something our parents instilled in us, and we have instilled in our children,” said Missy. “Camp is one of the best investments in youth development that there is today, but it is not always financially possible. Having an endowment that makes it possible for more children to attend is a smart alternative.”

“At camp we invest in future leaders. Camp inspires a child’s imagination and challenges them to use their creativity. I believe the future belongs to the creative mind. We established the endowment to provide a legacy for future generations.” 

Missy credits CFWNC with providing good advice, personal attention and expanding links to the community.  “CFWNC is a well-run, professional organization. WNC Nonprofit Pathways is also a great resource,” she said. “We have attended workshops, and one of our employees is in the program to earn her nonprofit certification.” 

“Conservation is our family’s passion and the hallmark of Green River Preserve. The philanthropic good deeds of many help support the camp and provide enriching summer experiences for children. Our partnership with The Community Foundation helps make this possible.”

Learn more at www.greenriverpreserve.org.

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