FENCE celebrates 30 years Nov. 16

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On Sunday, Nov. 16, there will be a free community event at FENCE to celebrate its 30th year. The event will feature music by Big Shot Jimmy, a giant slide, bounce house and maze, a free lunch, raffles, nature skits with Dan Dutterer, games, K-9 demo and fire truck display, hay and pony rides and much more.

The Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) was organized in 1985 as a non-profit nature education and outdoor recreation center, built around an original land grant of 117 acres generously contributed by the Mahler family, who came to Tryon in the 1920s.

Since then, FENCE has grown to its present 384 acres and serves some 65,000 people each year with programs featuring nature study, outdoor recreation and equestrian competition. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors working with a small salaried staff. FENCE is supported by more than 150 dedicated volunteers.

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FENCE’s mission is “to serve as a community resource for the preservation of green space and for educational and recreational opportunities linking nature animals and people.” This mission is achieved by providing facilities, recreation and education for the community while honoring the land, protecting the environment and managing our natural areas for all to enjoy.

Most of the outreach activities that FENCE provides the community are free.  Its programs include yearly concerts, armchair travelers, astronomy meetings and viewings, bird hikes and educational field trips and in-school programs for children. All programs benefit from the beautiful, safe and nurturing environment that FENCE provides.

FENCE is proud that over the years, the equestrian infrastructure has been enlarged and improved to better serve horse show customers, dog agility enthusiasts and community members who attend events at the equestrian venue.

Nature programs provide fun, education and exercise for area children. For more than 28 years FENCE has served many children with summer camps focusing on many subjects, especially the environment and provided in-school nature programs in North and South Carolina schools.

The curriculum is reviewed and revised as needed to reflect North and South Carolina essential standards. FENCE also offers a safe, traffic-free venue for Polk County school athletes to train for track and field and hosts in excess of 500 guests yearly for hiking, bird watching and other outdoor activities.

Another program proudly offered is Therapeutic Riding of Tryon (TROT), a program that provides equine-assisted activities to adults and children with physical, developmental and cognitive disabilities in a safe, friendly and supportive environment. As a Premier Accredited Center of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, TROT follows the strict standards set by PATH Intl. for safety and effective teaching. The program is open to residents of Polk, Henderson and Rutherford counties in North Carolina, and Spartanburg and Greenville counties in South Carolina.

– Submitted by Tracie Hanson