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LOCAL BRIEFS: Peppermint Bear, Mitten Tree, MADD memorial

Peppermint Bear Scavenger Hunt, a holiday activity for the whole family, is under way through Dec. 23 downtown.

Peppermint needed help decorating the bear den, so she sent her cubs to find some Christmas decorations. She has looked high and low for her cubs and has not been able to locate them. Peppermint needs your help! Join the search party in tracking down Peppermint’s cubs, so they are home by Christmas.

Take time to explore each location because the bear maybe hiding. Look for one of the two boys or the girl cub pictured on the front of the brochure, so you able to recognize them. As you search for the cubs, visit at least 12 of the 27 downtown participating businesses to be eligible for prizes. A staff person in each business will punch your brochure when you spot the bear cub in their location. Complete the entry form in the brochure and drop it in Peppermint’s mailbox, located in front of the Visitor Center, by December 23rd.

For more information about the Scavenger Hunt or to pick up a holiday events brochure, stop by the Visitor Center at 201 South Main Street, go online to or call 828-693-9708.

EcoExplore launches Tuesday

EcoEXPLORE​, an initiative of The North Carolina Arboretum that encourages kids to connect with the outdoors and engage in citizen science, announces its Ornithology Season running Dec. 1-Feb. 28. When participating in ecoEXPLORE, a family works to earn a variety of nature-themed badges and earns points that can be traded in for prizes​—​all by exploring their own neighborhoods.

The program features a new "Bird Break" video series that introduces kids to bird species. Each three to four-minute video helps to identify bird species, giving information on identifiable characteristics (field markings, size, shape, behavior), calls/songs, habitat, adaptations, and a fun fact. A new video released every week highlights a different staff member who has chosen one of their favorite birds.

Kids can earn their Ornithology Badge by taking six photos of birds, along with completing three of the four challenges that will be promoted throughout the season. A bonus Duck Badge offers kids fun facts, tips, and a four-part “Duck Challenge.”
Each mission is closely tied to the challenges that ecoEXPLORERS can do safely in their own backyard or designated ​ecoEXPLORE HotSpots​ to earn their badge. These challenges will help kids become more familiar with the different species of birds around them while encouraging them to do their own research. In addition, the ​participants’ findings can help professional scientists understand changes in the environment and see how these changes impact plants, animals, and other natural resources.
Because ecoEXPLORE is a statewide initiative, the Arboretum collaborates with a range of other science education organizations across North Carolina. This includes the Greensboro Science Center, Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State Parks. At full implementation the Arboretum hopes to have over 1,000 ecoEXPLORE HotSpots across the state.
Ornithology Season culminates with a summit celebrating the kids’ accomplishments, featuring hands-on field work with a science mentor from the community. This year, Dr. Andrew Laughlin, assistant professor of environmental studies at University of North Carolina Asheville, serves as the Ornithology Season mentor. Due to the global health pandemic, this year’s Ornithology Season Summit will be held virtually.
The first video, weekly challenge, and newsletter will be available on YouTube and on ecoEXPLORE’s Facebook page​ on Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. For more information visit ​​.

Mitten Tree welcomes winter garb

Mitten Tree is up at Trinity Presbyterian Church and welcoming decorations of new mittens and gloves, wool hats and earmuffs, socks, scarves, and other small clothing items to help toddlers thru teens keep warm in the cold of winter.

The decorations on this special tree will be taken to IAM and given to children in the community who need and will appreciate them so much. Gifts placed in the clear bins at the front door of Trinity are moved inside daily to The Mitten Tree.Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) is located at 900 Blythe Street, Hendersonville. 828-692-6114,

MADD ceremony remembers victims

An Evening of Remembrance will be held to honor those who have been killed or injured by drunk drivers on North Carolina highways on Saturday, Dec. 5. The ceremony and candlelight vigil will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the Henderson County Historic Courthouse plaza. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is hosting the ceremony in partnership with the Hendersonville Police Department.

“This evening is a way for families to remember those they have lost as we enter the holidays,” said MADD Senior Crime Victim Advocate Ellen Pitt. “When families are unable to attend, local law enforcement step up to represent the victims. It’s a moving sight when the community comes together to raise awareness and provide support to the families and friends of victims we have lost over the years.”

“Driving while impaired is a 100 percent preventable crime,” she added. “We don’t want anyone to take a chance that could lead to another person being honored at our vigil.” Questions about the Remembrance may be directed to Pitt at

The ceremony will be held outdoors and is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to dress for the weather and practice Covid-19 precautions. The 100 block of Main Street will be closed to vehicular traffic for the Evening of Remembrance. LoveHendo Saturday will also be taking place in downtown Hendersonville that day with Main Street closed to vehicles and free-flowing traffic along the avenues. Handicapped parking for LoveHendo Saturday will be available at City Hall, 160 Sixth Avenue East.

Saluda Historic Depot raising money for lighting

The Saluda Historic Depot announced a holiday fund-raising campaign to raise money for lighting and storage shed. Better lighting in the Depot has always been needed to present displays and artifacts more effectively. A storage shed is needed to house seasonal items and collectibles that are rotated in the museum. The current storage accommodations are being displaced in the near future.

Through Jan. 31, Saluda Historic Depot will sell subscriptions to Our State magazine. Through a program titled Community Partners, Saluda Historic Depot will receive a percentage of each subscription sold.

Published since 1933, Our State is the only North Carolina publication devoted to beauty, nature, nostalgia, travel and food across the state. Learn more by visiting ourstate.com To subscribe  visit To help the Depot to raise money for storage and lighting in other ways, contact Judy Ward at 828-674-5958, or