[Bristol-Birds] Not too late to recognize Rob Biller - 2008 Stan Murray Award recipient.

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 02:01:22 -0400

Rob Biller's report of hiking across Roan Mountain this past weekend, as part 
of the Annual Meeting activities of The Southern Appalachian Highlands 
Conservancy, is easily passed off as another birding list from one of our 
Bristol-Birds Net subscribers and birders.

It is no secret that Rob has a love and devotion for the highlands of the Roan 
and efforts to preserve this wonderful place in the cloudlands along the 
Tennessee-North Carolina border of Northeast Tennessee.
A much better-kept secret is that last year Rob was awarded The Southern 
Appalachian Highlands Conservancy's very prestigious and rare recognition with 
the conservancy's Stan Murray Award for Volunteer Service to the conservation 
of this area and the SAHC.

Many of his friends, fellow SAHC supporters and such will consider this very 
old news.  No one considered this either important enough to share with the 
rest of our Bristol-Birds subscribers, to Rob Biller, nor to a greater audience 
of naturalists that stretches far beyond one's imagination.

In 1989, the Stanley A. Murray Award for Volunteer Service was created to honor 
persons who have made outstanding volunteer contributions to the work of The 
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, emulating the lifelong dedication 
of the SAHC founder, Stanley A. Murray of Kingsport. 

Biller, a member of the Bristol Bird Club since the mid-1990's, lives in 
Elizabethton these days.  
One might say that Rob's love for birds first drew him to SAHC. For several 
years Rob assisted Seasonal Ecologist Nora Schubert with Golden-winged Warbler 
surveys in Hampton Creek Cove and on
Roan Mountain. He also assisted in International Migratory Bird Day bird counts 
at Hampton Creek Cove. 

Rob is also a member of the Tennessee Ornithological Society's Lee and Lois 
Herndon Chapter at Elizabethton. You might catch him leading a hike at the 
Spring and Fall Roan Mountain Naturalist Rallies or on an SAHC hike at Hampton 
Creek Cove State Natural Area.

Hand-cutting blackberries and hawthorns which threaten the beauty and 
biological diversity of the well-known grassy balds in the Highlands of Roan is 
one of Rob's contributions to SAHC and to the bird community. It is vital to 
maintain the grassy balds in order for the globally endangered communities to 
survive. Rob has participated in balds management with the Roany Boyz Crew and 
the Grassy Ridge Mow-Off Crew for several years.

In addition to field contributions, Rob has helped with various computer and 
program software trouble-shooting and installation at SAHC's Roan Stewardship 
field office. He donated his time to design and install a new computer for 
SAHC's Roan Stewardship Director, Judy Murray. 

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy is one of the country's oldest 
and most respected land trusts. 
Founded in 1974 as a non-profit, charitable organization, the SAHC's mission is 
to protect the world's oldest mountains for the benefit of present and future 
generations. The Conservancy works with individuals and local communities to 
identify, preserve, and manage the region's important lands.

The Conservancy has helped ensure the protection of more than 40,000 acres 
throughout the mountain region. Much work remains to be done. 

This past weekend, the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy had its annual 
"Roan Romp" weekend with hikes on Roan Mountain and the meeting in Crossnore, 
NC.  Biller participated on the Overmountain Victory Trail hike on Saturday and 
the walk through the Rhododendron Gardens at the top of the mountain on Sunday.

The Hike Saturday (June 13)  started in North Carolina at Roaring Creek and 
quickly came in to Tennessee crossing the Appalachian Trail and followed the 
Overmountain Victory Trail to Hampton Creek Cove (Carter County - near Roan 

Rob was there again to contribute in his own ways to what he loves and the 
wonderful natural area of Roan Mountain and surrounding areas.

It is never too late to continue to spread the good word and good recognition 
for great services by one of our own.  

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  • » [Bristol-Birds] Not too late to recognize Rob Biller - 2008 Stan Murray Award recipient. - Wallace Coffey