As Friends of the Cheat new Program Assistant/Events Producer, Lisa will be assisting staff with projects including riparian restoration efforts, fundraising and outreach, environmental sampling, and educational programs. Lisa will also be managing Cheat Fest and any FOC events.
Lisa Maraffa grew up outside Cleveland, Ohio, and went to college in southern Ohio where she met her husband, Andy. They moved to West Virginia to attend WVU, where she graduated with a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources. Lisa and Andy fell in love with whitewater and the river community shortly after graduating. They decided to stay in the area with their two dogs Roxy and Porter, where they enjoy exploring all of the beauty that WV has to offer.
What’s your fav spot in WV? Spruce Knob, WV. I am far from a world traveler but even after traveling all over the US, that area always just takes my breath away.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about finding what you love and creating a life around it. When people pour love into what they do, it can make all the difference.
What’s your secret talent? Empathy. Knowing and understanding your community can go a long way.
How do you recharge? The best way to recharge is to spend a lazy afternoon on the river, swimming and hanging with friends. If that doesn't work, there are always DOGS.
What drew you to FOC? When I started getting familiar with watershed groups, I noticed that a common similarity between them was that they weren't always able to get a lot done due to a variety of reasons. When I got to know Friends of the Cheat, I realized that they were different. I wanted to be a part of that so I joined the FOC Board of Directors which eventually led to my nomination to be the Board President. I was always frustrated that I couldn't do more to help so when a job offer from FOC came around, I jumped at the chance and I couldn't be happier.
OUTDOOR CLASSROOM NATIVE PLANT PLAQUES RESTORED: VOLUNTEERS LEAD EFFORT
By Beth Warnick
In 2009, FOC partnered with the Robert C Byrd Institute, Rowlesburg School, and the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy to install a series of 28 native plant identification plaques in the Doug Ferris Outdoor Classroom. Intricate leaf shapes were cut for each plant species and hand painted by 1st and 2nd graders through Jason Jaros' art class. Challenge Academy cadets spent an afternoon doing the grunt work to secure wooden posts in the ground, then fastening the plaques into place. Each plaque had a metal tag featuring its common and botanical names, plus a brief description of characteristics and uses. The finished project was a jewel in the outdoor classroom for many years. However, as the wear of time took its toll, the tree plaques and posts began to degrade and were in dire need of renovation.
In the winter of 2019, former FOC staff member Sally Wilts noticed a few signs had tumbled over. She reached out to FOC, generously offering to lead an effort to restore the signs. She contacted FOC board member, Connie Miller, and her son, former FOC VISTA Andrew Miller, who coordinated the original project in 2009, for support. She also pulled in long-time FOC supporter and maker of JimiStyx paddles, Jim Snyder, who offered to strip and sand the plaques in his wood shop.
In an all-around team effort, the original native plant plaques were beautifully restored. Sally and her husband, Dwayne, primed and painted every leaf shape using a palette of bright colors donated by Connie Miller. New ground posts were purchased through a generous gift from Old Colony Realtors. And during a home visit, Andrew Miller flagged and labeled the corresponding native plants surrounding the outdoor classroom for ease of re-installment.
With the aid of Adventure WV students during our summer service sessions, the newly restored plaques are back in place. The installation process was doubly educational as students learned about the importance of native plants, and received an exclusive power tool workshop from Jim Meckly, our FOC Campground manager extraodinaire. Fall is a beautiful time to visit the Doug Ferris Outdoor Classroom - plan a visit, soon!
FOC is endlessly thankful to Sally Wilts, Dwayne Lazzell, Connie Miller, Andrew Miller, Jim Snyder, and Jim Meckley for all the time, care, and hard work put towards this legacy project.
AMD Treatment in Beaver Creek of Big Sandy: A Watershed Complete
by Madison Ball
GET INVOLVED WITH FOC'S RIPARIAN RESTORATION PROJECT: VOLUNTEER FOR TREE PLANTINGS IN NOVEMBER
FOC is looking for volunteers to help with tree planting efforts to improve riparian areas in the upper Cheat River watershed in mid-late November.
A riparian area is the land directly bordering a body of water, such as a stream or river. Healthy riparian areas have plenty of trees and plants that provide habitat for wildlife while their root systems help with bank stabilization and erosion control. This is especially important alongside agricultural and livestock operations, as the vegetation provides a natural filter for agricultural runoff, which helps improve the water quality of the river.
Anyone looking to lend a hand and spend some time near the river can reach out to Madison Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, including exact dates and locations, what to bring, etc.