Well Being Retreat Center
"Where Silence Is Expressed"
Well Being Retreat Center Projects
The Well Being Retreat Center is engaged in projects related to the ecology of the Powell River, farm-to-table organic gardening, supporting our pollinating honey bees, enhancing the land's wildlife habitat, and introducing people to the scenic beauty of the Powell River which surrounds the Center.
Ecology of the Powell River
The Powell River borders the Well Being Retreat Center for 2 1/2 miles. The Powell is one of the two largest free-flowing (un-dammed) rivers in Tennessee and, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is "one of the most biologically diverse rivers in a temperate climate anywhere in the world." We have given financial and logistical support to Lincoln Memorial University's Cumberland Mountain Research Center's efforts to study and evaluate the aquatic health of the Powell River in Northeast Tennessee. We have also been an advocate for, and a support base of, efforts by the US Fish & Wildlife Service to reintroduce species freshwater mussels that are in danger of extinction back into the Powell River.
Farm-to-Table Organic Gardening
A one-acre vegetable, berry and fruit tree garden is kept pesticide free and maintained according to organic principles. We have 450 feet of raised beds for annual vegetables, lots of blueberry bushes and also raise apples, asian pears, chokeberries (aronia), goji berries, muscadine grapes, asparagus, etc. In season, our garden supplies a substantial portion of our fresh vegetables. We use our garden area for our egg laying chickens and for our summer-raised meat chickens. Guinea fowl provide non-chemical bug control and amusement. We have a plant start room in the basement of our conference building that we use for annual vegetables, bee garden perennials and wildlife habitat plantings.
Supporting the Honeybees
Honey bees are having a difficult time these days. They are subject to a wide variety of environmental insults, such as herbicides and systemic insecticides. genetically modifed crops, mono-culture agriculture, aggressive transport routines for pollination purposes by many commercial beekeepers, and by the increasing toxic load of land and water.
In 2016, we planted an acre of Vitex Negunda (Chaste Trees) for the bees and the butterflies below the Conference Building and in 2018 we planted about 50 butterfly bushes and other plantings around the new Tiny Houses.
Enhancing Wildlife Habitat
Well Being Retreat Center does not allow hunting or the presence of dogs and cats on the property. We respect conscientious hunting and like dogs and cats, but most dogs and cats are hard on wildlife and we prefer to allow the birds and the deer to feel at ease being on this land. We are allowing a diversity of habitats to emerge on the land and supplement with specific plantings that have nectar for the bees and hummingbirds, nuts for the squirrels and wild turkeys, etc. We are learning how to protect new plantings from deer browsing and beaver gnawing.
Powell River EcoTourism
The Powell River Blueway Trail is a project of the Claiborne County (TN) Tourism Commission of which Patty and Don are both Commissioners. Don chairs the Powell River Tourism Committee which has two tasks:
The Annual Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta
The Powell River Tourism Committee organizes the Annual Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta, a 12-mile race on the Powell River beginning at Well Being Retreat Center
Powell River Blueway Trail Project
The Powell River Tourism Committee is also tasked with creating and managing a Powell River Blueway Trail for the 114 miles of the river lying in Tennessee. Ideally, the blueway would have public access points every five miles or so along the river. Because of steep terrain and large private ownership tracts, creating public access put-in and take-out points will be a challenging long-term project. This project is, in part, funded by net proceeds from the Powell River Regatta.