The Haywood Waterways annual Polar Plunge raises money for youth education on the importance of our rivers on the environment. And people willing to jump into frigid waters in the winter makes for great photography.
My home county, Haywood County North Carolina, is the highest average elevation county east of the Mississippi River with thirteen different mountains peaks soaring above 6,000 feet. As a consequence of that elevation, we are the only county east of the Mississippi River where all of our water originates inside the county and flows out. Not a single creek or river flows into the county. That distinction really elevates the importance of focusing on clean waters here because we impact everyone downriver of us.
Haywood Waterways has a number of education programs, but its most famous in “Kids in the Creek” – a program where every single 8th grader in the county goes through a program of hands-on (more accurately, wading in the rivers) learning about the importance of clean waters.
The annual Polar Plunge is the largest fund-raiser of the year and lots of fun to watch as hearty souls brave chilly Lake Junaluska for a good cause.
My favorite photographs from the day:
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