Friends Of The Smokies Use Proceeds From Specialty License Plate Sales To Put SCA Interns To Work In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Money raised from the sale of speciality license plates in North Carolina help fund seasonal jobs at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, such as this Student Conservation Association intern/NPS.

When you purchase a specialty license plate in North Carolina to show your love for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, that $35 you spent helps fund a number of projects in the park. For instance, the Friends of the Smokies use some of the money to underwrite seasonal internships in the park.

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles recently released first-quarter sales revenues, with $90,160 going to Friends of the Smokies from specialty plate sales. Total contributions from the Smokies license plate now top $3.6 million since the program launched in 1999. These contributions help fund 26 seasonal Student Conservation Association internship positions involved in spraying for hemlock wooly adelgid, wildlife management, and monitoring of native brook trout populations.

"Many of our park employees, including myself started their careers as an intern," said Dana Soehn, a management assistant on the park staff. "These positions provide an incredible opportunity for the next generation to gain valuable, hands-on experience, while also providing critical field support for park programs that allow us to better serve our visitors and protect resources."

To help support Great Smoky Mountains National Park and conservation internships, North Carolina residents can purchase a Friends of the Smokies specialty license plate for $35 now, regardless of plate expiration date. Go to any North Carolina license plate office or http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/vehicle/plates. For more information and to download a specialty plate application, please visit www.FriendsOfTheSmokies.org or contact Brent McDaniel at Friends of the Smokies, 828-452-0720.