Artists donate items for online auction benefiting Dan River Basin Association

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EDEN, N.C. -- The Dan River Basin Association has a huge job. Their mission involves environmental education, recreational activities and protecting the 3,300-square-mile Dan River Basin.

"We do hundreds of miles of clean up on the rivers and trails," Dan River Basin Association Executive Director Tiffany Haworth said. "We build river access and build trails so people can get outdoors."

But that mission takes money. So artists from North Carolina and Virginia are donating items like paintings, jewelry and crafts to the "Art in Nature" auction. Haworth said all proceeds from the auction will stay with the Dan River Basin Association.

"If we want to keep our drinking water clean and keep our outdoor recreation economy strong, we need to focus, make sure people are not dumping things into our river and polluting it," Haworth said.

The Dan River Basin Association also partners with school kids by sponsoring educational trips to waterways within the basin. The students learn about what lives in and near the river. Plus, the lessons can also provide a spark a student needs to maintain a love for learning.

"They have improved academic scores because kids are engaged, hands-on experiences about math and science through our projects," Haworth said.

Jim and Susan Freeman are donating to the online auction. Their love of nature started at an early age and continues today. At their woodworking shop, Freeman Wood Crafters, they know each piece of wood is precious.

"We don't waste it. We have a scrap bin, but that doesn't mean it's over. We keep going back and pulling things out until it's too small to use," Susan Freeman said.

Even the sawdust at the shop is used as mulch. With a strong commitment to the environment, Susan Freeman donated a hand-crafted football to the "Art in Nature" online auction.

"They have the programs for the school, they have the volunteers, they do everything they can," she said. "They are the watch guards of the water and community and that is so important."

The Dan River Basin Association plans to use some of the money from the online auction to bring more classes into their educational program. Right now, over 200 teachers are on a waiting list.

The online auction ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday. For more information about the "Art in Nature" auction and the Dan River Basin Association, go to

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