In a perfect world, a woman wouldn’t have to drag 21 tires out of a ditch that someone illegally dumped and whenever land is clear-cut, more trees would be planted to replace those that were destroyed. We don’t live in a perfect world and without people like Patty Korn who takes it upon herself to help keep Lincoln County beautiful it’s hard to imagine where we’d be. Korn is the current president of Keep Lincoln County Beautiful. 

“I just care about how my community looks,” she said. “Our county has no tree preservation ordinance. It’s devasting what’s happening. Especially with climate change. I was wondering where all the Boy Scouts were when I was pulling out those tires last Saturday. There’s still four down there that I couldn’t get out because they were too heavy.”

Korn has recently completed another tree planting project. This time at North Lincoln Middle School and all thanks to a generous donation from the family of the late Dr. Paul Carter. Sixteen maple trees and nine dogwood trees were planted.  One Kwanzan cherry tree will be planted soon to replace the missing one in the row of trees near the school entrance.

Keep Lincoln County Beautiful has three missions, according to Korn one is beautification, two is litter prevention and three is recycling. The schools are a target rich environment and there’s a lot of opportunities to both help the schools and keep Lincoln County beautiful. 

“We’ve lost so many trees in Lincoln County,” she said. “Especially on the eastern side. Whatever we can do to plant trees or preserve the ones we have, I want to do it.”

A similar planting is in the works at Norris S. Childers Elementary School.

"Dr. Paul Carter was a research chemist,” his wife said. “Prior to moving to North Carolina, he lived in Pittsburgh where he hoped to have his own arboretum. Unfortunately, he was unable to achieve his goal.  This gift will honor him and his love of trees."

Between July 2015 and January 2021, approximately 3,243 acres in Lincoln County have been disturbed for construction and building purposes, according to the Lincoln County Soil and Water Conservation Department.  

“More development is in process, which has resulted in more tree loss,” Korn said. “Much work needs to be done in the county to plant and protect trees which provide so many benefits. I’m sincerely grateful to the family of Dr. Paul Carter for their thoughtfulness, generosity, and understanding of the many benefits of trees.”

As far as the illegally dumped tires, Korn said that Brad Matthews at the NCDOT Maintenance Yard in Lincolnton has been incredibly generous about removing the bulk items from the roadsides that Korn and other volunteers find during litter pickups.  

Korn’s tenure as president of Keep Lincoln County Beautiful is almost over, but that won’t stop her from working to keep her side of Lincoln County beautiful.

“I’d really like to do a beautification project at every school in east Lincoln,” she said. “If I’m successful, I’ll work my way westward. It’s kind of hard with my job too. My sister and I have been going out every other day to North Lincoln Middle School and watering the trees.”

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