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The Umstead Coalition 
Celebrating Umstead State Park since 1934!

About Us

The Umstead Coalition was founded in 1968 and is a volunteer-led, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of individual members and 16 partner conservation organizations.

Our mission is to preserve the natural integrity of William B. Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek Corridor

Since Margaret Nygard founded the Umstead Coalition, we have repeatedly risen to protect William B. Umstead State Park from threats such as quarries, a proposal to sell the Park, a dry-dam flood control structure on Turkey Creek, RDU airport runways that would have taken Park lands and a plan to build a major highway that would have taken Park land and disrupted the Richland Creek Corridor. 

The Umstead Coalition is active in service projects, Park land acquisition environmental education activities, trail maintenance, restoration of the 120 historic cabins and mess halls (recently accomplished with over 7,000 volunteer hours) and preserving the cultural history of the rural community that once lived in the lands that became William B. Umstead State Park.  Learn more about our projects to help the Park>> 

Support Us By Becoming a Member, Donating & Volunteering

  • Become a member: Please consider becoming a member of the Umstead Coalition. These consistent, annual dues bring stability, help us maintain our support of William B. Umstead State Park and plan for future projects.  

  • Donate: Funds donated to the Umstead Coalition are used exclusively to help William B. Umstead State Park. The Umstead Coalition serves as the conduit to donate funds to help the Park. Donations are tax deductible. Learn more about the ways you can donate>>

  • Volunteer: Our volunteers help us in many ways through high school projects, corporate Give Back Days and more. You can volunteer your time outdoors to help on various projects in the Park or behind the scenes with our website, online store and more. We welcome all help! If you're interested in volunteering, contact us today or email us at:

The Umstead Coalition Board

The Umstead Coalition Board is comprised of 12 volunteer members and meets monthly. The 2023 Board includes: Dr. Jean Spooner (Chair), Charles Bachmann, David Collier, Dina Deaton, Paul Groff, Julie Hall, David Humphrey, Gil Johnson, Caroline Lalla, Michael McKinney, Ben Bruster, Sean Bat-Haee and Carole Torsone.

Dr. Jean Spooner, Chair

Dr. Jean Spooner, Extension Professor retired from N.C. State University with 34 years of service. Dr. Spooner joined N.C. State as an Extension Specialist in 1984 as a member of the Water Quality Group. Her specialties are soil science, statistical analysis, and non-point source water quality. Spooner received a B.S. in Agronomy from Cornell University, a M.S. in Soil Science from NCSU, M.S. in Applied Statistics from Utah State, and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from NCSU. She served from 1991 until her retirement as Group Leader of the NCSU Water Quality Group (WQG). She became Director of the Soil & Water Environmental Technology Center (SWETC) in 2002.

Dr. Spooner’s unique specialty included experimental design and subsequent statistical analyses to demonstrate statistically significant improvements in water quality associated with nonpoint source (NPS) control programs. She has provided this expertise to state nonpoint source control programs and water quality projects nationwide.

Dr. Spooner has co-authored 34 refereed journal articles and 23 extension factsheets or online curriculum software; served on 10 graduate committees; and provided leadership for 147 grants totaling over $25 million. She has developed short courses for USEPA and been an Invited Keynote Speaker at 6 National and 2 International Conferences.

She has received several state and national level awards, among them the Hugh Hammond Bennett Merit Award, an ASABE Educational Aids Blue Ribbon, and the Kenneth R. Keller Research Award for Excellence in Doctoral Dissertation Research. She is a member of numerous Professional and Honorary Societies. Dr. Spooner has always been a team player and leader, and the strong advocate for her team and employees under her. She encouraged and facilitated multidisciplinary relationships as evidenced by WQG collaborations across many disciplines.

On March 3, 2015, Dr. Jean Spooner was presented with the "Locke Craig Award" by the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation for her dedication and service to William B. Umstead State Park. She accepted with a message of gratitude to the thousands of volunteers who have supported William B. Umstead State Park.

The Umstead Coalition

We are a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the natural integrity of William B. Umstead State Park and the Richland Creek Corridor.


The Umstead Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.