North Carolina Newspapers

    State Nature Conservancy Chapter Marks
1 5t'h Year With Green Swamp Taiks, Tours
BY SUSAN USHER
On May 9, the North Carolina
Nature Conservancy will cclcbratc
its 15th anniversary in the state with
an open house at its Green Swamp
Nature Preserve in Brunswick
County.
The main event for the open
house will be held at Brunswick
Community College from 10 a.m. to
4 p.m. It will feature music by the 4
Seasons Saxophone Quartet, re
freshments, environmental educa
tion activities for children, exhibits,
talks and slide shows on the Con
servancy and the Green Swamp pre
serve's multifaccted cultural and nat
ural history.
As Ida Phillips of the Conser
vancy staff notes, the Green Swamp
is "many things to many people".
Ask a local, and he might talk
about seeing a cougar, or about the
hunter who got lost in the jungle
like pocosins of the swamp and
emerged three days later naked to
the world, his clothes shredded.
A botanist might rave about the
swamp's incredible diversity of plant
species, particularly its carnivorous
plants, while an ornithologist might
mention the countless birds flying
through the trectops.
'There is no doubt that anyone
who visiLs the Green Swamp will be
enraptured by some aspect of the
preserve," observes Ms. Phillips in a
new release.
The open house will provide an
opportunity to sec the preserve First
hand. A shuttle bus service will
transport visitors to the preserve for
field trips, which will be held rain or
shine unless dangerous conditions
exist.
Each trip will take about an hour
and a half, starting at 10:30 a.m.
People can sign up at BCC that
moming for the trips, on a first
come, first served basis. Visitors are
asked advantage of the tours and not
venture into the swamp on their
own.
The Green Swamp preserve com
prises 15,722 acres, donated to the
Conservancy by Federal Paper
Board Corp. in a series of gifts that
began in 1977.
It is part of a larger tract of
24,800 acres of the swamp, desig
nated by the U.S. Department of the
Interior in 1974 as a National Nat
ural Landmark, one of only eight in
the state.
N.C. NATURE CONSERVANCY mOTO
GUIDED TOURS OF the Big Island Savanna with Us towering sentinel longleaf pines and grasses, as
well as other areas of the Green Swamp Nature Preserve at Supply will be offered, rain or shine, at a
May 9 "open house" as the N.C. Nature Conservancy begins Us 15th anniversary celebration.
Early American botanist John
Bartram of Philadelphia described
the Green Swamp as "the pleasan
test place that I ever saw in my life."
He was attracted by the broad ex
panse of glistening, dark water, the
huge moss-draped cypress trees and
the rich diversity of plant and animal
life.
Visitors today can still enjoy
glimpses of the swamp's earlier
splendor in the savannas ? expanses
of green grasses and wildflowers
stretching beneath towering longleaf
pines.
The Green Swamp has major bio
logical significance as well as great
beauty, and serves as an outdoor
laboratory for botanists, educators
and zoologists from across the coun
try and abroad. Studies have includ
ed the use of prescribed burning in
maintaining habitat for fire-depen
dent plantlife and effects on the pre
serve of drainage of adjacent pine
plantations.
A remnant of what was once a
much larger ecosystem, the preserve
features the most outstanding exam
ples of pine savannas, bay forest and
pocosins in the Southeast.
Much of the area is pocosin, a
thick shrub habitat that provides liv
ing quarters for animals such as
deer, black bear, bobcat and cougar.
The swamp is also home to the
red -coc leaded woodpecker, the go
pher tortoise, the American alligator,
the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake
and Bachman's sparrow.
Plant life is just as diverse. In one
area, for example, 52 species per
square meter have been identified.
These include the Venus flytrap,
found only within 75 miles of Wil
mington' and threatened not only by
changing habitat, but by poachers.
Twelve types of orchids, 17 endan
gered species and 12 varieties of
spaghnum arc found within the
boundaries of the preserve.
The Conservancy owns and man
ages 50 preserves in North Carolina
with 32,000 acres of natural habitat.
Another 305,000 acres preserved
through the Conservancy's efforts
has been turned over to public own
ership in the form of national and
state parks, wildlife refuges and
gamelands.
The Conservancy works closely
with the state's Natural Heritage
Program to identify and inventory
unique natural areas or habitats, then
establishes nrioritirs fnr nrntrrlinn
i - " r * "? '
based on collected data.
While it protects land primarily
through gifts or purchase of acrcagc,
the Conscrvancy has also used con
servation easements, leases, leaseN
options and voluntary agreements
with landowners.
For more information on the open
house, contact the North Carolina
Nature Conservancy, Car Mill, Suite
D-12, Carrboro, N.C. 27510, or call
919-967-7007.
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Open House Events Varied
The Green Swainp Open House will offer a variety of speakers at
Brunswick Community College's main campus on U.S. 17, as well as
guided tours of the N.C. Nature Conservancy's preserve north of N.C.
211.
The schedule is as follows:
10:30 a.m.- 4 p.m Guided tours; sign up in advancc at BCC.
1 1 a.m.- 1 1:30 p.m Rare plant communities, Robert Pcct,
biology professor, UNC-CH;
1 1:30 ain.-12 noon Endangered plant spccics, poaching
and protection laws, Cecil Frost,
Plant Conservation Program;
12 noon-12:30 p.m Fire maintained communities, fire
management, Carol Mayes,
N.C. Nature Conservancy;
12:30 p.m.-l p.m Cultural history of the longlcaf in the
Southeastern U.S., Larry Earlcy, Assoc.
Editor, Wildlife In North Carolina;
2 p.m. -2:30 p.m Fire maintained communities, fire
management, Carol Mayes,
N.C. Nature Conservancy;
2:30p.m.-3 p.m Cultural history of the longlcaf pine in the
Southeastern U.S., Larry Earlcy,
Assoc. Editor, Wildlife In North Carolina.
Romp In Swamp With Humphreys
Can't make the 1 5th anniversary
celebration, or simply just can't wait?
Join Wilmington naturalist and
author Charles "Buster" Humphreys
on a specially guided tour of the
Green Swamp Saturday, May 2,
from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
This Swamp Romp excursion is an
opportunity to study the natural
habitat of many endangered species.
such as the Red-Cockaded Wood
pecker.
Today (Thursday) is the deadline
lo register. Cost is S5 for associate
members of the Cape Fear Museum
and S7 for non-members. Call the
museum at 919-341-4350 for more
information such as what lo bring
and wear and where to meet Hum
phreys, and to register.
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