By George Hess
Robertson Millpond Preserve, owned and managed by Wake County Parks, Recreation, & Open Space, was dedicated as a WakeNature Preserve, declared a Wake County Historic Landmark, and opened to the public on this beautiful fall morning, 2015 October 24.
It is also the first of seven WakeWonders to be rolled out this year.
Created by a dam constructed in the 1820s to power a mill, Robertson Millpond is the only bald cypress blackwater swamp habitat in Wake County. For now, the Preserve will be open on weekends year-round for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing (when permitted).
Following remarks by Chris Snow (Director Wake County Parks), Caroline Sullivan (Wake County Commissioner), Sig Hutchinson (Wake County Commissioner), John Connors (WakeNature Preserve Partnership), Ed Morris (Wake County Historic Preservation Committee) and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, visitors were able to canoe and kayak the pond.
Robertson Millpond Preserve is located at 6333 Robertson Pond Road near Wendell.
Ribbon cutting at Robertson Millpond Preserve.
Deborah Robertson (Wake County Parks Open Space Manager), Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson, and Chris Snow (Wake County Parks Director). Robertson Millpond Preserve was dedicated as a WakeNature Preserve and a Wake County Historic Landmark today.
Following the ceremony, canoes and kayaks were available, courtesy of Frog Hollow Outdoors (Durham).
A perfect day to be on the water.
WakeNature to host WakeNature Data RoundUp, on May 19th, 2014, 9am – 2pm, at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Environmental Conference Center.
The WakeNature Data RoundUp will bring together local naturalists and scientists to identify and document important habitats in Wake County for potential protection and appropriate stewardship. WakeNature is particularly interested in places that should receive consideration for conservation in Wake County. Some of these habitats might not rise to the level of Natural Heritage Program designation, and our intent is to add information about these areas to the geographic information system (GIS) map base of WakeNature Preserve Partnership data.
The WakeNature Data RoundUp will be an open house format – feel free to drop in any time – we are offering “Data Spotlight” sessions during which we hope to attract groups of people with similar expertise so that they can collaborate and combine knowledge.
The Data Spotlight Sessions Are…
- Birds & Mammals: 9 am – 10 am
- Reptiles & Amphibians: 10 am – 11 am
- Fish & Invertebrates: 11 am – 12 pm
- Plants & Natural Communities: 12 pm – 1 pm
- Geology & Hydrology: 1 pm – 2 pm
We encourage participants to RSVP for the event!
For more information please visit: https://www.sites.google.com/site/wakenaturedataroundup/
Download WakeNature Data RoundUp Flyer
During the Open Lands Workshop WakeNature recognized Chris Snow and Wake County Parks, Recreation, & Open Space for their contributions to conservation.
Director Chris Snow and his staff worked tirelessly as WakeNature partners during
the early days of the Partnership’s existence. They helped create the processes for
identifying, inventorying, and designating WakeNature Preserves using Wake County’s
Turnipseed Road open space along Marks Creek. Using this process, Turnipseed was designated as the first WakeNature Preserve in May, 2011. Turnipseed contains portions of the MarksCreek Floodplain, which is a Significant Natural Heritage Area, numerous granitic flatrock outcrops, and priority wildlife habitat recognized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
Thanks again to Chris and his staff for their partnership and helping to protect one of
the finest natural areas in Wake County. For more information about Wake County Parks, please visit www.wakeogv.com/parks
Wake County Parks, Recreation, & Open Space Director Chris Snow holds the sign for the first WakeNature Preserve, Turnipseed Preserve near Wendell. Left to right are … Deborah Robertson (Park Manager at Blue Jay Point County Park and North Wake Landfill District Park); Matt Roylance (Deputy Director); Drew Cade (Park Manager at Lake Crabtree County Park); Chris Snow; Tim Lisk (Park Manager at Historic Yates Mill County Park and Crowder District Park); Emily Catherman (Park Manager at Historic Oak View County Park); Christina Hester (Park Manager at Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail).
On November 1, 2013 WakeNature’s workshop on open lands management, Stewardship Between the Trees, was attended by 37 people who participated in 4 presentations and a panel discussion about the planning, establishment, and maintenance of fields, meadows, prairies, and early successional habitat. The workshop was organized by WakeNature and hosted by Raleigh Parks (a WakeNature partner) at their Anderson Point Park facility.
Key lessons included the importance of establishing realistic goals for open lands management, locating sites suitable for establishment of and management of the desired vegetation, understanding the ecological conditions at proposed open lands sites, working with what you have to avoid prolonged wars between what’s there and what you want, developing and implementing a plan to transition from existing to desired vegetation, patience during that transition period, and being flexible as conditions change.
Naturalist John Connors led an optional morning bird walk at the Park and found the fields alive with birdlife. Mike Schafale, from the Natural Heritage Program (a WakeNature partner), set the ecological context in which early successional habitat occurs. Chis Matthews, Assistant Director of Nature Preserves and Natural Areas with Mecklenburg County Parks described their early successional management program, which is called MESH (Managing Early Successional Habitat). They manage some 7,000 acres of early successional habitat of various types within the parks system – truly inspiring.
Chris Matthews, Assistant Director of Nature Preserves and Natural Areas in Mecklenburg Parks, talks about their Managing Early Successional Habitat (MESH) program.
Jimmy Dodson, NC Division of Parks & Recreation, and Jeff Marcus, NC Wildlife Resources Commission (a WakeNature partner), provided practical, hands-on advice about establishing and directing early successional habitat in Wake County. All presenters plus Walt Tysinger, land manager for Triangle Land Conservancy (a WakeNature partner) formed a panel and fielded a variety of questions. The workshop closed with a tour of the Anderson Point meadows let by Melissa Salter of Raleigh Parks.
Melissa Salter, Land Stewardship Coordinate with Raleigh Parks, arranged tables of early successional vegetation for the workshop, shown here with the Anderson Point meadows in the background (look out the windows).
Open Lands Workshop: Stewardship Between the Trees
A Workshop on Managing Fields, Meadows, Prairies, Early Successional Habitat & Other Open Areas
When: November 1, 2013
Where: The Cottage, Anderson Point Park, Raleigh NC
Time: 9:00 am – 2:30 pm
Our Piedmont parks and protected areas are home to small and large swaths of “open” lands. Many of these lands are remnants of old fields and pastures; others are kept open through natural processes; and some have been created to attract specific wildlife, establish scenic vistas, or provide open play areas.
These areas play a large role in the health of the overall landscape, and through management can provide important habitat for native plants and animals.
This FREE workshop is focused on providing parks and land managers with objectives and strategies for managing these open areas. We will cover “what” these habitat communities entail, “why” they are important components of the Piedmont landscape, and “how” land managers can incorporate various techniques to establish and manage these habitats.
Speakers will include Michael Schafale of the NC Natural Heritage Program, Chris Matthews of Mecklenburg County Parks, Jeff Marcus of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and Jimmy Dodson of the NC Division of Parks & Recreation, Natural Resources Program. In addition, participants will have an opportunity to share their successes and lessons learned from managing these habitats and explore local examples.
For more information about the workshop and to register please visit:
Gary Perlmutter’s account of the lichen species at Turnipseed Nature Preserve,
the first WakeNature Preserve, has been published in Evansia. Perlmutter is a
lichenologist with the UNC Herbarium, a WakeNature partner, who spent more
than a year, on and off, surveying lichen at Turnipseed. The list of species he found
is available here. Thirteen species had not been recorded previously in North Carolina.
Gary Perlmutter. 2013. Lichen biotic inventory of Turnipseed Preserve, North Carolina, USA. Evansia 30(2): 57-68.
Abstract. Turnipseed Preserve in eastern Wake County, North Carolina was surveyed of its lichen diversity in 2009–2011. Specimens were collected from a variety of forest and rock outcrop habitats in this Outer Piedmont / Fall Line transitional zone. From 477 collections, 165 determined species representing 77 genera of lichens, including one lichenicolous fungus and one allied fungus, are reported as a checklist. Thirteen new state records were found, including: 1) three recently-described species:Acarospora janae, Lecanora appalachensis and L. nothocaesiella, and 2) Lichenotheliaceae, a family newly reported for North Carolina represented by the lichenicolous fungus Lichenostigma cosmopolites and the “border-line lichen” Lichenothelia sp. Turnipseed’s lichen biota was compared to those of other surveyed areas in North Carolina and South Carolina via Jaccard analysis, detecting a distance decay of similarity. Suggestions for further research are offered.
Chapel Hill, N.C. – June 6, 2013 – Audubon North Carolina (ANC) announced its 2013 award winners during the annual meeting held in early June. Recipients were honored as outstanding stewards of bird conservation throughout the state, and for furthering the mission of Audubon.
One of our long standing WakeNature members, John Connors, recently received the Bird Lore Conservation Education Award. This award pays tribute to an individual’s exceptional efforts to educate the public about birds, their habitats, and inspiring conservation of the special landscapes we share with all wildlife. John boasts a lifetime of dedication to bird-education advocacy and programming. He has educated tens of thousands of individuals through his work as the Coordinator of the Naturalist Center for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, from which he recently retired, as well as his continued participation with ANC and Wake Audubon Society’s conservation efforts and special programs.
“Audubon North Carolina is pleased to honor the 2013 award recipients as champions of conservation, education and advocacy for birds throughout the state,” said Heather Starck, Audubon North Carolina Executive Director. “Conservation is a long game, where wins are measured by years of time. These individuals have dedicated countless personal and professional hours to the preservation of North Carolina’s beautiful natural resources through the protection of birds and their habitats.”