Recent Events

March 20 – several board members joined folks from Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy to host a public in-put meeting about the Little White Oak Mountain project.  People from PAC and CMLC were available for questions and comments from 3:30-6:30 at the Polk County Public Library.

The well attended event was held to discuss the future of the scenic ridgeline and south facing slopes of Little White Oak Mountain that is now be permanently protected thanks to the cooperative action of local organizations. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC), working closely with the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), purchased the 1,068-acre property in December 2016 to conserve its dramatic views, rare species, wildlife habitats, and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Little White Oak Mountain contains significant natural heritage area and prospects of adding up to 300 acres to the Polk County Rec Complex, adding up to 600 acres to the Green River Gamelands, turning 168 acres along Highway 108 into workforce housing and other exciting possibilities such as a community garden or a new recreation center.

Little White Oak Mountain


March 17 – 28 people joined PAC’s Pam Torlina for an approximately 5.5-mile hike to Moonshine Falls, located in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area.  It was a beautiful day with great folks, early spring ephemerals, close-up views of two Red-tailed Hawks, a lovely waterfall, and the sound of an early spring migrant, the Blue-Headed Vireo!

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March 14 – Dr. Gillian Newberry presented “Endangered Plants of the Piedmont” to 29 participants at the Landrum Library.

 

The talk included tips for the identification of some of the rarest plants in the Piedmont, why they are rare, and why we should care.  Gillian included some notes on her research on preserving these endangered species.  She highlighted Oconee Bells (Shortia galacifolia), Dwarf-flowered Heartleaf (Hexastylis naniflora), insectiverous plants (such as sundews (Drosera spp.) and pitcher plants (Sarracenia spp.)), Bunched Arrowhead (Sagittaria fasciculate), American Chestnut (Castanea dentata), and Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum).

 

This program was made possible by a Free Community Events Grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.
community-matters-pccf-seal_transparentClick here to watch a video of her presentation.

March 10 – PAC education committee members/PAC volunteers, Liz Dicey and Mary Alm, led 6 groups of 25 kids each (PCMS 6th-8th graders) on a nature walk/scavenger hunt behind Polk County Middle School (PCMS) as part of their ‘Touching Spirit Bear Day’!


March 3 – 19 participants joined PAC’s Pam Torlina for an approximately 6 mile hike along the Coontree Loop and Bennett Gap trails at Pisgah National Forest!

P1120679_eHikers, in no particular order: Libby Vatalaro, Carolyn Parker, Suzanne Engelmann, Jean Shaw, Liz Dicey, Farley Snow, Lois Torlina, Jade Blakey, Edith Castello, Lawrence Poe, Linda Bliven, Cindy Moore, Mary Alm, Dan Easley, Tammy Coleman, Pat Strother, Alan Carron, Mark McCall, and Pam Torlina. (photo by Ford Smith)


February 23 – photographer, Jim Fowler, presented “Orchids of the Southern Appalachian Mountains” to a group of 38 participants – kicking off the 2017 free education series at the Landrum Library!

The Southern Appalachian Mountains region is recognized as one of the most floristically diverse areas in North America.  Its rich forests and wet, boggy meadows provide the perfect environment for dozens of species of our colorful and mysterious native orchids. Stretching from West Virginia to northern Alabama, the rolling hillsides are host to orchid flowers from March to November.

Many of our native orchid species are quite small, and some of them would not be recognized as orchid species except by a trained naturalist. Learning to identify a few of the more common species will add richness to any hike in the woods.

While there are only three of our native orchid species that keep their green leaves through the winter, many of those that lose their leaves in the fall will leave their characteristic seed capsules behind for identification. If you know where to look, it is surprisingly easy to find many of the more common orchid species even on roadside margins within easy reach for photography and study.

jims-avatarJim is the author of Wild Orchids of South Carolina: A Popular Natural History, which was published in 2005 by the University of South Carolina Press, and Orchids Carnivorous Plants and Other Wildflowers of the Green Swamp in North Carolina. His photographic images have appeared in numerous magazines, newsletters, and websites in North America as well as overseas.

Check out his photography blog: www.jfowlerphotography.com.

This program was made possible thanks to a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.

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February 18 – Christian Hunt, Southeast Program Associate for Defenders of Wildlife, presented, “North Carolina’s Red Wolves: An Imperiled Future” to a group of 52!

The Red Wolf (Canis rufus) is a smaller and a more slender cousin of the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus).  It is gray-black, with a reddish cast that gives it the color for which it is named.  Historically, Red Wolves ranged throughout the southeastern U.S., from Pennsylvania to Florida, and as far west as Texas.  Almost hunted to the brink of extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rounded up fewer than 20 Red Wolves to be bred in captivity in 1980.  As of 2007, approximately 207 captive Red Wolves reside at 38 captive breeding facilities across the United States; however, fewer than 45 Red Wolves currently live in the wild.  Today, wild populations roam more than 1.7 million acres throughout northeastern North Carolina.  Christian discussed the history, biology, threats, political atmosphere, and benefits that the Red Wolf brings to our ecosystem.

4237167628_5fc4c49713Click here to watch a video of his presentation.

Click here to read an article about the Red Wolf from the Laurel of Asheville.


February 17 – 24 people joined PAC’s Pam Torlina for the first hike of the Spring Hiking Series!  The ~6-mile hike was at DuPont State Forest.  The group left out from Guion Farm and hiked to Thomas Cemetery and Wintergreen Falls.  It was a great group of folks and a perfect day!

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Wintergreen FallsDSC_0582_1Hikers, in no particular order: Ford Smith, Dan Easley, David Stoeckel, Roger Dehnel, Larry Poe, Helen Davis, Alan Carron, Richard Goodman, Vince Castello, Edith Castello, Alan Cameron, Tammy Coleman, William Coleman, Mary Alm, Michelle Keyes, Cindy Moore, Pat Strother, Siegfried Forster, Carolyn Parker, libby Vatalaro, Gloria Underwood, Marla Cassida, Suzanne Engelman, and Jean Shaw!


February 16 – PAC volunteer, Glenn Brady, and PAC’s Pam Torlina worked together to do some “spring cleaning” in the PAC butterfly garden on North Trade Street, in Tryon.


January 25 – PAC’s Pam Torlina and botanist, David Campbell, presented for 20 Wofford College students attending the course, “From the Earth to the Exotic: Frolicking in the Foothills.”  The students were doing an in-depth study of Polk County.  PAC spoke about our conservation efforts in the county and the floristic and biodiversity study being conducted on the county.  Walnut Creek Preserve hosted the educational field day.

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January 21 – Ben Mullinax presented, “Seeing with New Eyes,” a program on macro-photography to a group of 34 at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve!

seeing-with-new-eyesClick here to watch a video of his presentation.


January 19 – after about 9 years in the same location, PAC moves office space from 850 N. Trade St., in Tryon, to 2060 Lynn Road, Suite 1, in Columbus!


December 19 – PAC closes on a 5.58 acre conservation easement on Melrose Mountain, protecting important, beautiful wildlife habitat – forever.

Just a few of the many species that enjoy this beautiful habitat.

img_0094  bobcat  drinker  barred-owl  red-shouldered-hawk  turkey-party  woodchuck  black-rat-snake-in-tree

 


December 15 – the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) hosted students from Northwestern University for a volunteer work day on non-native and invasive plant management at both the Town of Tryon lot (near IGA) and the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest.

These students, from Chicago, Illinois, volunteered to take part in an Alternative Student Break trip that promotes a model of active citizenship emphasizing personal growth and learning alongside volunteering and activism by connecting students with groups across the United States that work toward social, environmental, or animal justice.

In this case, the group of 11 was sent to western North Carolina to work with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) and PAC on environmental issues.  Over their weeklong trip, the group was engaged in direct service with CMLC and PAC performing stewardship activities such as non-native and invasive species management and trail work, some of which was led by AmeriCorps Project Conserve members.

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December 4 – PAC held our annual Holiday party at the original Chinquapin Farm, home of our wonderful hosts, Johnny and Lisa Walker.  Thank you for all that attended and made this such a joyous occasion!

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November 18 – seventeen participants attended PAC’s final hike of the Fall Hiking Series with a hike to Big Glassy Mountain at Carl Sandburg National Historic Site.  It was a beautiful day!

p1120351_cr_lt_ePAC hikers, in no particular order, Mary Alm, George Sykes, Patricia Sykes, Ellie Cox, Carolyn Parker, Libby Vatalaro, Juanita Bruce, Maureen Pratt, Fred Clas, Bill Colman, Tammy Coleman, Jean Shaw, Dan Easley, Maureen Miller, Lois Torlina, Adrienne Darr, and Ford Smith. (Photo by Ford Smith)

The Fall Hiking Series was attended by 80 participants, and two participants attended all five hikes and were awarded a bumper sticker acknowledging their accomplishment!

p1120363_cr_lt_ePAC’s Pam Torlina, with PAC’s Fall Hiking Challenge achievers, Dan Easley and Jean Shaw! (Photo by Ford Smith)

This was Jean’s 4th time completing the Hiking Challenge (Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, and Fall 2016)! Congratulations Dan and Jean!


November 5 – Denise Furr, an Adjunct Curator of Malacology (Mollusks) at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, NC, presented, “The Secret Lives of Snails,” to a group of 16 at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

p1030436If you missed this presentation, click here to watch a video recording of it!


November 4 – PAC’s Pam Torlina led a group of 15 on a hike to John Rock in Pisgah National Forest.  What a beautiful day!

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November 2 – PAC’s director of stewardship and land protection, Pam Torlina, led a nature hike for about 12 adults and children at the Polk County Public Library.

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November 1& 3 – PAC taught Watershed Ecology to all of the Polk County 6th graders, about 160 kids, at the 4-H Environmental Day Camp!  Thanks to volunteers Ford Smith, Liz Dicey, and Mary Alm for helping PAC’s Pam Torlina!

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October 27 – PAC’s Pam Torlina taught the Landrum Library’s home school group about “Owls of the Carolinas.”

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October 26 – PAC’s Pam Torlina lead the newly formed Polk County Middle School’s hiking club, The Nature Navigators, on an interpretive hike at the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest nature preserve.

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October 22 – PAC was invited to share a booth with Tryon Tourism at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in order to get the word out to citizens about what our organization does for the community.  Thank you Liz Dicey and Dibbit Lamb for braving the cold and windy afternoon to represent PAC!

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October 22 – Dan Lazar presented “The Southern Appalachians During the Ice Age” at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve to a group of 36!

During the presentation, Mr. Lazar discussed the animals and plants that were found in this region twenty thousand years ago.  He also presented evidence suggesting the former occurrence of now-extinct species such as Jefferson’s Ground Sloth and the American Mastodon.  The presentation showed images depicting ice age species still surviving in our Southern Mountains.


October 21 – PAC director of stewardship and land protection, Pam Torlina, lead a group of 18 to Lookout Rock at the Montreat Wilderness Area!

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Beautiful autumn foliage!p1130935

The view from Lookout Rock!p1130944_1Our group, in no particular order: Roger Dehnel, Mary Alm, Maureen Pratt, Dan Easley, Marie King, Steve King, Jade Blakey, Cindy Moore, Helen Voyadgis, Bill Wilkerson, Betty Wilkerson, Ellie Cox, Lisa El-Kerdi, Liz Dicey, Adrienne Darr, Jackie Burke, and Jean Shaw (photo by Pam Torlina)


October 14 – PAC board member, Liz Dicey, led a beautiful hike to Cedar Rock Mountain at DuPont State Forest!

p1120087alt_eHikers, in no particular order: Jackie Burke, Liz Dicey, Don Dicey, Juanita Bruce, Dan Easley, Mark McCall, Lois Torlina, Jade Blakey, Pam Torlina, Jean Shaw, Maureen Miller, Ford Smith, Bill Coleman, Tammy Coleman, Mary Alm, Helen Davis, David Stoeckel, and Donna Lowrey.


September 27th – PAC board member and Landscape Architect, Mark Byington, presented, “The Nature of Landscape,” to a group of 22 at the Landrum Library.

Mark discussed the residential landscape and its place in natural ecosystems, reflecting on patterns that have defined home landscapes over the past century. Mark illustrated how the landscapes of today are so often disconnected with naturally occurring ecosystems, and he offered methods to help bridge that gap. Presenting the case for embracing new trends in garden design, and focusing on sustainable design and management practices, Mark presented a “rosy” picture for a greener future.

Mark Byington, ASLA is a landscape architect with a wide range of practice experience over the past 33 years. His company, Byington Landscape Architects, is based in Tryon, NC.

p1110851_e(photo by Ford Smith)

This program was made possible by a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.


September 23 – PAC board member, Ford Smith led a group of twelve participants on a 5-mile hike to Rainbow Falls accessed from Jones Gap State Park (part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area) in SC.

p1110818_lt_eHikers, in no particular order: Barbara Hall, Cindy Moore, Helen Davis, David Stoeckel, Mark Schmerling, Roger Dehnel, Libby Vatalaro, Patsy Panther, Carolyn Parker, Jean Shaw, Dan Easley, and Adrienne Darr. (photo by Ford Smith)


September 17 – Melissa Pilgrim, Director of Research and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of South Carolina Upstate, presented, “Hidden Biodiversity: Finding Frogs and Salamanders All Around Us,” to around 20 people at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

After the presentation, participants were invited for a walk on the Preserve to visit a stream to look for amphibians living there and to a pond where Melissa and her undergraduate research group, Upstate Herpetology, had set up live traps the day before. The group found salamanders, frogs, and toads, as well as some reptiles, including snakes and turtles!

Click here to watch a video of her presentation.

dsc_0406An Eastern Box Turtledsc_0419A salamanderdsc_0424A Ringneck Snakedsc_0434Salamander larvadsc_0449A baby Snapping Turtledsc_0456A salamander


On September 9th , PAC’s “For Land’s Sake!” fall fundraiser took place at the home of Jim and Ann Troppmann.

It was a lovely evening with around 100 people attending the event! Guests were greeted with PAC’s signature drink, the Oliver, then they had to opportunity to bid on silent auction items and mingle over hors d’oeuvres with beer or wine, all while overlooking the beautiful setting at Fox Knoll Farm.

As the sun was setting, a fabulous meal, catered by Pat Strother, was served and followed by an array of desserts made by PAC board members and staff.

Thank you to Jim and Ann Troppmann for opening their lovely home to PAC and our guests, and also to those of you that sponsored, donated, attended, and volunteered for the event!

Thanks to all of YOU it was a huge success, and proceeds from the event help PAC continue to “save the places you love!”

DSC_0338_1PAC’s director of stewardship & land protection, Pam Torlina, with board member and past president, Carole Bartol.

DSC_0340Bill and Tammy Coleman with board member, Steve King.

DSC_0341_1Larry Wassong and Manfred Walter.

DSC_0355_2A lovely sunset!

DSC_0360Guests serving themselves the delicious dinner prepared by Pat Strother.

DSC_0362Caterer, Pat Strother and one of her assistants, Anna Marie Kuether.

DSC_0367Guests enjoying dinner in a beautiful setting.

Connie Lomax and Dot Moyer enjoying the pool and the company of Bill Moyer.Connie Lomax and Dot Moyer enjoying the pool and the company of Bill Moyer.

Thank you also to the following businesses that provided goods for the event: Costco, Highland Brewing Co., and La Bouteille! We are very grateful to you and appreciate your support!Thank you also to the following businesses that provided gifts and goods for the event: Costco, Highland Brewing Co., Thomas Creek Brewery, and La Bouteille!
We are very grateful to you and appreciate your support!


August 30 – naturalist, Tim Lee presented “Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi” at the Landrum Library to a group of 50 people.From fireflies flashing on a warm summer night, to the eerie glow of Jack-O-Lantern mushrooms in the forest on a moonless night; these lights bring mystery and magic to the dark night. During his presentation, Tim explained how light is produced and emitted from living organisms and how they use it to lure prey, deter predators, and entice insects!

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This program was made possible by a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.


August 6 – Dr. Bill Stringer, a retired professor of crop science at Clemson University, presented, “Native Grasses in the Carolina Foothills,” to a group of nearly 30 people at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

PhotoClick here to watch a video of his presentation!


July 23 – award-winning filmmaker, David Weintraub, and local historian & seventh generation native to Polk & Henderson Counties, Jennie Jones Giles, presented the film, Remembering the Great Flood of 1916, Come Hell or High Water,” to 69 participants at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.Come Hell or High Water is a forum discussing the history of WNC’s worst natural disaster– the 1916 flood featuring discussions with mountain elders and experts about what happened, what have we learned, how prepared we are today and where we need to go to better protect our community.

The presentation began with David Weintraub introducing the film, a showing of the film, then engaging discussions between David and Jennie Jones and the audience.

DSC_0312_1David Weintraub introducing his film, “Remembering the Great Flood of 1916, Come Hell or High Water”

DSC_0314Jennie Jones Giles speaking about some of the local facts of this historical event.

For more information about this topic, to purchase a DVD, or for information about the Center for Cultural Arts, click here


July 25 – PAC volunteers, Bob Tobey, Brian Rogers, Polk County Ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service, Roger Dehnel, Dave Mullen, and Molly Watson, and PAC’s Pam Torlina join Dave Mathern, Polk County Recreation Trails Coordinator, to complete the Yellow Trail re-route project at Norman Wilder Forest!

IMG_3779_1Dave Mathern


July 12 – Emily Walker, groups and education manager at Chimney Rock State Park presented, “Animals of Appalachia” to 66 adults and children at the Landrum Library’s Family Fun Night.Walker brought LIVE animals, such as an American Toad, American Bullfrog, Eastern Box Turtle, Southern Hognose Snake, Black Rat Snake, Corn Snake, Opossum, Red-tailed Hawk, and Great Horned Owl.

During her presentation, Walker helped participants learn about these species that are indigenous to the area, their characteristics, threats to certain populations, and what we can do to coexist with our sometimes misunderstood neighbors.

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This program is made possible by a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.


On June 25, Dr. Richard McDonald, an entomologist with Symbiont Biological Pest Management, presented, “Beetles Save Needles,” a presentation on the biological control of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid using the beetle, Laricobius nigrinus (“Lari”), at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

 

The presentation provided a brief background and history of the project, describing Symbiont Biological Pest Management’s work with HWA, and how, in 2006, they found out that HWA is NATIVE to the western US! This discovery was a game changer in the race to save our hemlocks as they discovered natural predators of HWA, also native to the US!

 

HWA and Lari shown (2)

Click here to watch a video of his presentation!

On June 16, PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, presented about “Polk County’s Most Wanted” to Rotary of Tryon!

 

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On June 15, PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, led a bird walk for some of the residents at Tryon Estates!

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(Photo by Caroline Eller)


On June 14, Julie Schmidt, Education Outreach Coordinator at Hollywild Animal Park will present, “Our neck of the woods,” at the Landrum Library‘s summer reading program to a group of 110 participants!

 

Participants learned about a turtle, an American Crow, and an Opossum…with live examples of each! They even got to pet the Opossum!

 

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This program was made possible by a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.

 


On May 26, Liz Dicey will presented on “How to Help a Monarch Butterfly and Why You Might Want to” to a group of 43 participants at the Landrum Library.

 

Participants learned about Monarch butterflies, truly amazing creatures.  The presentation highlighted their remarkable behaviors and their place in our environment and local efforts to help monarch butterflies survive and reproduce.  These efforts include several certified Monarch Waystation gardens created by Pacolet Area Conservancy.  At the end of the presentation participants received milkweed plants which are necessary for monarch reproduction, as well as seeds of 5 nectar plants that will entice the Monarch butterflies to their garden.

 

This program was made possible by a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.

 

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On May 23, PAC hosted the Troop 150 Webelos Cub Scouts for a 3-mile hike at Norman Wilder Forest!

John, Bradley, and Sam completed the hike, learning some of the flora and fauna at the Preserve. The Scouts were joined by their troop leader, Lori Nichols, and a few parents.

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On May 17th, the Brownie Girl Scouts, Troop 1819, visited the PAC office to learn about the Monarch butterfly and it’s unique life cycle.  PAC volunteer, Liz Dicey, taught the girls about the Monarch, then the girls helped plant milkweed, the larval host plant of the Monarch butterfly, in the PAC butterfly garden.  What a great help the girls were!
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May 14th – botanist and naturalist, David Campbell, presented a program on “Butterflies of the NC Mountains and Piedmont” at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.
This program taught participants the basics of butterfly identification and the life history and ecology of some of the butterfly species found in the North Carolina Piedmont and Mountains.
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May 13th – PAC concluded the Spring Hiking Series with a hike to the “Narrows” at Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve.  Two individuals completed the PAC “Hiking Challenge” by completing all six hikes this spring!
P1130544P1130572Congratulations to PAC’s “Hiking Challenge” achievers, Ann Bridges and Juanita Bruce!

May 12th – PAC staff, AmeriCorp member and Polk County Recreation Trails Coordinator, Dave Mathern, and four volunteers, Steve King,  Lois Torlina, Liz Dicey, and  Ansley Roberts, AmeriCorps Agricultural Outreach Coordinator performed a native plant rescue at the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest. The Polk County Recreation Trails Coordinator is working with PAC to reroute one of the trails and we rescued many plants along the proposed trail route.
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May 11th – PAC Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, presented “Spring Migration of Songbirds through the Southeast” to roughly 40 residents of Tryon Estates.

The presentation focused on the annual cycle of spring migration by songbirds through the southeastern United States, described the amazing feats these animals perform to ensure their species survival through the generations, and highlighted some of the species that are starting to arrive in our area this spring.

After the presentation, guests were invited to get an up-close look at nests, feathers and even bird specimens (it is illegal to possess any part of a migratory bird without the proper permitting, and PAC is permitted by the federal government to collect and possess bird specimens to be used for educational purposes).


May 10th – PAC staff and volunteer mulched the courtyard butterfly garden.


On April 30, Joyce Pearsall presented “The Monarch Butterfly: Biology and Current Status” at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve to a group of 23 participants.

The program discussed why we are concerned about the Monarch population decline, explained the Monarch lifecycle, showed an MRI of a Monarch chrysalis, added a little math and geometry, described the milkweed ecological community, and taught participants about gardening to create pollinator habitat for the Monarch.
After the presentation, a 7-min. video, a TED talk about “The Hidden Beauty of Pollination,” by Louie Schwartzberg, was shown; click here to watch this very moving video.
Click here to watch a video of her presentation!
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On April 29, 10 people joined PAC’s Pam Torlina for an approximately 6-mile hike along the Oil Camp Creek trail at the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area.

P1100951_1PAC hikers at the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, (L to R) Mary Savard, Liz Dicey (and her dog Ellie), Vince Castello, PAC’s Pam Torlina, Mark McCall, Juanita Bruce, Ford Smith, Jean Shaw, Ann Bridges, and Edie Castello. (photo by Carroll Rush)


On April 23, PAC held it’s annual PACRun and PACWalk for Preservation, Earth Day fund-raising event!  Thank you to all that helped make this event possible!

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Click here to see photos of this event.

Final PACWalk ad


On April 19, PAC’s Pam Torlina presented “Polk County’s Most Wanted” to 30 members of the South Carolina Native Plant Society in Landrum, SC.

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On April 18, PAC held a joint hike with hikers from PAC, CMLC, and Keith Viglietta’s hiking group that took place at Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP).  Twenty-four hikers enjoyed the trails at WCP and the many wildflowers that were blooming. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur group (in no particular order): Elaine Hessong, Don Hessong, Brenda Sloan, Grady Nana, Kathleen Nana, dewin Horton, Corinne Fretwell, Suzanne Engelman, Gingeer Leavett, Ellen Douglas, Bob Weide, Jody Wingield, Sarah Gayle, Mary Horton, Mary O’Neill, Kevin O’Neill, Keith Viglietta, Ericka Berg, Juanita Bruce, William Blaesing, Bob Strickland, Babs Strickland, and Pam Torlina (photo by Keith Viglietta)


On April 15, 18 participants joined PAC’s Pam Torlina for a wildflower walk at Oconee Station State Historic Site and Station Cove Falls, in SC.

P1130094_2Our group (in no particular order): Maureen Pratt, Annie Ewing, Paul Wood, Scott Lawrence, Ron Huntsberge, Ford Smith, Ann Bridges, Juanita Bruce, Jackie Burke, Patsy Panther, Carolyn Parker, Jean Shaw, Mark McCall, Carol McCall, Linda Eiserloh, Vince Castello, Edie Castello, and Mary Savard (photo by Pam Torlina)


On April 13th, botanist, David Campbell, and special guest, James Mathews, lead a group of 20 on a guided wildflower walk on a PAC protected nature preserve.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur group (in no particular order): Linda Eiserloh, Annie Ewing, Patsy Panther, Paul Wood, Robin Edgar, Vard Henry, Grace Lertora, Bob Tobey (not pictured), Jackie Burke, Carole Bartol, Chris Bartol, Bill Coleman, Tammy Coleman, Carol McCall, Vince Castello, Ford Smith, Edith Castello, Keith Viglietta, David…, David Campbell, James Matthews, and Pam Torlina (photo by Keith Viglietta)


On April 12th, naturalist, Todd Elliott, presented, “Natural History and Ecology of the Carolinas,” at the Landrum Library to a group of 41 participants!

Todd Elliott’s talk encompassed the science, natural history, folklore, ecology, and biodiversity of the Carolinas. He discussed the role humans have played in shaping the natural world and the interconnections and co-dependence of the world around us.

Todd Elliott is a native to Rutherford County, North Carolina and he has focused on studying global biodiversity and interrelationships in nature. These studies have taken him to remote corners of the world to explore tropical rainforests, deserts, temperate forests, beaches, and high mountains on six continents. Much of the research from these expeditions has been or is being published including the description of organisms new to science. Todd is an award winning nature photographer and his lectures are filled with photographs from his adventures both here in the Carolinas and abroad. To learn more about Todd’s work visit: http://toddelliott.weebly.com/

DSC_0082_1Todd Elliott presenting at the Landrum Library

This program was made possible by a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.


On April 6th, PAC was invited (along with a few other community groups) to attend the Hands of Change Youth Service Group’s annual banquet!

Hands of Change


On March 30th, 8 members and 2 leaders of Hands of Change Youth Service Group partnered with PAC to remove trash and litter from a PAC owned property/preserve.  The group did a great job!

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On March 28th, a group of 6 AmeriCorps workers joined PAC’s “Kudzu Warriors,” Greg Miner and Ford Smith, and volunteer Keith Viglietta to battle Kudzu and other non-native and invasive plant on PAC’s Norman Wilder Forest preserve.  It was a beautiful day and the group got a lot accomplished!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe work crew (in no particular order): Sarah Coury, Chelsea Rath, Dave Mathern, Ansley Roberts, Laura Evans, Kristen Lee, Keith Viglietta, Greg Miner, and Ford Smith.


On March 26th, 35 people attended naturalist and storyteller, Doug Elliott, presentation, “Wild Tales—Strange but True Adventures in the Natural World,” at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

P1100251_f(photo by Ford Smith)


On March 18th, nineteen people joined PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina for a 5.4 mile hike at Pleasant Ridge Park.  It was a beautiful day and a wonderful group!

P1130019_1PAC hikers (in no particular order): Ford Smith, Mary Savard, Edie Castello, Maureen Pratt, Vince Castello, Carolyn Parker, Jean Shaw, Lois Torlina, Suzanne Engelmann, Valerie Burgess, Chris Reed, Bill Coleman, Tammy Coleman, Linda Greensfelder, Liz Dicey, Patsy Panther, Ann Bridges, April Field, and Juanita Bruce (photo by Pam Torlina)


On March 16th, PAC’s Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, presented “Polk County’s Most Wanted” to the Tryon Garden Club and the general public.

PC Most Wanted


On March 12th, Boy Scout Troop 150 who met with PAC volunteers, Ford Smith and Edie Castello, to pull English Ivy (and other non-native and invasive plants) from the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest! This was a service project for the Boy Scouts, and PAC is so grateful for their help!

DSC_0080_1DSC_0097_1Boy Scout Troop 150 with their leaders, Tim and Lori Nichols, and PAC volunteers, Edie Castello and Ford Smith (photo by Pam Torlina)


On March 10th, the Pacolet Area Conservancy was pleased to participate in the Polk County Middle School Career Day!

185 eighth grade students visited the tables and displays of many area business and universities to get an idea of the education and training needed for various careers. PAC was pleased to attend the event and share information about careers in conservation!

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On March 4th, twenty-six people joined PAC Board member Liz Dicey and PAC Director of Stewardship & Land Protection, Pam Torlina, for a 4-5 mile hike at Camp Old Indian.  The hike lead folks past a lake on the property, to a beautiful waterfall, and to the top of Old Indian Mountain (2,200′ elevation) for spectacular views of the surrounding area.

P1120901PAC hikers (in no particular order): Dan Easley, April Field, Lois Torlina, Don Dicey, Liz Dicey, Pat Strother, Jade Blakey, Linda Greensfelder, Edith Cahoon, Mary Savard, Margaret Burke, Ann Bridges, Juanita Bruce, Stephen King, Tammy Coleman, Bill Coleman, Barb Ketcham, Sandra Fuetz, Chuck Fuetz, Linda Katte, Roger Dehnel, Mary Jo Kellogg, Vince Castello, Edith Castello, and Bill Blaesing. (photo by Pam Torlina)


On February 24th and 25th, PAC’s Director of Stewardship and Land Protection, Pam Torlina, attended the “North Carolina Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Bio-Control Forum” at Montreat Conference Center.

The event was presented by Blue Ridge RC & D and partners and brought together public agencies, regional councils, conservation groups, and environmental professionals to address regional bio-control efforts to combat the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and save our beloved Eastern and Carolina Hemlock trees.

2-25-16 beetles save needles3


February 20th, naturalist, Tim Lee, presented “Trillium of the Carolinas” to 25 participants at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

 

Tim presented on the natural history of trillium, a plant of interest not only because of their delicate beauty and their brief bloom time but also because of their growth patterns, pollination and seed dispersal.   Plants that  may take as long as seven years or longer to develop from seed to blossom and can then bloom for more than 75 years!  The natural history and taxonomy of the trillium was discussed as well tips for identification of trillium found in the Carolinas.

group and TimClick here to watch a video of the presentation.


On February 4th, PAC’s Pam Torlina presented, “Polk County’s Most Wanted” to 20 members of the the Daffy Jill’s Garden Club.  Participants learned about the rare and unique flora and fauna and some of the botanical history of the County, as well as PAC’s quest to learn more about the biological diversity of the County.  You can learn more about “Polk County’s Most Wanted” by following this link.


On February 2nd, about 70 people came out to celebrate Groundhog Day with PAC and naturalist and storyteller, Doug Elliott, as he presented, “GROUNDHOGOLOGY-Of Whistlepigs and World Politics” at the Landrum Library!

It all started in Elliott’s mountain-side cabin with a gift from an old groundhog hunter. From there went on a rollicking and revealing journey, not only through the natural world, but also into folklore, history, mythology, philosophy and into the lives of people of different cultures, past and present.   Participants learned about 1) how groundhogs have been a source of food, clothing, medicine and music for generations of Appalachian folks, 2) the mystical aspects of groundhogs — how they are woven into Native American and European mythology, 3) the real story of Groundhog Day, 4) clues to the great riddle: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?, and 5) how groundhogs can teach us about ourselves and even give us perspectives on society and world politics today!  This program was flavored with traditional songs, regional dialects,  lively harmonica riffs, and more than a few belly laughs…and wood chuckles.

Elliott is a naturalist, herbalist, storyteller, basket maker, philosopher, and harmonica wizard.  He has performed at festivals, museums and schools from Canada to the Caribbean.  He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN and has conducted workshops and programs at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Smithsonian Institution. He has trained rangers for the National Park Service and guided people on wilderness experiences from Down-east Maine to the Florida Everglades.  He was named harmonica champion at Fiddler’s Grove Festival in Union Grove, N.C.

DSC_0011DSC_0012This program was made possible by a Free Community Events grant from the Polk County Community Foundation.


On January 30th, Mary Holcombe of Southern Heritage Nursery (a native plant nursery in Blue Ridge, SC) presented, “Native Plants in the Landscape: For Unparalleled Beauty and Ease of Care” at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve at 10:30 a.m.

The southeast boasts a staggering array of beautiful flowering plants, most of which are surprisingly easy to cultivate.  Participants learned about a wide variety of ornamental native perennials, shrubs, and trees, and how to incorporate them into your own landscape.

DSC_0032Click here to download a copy of “Native Plants in the Landscape – Beautiful and Easy to Grow”

If you missed the presentation, you can watch it by clicking on this link.


On January 19th, PAC was invited to hold an informational booth for Polk County Schools staff at their Health Fair.  About 250 staff members from Polk County Schools attended the Health Fair to learn about local health services, organizations that promote healthy lifestyles, etc.  PAC volunteers Liz Dicey and Ford Smith talked with folks about hiking in our area!

P1090816_ltLiz Dicey speaks with a couple of participants (photo by Ford Smith)


On January 16th, 2016, Polk County Parks & Recreation, Americorps, & the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) teamed up for a Volunteer Trail Work Day at the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest!

P1090810_smallThe trail crew! (Photo by Ford Smith)