Digging in the Dirt: April Chapter & Planting Highlights

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North Carolina Wildlife Federation staff and Community Wildlife Chapter volunteers did a whole lot of environmental educating, wildlife watching, mural unveiling, nature walking, invasive species removing, native plant garden creating, connecting kids with nature, habitat restoring and more in April to promote healthy wildlife habitat and inspire people to get outside.

In total, 400-plus volunteers removed over 3 thousand pounds of trash and planted over 750 native plants. Over 500 people were given the opportunity to connect with nature through one of NCWF’s various opportunities this month.

Thanks to partners such as the Duke Energy Foundation, Jandy Ammons Foundation and Burt’s Bees for helping make these habitat restoration workdays, educational programs and nature outings possible. Explore our Events Calendar to discover where NCWF and our Community Wildlife Chapters are hosting in-person and virtual events near you. Check out a few highlights below from our conservation outreach team.

Ocean Advocacy Workshop, March 31 – April 2. Students from universities all across the state gathered at Haw River State Park for an inspiring weekend fueled by critically-important environmental activism focused on issues such as fisheries, plastics, and offshore wind energy. The Ocean Advocacy Workshop is designed to teach participants the skills they need to champion for oceans and the environment. The event was sponsored by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, UNC Greensboro, and the Plastics Ocean Project.

Field Trip with Carolina Ocean Studies, April 5. Island Wildlife partnered with Carolina Ocean Studies to put together a field trip for inquisitive students, teachers and parents at the International School of Gregory. The wonderful team at Carolina Ocean Studies led squid dissecting, pier fishing and fossil finding!

Craft a Toad Abode, April 5. NCWF, Pocosin Lakes NWR, and Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft hosted a fun and free program dedicated to the toad. Participants used clay to create decorative toad houses while learning all about toads and their habitat in North Carolina.

Crowder Park Garden Workday, April 7. The South Wake Conservationists returned to Crowder Community Park in Apex to conduct a thorough weeding of the three gardens the chapter helps maintain around the park.

Earthshare Corporate Earth Day (Durham), April 13. NCWF and Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association hosted volunteers from Duke Energy for a workday in Durham. This was part of a broader regional sustainability event sponsored by EarthShare NC, which NCWF participates in each year. The crew removed invasive plants and replaced them with native species.

Earthshare Corporate Earth Day (Cary), April 13. South Wake Conservationists and NCWF, partnering with Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary, hosted sixteen volunteers from Xylem/Sensus for a native plants workday at the park. A large hillside facing the road at the park entrance was transformed into a native plants haven, with approximately 500 plants planted that day. These included little bluestem, pink muhly, beautyberry, coreopsis, purple coneflower, and stokes aster, mixed in with some obedient plant and swamp sunflowers for good measure.

HAWK Kids in Nature Day, April 15. The HAWK chapter in partnership with the Town of Matthews and NCWF’s Great Outdoors University hosted their annual Kids in Nature Day at Squirrel Lake Park. Participants enjoyed a wide range of activities including nature walks, scavenger hunts, catch and release fishing, nature exhibits and much more!

Ellerbe Creek Habitat Restoration Workday, April 15. NCWF partnered with the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, environmental students from Duke University and community volunteers for a cleanup along the shores of Ellerbe Creek in Durham. The crew bravely slogged through the mud and removed 1580 pounds of garbage equaling 63 native trees through NCWF’s Clean & Green program.

ecoEXPLORE Botany Check-In, April 15. NCWF, Pocosin Lakes NWR and Tyrrell County Public Library hosted an ecoEXPLORE botany program for children seeking their botany badge. ecoEXPLORE is a citizen science program, created by the North Carolina Arboretum, where children of all ages are able to learn how to identify wildlife around them, help real scientists track wildlife activity and earn fun badges and prizes all at the same time!


Red Wolf Mural Unveiling, April 15. Matt Willey, artist and founder of The Good of the Hive, teamed up with Weiler Woods for Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Red Wolf Recovery Program and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, NCWF, and other community partners to create a one-of-a-kind mural at the Red Wolf Center in Columbia, NC. In addition to red wolves, the mural features native plants and pollinators such as purple coneflowers and leafcutter bees. All together, this mural will direct positive attention toward native wildlife.

Earth Jam 2023, April 15. The Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists in partnership with the Town of Cornelius Parks and Recreation held an Earth Day celebration at Robbins Park where participants of all ages enjoyed outdoor activities, nature walks, fishing, wildlife crafts, live music and more!

Randolph Middle Garden Planting, April 16. NCWF Joined forces with the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte Wildlife Stewards to engage student volunteers and create a pollinator garden that will be incorporated into NCWF’s Butterfly Highway Program.

Watts Baptist Pollinator Habitat Creation, April 19. NCWF and community volunteers helped create a pollinator garden at Watts Baptist Church in Durham. The crew planted a variety of native pollinator plants including American beautyberry, little bluestem, purple coneflower, bee balm, milkweed and more!

Flutter by Earth Day, April 21. Concord Wildlife Alliance participated in the Flutter By Earth Day event hosted by Concord Parks & Recreation. Families were able to learn more about the chapter and take a photo with the one and only Ranger Rick!

Island Discovery Day with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, April 21. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) celebrated Earth Week with several events on and around the Qualla Boundary encouraging knowledge of environmental and wildlife issues. NCWF helped supply plants that were given to EBCI tribal members.

Native Plant Sale & Fundraiser, April 21 – April 23. Concord Wildlife Alliance held a fundraising event in partnership with Tesh-Troxler Landscapes and Design. The chapter sold a variety of native perennials, shrubs, vines and grasses that will help fund the chapter’s conservation efforts in the community.

Bradford Bounty Tree Exchange, April 22. Local residents in Catawba County who removed an invasive Bradford pear tree received a free native tree as a replacement. The event was a collaborative effort between NC State Extension, NC Urban Forest Council, NC Forest Service and the NC Wildlife Federation with the help of many community volunteers. Cars lined up early for the event and hundreds of native trees were given away!

Invasive Plant Removal, April 22. A crew of twenty eco-warriors celebrated Earth Day by removing invasive plants such as English ivy, privet, Italian arum, Japanese knotweed, honeysuckle, and Japanese hops from Chantilly Ecological Sanctuary. The event was hosted by the Charlotte Wildlife Stewards in partnership with Wild Ones Charlotte and the NC Native Plant Society.

Falls Lake Habitat Restoration Workday, April 23. NCWF in partnership with the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the NC State College of Natural Resources gathered on a beautiful morning to remove 300 pounds of garbage from the shores of Falls Lake in Wake Forest.

Friends Home Pollinator Garden Creation, April 25. Triad Wild teamed up with Friends Home Retirement Community to create a pollinator garden on the campus in Greensboro. The crew removed non-native species and replaced them with a wide variety of native species such as stokes aster, beebalm, ninebark, swamp doghobble, goldenrod, wild hyacinth, alumroot and more! The garden will serve to demonstrate the importance of native species for wildlife.

Nature Walk at Mitchell Mill Natural Area, April 26. The Neuse River Hawks enjoyed a beautiful nature walk at Mitchell Mill Natural Area in Wake Forest. The 93-acre site sits atop one of the largest granite domes on the east coast, called the Rolesville Batholith. The granite flatrock environment hosts a variety of native plant and animal species. The group basked in the area’s biodiversity while connecting with one another through nature.

Carnivorous Plant Hike at Carolina Beach State Park, April 28. Park Ranger Jesse guided folks from Island Wildlife through Carolina Beach State Park. The group learned about carnivorous plants such as butterwort and yellow-pitcher plants.

Maides Park Cleanup, April 29. Island Wildlife picked up 91 pounds of trash from Maides Park in Wilmington. The total will be incorporated into NCWF’s Clean & Green Program where a native tree gets planted for every 25 pounds of trash removed.

Native Plant Sale (Charlotte), April 29. The Charlotte Wildlife Stewards teamed up with Wild Birds Unlimited to sell a variety of native pollinator plants. Part of the proceeds will help fund the chapter’s conservation efforts in the community.

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