Digging in the Dirt: October Chapter Highlights

Laketober Music & Brew Festival, October 14. Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationist in partnership with the Town of Cornelius hosted Laketoberfest at Bailey Road Park. There was live music, local beer, great food trucks and even a kids zone with crafts and games. All proceeds from this annual event benefit Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists and support wildlife enhancement projects on Lake Norman! 
Laketober Music & Brew Festival, October 14. Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationist in partnership with the Town of Cornelius hosted Laketoberfest at Bailey Road Park. There was live music, local beer, great food trucks and even a kids zone with crafts and games. All proceeds from this annual event benefit Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists and support wildlife enhancement projects on Lake Norman! 

North Carolina Wildlife Federation staff and Community Wildlife Chapter volunteers did a whole lot of red wolf educating, invasive plant removing, elk watching, wildlife garden planting, kids in nature inspiring, conservation celebrating, litter sweeping, birdhouse installing and more in October to promote healthy wildlife habitat and inspire people to get outside.

In total, 400-plus volunteers were engaged. Over 600 people were given the opportunity to connect with nature through one of NCWF’s various opportunities this month. 

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.


Merchants Millpond State Park Pollinator Planting, October 1. NCWF’s Wildlife Habitat Stewards of NE NC chapter, community volunteers and state park personnel installed 64 native pollinator plants at Merchants Millpond State Park’s visitor center in Gatesville. The chapter’s goals for this habitat project were to plant native species that would serve as crucial food sources and habitat for native pollinators in the area and to also use the garden as an educational tool for years to come at Merchants Millpond!


South Wake Conservationists Native Plant Sale, October 1. The South Wake Conservationists sold a huge variety of native plants such as blue mistflower, cardinal flower, split-beard bluestem, eastern redbud and more! Attendees were also treated to a tour of the Simple Gifts Community Garden in Apex.


Charlotte Wildlife Stewards Kids in Nature Day, October 1. Kids of all ages had a blast with Ranger Rick at Kids in Nature Day hosted by the Charlotte Wildlife Stewards.  Activities included nature walks, animal yoga, nature crafts, native plant giveaways and so much more! It was a beautiful afternoon focusing on connecting families with the natural world.


Simple Gifts Community Garden Installation, October 3. The South Wake Conservationists installed a pollinator garden in Apex. Volunteers planted natives such as blazing star, lanceleaf coreopsis, stoke’s aster and more. These plants will serve as a valuable source of nectar for pollinators.


Eco Kids Red Wolf Program, October 6. Homeschoolers had a howling good time with the South Wake Conservationists at Bass Lake Park in Holly Springs. Thirty-five kids from a local homeschool network came for a very special afternoon to learn about the endangered red wolves of North Carolina. Beside practicing their howls, they watched a film showing how red wolves live and interact with each other, talked about red wolf facts, examined furs, skulls, maps, track casts, etc., and then each made their own clay models of the red wolf.


HAWK Kids in Nature Day, October 7. The Habitat and Wildlife Keepers (HAWK) partnered with the Town of Matthews for their annual Kids in Nature Day at Squirrel Lake Park. Ranger Rick came to play and kids of all ages participated in fairy house building, scavenger hunts, nature explorations, and even fishing! Families had a blast connecting with nature at their local park!


Moore Elementary Garden Workday, October 10. NCWF partnered with Moore Magnet Elementary School to help them install more pollinator plants on their campus to support their vegetable garden. The elementary students helped to create a pollinator habitat by planting 64 plants.


Poisonous Plants & Venomous Critters, October 11. NCWF and Pocosin Lakes NWR partnered with Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft for a fun afternoon of debunking spooky wildlife and plant myths while learning to embroider patches for participants to take home!


Carnivorous Plants Workshop, October 11. As a part of the Fire in the Pines Festival, Lower Cape Fear Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy hosted an educational workshop focusing on carnivorous plants at Flytrap Brewing in Wilmington.


Charlotte Monarch Celebration, October 14. The weather did not delay this incredible celebration of the monarch butterfly! Thanks to the Charlotte Wildlife Stewards, the City of Charlotte, Wild Ones, North Carolina Native Plant Society, Bee City USA, Keep Charlotte Beautiful and Mecklenburg County Soil & Water for making this event possible. Participants took home native plants and seeds, had their faces painted, designed butterfly wings, paraded with Ranger Rick, and even witnessed the release of a monarch butterfly!


Laketober Music & Brew Festival, October 14. Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationist in partnership with the Town of Cornelius hosted Laketoberfest at Bailey Road Park. There was live music, local beer, great food trucks and even a kids zone with crafts and games. All proceeds from this annual event benefit Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists and support wildlife enhancement projects on Lake Norman!


32nd Annual Scuppernong Festival, October 14. In partnership with Pocosin Lakes NWR, NCWF hosted an educational table and offered red wolf programs at the Red Wolf Center. NCWF staff spoke with visitors about ways they can get involved with our conservation projects and educational wildlife programs.


Red Wolf Center Program & Garden Workday, October 14. In addition to providing public programs that day to engage visitors (including Miss North Carolina and this year’s Rhododendron Queen) and locals with red wolf awareness and critical education, NCWF staff also worked with a local cub scout group to provide a special red wolf program that day followed by a service project in the Red Wolf Center’s native pollinator garden.


Chapter Leader Elk Walk, October 14. NCWF treated chapter leaders to an elk walk in Cherokee led by Justin McVey of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. The group learned about the history of elk in North Carolina while witnessing majestic bugles and picturesque scenery.


Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve Big Sweep, October 20. NCWF partnered with the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association for the Durham County Big Sweep. The Big Sweep is an annual event where people can team up with one another to clean up litter in their local communities. Volunteers removed eight bags of trash, two pallets, and a cloth bench from the preserve.


Autumn Gardening Workday at Crowder Park, October 20. The South Wake Conservationists led a volunteer workday at Crowder Park to freshen up the pollinator gardens before winter. The group enjoyed a beautiful morning filled with comradery and free pumpkins!


Robertson Millpond Wildlife Garden Installation, October 21. NCWF in partnership with Wake County Open Space installed a wildlife garden at Robertson Millpond Preserve in Wendell. Volunteers planted spicebush, eastern bluestar, joe-pye weed, ironweed and more!


Pollinator Garden Workday at ERUUF, October 21. NCWF teamed up with the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (ERUUF) to help create a pollinator garden on their campus. The volunteers helped to install 60 native pollinator plants.


Neuse River Hawks Conservationists Native Plant Sale, October 21. The Neuse River Hawks Conservationists hosted a native plant sale at the Autumn Plant & Art Festival in Wake Forest. The chapter sold a variety of natives including beebalm, butterfly weed, eastern bluestar and much much more!


New Hope Waterfowl Impoundment Big Sweep, October 22. NCWF hosted a second clean-up for the Durham County Big Sweep. Volunteers helped to remove litter near the New Hope Creek to prevent it from traveling to other waterways. In total, over 600 pounds of trash were removed from the site.


Neuse River Hawks Conservationists Nature Walk, October 25. The Neuse River Hawks Conservationists hosted yet another popular nature walk at Rolesville Main Street Park. The group enjoyed learning about the different flora and fauna that inhabit the park while basking in the pleasant fall weather.


Bolin Creek Invasive Plant Removal, October 26. The Tri-County Conservationists returned to Bolin Creek for their third invasive plant removal at the site. Volunteers focused primarily on removing privet. The series of workdays at Bolin Creek have resulted in land reclaimed for native species and have inspired a sense of ownership among chapter volunteers.


Tiller School Field Trip Red Wolf Center & Boardwalk Hike, October 26. Tiller School students, staff, and chaperones joined NCWF and Pocosin Lakes NWR for a field trip to the Red Wolf Center and Scuppernong River Boardwalk in Columbia. Participants learned about the history and biology of red wolves and the important ecosystem services offered by our wetland habitats.


Homeplace III Native Planting at Woodcroft, October 26. NCWF collaborated with Native Plants Matter and the Homeplace III HOA to help remove overgrown non-native plants from a parking planter and replace them with native pollinator plants and grasses. The community aims to replace all their parking lot planters with native plants by the end of 2024.


Lake Wheeler Birdhouse Installation, October 27. The South Wake Conservationists joined Lake Wheeler park staff to install six bluebird houses around the park. The houses will serve as habitat for birds and inspire a nest watch program at the park.


Bradford Pear Bounty Events, October 28. NCWF, NC State Extension, Urban Forest Council and NC Forest Service organized Bradford Pear Bounties in both Sanford and Rutherfordton. Residents who cut down an invasive bradford pear from their yards received a native tree replacement.


ecoEXPLORE Arachnology Check-In, October 28. ecoEXPLORERS of all ages joined NCWF, Pocosin Lakes NWR and Tyrrell County Library for this month’s ecoEXPLORE event to check-in on the status of everyone’s Arachnology Badge. Participants enjoyed searching the library grounds for spiders and their webs and making species identifications based on observations!


Dismal Swamp Welcome Center Pollinator Garden Planting, October 28. Wildlife Habitat Stewards of Northeastern NC partnered with the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center in Camden County to install a NC Butterfly Highway pollinator pitstop. This garden will provide food and habitat for native insects and wildlife that help pollinate and protect North Carolina’s plant and food sources.


South Park Invasive Plant Removal, October 28. NCWF returned to the Avignon community for a third workday removing invasive thorny Elaeagnus from the property. Volunteers from the Charlotte Wildlife Stewards turned out to join in the fun as well! Thanks to all the hard work, this green space is now open and can be planted with natives for the benefit of pollinators and other wildlife species.


Go Clean & Green, October 29. The Charlotte Wildlife Stewards are working with Keep Charlotte Beautiful to adopt a section of West Tyvola Road in Charlotte. In just two hours volunteers removed nine full trash bags of trash. The efforts of the chapter will help create a healthier environment and keep litter off the side of the road reducing the risk of wildlife collisions with cars.


Concert for Conservation, October 29. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation partnered with the First United Methodist Church in Waynesville and held a concert for conservation. This was an all day event that featured a wildlife garden installation at an underserved housing community, a seed bomb activity with youth students and the concert itself which raised both awareness and funds for pollinators in North Carolina.

Written by:


– Seana Finn, Community Organizer


Luke Bennett


– Luke Bennett, Conservation Coordinator


Laura Frazier


– Laura Frazier, Refuge Community Organizer


Natalie Bohorquez, Director of Conservation Partnerships

– Natalie Bohorquez, Director of Conservation Partnerships


Alden Picard, Conservation Coordinator

– Alden Picard, Conservation Coordinator

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