‘Protecting a Longleaf Pine Legacy’

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

HAMPSTEAD — These are heady times, reminiscent of a period in our relatively recent history when generations of Americans were worried about what their environmental future might hold.

Esse Quam Videri. “To be, rather than to seem.” More than a motto, these are words to live by. In the early 1970s, Andy Wood was a teenage environmentalist in Connecticut, involved in river cleanups, newspaper drives, and other community events leading up to, and beyond, the first Earth Day celebration.

In spring 1971, during a sobering behind-the-scenes tour of imperiled wildlife in the Bronx Zoo collection, concern for the well-being of our planet is worn on the face and shoulder of Andy Wood (a tattered ecology flag (R) that weathered past environmental storms now flies above his desk as a supporting reminder of our present and future imperative).

Today, as Coastal Plains Conservation Group (CPCG) Director, Wood continues taking action to support natural resource conservation and protection, especially coastal plain habitats and the ecosystem services they provide in and beyond southeast North Carolina. This work requires time and effort Wood said he is glad to deliver, but doing so requires financial support, notably from people able and willing to help CPCG remain in the game.

The late anthropologist Margaret Mead, once advised, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

CPCG is a small conservation group, and yet, for 25 years, it has all but single-handedly prevented extinction of two critically-imperiled species of freshwater snails that once thrived in bottomland swamp ponds and streams associated with the lower Cape Fear River—before river-dredging and resultant saltwater intrusion destroyed their habitats.

Magnificent Ramshorn, Planorbella magnifica (L), and Greenfield Ramshorn, Helisoma eucosmium (R). Now gone from the wild due to habitat loss, both species avoid extinction in CPCG’s captive care.

Along with stewarding imperiled snails, in 2015, with help from generous friends, CPCG raised $100,000 to buy 10.5 acres of longleaf pine habitat on the edge of Holly Shelter Game Land in Pender County.

This ecologically-significant property directly supports endangered Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and several other State and Federal-listed endangered, threatened, and special concern species of plants and wildlife, including Venus’ Flytrap (and likely Venus’ Flytrap Cutworm), Carolina Gopher Frog, and Bachman’s Sparrow, to name a few.

An endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Picoides borealis, foraging on longleaf pines in CPCG property purchased with contributions to our “Protecting a Longleaf Pine Legacy” campaign.

CPCG closed on the property with a last-minute $15,000 bridge loan to meet the closing deadline, after which time the property would have been sold for conversion to horse pasture.

Loan repayment is due by October 2017, but we need to get this obligation behind us quickly, and remain focused on managing the property we now steward, continued care-taking of two critically-imperiled freshwater snails, and engagement in broader environmental issues including ongoing loss of bottomland hardwood swamps resulting from saltwater intrusion enabled by downstream Cape Fear River dredging, and upstream swamp forest clear-cutting, now rendering whole trees into wood pellets as energy-inefficient biofuel destined for European power plants.

In 1970, Wood entered the so-called “modern environmental movement” and through nearly five decades since, he has spoken for responsible care of natural resources to the benefit of fish in the sea, snails in the swamps, birds in the air, and people who share this planet with every other Earthling.

As a conservation educator and his role as director of CPCG, Wood said he will continue working to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the priority we each share: a planet capable of supporting the human species.

“I’m reminded of 1970 and channeling that era’s positive environmental leadership to help move our nation toward responsible care for our home—Earth—and the natural resources that sustain us,” Wood said.

While this is an appeal to you for a donation to CPCG, the group is also grateful if you share this request, or introduce it to other people you think might be interested in supporting its focused works.

To find out more information about CPCG and its vision for achieving a safe future for people, plants, and wildlife, and the habitats that support us all, visit coastalplaincg.org or contact Andy Wood at awood@coastalplaincg.org. For donation information simply click this link to visit our gofundme page.

-Content provided by Coastal Plain Conservation Group

local_shout_4-edited-424x300-1This content was provided by a community member via Local Shout, a new initiative at Port City Daily. Port City Daily cannot guarantee the accuracy of information presented in this story. If you have additional information or would like to submit a story, please contact shout@portcitydaily.com.