This article originally appears in the North Carolina Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s Winter 2018-19 newsletter. Photos from the workshop also appear in the newsletter.
On Nov. 1, over 40 natural resources professionals, students and speakers gathered at the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines for the first of a series of threatened and endangered species workshops. Over the course of the event, attendees were presented with a sequence of eight lectures from a wide variety of subject matter experts and a guided site visit on Fort Bragg. The lecture portion of the workshop was broken up into two focus areas, the Endangered Species Act in the United States and managing threatened and endangered species. Fort Bragg endangered species branch biologists led the field trip, in which attendees got an up-close look at a red-cockaded woodpecker cluster and pixie moss in the picturesque habitat of the Sandhills.
Two of the main goals of the workshop were to emphasize some of the less charismatic threatened and endangered species in North Carolina and to provide a varied panel of informative speakers from state, federal and private industry for the event. In short, the chapter did not want to focus solely on the more glamorous threatened and endangered species, such as piping plovers, red wolves or red-cockaded woodpeckers that garner so much attention in North Carolina. The presenters at the workshop shined a light on rare plants, aquatic species, bats, herps, threatened and endangered species regulations and initiatives and the Safe Harbor Program.
The weather was perfect and the backdrop for the workshop was ideal. There was an array of attendees, with sixteen different wildlife agencies, institutions and programs represented at the event. This diversity made for great discussion and networking opportunities. The chapter’s professional development committee will be conducting two more T&E workshops in the mountain and coastal regions in the coming years. These workshops provide an ideal chance to meet new people in the wildlife field, gain knowledge, share ideas and pick up continuing education units in the process.
This workshop would not have been possible without all the presenters carving out time from their busy schedules. The chapter extends its sincerest thanks to the following: Pete Benjamin, Susan Miller and Sarah McRae (USFWS); Will Ricks (Duke Energy); Jeff Hall (NCWRC); Dr. Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell (UNCG); and Bruce Sorrie (UNC Chapel Hill Herbarium). Special thanks to the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve for hosting the event and to John McAllister from the Ft. Bragg Endangered Species Branch for presenting and leading the group field trip.
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