Written by Karen Plaster and edited by Dakota Wagner
Editor’s Note: This event took place on October 14, 2023 thanks to the initiative of our Coastal Region members. We hope to continue gathering together in 2024. Do you have a project on your land to share or co-create with fellow ForestHers? Let us know if you want to host a gathering on your land and we can help make that happen!
ForestHer NC held our Coastal Regional Gathering on a rainy October day at Weyerhaeuser’s Cool Springs Environmental Education Center. The morning started with an informational walk-and-talk along a managed slash pine stand, where we then meandered by Swift Creek, passed by an abandoned farm field and ventured into a mature loblolly stand, ending up in a bottomland hardwood swamp. Craig Manzene, a forester with Weyerhaeuser, narrated the hike and spoke about the various ecotypes and their importance to a healthy forest ecosystem.
Following the walk, we gathered under the comfortable shelter of the outdoor classroom, where Janice Allen from Coastal Land Trust talked about the importance of protecting sensitive coastal forests like the one we just walked through. Indeed, Coastal Land Trust was instrumental in establishing Cool Springs and protecting it from future development. After explaining how land trusts operate, we divided into three groups where we role-played as landowner families or corporations and discussed the reasons for enrolling land into a conservation easement.
The final activity was presented by Weyerhaesur’s Cliff Tyson, where the focus was water quality. He discussed how proper forest management can keep our waterways healthy by reducing and slowing water runoff. He brought a variety of samples to show how sediment impacts water quality. He finished with samples of some interesting little critters that live in our coastal waters for us to investigate.
We finished the day with a delicious lunch provided by the local chapter of the Appalachian Society of American Foresters that included lots of networking, making new and renewing old friendships. We had hoped for some good kayaking, but afternoon thunderstorms had us put that off ‘till next time!