This fall, students from Appalachian State University and UNC-Chapel Hill worked in Nags Head Woods Preserve for two days clearing fire breaks. Fire breaks are natural or constructed barriers that are used to stop or check fires, or to provide a control line from which to work. Nags Head Woods will conduct a controlled burn later this fall, to reduce the flammable forest material that could contribute to a large wildfire that could threaten surrounding property and lives. The fire breaks were cleared of all vegetation and leaf litter, down to the bare soil, which will act as a barrier to fire.
Students learned about wildland firefighting, the importance of controlled burns, and the urban/wildland interface that is present here in nags head woods. It was a memorable two days and Nags Head Woods Preserve staff appreciated all the help from both groups!
For more information about controlled burning in North Carolina:
The Outer Banks has some exceptional residents. Here are the co-owners of the Outer Banks Brew Station, Tina and Eric, with their trio of children. They came and worked in the preserve pulling invasive plants, and collecting seed from native plants. They also ran into a beautiful Hognose snake that was playing dead - check out it’s mouth wide open! An amazing defense strategy!
Nags Head Woods Preserve was the location of the most recent TNC North Carolina board meeting this past September. TNC staff’s hard work coupled with enthusiastic participation from the NC Board of Trustees made the event a success. Here is a picture of the office all lit up. Too bad we were having too much fun to take any more pictures!
This is the Etheridge family cemetery. Its is an historical piece of the outer banks, and still stands amongst some of the oldest Loblolly pines and Cedar trees in Nags Head Woods. Some of the grave markers go back to the 1700s.
Ron Stewart, a retired Army officer from Williamsburg, VA stands next to one of the Etheridge family markers. Ron and his wife and friends have been making a hobby locating historical cemeteries around the country.
We thank them for checking in with us at the office first before trying to locate this one. Not only were we able to accompany them and save them time, we kept the off trail hiking to a minimum which is important for protecting the maritime forest habitat.
Today members of Monarch NC came to weed the butterfly garden, and we found an array of caterpillars on many of the plants. These were the main type of caterpillar, and they were found on joe-pye weed, muscadine vine and false sunflower (pictured here). They may be army worms which are the catepillars of the moth S. frugiperda. If anyone has any info let us know!
Did you know? Nags Head Woods is a mid-atlantic maritimedeciduousforest, and this type of forest only occurs in three locations along the eastern United States; Buxton Woods, Kitty Hawk Woods and Nags Head Woods. However, the forest in Nags Head Woods is much more developed than its counterparts, with 550 reported plant species, the highest number of breeding birds, and the most species rich mammal and reptile/amphibian community on the outer banks. Come and hike our over 6 miles of hiking trails and see for yourself!
Welcome to the Nags Head Woods Preserve blog! This is the location for all the latest happenings within the preserve and surrounding area. This blog will focus on interesting stories and events about the ecology of the maritime forest, our partnerships and research projects. For other information such as directions to the preserve or a map of our trails, please check out our website here: www.nature.org/nhw.
Thanks and enjoy the Jack-in-the-Pulpit picture by Aaron McCall, taken this spring in nags head woods.