The Final Countdown

December 14, 2017

1: Longleaf pine at Flower Hill Nature Preserve

In April of 2014 I met Walt out at Temple Flat Rock in eastern Wake County on my first day as Stewardship Technician at TLC. Shortly after we arrived, a few vans carrying students from Raleigh Charter High School came rolling in to learn about the unique ecology of the property then spend a few hours helping remove invasive and competitive plants throughout the grassland restoration area. It was a unique introduction into the world of land conservation and Triangle Land Conservancy and one I won’t ever forget. Since then, I’ve worked with countless volunteers on dozens of projects across TLC’s 6 county reach. While I truly enjoy my job here at TLC, I write this blog to say thank you, and goodbye as I continue on to another pathway in my career.

2: Prescribed fire at Horton Grove Nature Preserve

The past three and a half years have been a strong period of growth at TLC. We’ve doubled the amount of trail we have open to the public, and grew from 6 to 7 preserves with the opening of Brumley in April. More work than can be described has happened out at Walnut Hill in preparation for becoming TLC’s 8th preserve sometime in the next few years. It brings me great pride to know the work I’ve done is being enjoyed every day by the visitors to our preserves and the lucky classes and groups that use TLC properties for outdoor education.

3: Newly constructed bridge on Robin’s Trail at Johnston Mill Nature Preserve

Most importantly, I want to say thank you to all supporters and especially the volunteers I’ve worked side by side with since day one, especially the volunteers of TLC’s Conservation Corps. They get loads of work done week after week, and have tons of fun doing it. They’re entertaining to hang around with, even though they most enjoy joking around mostly at my expense. The Conservation Corps and newly formed “Nut Heads” at Walnut Hill have put in just shy of 1,000 hours of volunteering in 2017. TLC is truly blessed with such great volunteers. Thank you to each and every one of you and good luck moving forward with work all across TLC’s land.

4: Neuse River Cypress Swamp, Smithfield, NC

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season, and I hope to see you out on the trails in the future. This is the 36th and my final edition of The Dirt-Tales from the Field. I’m grateful to everyone who has supported, volunteered, and worked beside me. I learned so much and laughed even more, had good cheers and even better beers, so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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