By: Katie Hall, Public Information Officer, North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation
When you close your eyes and think about North Carolina, what do you see? Do you imagine the mountains, the coast, the town or city you live in? Do you think of a scarlet Cardinal perched on a branch, your favorite lake reflecting the sky, the towering long leaf pine? The familiar poem “The Old North State” by Leonora Monteire Martin beautifully captures the importance that our natural environment has on the way we remember our state.
Here’s to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron roseate glows;
Where soars Mount Mitchell’s summit great,
In the “Land of the Sky,” in the “Old North State.”
Here’s to the land of the cotton blooms white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night.
Where soft Southern moss and Jessamine mate,
‘Near the murmering pines of the “Old North State.”
…Here’s to the land of the Long Leaf Pine,
The Summer Land, where the sun doth shine.
Where the weak grow strong, and the strong grow great–
Here’s to “Down Home,” the “Old North State.”
We know enough about the trees, plants, and animals across our state to be flush with pride about the natural environments that we have here in North Carolina. Still, there is so much we don’t know, especially about how many of different plants and animals we have in any one area, which are declining and how fast, and critical measures we could take to conserve them.
This is where the North Carolina Biodiversity Project comes in. Using its new website, nc-biodiversity.com, the public can contribute to successful conservation of these species and actively show their support for the preservation of the natural areas of our state.
The NC Biodiversity Project is compiling and sharing information about a multitude of species in our state. They want to know not only what we have, but how they are distributed throughout the state, what habitats they’ve come to depend upon, and their conservation status within our state’s ecosystems.
The new website provides a centralized set of links to each of the projects taxon-focused sites and checklists and websites of other groups that share similar goals. North Carolina State Parks own Tom Howard worked with Harry LeGrand to developed the impressive Butterflies of North Carolina website, an important component of the statewide database.
What you can do to help: Go to the taxonomic group on the biodiversity project website based on the species you believe you’ve found, whether you’re near your home or on vacation within North Carolina. On the webpage for each taxonomic group, you will see a menu item to “submit a public record” or “submit an entry.” This is where you can submit a record of where and when you saw the species, with an option to include a photo.
Your participation is important in building the database into the most complete library of species possible. New species will come to our state, and some species won’t stay. Through it all, you can be a part of something big.
If you have questions or comments for the North Carolina Biodiversity Project, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org.