Learn About North Carolina's Flora & Fauna

Falyn Owens, Extension Wildlife Biologist and Mike Campbell, Watchable Wildlife R3 Specialist, teach us where to go see wildlife and what types of public areas the Wildlife Resources Commission provide for us.

American alligators are an abundant feature at Lake Waccamaw State Park. These apex predators are beautiful wildlife to see while on your visit, but you must follow some rules to be safe around them, and keep the alligator safe as well. Let Ranger Toby explain some safety tips on how to enjoy the opportunity to see these awesome critters.

North Carolina is home to 37 different snake species. Do you know them all? Or how many/which ones are venomous? Knowing the difference is not as hard as you imagine. Ranger German provides an in-depth look at many North Carolina snake species. Knowing their differences, let’s you see there are no friend or foe snakes, just helps you understand these unique North Carolina residents.

Corn snakes are a native snake in North Carolina. Often mistaken for venomous cousins, Charlie the corn snake helps you learn about snakes; their differences, and other interesting facts. Let Medoc Mountain’s most colorful resident dispel the notion that snakes are bad, and are instead awesome!

Lake Waccamaw is a unique lake ecosystem in eastern North Carolina. Unlike other bay lakes in that it is creek-fed over a limestone bluff. This unique trait, creates a one-of-a kind environment that is home to several animal species found no where else.

Black bear, a mammal well-known throughout North America. They can be seen throughout North Carolina deep in the forest or hanging out in a trash can. The apex predator of the state. They are excellent climbers and swimmers. They have thick black fur and can be up to 6ft tall when standing. They eat almost anything. Their noses are stronger than a bloodhounds. With speeds reaching 25mph. These mammals/predators are known as black bear.

Tundra Swan are one of North America’s largest migratory birds. These arctic visitors vacation at Pettigrew State Park during the winter. Enjoying the calm waters of Lake Phelps and tasty food found in nearby farm fields, it’s easy to see why they come. Learn more about these large waterfowl and how you can see them yourself.

Conservation biologist Kimberly Smith shows us how to construct a wood duck box.

Ranger Katie Sanford at Dismal Swamp State Park teaches us how to identify animals by the clues they leave behind. 

How to check, maintain and replace wood duck boxes. Migratory Game Bird Coordinator Doug Howell with N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission shows us some of the wood duck boxes he maintains in Perquimans County.

There are several carnivorous plant species, but none as memorable as the Venus Flytrap. This beloved plant with it’s unique looking “mouth & teeth” is found naturally only in North & South Carolina. It evolved to get it’s nutrient’s from insects, because of the sandy nutrient-poor soil it calls home. Join us to learn more about the Venus Flytrap, it’s ecosystem & home at Lake Waccamaw.

Longleaf pine is an iconic tree in southeastern states of North America. Longleaf pine has a storied history in the United States for it’s role in ship-building, turpentine and other uses of it’s resin. Longleaf pine forests also play an important role in habitat for many endangered species of animals and plants, like the carnivorous venus flytrap. Learn more about efforts to reintroduce longleaf pine at Lake Waccamaw & throughout the southeast.

We went to Jockey’s Ridge State Park and met up with Ranger Austin Paul. He gives us an entry level lesson on how to identify birds of prey. Also known as Raptors.

If you want to catch more river trout, find out what they eat! In this video, Stone Mountain State Park Ranger, Michael Wood tells us how you can find macroinvertebrates and what type of macroinvertebrates river trout are eating.

Park Ranger Emily Bunyea teaches us all about the different species of owls that live in Merchants Millpond State park. This is the first of many nocturnal animals that Ranger Emily teaches us about. 

Medoc Mountain is an ancient jewel in the NC State Parks system. Not like most people imagine a mountain to be, Medoc takes looking at from the angle of history to understand this mountain of the coastal plain.

Follow along as we visit the Croatan National Forest to learn from Mike Campbell, Watchable Wildlife R3 Specialist and Falyn Owens, Extension Wildlife Biologist what estuaries are, why they are important and how the changing tides affect them. Did you know that 90% of the fish we eat here in NC use an estuary at some point in their life?

Can you tie more knots than just tying your shoes? Learn from Ranger Andy several knot types for load-bearing, fishing lines, tying anchors, rock climbing, joining ropes together and more.

Grandfather Mountain is a unique feature of North Carolina, it’s elevation affects the weather and creates it’s own ecosystem with rare plants & animal species. Visit with Ranger Andy to hear about the effects of the hydrosphere and atmosphere and how they interact to create a on-of-a-kind state park.

Jockey’s Ridge is one of the most visited state parks in North Carolina. It is considered the largest active, living sand dune on the east coast. Outdoor Heritage joined Park Superintendent Joy Greenwood and Park Ranger Austin Paul for an exclusive tour of the park.

We were able to go visit Stone Mountain State Park. Park Superintendent Jeffrey Jones tells us all about the park and some of the neat things you can do there. It is one of our state’s largest State Parks, and has deep history and interesting science. 

North Carolina State Parks Interpretation and Education Specialist, Randy Bechtel explains onion weathering and some of the minerals you can find at Stone Mountain State Park.

Join Ranger Clay on the water for a boat tour of Lake James. The beautiful, clear waters of the 6,812-acre lake offers boating, swimming and fishing. Lake James has boat-in campgrounds on the Long Arm Peninsula for a true outdoor adventure for those willing to paddle or steer to their own slice of heaven. Lake James also has 2 boat ramps and canoe, kayak and paddle board rentals are available during certain seasons.

Day hikes are a great way to trek through nature and find favorite places you haven’t seen yet! Lake James State Park Ranger Brian offers tips on what you need to do to be comfortable and prepared for hiking there or anywhere. 

The 2nd largest tree in North Carolina is in Merchants Millpond State Park. It’s between 700 and 1,400 years old! Park Ranger Jeffrey Turner takes us right next to it and teaches us about this incredible bald cypress tree.

Do you know what a prescribed fire is or why we do them? In this video Merchants Millpond Park Superintendent Steve Rogers and Park Ranger Jeffrey Turner teach us all about prescribed burns and how they manage wild fires. Park rangers have many jobs and soemtimes that includes fighting fires. 

Park Ranger Jeffrey Turner teaches us about Dendrology and some of the different tree species that live in Merchants Millpond State park. Dendrology is the study of trees. How many trees can you name? 

We were able to visit Cliffs of the Neuse State Park recently to see what it’s all about. Did you know the land park is on used to be a meeting ground for Native Americans in various tribes in the area? This park is packed with history and is a great place to take your family or a school field trip. Park Superintendent Eric Siratt and  Park Ranger Autumn Hamm, take us on a journey through Cliffs of the Neuse State Park! 

We recently visited Merchants Millpond State Park! We learned so much while we were there that we broke it up into several videos. In the below video we introduce you to some of the park rangers and show you what a park ranger does. Do you like being outside? Then you might enjoy being a park ranger!

Next, Park Ranger Emily Bunyea teaches us all about the nocturnal animals that live in Merchants Millpond State park. Nocturnal animals sleep during the day and are awake at night. Do you know of any nocturnal animals? 

In this video Park Ranger Emily Bunyea teaches us all about Chiroptera, also known as Bats! This time of year we tend to see lots of bats as decorations, but bats are around us all year long. 

In this video we take you out to Merchants Millpond State Park where Park Ranger Emily Bunyea teaches us all about the Box Turtle Connection.

We went out to Dismal Swamp State Park to show you some of the fun things available there. It’s such a unique park and a great place to take the family. Did you know that NASA came and studied their water because it was so clean? Watch Park Superintendent Adam and Ranger Katie share some of their favorite parts of the park!

We followed Michael and Cody Fulk on a dove hunt in Gold Hill, NC with their 2 year old son Boone. We learned why conservation is important and even how to clean a dove.

Virtual Tours & Virtual Learning

We have found that there are several free resources that encourage kids to go outside during this unprecedented time. Below are a few of the resources we think would be helpful as you an educator, that you can use in your in-person or virtual learning. 

  • The NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has an amazing resource for at-home learning, click here to visit their site. They have virtual tours from some amazing places across the state, distance learning lessons, blog posts and YouTube channels all right at this one page. 
  • You can explore Wilmington, the battleship and local beaches through this cool website! This lets you explore the Wilmington area from the sky or the ground, click here to check it out. 
  • You can tour NC Historic Sites from home with their new web page, click here to start your tours. 
  • Explore Asheville partnered with Google to create some amazing virtual tours! They went hiking and were able to capture more than 20 iconic hikes and destinations. Check out their tours and how they created it all by clicking here.