- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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Outdoors

Field program held at the Highlands Biological Station

Environmental science major Erik Ahl, recipient of a new scholarship supporting the scholarly activities of Western Carolina University students at the Highlands Biological Station, says there is nothing he would rather do than catch snakes in and around the Highlands area.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to earn school credit than to be out in these beautiful areas catching and inventorying reptiles and amphibians for what will be the initial records for ongoing research,” said Ahl, a senior from Franklin.

Ahl worked during the fall semester as an intern with Jason Love, site manager at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Otto, assisting in the surveying of reptile and amphibian populations at several sites in Macon County. He is continuing that data collection this semester, as he completes work toward his bachelor’s degree.

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Thursday, March 3, marked the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) 86th anniversary. The ATC has been instrumental in managing and protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) since its inception and continues to work hard to protect these lands.

The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials who were working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. It is focused solely on preserving and managing the A.T. to ensure that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. The Trail’s national offices, with a visitors center open seven days a week, have been located in West Virginia near the Trail since 1972.

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Exotic invasive species of plants, animals, insects, diseases and other organisms are non-native species that harm the native ecosystem, throwing the inherent balance of nature into disarray. According to Land Trust for the Little Tennessee (LTLT) Land Steward Director Dennis Desmond, such species can have “substantial impacts on our nation’s ecology, economy, infrastructure and human health.”

To raise public awareness about the problem, the LTLT and the Friends of the Greenway (FROG) hosted an educational event March 2 at the Big Bear Playground alongside the Greenway. The public, along with students of every grade level from Macon County Public Schools, came to learn about the detriments of invasive vegetation and species.

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The wait is over. The 2011-12 State Transportation Map has officially arrived, and a free copy can be yours simply by contacting the N.C. Department of Transportation.

What is new and exciting about this year’s map? In addition to the features people have come to expect from the state map (a detailed representation of highways throughout the state, insets of major metropolitan areas, indexes of cities and towns), this new map highlights North Carolina’s natural beauty and the efforts under way across our state to preserve and protect its resources. Evidence of these initiatives can be seen first hand on North Carolina’s highways, from solar panels placed along the roadway shoulders to harness the power of the sun, to roadside crops of sunflowers and canola plants that will later be converted into biofuel.

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published: 10/18/2013
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