It has been at least a decade since McLean Savanna has been burned, which is a problem for the fire-dependent plants such as Venus flytraps that live there. That long fire interval ended this winter, when The Nature Conservancy conducted its first controlled burn in the Pender County preserve. Conservancy staff will conduct a guided hike of the savanna on May 10 to give the public a firsthand look at the burn effects.
The preserve is home to seven rare plant species, including three – Cooley’s meadowrue, golden sedge and rough leaf loosestrife – that are classified as federally endangered. After the burns this winter, more may be discovered. Because access is across private property, the savanna is usually closed to the public.
Savannas are flat, grassy expanses with a shallow water table below ground and are kept open by frequent fires. McLean Savanna is one of several savannas scattered throughout the Onslow Bight, a southeastern North Carolina landscape that extends from the lower Northeast Cape Fear River to the Pamlico River. The word “bight” means a curve or bend in the shoreline. Plants found in the savannas are limited to a narrow range of moisture, soil chemistry and fire conditions. The Conservancy began its protection work in the area in 1982 with its purchase of Neck Savanna in Pender County.
HIKE DETAILS: The hike begins at 2 p.m. Because of the sensitive nature of the site, hikers should contact Debbie Crane (919) 794-4373 for directions. The hike is over flat area and is not particularly strenuous. Hikers should wear sturdy shoes and bring sunscreen and insect repellant.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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