ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION:


BEAVER POND:

www.bear-tracker.com/beaver.html

www.dfr.state.nc.us/stewardship/wwwildlife/www23.htm

www.ncwildlife.org/pg07_WildlifeSpeciesCon/pg7flfl.htm

http://wildwnc.org/natnotes/returnofthebeaver.html

www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/nwrc/is/living/beavers.pdf


LAKE:

The Audubon Society Nature Guides: Wetlands by William A. Niering


MESIC WOODLANDS:

​www.natureserve.org/explorer/

www.bio.unc.edu/faculty/peet/lab/CVS/pubs/cp.gd.doc


LONGLEAF PINE FOREST:

www.natureserve.org/explorer/

www.bio.unc.edu/faculty/peet/lab/CVS/pubs/cp.gd.doc


WILDLIFE FOOD PLOT:

www.ncwildlife.org/pg07_WildlifeSpeciesCon/pg7fla.htm

www.ces.ncsu.edu/nreos/wild/wildlife/habitat/


INVASIVE PLANTS:

www.invasive.org

www.naturalsciences.org/conservation/invasives/

http://nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/

www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/geog/state/nc.shtml

www.weedcenter.org

www.nps.gove/plants/alien


THINGS THAT BITE:

www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/edmats.htm

www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/mosquito.htm

www.naturalsciences.org/conservation/invasives/mosquito.htm

http://ipm.ncsu.edu/AG369/

www.ces.ncsu.edu/gaston/Pests/ticks.html

www.safe2use.com/pests/fireants/factoids.htm

http://kidshealth.org


MARSH:

The Audubon Society Nature Guides: Wetlands by William A. Niering


ENDANGERED SPECIES:

http://nc-es.fws.gov/es/es.html

www.bragg.army.mil/esb/

www.ncwildlife.org/fs_index_07_conservation.htm

www.fws.gov/rcwrecovery/

www.endangeredspecie.com/

www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/map.html












WILDLIFE FOOD PLOT:

Wildlife openings are an important component of wildlife habitat because they provide diversity in the forest.  All species require areas for feeding, nesting, escape, resting, breeding and raising young.  A single habitat type may meet one or two of those needs but usually not all.  One of the most important attributes of several habitat types located adjacent to each other are the transitional areas where two or more habitat come together.  It is along these edges that plant quantity and diversity are greatest.  These areas provide wildlife a variety of foods and covers close together with easy availability.  This "edge effect" is extremely important for wildlife species with small home ranges such as quail, rabbits and songbirds.


​However, these ideal habitat situations will not last forever.  Normal succession will result in woody vegetation and certain perennial grasses that will soon begin to eliminate many of the more valuable species.  It is therefore imperative that natural herbaceous openings be maintained.  In order for these areas to continue to produce new growth, which is the most nutritious and palatable, you must periodically remove the older growth and encroaching woody vegetation.  These areas may be maintained by mowing after nesting season, rising in late winter, prescribed burning in winter or a combination of these techniques.

  • ​Explain natural succession and the progression from old field to forest.
  • Watch for wildlife and birds moving around on the site, where are they located, what are they doing?
  • Look for places for wildlife to feed, nest escape, and rest.
  • Spend time in the wildlife opening and then in the forest.  Which area has more wildlife activity? Why?
  • Discuss differences between birds and mammals.
  • List methods of seed dispersal and state how each method aids the plant in reproduction.
  • Observe plants in and around the food plot.  Discuss how they are dispersed.
  • Discuss what different animals or birds do in the winter (migrate, hibernate or other).
  • ​What adaptations do plants have to survive winter?

BEAVER POND:

The beaver pond is located downstream of Hinson Lake.  The beavers have dammed up north prong of Falling Creek below the man-made dam.  Beavers construct dams on any flowing water to back up the water so that it becomes deep enough to swim in.  They also live on deeper lakes or rivers where they don't need to build dams.  Beavers either build a lodge of sticks and mud in their ponds or they can burrow into the high banks of streams or lakes. The beavers' most important role is in creating wetland habitat for other wildlife species.

  • List the variety of habitats and wildlife in the beaver pond.
  • How is each plant and animal adapted to living in a beaver pond?  Can they also live other places? Why?
  • ​Describe the life cycle of a beaver pond from initial damming of the stream to formation of open water.

MARSH:

The marsh area is located at the "upstream" end of the lake as well as in shallow areas along the lake shoreline.  Marshes, like beaver ponds, provide a variety of habitats for plants and wildlife to flourish.

  • Compare marsh habitat with beaver pond or lake.  How are they different and how are they similar?
  • ​List 5 different plants and animals that could be found here.
  • How are these plants and animals adapted to living in a marsh or wetland?
  • How does the water level affect the plants and animals that occur in a marsh or wetland?
  • ​Define and observe emergent plants, submerging plants and floating plants.

INTRODUCTION:

The Nona Lee "Pitt" Hinson Cohen Wildlife Conservation Area at Hinson Lake consists of a variety of habitats to explore.  These habitats include a beaver pond, lake, mesic woodlands, longleaf pine forest, marsh and wildlife opening.  All of these habitats provide an opportunity to learn more about the natural world.  Hiking trails wind their way throughout the Conservation Area allowing visitors to experience each habitat up close.  Interpretive signs are located along the  trails to highlight plants and animals that are likely to be seen while hiking on the trails.  This brochure provides information on what to expect on the trail, teaching points, as well as some additional sources of information for those who want to learn more about the natural world that surrounds us.

THINGS THAT BITE:

If you spend time outdoors, you will more than likely encounter "things that bite".  It is important to be aware of these insects and spiders and to protect yourself when spending time in the outdoors.  Some, such as fire ants and yellow jackets, can inflict a painful bite and may cause an allergic reaction.  Mosquitoes and ticks can carry disease.

  • Discuss how to avoid "things that bite" and what to do if you are bitten/stung.
  • Describe interactions between insect, spiders, and humans.
  • List the benefits of insects and spiders.
  • Define adaptation and discuss how different insects have adapted to their surroundings.
  • ​Search for insects and spiders in different habitats at Hinson Lake.

INVASIVE PLANTS:

Often called nonnative, exotic, alien or noxious weeds, these species occur as trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, ferns and forms.  Some have been introduced into this country accidentally, but most were brought here as ornamentals or for livestock forage.  These plants arrived without their natural predators of insects and diseases that keep native plants in a natural balance.  Invasive species increase across the landscape with little opposition, beyond the control measures applied by landowners and others.

  • Observe how invasive plants take over an area.
  • Discuss why invasive plants are a problem.
  • Discuss ways to keep them from spreading to other areas.
  • ​Explain how animals can also be considered "invasive".

LAKE:

Hinson Lake is the focal point of the Conservation Area and can be observed from a variety of locations along the trail.  Lakes are inland bodies of water, which may be either natural or man-made.  Hinson Lake is man-made.  Lakes supply fresh drinking water, irrigate fields, generate electricity, provide wildlife habitats and serve as recreational areas.  Just upstream from Hinson Lake is City Lake, a public water supply for the City.  The variety of plants and animals that occur in and around lakes is controlled by temperature, light, the amount of nutrients and the availability of oxygen.

  • Investigate the water cycle and watersheds.
  • Think of ways that humans can affect a watershed.
  • ​Think of ways that humans can protect a watershed.

ENDANGERED SPECIES:

Plants and animals hold medicinal, agricultural, ecological, commercial and aesthetic/recreational value.  Endangered species must be protected and saved so that future generations can experience their presence and value.  Each species plays an important role in an ecosystem or community.  When a species becomes endangered, something is out of balance.

  • Define extinction.
  • Diagram how various plants and animals are connected to each other and their community.
  • Discuss how the disappearance of one species can affect many others.
  • What things can we do to protect endangered species and their communities.

AREA INFORMATION:

The City of Rockingham is located in the Sandhills region of North Carolina.  The terrain in this area consists of gently rolling hills and narrow drainages, with elevations ranging from 250 to 550 feet above mean sea level.  Soils are generally loans and sands.  Rockingham is located within the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin.


Historically, uplands in the area were vegetated with the following natural community types Xeric Sandhill Scrub, Pine-Scrub Oak Sandhill and Mesic Pine Flatwoods communities.  Historically wetland communities included Streamed Pocosin, Sandhill Seep and Coastal Plain Small Stream Swamp.


Humans have impacted a majority of the natural communities in our area.

  • ​Introduce students to different kinds of maps (topographic, aerial photos, soils maps).
  • ​Explain the 4 different eco-regions of North Carolina and how they differ (Coastal Plain, Sandhills, Piedmont, Mountains).
  • ​Discuss natural community types and why different plants and animals occur in different areas.
  • Investigate river basins and watersheds.
  • ​Discuss how humans have impacted the natural environment.

MESIC WOODLAND:

A majority of the forest within the Conservation Area consists of Mesic Woodland.  Mesic Woodlands occur on lower slopes with moist soils.  Historically, these area had a canopy of longleaf pine with a hardwood understory and a diverse ground cover due to the moist soil.  In the absence of fire these areas have become dominated by loblolly pine and upland hardwood trees with a sparse to absent ground cover.

  • Define community.
  • Categorize plants into different levels in the community (canopy, sub canopy, understory, shrub layer and ground cover).
  • Discuss the difference between hardwoods and pines.
  • ​Look for animal tracks and signs.

LONGLEAF PINE FOREST:

This area is much drier than the Mesic Woodlands.  This is due to its topographic location (hilltops and upper slopes) and the sandier soils which do not hold much moisture.  This community type supports species that are adapted to the drier conditions including longleaf pine, scrub oaks and Carolina wiregrass.

  • Dig a hole to observe and study the soil.  Compare it to the soil near the lake.
  • Discuss prescribed fire and why it is important in these communities.
  • What adaptations have plants and animals made to survive fire?
  • Visit Hinson Lake and Sandhills Game Land to view burned and un-burned areas.
  • Devine diversity and count the number of plants present in each community.