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Welcome Home to Where Conservation Began!

To every friend of soils, water quality and conservation work, from lands far and near, we are so excited to introduce you to the state where Soil Conservation began, with some of the most welcoming folks around.

Here in North Carolina, we want all soil conservationists to feel right at home. After all, this is the birthplace of the Father of Soil Conservation, Dr. Hugh Hammond Bennett. If you have any questions about North Carolina, the SWCS HHB Chapter, or the location and home site of Hugh Hammond Bennett, just ask a local chapter member. We simply LOVE to talk about our legacy and our state.

North Carolina is a fabulous state and we hope you will visit on many occasions. There are many facts that you may, or may not, know about North Carolina.

Facts that you may know about North Carolina: Mount Mitchell is the highest peak in the eastern United States. North Carolina ranks number one in production of tobacco and in sweet potatoes. Looking at a map, you may guess that there are more than 300 miles of shoreline on North Carolina’s coast, more than any other state on the East Coast. We are number one in solar power for the southern states, and number four nationwide. Movies and TV shows filmed in North Carolina include Iron Man 3, The Last of the Mohicans, Dirty Dancing, and Homeland. The coastal city of Wilmington, known as Hollywood East, has 400 plus film credits to its name.

There are 10 million people who call North Carolina home. These rural and urban citizens help support our strongly balanced economy of agriculture and business. North Carolina is a leader in higher education in both the public and private sector. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T provide an excellent foundation for our conservation, forestry, and agricultural studies. Duke University is a leader in graduate school research covering environmental management and natural resources. You can get a touch of our rich historical legacy by visiting the outdoor drama Unto These Hills, depicting the history our Native Americans and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. Closer by, you can visit where the civil rights sit-in movement began at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro. Or continue east to discover the Lost Colony, a summer outdoor theater drama in Manteo, reenacting the first English settlement in the New World.

Western North Carolina boasts Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, two of the most-visited attractions in the National Park System. If you go east, visit Cape Hatteras, which was America’s first national seashore. Don’t forget to see the wild horses on Shackleford Banks near Morehead City and Atlantic Beach. North Carolina is also home to four national forests, and more than 40 state parks where you can camp, kayak, hike, fish, picnic, and more.

However, you may not know about these lesser known facts: Our North Carolina mountains are home to more species of salamanders than any other place in the world. In addition, the Great Smoky Mountains boast more than 1,400 varieties of flowering plants and 100 species of trees (more species of trees than the whole of Europe). The Venus Fly Trap is only found in a 50-mile radius from Wilmington. The Uwarrhie Mountains are the oldest mountain range in North America. Transylvania County has more waterfalls than any county east of the Mississippi.

Everyone knows of the most famous privately-owned home in America, Biltmore Estates, but did you know that its gardens have 75 acres of natural beauty with walking trails, a conservatory, elegant fountains and grape-covered arbors? By the way, North Carolina is the birthplace of Forest Conservation in America. In 1898, Carl Schenck started the first school of forestry, the Biltmore Forest School near Asheville. And a bit more important to some of us - North Carolina has 448 soils series and Cecil is our official state soil.

Famous folks from North Carolina are too numerous to list, but include Dr. Billy Graham, Andy Griffith, Dr. Hugh Hammond Bennett, Ava Gardner, Sugar Ray Leonard, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and NASCAR greats Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. We have a rich music heritage from every genre with famous musicians including Doc Watson, Roberta Flack, Thelonius Monk, Eric Church and Scotty McCreery to name a few. Furniture industry leaders visit North Carolina twice annually to preview the latest home furnishings at High Point Market in the Hickory and High Point areas.

If you visit, I hope you enjoy your time here in North Carolina. Members of the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter are here to welcome you in Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other natural resource fields of work across North Carolina. If you are in the Raleigh Area look me up…. I want to meet everyone who loves soils, far and near.

Dale Threatt-Taylor, President

Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter

SWCS Southeast Regional Director

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