US Fish & Wildlife Service logo
Southeast Region US Fish & Wildlife Service header

 













Community Plants Final Trees of the Millennium Forest on Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 7, 2004

Contact:
Elsie Davis, 404/679-7107

 

Artists, students, environmentalists, refuge personnel, and politicians united today to plant the final trees of the Millennium Forest on Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (PLNWR) in Columbia, North Carolina. The final Atlantic White Cedar (AWC) was planted in the Millennium Forest by Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr. More than 300 students from Tyrrell County Public Schools began planting the last of the 1,000 trees before the 10 a.m. commemoration.

AWC, also called “juniper,” is considered a globally threatened plant community by The Nature Conservancy. This forest restoration project was designed to engage the community in the restoration and conservation of AWC. The project brings together the arts, culture, and the environment. The forest was designed by Eastern Carolina University faculty and modeled after the 7,000 Oaks forest in urban Germany by Joseph Beuys, German environmental artist.

“Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge has always been very special to me,” said Congressman Jones. “Because of the leadership in the community, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the local schools and Ms. Feather Phillips, we have this wonderful project.”

“The local leadership, the schools and the federal government are working together and the future is bright,” said Jones. “What happens today is going to create opportunities for tomorrow,” he said. “To the students, what you are doing will be remembered in the future,” continued Jones. “When we, you and I, give back to the soil, we are giving back to the future of Tyrrell County.”

It was Feather Phillips, Executive Director of Pocosin Arts, who came up with the ideal and was the energy behind the project which began in 2000 to mark the beginning of the millennium.

“Feather has been the champion of the 7,000 Juniper project,” said Howard Phillips, PLNWR Refuge Manager. “She had a vision of bringing the arts, culture and the environment together in a community project” said Phillips. The Millennium Forest is that project.”

“Shortly after Pocosin Arts opened in 1996, we began thinking about planning an event to celebrate the new millennium,” said Ms. Phillips. “The Pocosin wilderness is our home and what a better way to mark the Millennium than by working with large numbers of people in a creative act to help restore the integrity of our home,” said Phillips.

Columbia high school student Rodrigo Ruiz voiced the feelings of the students when he said “The closer we are to Mother Nature, the closer we are to ourselves. Life is nature. Nature is life.”

“Eastern North Carolina is a special place,” said Bud Oliveria, Deputy Chief, Refuges for the Southeast Region, Atlanta, Georgia. “Here, you have realized the interconnections between your culture, the arts, and the environment,” he said. “It is partnership approaches like the one we are celebrating today that will ensure that we conserve both our natural, artistic and cultural heritage for generations to come.”

To celebrate life and to give back to the area the Carolina Raptor Society released a bald eagle that had been found in the area and nursed back to health at the center.

“The journey of this eagle has been like the Millennium Forest, both have had a lot of hands on it in order for it to have a successful outcome,” said Alan Barnhardt, Executive Director, Carolina Raptor Society. “Raptors are an indicator of a healthy environment and I know this eagle will continue to be a part of the future of this forest.”

Currently visitors to the welcome center at PLNWR the “Walter B. Jones Center for the Sounds,” will be treated to an exhibit on the AWC and Millennium Forest project. This event was a capstone to the Refuge System Centennial and the exhibit will be one of the featured projects this summer at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., in July.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


Alan Barnhardt, Exec Dir - Carolina Raptor Center releases a juvenile bald eagle back to the wild that was rehabiliated by Mark Ansley of the Eastern Wildlife Center.
Alan Barnhardt, Exec Dir - Carolina Raptor Center releases a juvenile bald eagle back to the wild that was rehabiliated by Mark Ansley of the Eastern Wildlife Center.
Columbia High School students, Maggie Hill and Justin McClees, plant trees in the Millennium Forest.
Columbia High School students, Maggie Hill and Justin McClees, plant trees in the Millennium Forest.

Congressman Walter B. Jones Jr. plants the last tree with Pocosin Lakes NWR staffperson David Patrick.
Congressman Walter B. Jones Jr. plants the last tree with Pocosin Lakes NWR staffperson David Patrick.

 

 


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.



NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.

Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286


Graphic for Clickable Items Click for Privacy Statement Click here for Freedom of Information Act Statement Click here for Disclaimer Statement Click here to Contact the Southeast Region Click here for Sitemap Click here for the Search Engine for US Fish and Wildlife Service Click here for the Regions in the US Fish and Wildlife Service