“I believe a city council member said ‘What about the opportunities for some hikes to show off the wildlife findings?’ so that kind of led to reaching out to the specialists who had surveyed the wildlife refuge over the last year,” Henry Parkman, attorney for Cartersville Ranch, LLC, said. “We teed it up and said when is the best time to see the birds and when is the best time to see the flowering of the native wildflowers and it turned out to be in April.”
The hikes, divided in two separate tours, are designed to focus on the flora and fauna within the easement’s boundaries. Specifically, one hike will be devoted to wildflowers while the other will be looking at bird species.
“The goal is to show why the property is deserving of being designated as a significant wildlife refuge,” Parkman said.
Scheduled for later in April, invitations have been sent to the Georgia Botanical Society, Georgia Native Plant Society and Atlanta Audubon Society.
“The upcoming field trips provide an opportunity to show others why the city designated the conservation easement as a significant wildlife refuge,” said Trish Sullivan, Euharlee city manager, in a news release. “People who are especially interested in native plants and birds will be able to see what a unique resource the Euharlee wildlife refuge is and why it should be preserved.”
The Euharlee City Council agreed that the hikes would be an excellent idea and expressed their support in February when Parkman presented the findings of the Cherokee Darter and other wildlife including the Georgia Aster during one of their meetings.
Continuing their commitment to minimize environmental impact as an anticipated result of the construction of the U.S. 411 Connector, the Coalition for the Right Road is set to participate in the adventures.
The flora focused hike is scheduled to be led by Jim Allison, the botanist who conducted surveys at the site on 12 different visits throughout 2011. According to the CORR, Allison will identify various butterflies and plants that are native to the area including a population of native orchids, a variety of spring wildflowers including blue-star, pussytoes, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, toothwort, green-and-gold, Quaker ladies, yellow stargrass, spring iris, violet wood-sorrel, five-fingers, Piedmont azalea, rue-anemone, bellwort and at least five species of violets (including bird’s-foot) along with other species.
The bird watching hike, to be led by Joshua Spence, will identify several nesting and migratory birds. Spence conducted 24 trips to the easement last year and identified 89 different types of birds including the Cerulean Warbler and bald eagles.
Cartersville Ranch is private property and participation will be limited.
“Logistics is one concern, you just can’t open it up to the world at large you have to prepare for who may be coming,” Parkman said. “Also, an equally important thing is the quality of the event. When you go in the forest it’s quiet and it has to be quiet to hear the birds. A lot of the birds are identified by their songs and it’s really to maintain the quality of the event for the participants. It’s a quiet endeavor and I think you lose that when you get above a certain number.”