Cape Fear Arch Conservation Collaboration (CFACC)
Fire in the Pines Festival 2017
By Mansfield Fisher, The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) along with partners, the North Carolina Forest Service and City of Wilmington, successfully completed the 4th Annual Fire in the Pines Festival on October 14th. We had another fun-filled festival with an estimated 5,000 attendees. The Fire in the Pines Festival is held in Wilmington and highlights the importance of prescribed fire in longleaf restoration. The festival targets elementary aged children and their parents. There is environmental education, many interactive booths, hayrides, music, face painting, crafts, fire equipment, food trucks, other entertainment, and a live controlled burn. Creating a positive perception of prescribed fire is critical to successfully restoring longleaf ecosystems in one of the fastest growing areas in the country, southeastern North Carolina. The public perception of prescribed fire was documented with a survey that attendees complete every year. These survey results were presented at the 2017 AFE International Fire Congress in Orlando, Florida.
This year, we expanded our outreach by hosting a field trip for two local elementary schools. TNC partnered with the NC Forest Service, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Coastal Land Trust, City of Wilmington, and the Cape Fear Museum to create a field day where students participated in hands-on activities related to longleaf restoration. They learned about the importance of prescribed fire related to plants, such as the Venus flytrap, and animals, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, and both the historical and ecological importance of the longleaf pine forest.
Students using a telescoping camera to check red-cockaded woodpecker cavities at the Fire in the Pines Field Day. Photo by Angie Carl.