Save Our sandhills
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President Joe McDonald conducts a meeting
President Joe McDonald conducts a meeting


April 27, 2017 – THE CRISIS FACING HONEYBEES AND OTHER POLLINATORS:  What Every Citizen Needs to Know
Preston Peck is Policy Director of Toxic Free NC, a statewide nonprofit, founded in 1986, that is based in Raleigh.  Pollinators are responsible for helping 80% of the world’s flowering plants reproduce, including one-third of all agricultural crops.  They provide food both for us and for wildlife.  Yet, they are declining at an alarming rate – 44.1% last year.  Preston showed the 2016 national tour documentary Keep the Hives Alive, discussed pollinator protection efforts in NC — including bill HB 363 introduced last month in the NC legislature, and had a community discussion about what else should be done.

January 26, 2017 – Red Wolves:  Should They Have a Place in Our Ecosystem Today?
Christian Hunt, Program Associate for Defenders of Wildlife, holds a J.D. degree, and has studied environmental law, with an emphasis on climate change and the law, the Endangered Species Act, and habitat connectivity. The red wolf, which had been extirpated from North Carolina by the mid-1860’s, has been reintroduced into both the Great Smoky Mountains and the coastal area; the former attempt was unsuccessful, and the latter is still ongoing.  A great deal of controversy has been associated with this reintroduction.  The red wolves are classified as “Critically Endangered,” and the question remains as to whether they are needed to balance the longleaf forests over which they were once the region’s apex predator.

October 30, 2016 -- “Restoring Nature’s Relationships at Home”
Dr. Douglas Tallamy, nationally-known and respected speaker and author of Bringing Nature Home, explained what is needed to make our landscapes part of a functioning ecosystem that benefits wildlife and enhances our environment.  Presented by the Village of Pinehurst Greenway Wildlife Habitat Committee and Save Our Sandhills at the Pinehurst Fair Barn.  Included author “meet and greet” and book signing.

July 28, 2016 – American Indians of the Sandhills Region
Rockingham attorney Alden B. Webb, who has long had a personal interest in American Indians and has participated in archeological excavations in Richmond and Anson counties, discussed “The Significance of South Central North Carolina and the Sandhills to the Cultural Traditions of the American Indian.”

January 28, 2016 – “Our Disappearing Amphibians”
Wake County teenager Rachel Hopkins, the 2013 Governor’s Youth Conservationist of the Year, has worked tirelessly to raise awareness for the plight of amphibians, presented a program on the current status and future projections for North Carolina’s species.  Jeff Beane, Herpetology Collections Manager for NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, joined her.

October 29, 2015 – “Wetlands”
The staff from Dr. J.H. Carter III & Associates, Inc. an environmental consulting firm located in Southern Pines, shed light on how wetlands work, and their real value for all of us.  Rules and laws regarding wetlands have changed continuously over the last two decades.  Landowners, scientists, and elected officials often get frustrated for different reasons.

July 30, 2015 – “Honeybees and Pollinators:  Modern Threats:
SOS Secretary Ruth Stolting has been a beekeeper for 16 years.  She has studied honeybees, and has given talks on them to various groups.  Healthy insects are essential for the survival of many wildlife species.  Nevertheless, honeybees and other pollinators are in tremendous decline.  Not only was their importance discussed, but also theories for their die-offs, and what can be done about it.

April 30, 2015 — “The Sandhills Game Land
Lincoln Sadler, Technician Team Leader on the Game Land staff, shared his knowledge of the Sandhills Game Land, considered to be the last great bastion of the longleaf pine ecological system remaining in the Sandhills of North Carolina that is dedicated primarily to wildlife conservation.  Located in Moore, Richmond, and Scotland counties, the Game Land consists of approximately 63,000 acres and is managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

January 29, 2015 – “Coyotes in the Sandhills” 
Dr. Colter Chitwood, along with colleagues, has been conducting extensive studies of coyotes on the Fort Bragg Military Reservation.   Coyotes can now be found in all 100 of North Carolina’s counties, and Dr. Chitwood discussed their impact in the local Sandhills area as well as North Carolina and its surrounding states.

October 30, 2014 – “Snakes of the Sandhills”
Jeff Beane, Herpetology Collections Manager for NC State Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, is currently doing research to gather basic natural history data on the southern hognose snake, northern pine snake, eastern coachwhip, and other declining Sandhills species.  With an extensive knowledge of North Carolina’s snakes, a fine sense of detail, and storytelling abilities, this was a fascinating presentation.

July 31, 2014 – “Eating Wild”
Terry Sharpe, a wildlife biologist and forester, who spent 30 years working with the NC Wildlife Commission, described the joys of reconnecting with a more natural way of life.  Considering the great outdoors to be one big dinner plate, he discussed favorites on his menu, provided guidelines on finding and preparing them, and brought samples to taste.

April 24, 2014 – “Herbal Medicines of Native Americans and Their Significance in the Health and Wellness of Frontier Settlers”|
Brenda Quinones, a Moore County Master Gardener Volunteer, has studied her Hispanic and Native American roots in order to reconnect with her ancestors’ healing knowledge.  The audience gained knowledge of the herbal remedies of its forefathers, but it gained knowledge of present day natural remedies for health and wellness.

March 25, 2014 – “Cautionary Tales from Communities Impacted by Fracking”
SOS, Frack Free NC, and Clean Water for NC hosted Karen Feridun, Jill Wiener, and Robert Nehman, dynamic speakers who have experienced first-hand the effects of fracking in their home states of PA, NY, and IA, respectively.  They discussed how their lives were turned upside down because of fracking, and how we can best prevent fracking from coming to our state.

October 31, 2013 – “Cougars in North Carolina.”
SOS President Joe McDonald has collected information on the Eastern Cougar for many years.  After being hunted down relentlessly in the eastern United States, the cougar was declared extinct in 2011.  Nevertheless, numerous alleged sightings continue to mount.  Despite skepticism, physical evidence of wild, free ranging cougars in eastern states – including North Carolina – continues to emerge.

July 25, 2013 – “The Civil War Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads, Fought in the Sandhills”
SOS President Joe McDonald, born in a house on Bethesda Road near Southern Pines that was built by an ancestor during the Revolutionary War and was visited by Union troops on their way to Monroe’s Crossroads, has had a lifelong interest in local history.  McDonald described the “cast of characters,” set the scene for the battle and subsequent events, and showed how the natural Sandhills environment affected the outcome.  Monroe’s Crossroads was one of the last great battles of the Civil War, having seen some of the most intense combat of the entire war.

April 25, 2013 – “An Update on Fracking:  Where We Are Today”
James Robinson, Research and Policy Associate of the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) offered a brief overview of fracking (hydraulic fracturing), and detailed North Carolina’s shale gas basin and leasing history.  He then discussed the current law and existing bills on hydraulic fracturing:  SL2012-143 and SB76.  Next, he explained the current state of the Mining and Energy Commission’s (MEC) rule-making process, as well as the current state of the Compulsory Pooling Study Group process.  Finally, he explained how to get involved in the MEC process.

January 31, 2013 –”The Walthour-Moss Foundation – An Environmental Treasure”
Dominick Pagnotta, Secretary for the Walthour-Moss Foundation Board of Directors, explained why the 4,052 acres of longleaf pine forest that comprise the Walthour-Moss foundation lands are such a unique entity for all those in the Sandhills.  His talk included information on the early settlement of the Southern Pines area, with its foray into timbering and naval stores; the Boyd family’s interest in preservation and country sport; the Moss family’s interest in philanthropy; and the Foundation’s legacy of preservation and support of community.

October 25, 2012 – Forum on Moore County’s Land Use Plan
Forum:  “Revising the Moore County Land Use Plan – A Vision for Moore County’s Future.”  Panelists Pat Corso, Executive Director, Partners in Progress and attorney Marsh Smith responded to “What should the county look like in the next two or three decades?”  Each panelist brought different visionary ideas to this forum.

July 26, 2012 – Plan Before You Pave
Ellen Marcus, the candidate running against current Moore County Commissioner Nick Picerno, discussed her campaign platform from the standpoint of natural resource related issues that include the county land use plan update, development ordinances, and the county water and sewer plan.  No local governmental body has a greater power to determine the fate of our forests, streams, and wildlife than the Board of Commissioners, and Marcus believes that Moore County has reached an important crossroads in planning for its future.

April 26, 2012 – Moore County Environmental Issues:  Past, Present, and Future
Moore County Commissioner Nick Picerno addressed topics such as the Pine Forest zoning process, the new Unified Development Ordinance, the county Transportation Plan, water options, and fracking.  Questions were welcomed on these and other topics.  Dialogue with our elected officials is crucial.  While we depend on the world for sustenance and welfare, attitudes toward the environment have become more polarized in recent years.  Therefore, mutual understanding at the local level is crucial to the fate of our forests, streams, and wildlife.

January 26, 2012 – About the Green Growth Toolbox
Brenda Johnson discussed the NC Wildlife Resources Commission program “Green Growth Toolbox,” a nature-friendly way of developing communities.  This program partners with other nonprofits, local government planners and decision makers in order to support healthy ecosystems and a high quality of life.

November 10, 2011 – A First-Hand Look At Fracking.
Carol French and Carolyn Knapp, landowners in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale area and founders of PA Landowners’ Group for Awareness and Solutions, provided firsthand experience with fracking.  Hope Taylor, Executive Director of Clean Water for NC, provided background information.

October 27, 2011 – Natural Gas and Fracking in NC.
Jim Dougherty – Executive Director of the Regional Land Use Advisory Commission (RLUAC).  He described the harmful impacts of light pollution on the environment and illustrated measures that both governments and individuals can take to help reverse this growing problem.

July 28, 2011 – Natural Gas and Fracking in NC.
Instead of having a solitary speaker, we hosted an open Q&A panel discussion that features Senator Harris Blake and Rep. Jamie Boles explained their position to endorse NC Senate Bill 709.  Unbiased experts helped provide a balanced discussion and insight into related issues.

April 28, 2011 – The Unforeseen

Instead of having a regular speaker, we showed the movie The Unforeseen.  A DVD documentary, The Unforeseen is both shocking and breathtaking.   Produced by Terrence Malick and Robert Redford, this film depicts the transformation of thousands of acres of pristine hill country in Austin, Texas, into suburban development by an ambitious real estate developer.  In the process, a nearby natural spring is threatened, community conflict ensues, land is devastated, and lives are ruined.  This same struggle is playing out in cities and towns across the United States, including Moore County.

January 27, 2011 – Endangered and Rare Flora and Fauna on Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall
Beth Evans
- Certified Wildlife Biologist on Fort Bragg.  Evans identified numerous rare and endangered species, and discussed their survival requirements and efforts to manage their habitats.

October 28, 2010 – The Best Kept Secrets in the Sandhills: The Work of the Sandhills Area Land Trust--Past, Present, and Future
Candace Williams - Executive Director of the Sandhills Area Land Trust (SALT). SALT has recently been credited with protecting more than 10,000 acres of land in the Sandhills. Williams discussed SALT's wide-reaching accomplishments, as well as some sizeable projects planned for the future.

July 29, 2010 – Fort Bragg's Commitment to Conservation and Wildlife Management
Alan Schultz - Chief of the Fort Bragg Wildlife Branch, Schultz spoke about Fort Bragg's commitment to conservation and wildlife management, and the symbiotic relationships formed to benefit humans, plants, and wildlife.

April 29, 2010 – What the New Wildlife Friendly Development Certification Program Is All About
Vann Stancil - In the last 10 years, North Carolina has lost more acres to development than any other state. As Special Project Coordinator with NC Wildlife Resources Commission's Division of Inland Fisheries, Vann Stancil explained how this new program will offer certification for developments that help ensure protection of wildlife and that can minimize environmental impacts.

January 28, 2010 -- "Insects and Habitats That Are Of Special Conservation Concern In The North Carolina Sandhills"
Dr. Stephen Hall -- An Invertebrate Zoologist with the NC Natural Heritage Program, he explained how scientists try to preserve rare and threatened species of insects and how they gauge the ecological integrity of the habitats of specific insects. Destruction of habitat is cause for alarm since, as plants and insects disappear, local wildlife populations are compromised.

October 29, 2009 -- "More people, same land ... What are we going to do?"
Craven Hudson -- Moore County’s Extension Director since 2005, Hudson discussed state level trends in growth and natural resource protection.  He then focused primarily on what has happened, what is happening, and what may take place in the future within Moore County.  Hudson’s background in forestry, natural resources, agriculture, and NC Cooperative Extension gives him a unique perspective in which to consider the effects of burgeoning population growth.

July 30, 2009  --Water, A Valuable Resource in the 21st Century – Does North Carolina Need a Plan?
Bill Holman  - Guest speaker Bill Holman has impeccable credentials in environmental service.  He was Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Sciences (DENR), past Executive Director of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF), and is now currently working with Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Holman is coauthor with Richard Whisnant of a study that has been commissioned by the NC legislature to identify steps that lawmakers should take to better manage water resources and to avoid shortages.  They made recommendations to the 2009 General Assembly.  Senate bill 907 and House version 1101 of the Water Resources Policy Act will be carried over until the 2010 legislative session.

April 30, 2009 – North Carolina’s Plant Conservation Program
Rob EvansResponsible for all aspects of the program’s efforts to conserve the imperiled plants of North Carolina, and with impressive credentials in plant conservation as well as land and forest management, Evans discussed all aspects of the state’s role in trying to preserve unique plants as the state’s open lands disappear at an astounding rate.

January 29, 2009 – Preservation of the Sandhills
Ray Owen
– Past president of the Moore County Historical Association, Owen focused on the work of preservationist Helen Boyd Dull and her dedication in saving the BoydRound Timber Tract, not only the largest surviving vestige of original longleaf pine forest in the United States, but a tract with pines dating back as much as 460 years.

September 5, 2007 – Drowning Creek/Lumber River Presentation
John Memory – with a background in environmental law and being a native of Wagram, NC, Memory gave an insightful look at this area’s high water quality, and its value as a scenic state park with the best canoeing in North Carolina.  His main precepts were as follows.  1. In a drought stage, if too much effluent is used in wastewater systems, there is not enough oxygen for fish.  2. A reservoir will not solve the water shortage problems.  3. Droughts are becoming more frequent as a result of global warming, and therefore, pumping more water from rivers is less feasible, 4. Timbering causes runoff in swamps.

July 25, 2007 – Moore County Water Presentations
Tom Blue – A professional engineer and surveyor, Blue spoke about the problems that can take place with development in terms of storm management, surface water supply, and stream and aquifer recharge.  He also provided SOS with practical points to follow up concerning watersheds and wells, as well as stormwater management and wastewater treatment plants.
Marsh Smith – A lawyer who specializes in environmental and conservation issues, Smith suggested that future waterlines will fuel the already alarming rate of conversion of farmland into developments.  He also felt that it is crucial to educate people to conserve water.

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Contact Information

Joe McDonald

Vice President
Acting Treasurer
Robert Stolting

Ruth Stolting


Save Our Sandhills, Inc.
P.O. Box 893
Pinehurst, NC 28370-0893


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