Spring is here and Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust is gearing up for a very full season of conserving our most treasured places! Because we believe an educated constituency makes for better stewards of our lands, an important part of our mission is education. That means lots of fun adventures are available for you this season. Our next one is just around the corner and you are invited to the official Grand Opening of the Nodding Trillium Garden, Pittillo Family Nature Preserve – a wildflower garden trail in Cullowhee on Wednesday, April 17.
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to explore this special trail with Dr. Pittillo and other experts on a FREE guided hike along the trail. Hikes will depart the trailhead at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and will take about an hour. This is an easy to moderate walk due to some incline on narrow forest trails. Directions can be found on HCLT’s website HERE. No reservations are required, and this will be a rain or shine event unless the weather is deemed dangerous for hiking.
Nodding Trillium Garden has one of the finest and most extensive collection of native spring wildflowers that can be found in the area! There are over 50 species of native wildflowers in the garden, including at least seven species of trillium. Many were put here by Dr. Dan Pittillo through his travels throughout the Southern Appalachians as he has conducted research and surveys, though some were naturally on the property. Nodding Trillium Garden has also been used in phenology studies to see the potential impacts of climate change on early blooming flowers.
Retired WCU professor, Dr. Dan Pittillo preserved his property with Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust several years ago in loving memory of his late wife, Jean. Over the past several years HCLT and their wonderful volunteers have helped expand his trail which Dr. Pittillo has opened for the public to enjoy.
While most of the properties HCLT conserves are private and not open to the public, they all have some sort of conservation value to the public such as protecting wildlife habitat, clean water, or rare species of plants. Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust often protects private lands through a legal instrument called a conservation easement where the land owner retains ownership of their property but donates some or all of their development rights. In some cases, HCLT also accept outright donations of land.
To learn more about this event or how you can become a member or donate your family land, contact Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-526-1111 and visit us online at www.hicasht.org. Together we are saving the places we all love and need.
Photo at the top of the article is by Mike Hunter.