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Imagine seeing 5,000 redhead ducks on one 300-acre impoundment or a dozen black bears on a single ride through forest roads. These sights are available to North Carolinians in what Mike Bryant calls “the hidden treasures” — the 11 National Wildlife Refuges in the state.
They span the length of North Carolina from Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge in Ashe County to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in the Outer Banks. And they harbor a wide range of species – from the mountain bog turtle to the American oystercatcher, from the tundra swan to the endangered red wolf.
Bryant, regional representative of the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) for North and South Carolina, and Geoffrey Haskett, NWRA president, will speak March 4 at 7 p.m. on the organization as a whole and its specific conservation work in North Carolina. The event is one of the Center for the Environment’s online presentations this spring.
A leader in conservation, Haskett worked for more than 30 years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before accepting his current position with the NWRA. He served as the regional director in Alaska where he was responsible for management of almost 80 million acres of land within 16 National Wildlife Refuges. He also served as the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commissioner under both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Bryant retired in 2016 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after a 37-year career in refuge management. He supervised refuges in Virginia, Florida, Texas and North Carolina, where he managed six national wildlife refuges for 20 years.
Bryant is the president of a local non-profit organization called the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, a friends’ group that supports the nine refuges in eastern North Carolina, and he serves on the advisory board of Audubon NC. He volunteers on sea turtle patrol in the spring and summer, looking for turtle nests on Pea Island.
The NWRA is an organization that works to protect and promote the nation’s refuges and their wildlife. The United States harbors more than 500 refuges, from the Arctic Circle National Refuge in Alaska to the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. The wildlife refuge system spans more than 850 million acres.
To register for the online presentation, call 704.637.4727 or click HERE.