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  • 12 October 2014 1:00 AM | David Pearson

    Friends of State Parks is focusing attention on getting students outside the classroom into our state parks. Our state parks preserve some of North Carolina’s greatest examples of geology, ecology and cultural history. Field trips give children meaningful experiences with these tangible resources. Their increased knowledge and improved attitudes towards history and science can have long-lasting effects.

    Schools are finding it increasingly difficult to take students on nature outings and many families lack the resources to do this on their own. A challange the parks face is having enough staff to accommodate all the individuals and groups who want to participate in their programs.

    Friends of State Parks has designed the Youth in Parks - Environmental Education (YIP-EE) project, envisioned as a partnership between a state park, the park’s friends group and a public school. Additional support may also come from environmental educators or those seeking environmental education certification to volunteer as assistant group leaders.

    Join with FSP in bringing more Young People to the Parks for Education

    Learn more about YIP-EE

  • 12 October 2014 12:54 AM | David Pearson

    FSP is managing a grant from the Overhills Foundation through a connection with The Nature Conservancy for Interpretation and Education at Long Valley Farm at Carvers Creek State Park. With this grant the park staff plans to restore the grounds with a 1940's theme when Long Valley Farm was visited by presidents and famous generals as they plotted war strategy and reviewed the troops readiness at nearby Fort Bragg. They were hosted by James Stillman Rockefeller, already a gold metal Olympic champion and a member of the Airborne Command and later to be a world class businessman heading the bank that would become Citibank. The forties theme will be the starting point to portray the historical, social, and natural resources of this special sandhills park. The park is still under development but plans to open the first view of Long Valley Farm to the public at the end of the year.

    The Nature Conservancy acquired Long Valley Farm when James Stillman Rockefeller, a New York City banker, died at age 102 in August 2004. In his will, Mr. Rockefeller left the estate to the conservancy. TNC performed several projects to restore the land including allowing the river to revert to its natural flow and planting many acres with longleaf pines. In 2010 the land was transferred to the state park system to manage and to promote the historical, cultural, and social aspects of the park as well as preserving the natural resources. The park staff has already done some clean up work with more volunteer work days scheduled

    The grant is to help gather and present information of Long Valley Farm's rich history from its connection with Scientific Farmer Robert Wall Christian, Percy Rockefeller, and finally James Stillman Rockefeller as well as its connection to Fort Bragg and the Fayetteville and Spring Lake communities.

    Designs for restoration the Spring House are being submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office while other exhibits are being designed. A call has been put out to collect copies of people personal photos of the park and recently a video camera was purchased to enable the staff to capture the memories of the Long Valley Farm by the staff and local residents.

    Check back here each quarter to see the progress of the project and check the parks web site for volunteer opportunities where you can help work on this project at the Carvers Creek.

  • 12 October 2014 12:48 AM | David Pearson

    Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve Superintendent Scott Hartley thanks Candace Williams, Executive Director of the Sandhills Area Land Trust (SALT), and Bob Sowa, Vice President of Friends of State Parks (FSP), for a grant to refurbish equestrian trails at the park.

    FSP received a grant from the Sandhills Area Land Trust to upgrade and repair equestrian trails at Weymouth Woods. The trails have been badly eroded over years of heavy use and a shortage of maintenance funds. Candace Williams, of SALT said the grant was donated by members of the community who wished to see the trail repaired. Scott Hartley said the park is eager to begin work and the grant will enable the park to purchase the necessary trail material to support horse traffic and that the trail will be built by the staff with local volunteers. FSP was glad to be able to use their non-profit status and close relationship with the State Parks to handle the management of the grant funds for this project. All look forward to riders once again being able to ride in ease through this unique preserve of longleaf pines.

    The Sandhills Area Land Trust is active throughout the region in helping land owners protect the land the land they love. Visit their web site at to learn how they have helped both land owners and the environment and how you can assist them.

    Friends of State Parks is a state wide non profit organization supporting North Carolina's state parks. FSP works closely with the Department of Parks and Recreation, local land trusts, local park friends groups, and corporate sponsors to help protect the parks natural resources for future generations and to provide educational, recreational, and visitor resources to local communities across the state. Go to to join FSP in supporting your state parks. One of FSP projects is sponsoring North Carolina's State Parks Junior Ranger program for ages 6 thru 12. You can download the free Junior Ranger Guide for Weymouth Woods at

    Weymouth Woods is a special part of the park system, small in size but great in its diversity of plant life. It contains some of last vestiges of a longleaf pine forest that once dominated the east coast of North America. Besides the equestrian trail, the park offers easy walking trails ranging from short loops through the “pine barrens” to several miles of interconnected trails that take the explorer through the varied ecological regions of “pine barrens,” hard woods forests, and wetlands. An exhibit hall offers exhibits on the history of the area and the natural aspects of the park including geology, wildlife, and the role of prescribed fires. A list of the many educational and fun events scheduled in the park is available at

    The park is also famed for its bird viewing including the red-cockaded woodpecker. The park staff and certified volunteers periodically attach bands on the different birds in the park as part of an international program to track bird population and locations to learn how to better protect them against the trials of an ever challenging world. The park also sponsors two annual Audubon Bird Counts that are open to all birders.

    Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve is just two miles east of Southern Pines and is an easy drive from both Fayetteville and the Raleigh Durham area and even closer to the famed golf resorts of Pinehurst and Southern Pines. Make your plans now to visit Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve. 

  • 11 October 2014 11:00 PM | David Pearson

    FSP is proud to support the North Carolina's Junior Ranger Program with a grant from Great Outdoor Provision Company

    Junior Ranger Programs engage elementary age children ages 6-12 in meaningful learning by participating in park educational programs, completing an activity booklet, and learning about stewardship of  natural resources.  Children can earn a badge by completing the activity booklet for a park. They complete the booklet for multiple parks and collect additional badges. They have the option of joining a free Department of Parks and Recreation newsletter for Junior Rangers.

    After a successful pilot program with five parks the program is now available for all North Carolina's State Parks. For more information and to download the activity booklet go to

    SORRY, adults are not eligible to earn this badges - KIDS ONLY!  So be a Parent, Big Brother, Big Sister, Uncle, Aunt, or invite a friends family to a park and help them learn about the world they live in. 

Friends of State Parks, Inc.

PO Box 37655

Raleigh, NC  27627

Friends of State Parks, Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization (tax identification number 58-1634155) under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

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