Archived Outdoors

Celebrate birds and old trees

A tufted titmouse perches on a twig. Greg Clarkson photo A tufted titmouse perches on a twig. Greg Clarkson photo

A pair of lectures planned for the Highlands Nature Center over the next couple weeks will explore the complexities of old-growth forests and avian life.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, July 13, respected environmental conservationist Buzz Williams, who is currently program specialist for the Chattooga Conservancy, will give a lecture titled “History of National Forest Management in the Chattooga River Watershed, and the Compelling Case for a New Mission for the Forest Service.” Williams will give an overview of national forest management practices in the Chattooga River watershed and discuss why mitigating the impact of climate change requires a new mission that prioritizes protecting and restoring a network of mature and old-growth forest ecosystems to ensure biological diversity and management aimed at fighting climate change.

The lecture will follow a designation ceremony for the W.C. Coker Old Growth Forest, to be held 4-6 p.m. between Lower Lake Road and Bowery Road. The 3.7-acre forest contains a remnant of the “primeval forest” that thrived on the Plateau prior to timber harvesting in the 1930s and 1940s, including some of the largest remaining eastern hemlock trees in the eastern United States. The oldest to be reliably dated goes back to 1791. The ceremony aims to formally recognize and honor this unique ecosystem.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, July 20, evolutionary biologist Barbara Ballentine, who holds a doctorate and is an associate professor at Western Carolina University, will deliver a lecture titled “Bird Talk: An Exploration of Avian Communication.” She will delve into the fascinating world of how birds employ acoustic, visual and olfactory signals in their social interactions for successful reproduction and survival.

Both lectures are offered as part of the Zahner Conservation Lecture Series, held at 6 p.m. each Thursday through Aug. 10. The July 13 lecture is sponsored by Bryding Adams and Bob Rathburn, Lynda Anderson and Ken Conover, Margie Bauer and Jim Parker, Janet and Scott Clarke, Leslie and Jim Costa, Diane Lennox and Paul Manos, Helen and Russ Regnery, and Dollie Swanson. The July 20 lecture is sponsored by Miriam and Vernon Skiles and Mary Todd and Jimmy Davis. For a full schedule, visit .

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