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Lander Group Visits Pisgah National Forest

Lander University students who traveled to Pisgah National Forest pose for a picture alongside a likeness of conservationist Gifford Pinchot, the first head of the United States Forest Service. From left are Abi Ladd, of Fountain Inn; Anna Henricksen-Shae, of Effort, Pa.; Savannah Cade, of McCormick; and Professor of History Dr. Ryan Floyd. Photo Contributed

Lander University students in Dr. Ryan Floyd’s “History of U.S. Wildlife Conservation” class recently took a field trip to Pisgah National Forest, near Brevard, N.C.

The class explores past efforts to protect wildlife and forests, and the trip allowed students to gain insight into efforts to protect natural resources in the present.

A highlight of the trip was a presentation by Daniel Manget, a biologist who works for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, who spoke to the students about modern-day efforts in wildlife management, including projects to bring back elk to the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as wild turkey, and even the Hellbender Salamander.

“The students were able to get their hands dirty by getting into the North Mills River to look at the aquatic life that lives in the stream bed. Manget taught the students about the various insects that they captured in a seine net, and they learned about the importance of water quality to the survival of fish and insects in the river,” Floyd said.

The group also traveled to the Cradle of Forestry, the site of the former Biltmore Forestry School, established by George Vanderbilt and Carl Schenck.

“The Cradle of Forestry has a large museum and walking tour that takes people to see various buildings, including a reconstructed schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and living quarters for forestry students and the rangers who oversaw Vanderbilt’s property,” he said.

Floyd said that the conservation course is “a fun class. It’s my favorite class to teach.”