Tanglewood Park

Working with Forsyth Audubon, Tanglewood County Park has developed areas of native warm season grasses in a meadow between the wetlands in the southwest portion of the park. Following removal of nonnative vegetation, plantings of native grasses began in May 2012 and were completed the following year. Controlled burns are conducted periodically by the U. S. Forest Service.

The project stemmed from discussions that Ron Morris, Carol Gearhart and Cindy Thompson held with park managers and recommendations obtained from John Isenhour, an independent consultant from the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The park paid the expenses for the project. The conversion has proved a boon to species such as American Goldinch, Indigo Bunting, Common Yellowthroat and wintering sparrows. Purple Martins now use a house relocated to the meadow from Mallard Lake.

Assisted by chapter members Bill Gifford and David Disher, park staff has repaired and reinstalled several Wood Duck boxes that had been in the wetlands along the BMX road. Bill and Phyllis Smith, then the park’s Nature Education Director, removed the boxes, and park employee John Walker repaired them. David advised on relocating the boxes, with one remaining at the wetland and others being set up at the oxbow lake and in the moist area behind the BMX track. Ducks have been using some of the boxes, which are maintained by park staff.

David Disher and Hop Hopkins also added Prothonotary Warbler boxes in moist woodland areas. These beautiful warblers have become difficult to find in Forsyth County but at least a couple of pair do nest in the park. We would like to attract more. Boxes also were placed at Bethabara and Reynolda.

Yadkin River Nature Trail. As an outgrowth of the native grasses project, County Parks and Recreation Director Mike Anderson asked if Forsyth Audubon could develop a nature trail with interpretative signage. It took awhile, but the chapter secured funding and the trail officially opened on June 10, 2015. Local residents were introduced to the trail during walks led by chapter members on June 14th and June 21st.

The Yadkin River Nature Trail begins near Skilpot Lake at the start of the road to the BMX track, now named Audubon Trail. Visitors can follow Audubon Trail, Wood Duck Way, Woodpecker Lane and other “streets,” as the trail loops around the southwest corner of the park past bottomland woods, past the marsh wetland, through the native-grass meadow, out to an oxbow and back along the Yadkin River.  Twelve signs along the way provide information to visitors about the birds, butterflies, frogs and other wildlife that inhabit the area. Using a website address or QR code on the initial sign, trail users can access a Yadkin River Nature Trail webpage with links to additional information about the wildlife and their habitats.

Ron Morris and Carol Gearhart took the lead on development of the trail. A local nonprofic organization, helped locate funding for the project and grant money was provided by  U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Duke Energy.. Ron developed the content for each sign, while Carol worked to bring everything together. Diane Villa provided the graphic design work, while most of the photos used on the signs were donated by David Disher of Forsyth Audubon and Will Stuart of Mecklenburg Audubon. Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Weavil and retired Tangelwood staff member Mark Serosky also  contributed time and effort to the project.

Photo: Laura Fogo (U.S. Fish and Wildlife), Ron Morris, Carol Gearhart, Diane Villa.