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Season 9

Episode 901: Fort Bragging Rights

All of us know how important Fort Bragg is to the defense of the United States and to the economy of North Carolina. Very few people are aware, however, that across this vast military reservation there are numerous historic sites of American Indians, and of early Scottish settlers who spoke Gaelic. Fort Bragg, the home to some our nation’s most elite military units, is also home to a number of important plant and animal communities that are well protected and preserved by the military. Exploring North Carolina has been invited to take its audience on a behind-the-scenes tour of some of the most ecologically and historically significant locations at Fort Bragg with the archeologists and scientists who know it best.


Episode 902: Two Lakes and a Pond

A flight over the mountains and piedmont of North Carolina will reveal numerous large lakes and reservoirs. Almost all were made by man when rivers were dammed for flood-control and hydro-electric projects. Eastern North Carolina has numerous oval-shaped, shallow lakes. Most are natural lakes (not dammed). Many are rimmed by swamps and cypress trees and contain incredible biodiversity. In this episode, Exploring North Carolina explores the mysteries of two lakes (Waccamaw and Phelps) and a pond (Merchants Millpond), each of which is the site of a unique state park.


Episode 903: Invaders Among Us

Many common plants and animals in North Carolina are alien, or non-native. Some, including kudzu, are classified as invasive. In this episode you will get to know your invasive neighbors with the help of experts from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and from the North Carolina Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Episode 904: Fords and Mills

Early transportation in North Carolina depended on fords and ferries (river crossings), most of which were first used by Indians. Beginning in the 1700s, mills, powered by moving water, were essential to the economy of any growing city and county. The location of an accessible ford and the presence of streams that could be harnessed for water power virtually dictated the location of population centers. The outcome of battles in the Revolutionary War and American Civil War were often affected by the location of fords and ferries (necessary for troop crossings), and mills (necessary to produce flour and meal for armies). In this episode, Exploring North Carolina will examine the social impact, geology, and geography of ancient river crossings and mill sites across the state.


Episode 905: Cradle of Forestry

Silva culture, the science of forestry, was first taught in the United States near Asheville. The Biltmore Forest School, which opened its doors in 1897, was the first school of forestry in the United States. In the first quarter of the 20th Century, some of the giants of American forestry began their careers and taught here in North Carolina. This is why our state is known as the “cradle of forestry.” Forestry is now one of the biggest industries in NC (worth over $4 billion annually), surpassing textiles. Experts from the USDA Forest Service, School of Forestry at NCSU and the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources (DENR) will help us tell this important story. ENC will look at the ways we manage our forests for our economy and critical ecosystems.


Episode 906: Works in Progress

North Carolina holds some of the most spectacular gorges in eastern America. Perhaps the best know is Linville Gorge, often called the Grand Canyon of North Carolina. The rim of the gorge is 2,000 to 3,000 feet above the Linville River, falling almost 2,000 feet in just 12 miles.

Fifteen miles east of Asheville, Hickory Nut Gorge drops 1,800 feet in less than 10 miles. Bat Cave is in this gorge, the longest granite fissure cave in North American (main chamber over 300 feet long). In the southwestern part of the state is the spectacular Nantahala Gorge, surrounded by peaks in excess of 5,000 feet. Finally, ENC will visit Gorges State Park, North Carolina’s newest state park located in Transylvania County. This 10,000 acre park features the fantastic rock formations of the Jocassee Gorges. These gorges and others in North Carolina were carved, and are being carved by fast moving water, ice, plant roots, and wind: they are works in progress. The geology of each offers a window to the state’s distant past. These unique canyons are home to rare plants and animals. After seeing this episode, ENC viewers will want to explore them all!


Episode 907: The First Lost Colony

If you have always thought that Roanoke Island was the site of the first European colony, or settlement, in North America, think again. Led by Dr. David Moore, a talented team of archeologists has located the probable location of “Fort San Juan” in the foothills of the Appalachians near Morganton, NC. This Spanish outpost (1566 and 1567), was established two decades before “The Lost Colony” at Roanoke Island, behind North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Exploring North Carolina was privileged to visit the archeologists on site and interview them at the location of Fort San Juan.


Episode 908: Lawson's Voyage

In 1701, an English adventurer and scientist named John Lawson left Charleston, South Carolina on a journey of discovery that would eventually take him to the North Carolina coast near present-day Bath. His recorded observations of American Indians, plants, animals, and topography give us one of the best of most complete records of Colonial North Carolina. John Lawson was also one of the founders of North Carolina’s first two towns, Bath and New Bern. In this episode, historians for North and South Carolina will discuss why John Lawson may be the most important, and least known, of our early citizens.


Episode 909: The Green Gift

Almost all North Carolinians know the names Michael Jordan, Charles Kuralt, and John Motley Morehead. They are synonymous with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There are, however, two other names—Morgan and Mason—without whom the University would not be the same. They provided an extraordinary “Green Gift”—including The North Carolina Botanical Garden. Whether you bleed Tar Heel Blue, or cheer for another school, you will enjoy getting to know the Morgans and Masons.


Episode 910: Changing Sands

Not all real estate in North Carolina is the same. In the mountains and Piedmont, property lines are generally fixed and unchanging. However, on the North Carolina coast it can be said that the only constant is “change.” Beaches, dunes, and inlets, especially on barrier islands, have moved and evolved over thousands of years.
    
With the help of some of two of this county’s most accomplished coastal geologists, Exploring North Carolina will examine the dynamic ribbons of sand that serve as buffers between the mainland and the Atlantic Ocean. Viewers will learn the geologic history of the Outer Banks and about the factors that allow these lands to move and grow. The effects of coastal storms and climate change on barrier islands will also be addressed in this episode. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about our “changing sands.”