Exploring North Carolina: Season 3

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Season 3

Episode 301: Beauty with Six LegsButterfly

In the season premiere of Exploring North Carolina, visit the world of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) with the help of experts from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and from Duke University.
Learn why the 180 species of butterflies and more than 2000 moths fluttering around throughout the state are among our most important neighbors.

WARNING: the creatures photographed for this episode may contain colors so vivid that they may damage your television!

Episode 302: "New" BeginningsNew River

The New River begins as two small streams found in the northwestern North Carolina's highest mountains. The river flows north into Virginia and West Virginia, and eventually becomes part of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

In the mid 1970s, almost 30 miles of this beautiful, ancient river and numerous multi-generational farms along its course were almost lost to an ill-conceived hydro-electric project.

In this episode of Exploring North Carolina, see the story of the New River and its salvation following an epic political and conservation struggle that ended in its designation as a “Wild and Scenic River” by President Gerald Ford in 1976.

Episode 303: Birds of WinterBirds

The endless flights of migratory waterfowl that “blocked the sun” are now gone, but North Carolina still has large numbers and varieties of ducks, geese, and other waterfowl, especially in areas near the great coastal sounds, the Pamlico, Core, and Albemarle.

Among the most notable of the waterfowl are the snow geese and tundra swans, which still winter throughout the state in staggering numbers.

In this episode of Exploring North Carolina, see these large, but graceful, “Birds of Winter” in action as they make their way around their seasonal southern home.

Episode 304: Invaders Among UsInvaders

Many common plants and animals in North Carolina are alien, or non-native. Some, including kudzu, are classified as invasive.

In this episode of Exploring North Carolina, get to know your invasive neighbors with the help of experts from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Botanical Gardens at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Episode 305: Flatland LakesFlatland Lakes

A flight over the mountains and piedmont of North Carolina will reveal numerous large lakes and reservoirs. Almost all were man-made when rivers were dammed for flood-control and hydro-electric projects.

Eastern North Carolina has numerous oval-shaped, shallow lakes. Most are natural lakes and many are rimmed by swamps and cypress trees containing incredible biodiversity.

This episode Exploring North Carolina explores the mysteries found deep in two of these lakes (Waccamaw and Phelps) and one Tar Heel pond (Merchants Millpond)—each of which is the site of a unique state park.

Episode 306: Measuring the MountainMountain

Elisha Mitchell (1793-1857) is considered to be one of the greatest professors in the history of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—teaching math, science, botany, and geology at the nation's oldest public university more than three decades prior to the Civil War.

However, Mitchell will forever be remembered as the man who measured the height of the mountain that later bore his name, Mount Mitchell.

In this episode of Exploring North Carolina, learn the storied history of the man behind the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River and the controversies that surrounded this high peak.

Episode 307: Climate Change in the CarolinasClimate Change

The only constant in North Carolina’s climate over the last 2,000,000 years has been change. During this time, the state's coastline has constantly moved east or west of its present location as sea levels have risen and fallen and changes in climate change occurred without interference from humans.

With the help of experts from Duke University, East Carolina University, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Exploring North Carolina looks at the factors that have affected climate change in the past and will assess factors that will influence our climate and sea level in the future.

Episode 308: Fire in the Longleaf PineLongleaf Pine

The State Tree is the “pine tree,” and the most famous pine of all is the longleaf pine. This remarkable tree nurtured tribes of Native Americans, a colonyof settlers, and a young state; and it now protects unique and fragile ecosystems.

The once vast longleaf forests have been diminished for many reasons—clearing of land for farms, cutting forests for timber, bleeding the trees for resin to make turpentine and tar, and even the browsing of wild pigs. Perhaps the most significant reason for their scarcity, however, has been the lack of fire.

In this episode of Exploring North Carolina, the series takes  along, hard look at the natural history and future of these tall timbers.

Episode 309: HomecomingsHomecomings

Have you ever thought about how many creatures depend on North Carolina as their second home?

Numerous birds, marine creatures and insects travel thousands of miles each year to spend summers or winters in the Tar Heel State. Some part-time creatures, including the chimney swift, thrive in urban settings, while others require pristine wilderness.

In this episode of Exploring North Carolina, see the many seasonal “Homecomings” that occur every year in our state.

Episode 310: Lawson's Voyage to the CarolinasLawson

John Lawson (1674-1711) was one of the most important historical figures in North and South Carolina. Considered the "Lewis and Clark" of his day, Lawson was a writer, explorer, surveyor, and collector of fauna and flora who made an epic voyage through the Carolinas in the winter of 1701. Lawson eventually co-founded and led the colonies of Bath (1705) and New Bern (1710).

In this episode of Exploring North Carolina, learn the remarkable story of this British naturalist and how his travels helped settle present-day North Carolina.

Episode 311: Form and FunctionVenus Fly Trap

Why do some fish have teeth and others “suckers?” How can some aquatic animals swim so much faster than others? How do beavers “sharpen” their teeth? Why do the shells of various turtles differ in shape, and why are some shells much stronger than others? How do owls fly with almost no sound and locate their prey in darkness?

In this episode of Exploring North Carolina, these fascinating questions, and more, are answered as engineers and biologists look to common animals in order to understand the “form and function” of nature.