Posts Tagged ‘conservation’


H. H. Brimley, founding director of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. Image from the State Archives.

When the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, activists sought to harness the increased consciousness Americans had about the environment and the counterculture movement then sweeping the nation to motivate people to speak out and act on environmental issues.

In celebration of the watershed moment 46 years ago, here are the stories of eight North Carolina conservation leaders and the places they sought to protect:


Baum at Jockey’s Ridge. Image from Friends of Jockey’s Ridge State Park.

Carolista Baum. After her children saw a bulldozer flatten out part of Jockey’s Ridge on a quiet morning in August 1973, Baum went to investigate and discovered that the dune was slated for destruction to make way for a residential development. Baum planted herself in the way of the earth moving equipment, halting construction.

She went on to help found the People to Preserve Jockey’s Ridge, which led to the creation of a state park in 1975.


Plan Your Visit to Baum’s Legacy, Jockey’s Ridge State Park →



“Big Hugh” Bennett. Image from the N.C. Museum of History.

“Big Hugh” Bennett. Now know as the “father of soil conservation,” Hugh Hammond Bennett grew up in the drainage basin of the Pee Dee River in Anson County and became aware of the woeful effects of soil erosion at an early age.

He is widely credited with selling the benefits of soil conservation to a skeptical public and spreading the message of the importance of topsoil preservation among farmers. Bennett served with the federal Soil Conservation Service for 50 years.

Learn More About Bennett’s Life on NCpedia →


H. H. Brimley. After emigrating to North Carolina from England, Brimley and his brother opened a taxidermy shop in Raleigh. They quickly gained reputations as two of the South’s leading naturalists.

After Brimley created an exhibit on waterfowl and fishes for the State Exposition of 1884, the state Department of Agriculture found the exhibit too valuable to discard. The department found a more permanent place in its halls for the exhibit and, in time, found a more permanent place for Brimley, too, as the exhibit’s curator and director of the museum it began, now the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.


Explore the Museum Brimley Helped Create →



Kephart camping in the Smokies. Image from his book.

Horace Kephart. A former librarian from Pennsylvania, Kephart came to the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina in 1904 seeking solace. He would spent the rest of his life living outside of Bryson City, writing about the environment and outdoor life. By 1913, he had published three books on self-reliant living and the natural world.

An early advocate of the mountain region, Kephart tirelessly promoted the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. His book Our Southern Highlanders, published in 1913, is the classic work on the region.


Read More About Kephart on NCpedia →


Hugh Morton. Perhaps best-known as the developer of Grandfather Mountain, which he inherited in 1952, Morton was also instrumental in saving some of the state’s historic treasures including the Battleship North Carolina and Cape Lookout Lighthouse.

Morton gained notoriety for his fight to keep the Blue Ridge Parkway from crossing Grandfather Mountain and spoiling its aesthetic appeal, and took close to a quarter-million photographs which helped promote North Carolina’s scenic beauty.


Plan Your Trip to Morton’s Grandfather Mountain →


Margaret Nygard. After the city of Durham announced plans to build a reservoir on the Eno River to increase the area’s water supply, Nygard and her husband ignited a grassroots campaign to fight to preserve the unique history and environment of the Eno and advocate for the creation of a state park along it.


Discover the Magic of the Eno at Eno River State Park →


T. Gilbert Pearson. Originally from Illinois, Pearson settled in North Carolina after studying biology and botany at Guilford College and UNC. He had a strong interest in birds and assembled one of the largest collections of bird eggs in nation at the time.

After writing his first book, Stories of Bird Life, Gilbert became active in policy work, founding the Abudon Society of North Carolina and advocating for state and national legislation protecting birds and their habitats. He founded the International Committee for Bird Preservation in 1922 and served as its first president for more than a decade.


Dive Deeper into Pearson’s Story on NCpedia →



Carl Schenck. Image from NCSU Libraries.

Carl Schenck. A German by birth, Schenck came to North Carolina to manage the woodlands on Biltmore Estate for the Vanderbilt family. He started the nation’s first school of forestry on the Biltmore grounds in 1898, teaching students about the care of nurseries; the transplant and cultivation of seedlings; timber selection; felling; logging; and sawing, and using Biltmore’s tens of thousands of acres of forest as a classroom.


Read More About Schenck on NCpedia →


This Earth Day weekend we hope you get in touch with North Carolina’s scenic beauty and natural splendor at the state park, aquarium or science museum near you or at the North Carolina Zoo.

You can also learn more about the conservation movement in North Carolina on NCpedia and find a guide to resources related to North Carolina’s environmental heritage produced by the State Library.

Happy exploring!

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So fierce was the fighting at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse in May 1864 during the Civil War that the regiment flag of the 1st Regiment N.C. State Troops was ripped from its pole during hand to hand combat between the flag bearer and a Union soldier.

Go behind-the-scenes at the N.C. Museum of History during a live webcast Dec. 10 to see how conservator Paige Myers cares for the flag of the 1st N.C. Troops and others like it.

The webcast will cover both conservation techniques and the history behind the Civil War flags now under conservation at the museum.

Registering for the webcast is FREE and easy on our website.

This program is part of a series organized by the Connecting to Collections Project (C2C) of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, in cooperation with the N.C. Museum of History. Future programs will examine conservation of Civil War cannons and other period artifacts.

A federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the Connecting to Collections Initiative makes this entire series possible.

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By Sarah Watkins-Kenney, QAR Lab Director/Chief Conservator

This piece introduces the Queen Anne’s Revenge 12-Step conservation program, by briefly describing processes undertaken in each step of an object’s treatment.  Future blog posts reporting on the progress of different artifacts will identify which step or stage that piece has reached at that time.  In this way you can follow artifacts in their journey from ocean floor to museum door.

Step 1: Recovery

Step 1: Recovery

All artifacts recovered from the Queen Anne’s Revenge (wreck 31CR314) go through a 12 Step Program in their journey from ocean floor to museum door.  The amount of time, type and scope of actual treatment in each step depends on the nature of the object – including its material, size, condition and the type of artifact.

At any one time staff at the QAR Lab may be working with several different artifacts, all at different stages in their particular conservation program.  Over the coming weeks and months, we will report on conservation progress of different types of artifacts as they are treated, recorded and researched at the QAR Lab in Greenville.

Step 1: Recovery = planning, preparation and on-site conservation work which includes: assignment of QAR artifact identification numbers; recovery from seabed; documentation including as recovered photography; wet storage at the dockside and then transfer wet to QAR Lab.

Step 2: Post-Recovery Processing – Analysis I = documentation and cataloguing, measurement, counts, ,basic identification of materials, sorting & preparation for wet storage, creation of lab records, and inventory.

Step 3: Wet Storage = transfer to wet stable storage in solutions appropriate to the type of material. Monitoring solution levels and changing out solutions as needed.

Step 7: Cleaning II

Step 7: Cleaning II

Step 4: Analysis II = assessment & identification of materials, condition, and artifact type. This step includes X-radiography of concretions to “see what is inside” and identification of materials such as wood species.

Step 5: Cleaning I = pre-cleaning documentation including photography to record condition before treatment.  Removal of concretions as needed.

Step 6: Desalination = removal of soluble salts from all objects. For metals by electrolytic reduction (ER); for non-metals by soaking in water; measuring soluble salt levels in changes of solution monitors their extraction from objects.

Step 7: Cleaning II = removal of stains, fine concretion and desalination solution residues from object surfaces.

Step 8: Bulking, Consolidation, Drying = for example replacing water in wood with  Polyethylene Glycol Wax (PEG) followed by controlled air drying or freeze-drying ; and consolidation of glass prior to controlled drying.

Step 10: Analysis and Identification

Step 10: Analysis and Identification

Step 9: Protective coatings = for example, application of protective coatings (lacquers or waxes) to metal artifacts.

Step 10: Analysis III = final Examination & analysis to confirm identification of artifacts and materials made of.

Step 11: Repair/Reconstruction = for example, reconstruction of ceramic vessels, or construction of support mounts to ensure safe handling, and study.

Step 12: Final Documentation = Illustration, final photography, completion of records and documentation including recommendations for storage and display conditions, packing for transfer to the museum.

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This post is by Shanna Daniels, QAR Conservator.

Many of you are probably wondering what happens to the artifacts once they are recovered from the shipwreck site. At the end of each day, QAR field staff carefully transfers artifacts from the recovery vessel to storage tanks containing water, dockside.  At the end of each week, field staff prepares objects for the journey to the QAR lab by packing them in Rubbermaid containers well padded with wet foam and rags. Once off loaded at the QAR Lab, the objects are placed in temporary wet storage (in tanks containing tap water) until the following week, when the post-recovery processing fun begins for the QAR Lab staff.

The purpose of post-recovery processing is to document, record and catalog each artifact as it comes into the lab, to begin the paper trail and then to get artifacts into an appropriate storage environment as soon as possible.  Recording and documenting includes weighing, measuring, correctly labeling artifact tags, and photography. Each artifact has a unique find number that relates back to its location on site, and which will be used to document everything that happens to the object in future.

Post-recovery processing gives the QAR Lab staff their first opportunity to see the artifacts and to note if anything in particular stands out with each artifact.  For example, if we observe a ceramic embedded in the concretion, we’ll note it.

After every artifact has been processed, the next stage is to place the artifacts in long-term stable wet storage. Concretions are usually placed first in numbered crates and then the crates are placed in a numbered tank; the crate and tank location of each artifact is noted on the objects’ record so they can be easily found.  Each tank contains a basic solution with a pH of 10 (2.5% sodium carbonate in tap water) to slow down the corrosion that could continue to occur if placed in just regular tap water.  Ceramics, glass, wood, and other organics are placed in tap water.   Once stable in wet storage the artifacts await the next step in their conservation treatment.

The final stage in the post-recovery process is completion of documentation.  Each artifact’s information is recorded on a lab sheet, as well as on the QAR artifact database.  This information provides not only the weights, measurements, and storage location of each artifact but also where the artifact was recovered from on the site.  Documentation is a crucial part of conservation because it starts the process of analysis and conservation for the artifacts.  It allows both archaeologist and conservators to view, locate, and analyze each artifact while it goes through the conservation process here at the QAR Lab.

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