New bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate will fund locally led efforts to help prevent extinctions and help wildlife thrive nationwide. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) will send approximately $25 million to North Carolina each year to help the state’s 500 species of concern, including the Carolina northern flying squirrel, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker and Appalachian cottontails.

“We’re facing a looming wildlife crisis, and this historic, bipartisan bill is by far the most important piece of wildlife legislation we’ve seen in the past half-century,” said Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF). “Scientists estimate that roughly one-third…


Bobwhite Quail (Photo Credit: Michael Johnson)

Hunting and angling are popular modes of outdoor recreation, and important drivers of wildlife conservation action and funding that greatly benefit wildlife and habitats. On the other hand, the use of lead shot and lead tackle gear can have severe consequences for wildlife.

Birds are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead in the environment. For example, lead poisoning linked to fishing tackle is the leading cause of mortality in adult common loons (4) and the presence of spent lead shot was a contributing factor in the decline of endangered species such as the California condor (1).

What is lead…


A renowned sea turtle biologist, educator and policy expert. An advocate for waterfowl hunters and wetlands conservation. An attorney fighting for water quality and environmental justice issues. An organization centered on outdoor industry diversity and minority accessibility. A tree company centered on tree preservation and volunteer-driven efforts to provide free trees to the public.

These are a few of the conservation heroes chosen this year for North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s 57th Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards. Honorees include agency professionals, elected officials, volunteers and organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to North Carolina’s wildlife, habitat and natural resources.

“Each year…


A monarch on a native butterfly milkweed flower at the Pollinator Paradise Garden in Chatham County, NC.

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel and the Bull City Trailblazers — a chapter of North Carolina Wildlife Federation — have signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge, committing to take action to help save the declining monarch butterfly and other pollinators. Durham is now part of an expanding North American network of cities working to create habitat in public parks, public landscaping, vacant lots, roadsides, medians, green roofs, backyard gardens and open spaces throughout the entire community.

Mayor Schewel issued a proclamation committing to the project during the June 21 Durham City Council meeting. The pledge, which was accepted by…


This bird of the nightjar family is a ground-nester, laying eggs on leaf litter or bare ground. Photo: Dick Daniels

The Chuck-will’s-widow, Antrostomus carolinensis, is a bird in the nightjar family that is found throughout the southeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of North America. These birds dwell in dry, open woodlands including pine forests, oak-hickory forests, and other mixed habitats.

Chuck-will’s-widows are known for their incessant calling, which can be heard from dusk until dawn. You will be made aware of their presence most likely by sound instead of sight due to their nocturnal habits and effective camouflage.

The body and wings of Chuck-will’s-widow display intricate patterns of various brown tones. …


The need for habitat restoration and enhancement in North Carolina is a constant with population growth and rapid development of the state’s forested land. Gardening for wildlife in our backyards and on school campuses can make a difference for wildlife and people alike.

NCWF’s South Wake Conservationists Chapter’s habitat enhancement work on the campus of Lincoln Heights Environmental Connections Magnet Elementary School in Fuquay-Varina helped the school to earn the “Watershed Stewardship School Award” from the Wake Soil and Water Conservation District. …


North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF) is proud of our newest partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, North Carolina. Earlier this year, NCWF was introduced to David Anderson, lead horticulturalist with the tribe, and a partnership was forged. While the tribe does grow a number of plants on their property for restoration projects, there is a need for hickory trees.

Hickory trees are culturally significant to the Cherokee tribe. NCWF purchased 120 hickory trees (most in 7-gallon buckets) including five different native species such as mockernut and shagbark.

Wildlife Value

Hickory trees are a valuable food source for many…


We’re halfway through the year and it’s brimming with positivity and unity for conservation.

The plants are blooming, and Reuben and Cherise, our beloved osprey couple have three chicks who are thriving in their nest on Lake Norman.

The historical and unforgettable year of 2020 is now in our rearview mirror. It’s time to reflect on lessons learned and ways in which North Carolina Wildlife Federation survived and thrived.

We mastered adaptability (working from home), adopted new skills (hello, Zoom!) …


A shrimp trawling boat in North Carolina waters.

While some may question the direct effects of shrimp trawling on North Carolina fish species, there are undeniable facts showing alarming consequences. Shrimp trawl bycatch often meets or exceeds allowable harvest levels. Because bycatch is not considered when setting quotas, this activity may double the documented harvest for many stocks. As a result, rebuilding projections seem falsely optimistic. The bycatch rate of these trawls is important for the wellbeing of commercial and recreational state fisheries.

Currently, it is estimated that for every pound of North Carolina shrimp harvested, four pounds of non-targeted species are discarded.

In 2014, 15 million pounds…


When a resource is owned by no one and it is fundamentally valued and needed by everyone, how can its protection be ensured? The tragedy of the commons illustrates a scenario whereby a resource with open access to users becomes damaged or depleted due to a lack of meaningful oversight and regulation. When regulations favor those with more resources to gain power, they take advantage and the resource suffers. Once it’s exhausted, there is no getting it back. This tragedy is clear when examining the current state of the North Carolina shrimp trawl fishery.

Bycatch Concern

Currently, it is estimated that for…

North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF)

Our mission is to protect, conserve and restore North Carolina wildlife and habitat.

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