When the bobwhite quail return to Horton Grove, you'll know the preservation effort is working.
Though it wasn't really explained why that's the case at Friday's opening of the 708-acre preserve in North Durham, we all grabbed a handful of partidge pea seeds, tossed them in the dirt and stomped as instructed in hopes of luring the birds with a favorite treat.
"The plant does well out here and services different wildlife, particularly the bobwhite quail," explained Walt Tysinger, land manager for Triangle Land Conservancy, which spear-headed the effort to keep this tract unspoiled.
There was a spirit of hope in the air Friday, as TLC and other partners – including state and local officials, Burt's Bees and developer D.R. Bryan – celebrated the organization's largest nature preserve to date and its first in Durham County. It's adjacent to Stagville, a former plantation open to visitors.
"This was perverved without the expenditure of public resources, and there are over four miles of trails," said County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow.
"The synergy with Stagville affords a wonderful opportunity for families and school children to explore the plantation and the open space."
Paula Alexander of Burt's Bees explained that it won't just be quail who'll benefit from the preserved space.
Bees are being threatened by pesticides and disrupted habitats. Given that one out of every three bites of food we consume are in some way dependent on pollination, she said, that's a problem. Which is why Burt's Bees contributed to the preservation of the land, and why it's good news for all of us, not just bees and quail.
Click on the slideshow for pics of the land and the people who love it.