The Ecostation is satellite facility of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.
Th Ecostation is located on 45 acres of Piedmont prairie and forest with a pond and streams.
I found it interesting to read on one of the signs that as early as 1540 explorers reported seeing open savannas in the Carolina Piedmont.
I'll digress to mention that the photovoltaic solar panel above is used to generate energy which is sold to the local power company and offsets the facilities power demand at the Ecostation.
Back to the open spaces, the sign said that they were likely created by fire and lightening strikes and grazing animals such as elk and bison may have helped to maintain the prairies. Another factor may have been fires started by Native Americans to clear land for planting and to make hunting easier.
The Carolina Prairies were smaller than those found in the midwest and the sign said that may have been because the many rivers and streams created natural firebreaks.
When the Native American population and grazing animals declined so did the Carolina prairies and only remnants of prairies are currently found in NC.
The Ecostation Prairie was started in 2004 in a former cow pasture.
I will definitely go back in the summer when the meadow is full of wildflowers but I like winter beauty too.
They have educational programs for adults and children.
They also have a neighborhood garden which I'd like to see in the growing season.
The classroom is a green building utilizing technology aimed towards making the building healthy for people and the environment.
They have a sign warning people not to take pictures of their neighbor which is a NC National Guard facility.
I decided taking a picture of the helicopters flying over the Ecostation was probably not a problem.