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Excursion: Bigleaf Magnolia at Redlair Preserve, Gaston County

with Robert Peet, Haywood Rankin and Fisher Stines, Friends of Plant Conservation

The registration period has closed for this event.

Date: Saturday, May 8, 2021

Time: 10:30 AM - 3:30 PM

Fee: $75.00 ($68 members of either NCBG or FoPC)


The Redlair Preserve is a 730 acre tract that forms the core of a larger 1200+ acre conservation area along the South Fork of the Catawba River near Mount Holly, NC. The complex topography and geologic diversity of the site provide habitat for a great diversity of plant species and natural vegetation types. The most dramatic species is the rare bigleaf magnolia, the tree species with the largest leaves of any tree species in the US. We will be sure to visit a broad range of habitats and discuss their distribution across the landscape, the natural dynamics of these forests, and the management challenges they present. Although the topography is complex and there will be a bit of up and down, the hike will be of only moderate difficulty as the trails are relatively smooth and well-maintained.


Transportation to the Redlair Preserve (about 150 miles or 3 hours west of Chapel Hill in Gaston County, NC) is not included. Meeting location and directions provided with registration confirmation. 


What to bring: 

Bring a bag lunch and water.


What to wear:

Wear comfortable footwear and clothes (long pants recommended)


Additional web resources:

Redlair Preserve - Friends of Plant Conservation


Redlair Observatory - UNC-Charlotte


Redlair ArcGIS StoryMap


We're expanding our partnership with the Friends of Plant Conservation to offer several excursions and Lunchbox Talks that highlight some of our state's rarest plants and natural areas. Join us virtually on Thursday, April 22 for a Lunchbox Talk as Bob Peet and Fisher Stines discuss the Redlair Preserve.


Want to spend the whole weekend in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area? Consider signing up for the Suther Prairie Nature Preserve Excursion on Sunday, May 9.


This event is a partnership between NCBG and Friends of Plant Conservation.







About the Program Leaders

Robert Peet

Robert Peet joined the faculty of UNC Chapel Hill in 1975 where he taught plant ecology and plant geography until he retired in 2018. While his research interests are many and varied, he is particularly interested in the vegetation of the Carolinas and especially factors influencing the composition, species diversity and long-term dynamics of terrestrial plant communities across the region. He and his colleagues have documented the compositional variation of Carolina vegetation with extensive field work that now provides the basis for vegetation classification and informs conservation and management of natural lands. He has a long-term interest in the Redlair Preserve, has visited the property regularly over the last 30 years and currently chairs the Redlair Stewardship Committee for PCP.

Fisher Stines

Fisher Stines is an undergraduate student at NC State University where he is majoring in Plant Biology and German Studies. He spent the summer of 2019 at the Redlair Preserve collecting data on the distribution and population structure of bigleaf magnolia, data that will be essential for future population monitoring. He is currently using those data as the core of an undergraduate research project documenting the abundance and dynamics of bigleaf across the Preserve.

Haywood Rankin

Haywood Rankin grew up on Redlair along with his 4 siblings. After a long career in the State Department with diplomatic assignments to hotspots in Africa and the Middle East he returned to Redlair in 1998. He now serves PCP as the unpaid Steward of the Preserve where he focuses his considerable energy on maintenance of the property and especially with removal of invasive plants.

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Remaining Seats: 23

Registration open through 5/7/2021 12:00 PM EST | Refund Policy


Meeting location and directions provided with registration confirmation.