Noelle and I have arrived in
Wilmington – the Port City!
And quickly, it’s become clear to us
that of all the things Wilmington has become
famous for – Dawson’s Creek, massive sprawl, more
lattes than you can shake a stick at – the Green Swamp is by far its most awesome asset.
We got to town last Wednesday but it
didn’t take us long to book it out of the office and out to the swamp. We were
able to head out to Brunswick County just West of town and tromp around the
forests of the Green Swamp with Mark Todd, a most amazing tour guide from
Supply, NC. Mark grew up in Brunswick County and still lives there. He’s also
active with the North American Sarracenia Society. For those out there who don’t
know what that means (as I so ashamedly did not before I met Mark), Sarracenia
is the genus of a set of 9 unique and incredible carnivorous plants. Carnivorous
plants…!? I know. That was my reaction too. But it’s true! These plants, many of
which are endemic to the area of the Green Swamp, will essentially tempt insects with
their sweet smells and beautiful blooms to come and hang out where they have
strategically evolved to trap them in a kind of poisonous liquid. The
Sarracenias, or Pitcher Plants, as they’re more commonly known, then use the
nutrients from the decomposing insects to grow and flourish.
Woah! Feels like an episode of Bill
Nye the Science Guy, right? But it’s all for real and on Sunday we got to take
it all in.
After an hour or so of just trekking
around and soaking up the sun, listening to the wind up in the pines, and having
Mark tell us more about the different plants and animals species unique here in
the Green Swamp of North Carolina, we commenced our search for the wild and
illusive-in-winter, Venus Fly Trap. In summer, I’m told, these guys can grow
quite large, in clumps of 5, 10, or 20 plants all together. But at this time in
the winter they like to hide out under the grasses and fallen pine needles. So,
we had to scavenge, digging around in the dirt and grass, scouring the ground
beneath our feet, practically listening for the sound of the fly trap, until at
last we found some! Actually, I found them! I was rather proud, being a native
North-Easterner originally, but I quickly forgot my pride and just got wrapped
up in the amazing quality and fragility of these amazing
To think that we’re jeopardizing the
habitat where these plants have traditionally flourished for centuries is even
more unconscionable having now seen them in action. With any luck, come the
spring, our campaign will be humming and the Sarracenias will be blooming. Que
viva los sarracenias!