For information on the protection of property in Anson, Montgomery, Randolph, Richmond, and Stanly counties,
contact Kevin Redding.
Few easement donors can claim to know as much about the flora and fauna
of their property as Mark and Jane Lewis. Mark, a herpetologist
at the N.C. Zoo, can identify any reptile that may slither across the
path in front of him. In addition, he has expanded his knowledge to
include the vegetative species that abound on the property. Jane
is a self-taught birder who can differentiate a Yellow warbler from a
Red-eyed vireo just by hearing a few chirps. Together they
provide a walking source of knowledge about the plants and animals of
Motivated by their shared love of nature, Mark and Jane have recently
donated a conservation easement on a 95-acre portion of their property
in southwestern Randolph County. The remainder of the 142-acre
property was previously protected by an easement in conjunction with
North Carolina's Ecosystem Enhancement Program, which focused on the
pristine riparian buffers along the West Fork of Little River and a
Mark and Jane consider themselves true life
environmentalists. Every aspect of their lives is based on
finding ways to reduce their impact on the Earth. Their home is
completely off the electric grid, heated and powered entirely by solar
panels. They grow many of their own fruits and vegetables in a
small garden. Next to the garden lies a miniature Piedmont
prairie where they burn and manage for native warm season grasses and
flowers. The seeds from this prairie are intended to become the
local seed source for a much larger prairie they're currently restoring
on an adjacent 70 acre property that has recently been acquired.
In their spare time, Mark and Jane can be found roaming the forests of
their property just happy to be out enjoying nature. They've worked
together to create a life list for their property that includes all of
the terrestrial, aquatic and avian species that they've observed.
The latest count totals 128 species of birds, 121 vegetative species,
33 reptiles and amphibians, and 15 mammals.
The property is a
prime example of the Uwharrie Mountain landscape. The uplands are
covered with a diverse forest canopy containing chestnut oak, beech,
shortleaf pine and various other hardwood species. The forest
floor ranges from relatively open on the uplands to dense mountain
laurel thickets near the streams. It even contains a few relic
moonshining sites from many decades ago.
are also excellent examples of those typically found in the
Uwharries. The West Fork of Little River crosses through the
property, where it contains a classification of Nationally Significant
Aquatic Habitat. Known throughout the state for its high water
quality and aquatic diversity, this section of the river is just a mile
or so downstream from the Pisgah Covered Bridge. Prior to its
confluence with the Little River, a long stretch of an unnamed
tributary runs from north to south through the heart of the property.
For Mark and Jane believing in a healthy environment isn't a coffee
shop topic or something to be bantered around in political ads.
They see it as a belief that should be incorporated into their daily
lives and acted upon. Thanks to their conservation easement, the
Lewis' can now rest assuredly that their 142 acres will always be a
place where nature can exist with little interference from man.