Controlled burn March 2019 at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

2019 Annual Prescribed Burn

On March 13, members from the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve staff, the NC Forest Service, NC State Parks, and the Town of Cary Fire Department conducted the 2019 controlled burn at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. As a part of Hemlock Bluffs’ natural resource management plan, this burn is used to reduce the build-up of dead vegetation on the forest floors, which can serve as fuel for wildfires. Prescribed burns are also used to reduce competition, release seeds, and add vital nutrients for many plants and animals. These burns promote the growth of many plants, including wild blueberry and huckleberry, which produce fruits eaten by birds and other wildlife.

Special guests at the 2019 exhibit dedication event

The Friends of Hemlock Bluffs Celebrate the Completion of the First Stage of Exhibit Enhancement

The first stage of an upgrade and renovation to the exhibit hall in the Stevens Nature Center was completed in winter 2019. The Friends of Hemlock Bluffs held a dedication event on March 6 to say “Thank You” to grant donors, partners and Friends for their support. 

This most current enhancement was supported in large part by a generous gift from the Jandy Ammons Foundation. 

We are continuing to forge ahead with upgraded displays and interactive exhibits to reach and teach the next generation. The Duke Energy Foundation has provided start-up funding for the second phase of the project. The Friends continue to seek further support and to explore how we all can contribute to the next phase of renovations.

NC State University's Camcore Program Sets the Agenda for Hemlock Monitoring and Protection at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

Representatives from NC State's Camcore program, the international tree conservation program within the forestry department, met with Preserve Staff to discuss their work plan to conserve the hemlocks on the property at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. Over the next year, a PhD candidate will be responsible for implementing an ambitious work plan with a multi-faceted approach to monitoring, analysis, and propagation. Work will begin with a verification of a fairly recent Hemlock Tree Inventory. We are very excited to see work begin on this project.

Hemlock Bluffs 2018-2019 work plan – Austin M. Thomas
5-part Study Overview:

  1. Hemlock Tree Inventory
  2. Hemlock Whole-Population Genetic Analysis
  3. Replicate and Re-Evaluate 1956 Hemlock Bluffs Climate and Floristics Survey
  4. Long Term PVA (Population Viability Analysis) and Community Dynamics Modeling
  5. Hemlock Vegetative Propagation from Rooted Cuttings


It's Time For An Update!

Main Exhibit Hall

January 2019 Update

The new panel and "selfie station" installation is now complete! Visitors can now view wildlife camera footage from Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve and learn about the preserve staff's efforts to collect this footage. Also, the The Friends of Hemlock Bluffs has received $9,700 from the Duke Energy Foundation to continue exhibit renovation work in the exhibit hall in the Stevens Nature Center at Hemlock Bluffs.  This funding, combined with organizational funds and community contributions, will allow the Friends to carry on efforts to upgrade outdated displays and bring hands-on technology into the nature center's exhibit hall. 

December 2017 Update

A generous grant of $12,500 has been provided to the Friends of Hemlock Bluffs for exhibit renovations to the Our Environment Wall, specifically the Wildlife In Action display.  The Jandy Ammons Foundation provided funds for the highly successful Children's Nature Trail project in 2015 and will partner with the Friends of Hemlock Bluffs again to integrate technology and videography into this exhibit to bring Hemlock Bluffs' native wildlife to life for visitors.  Grant funds are expected to come available in January 2018, with planning and exhibit design beginning early in the year.  Completion of the new display will be toward the end of October 2018.  Staff and the Friends Board are looking forward to partnering with The Jandy Ammons Foundation on another fun and educational project to benefit the children and all visitors of Hemlock Bluffs over the next year.

The Stevens Nature Center Exhibit Hall introduces visitors to the wonders and beauty to be found at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. Improvements are needed to these exhibits to make them more relevant. One of our goals is to develop new interactive stations that make use of current technology and help us better serve our visitors.

What’s the plan?

  • Engage outside experts, including a videographer
  • Install new equipment
  • Fundraise, friendraise, and seek grants

You can help!

Our initial goal is $10,000. Please consider becoming a member of the Friends of Hemlock Bluffs or giving a financial contribution (any amount helps).

Visit and click on the "donate now" button on the home page. You may also leave a check at the Stevens Nature Center (made payable to Friends of Hemlock Bluffs).

Want to keep up with “What’s New at Hemlock Bluffs”?

Sign-up for our email list by managing your email subscriptions to include the Stevens Nature Center or call (919) 387-5980 to receive our monthly program calendar.