Fire brings new life to South Mountains State Park

More than two years after a large fire, plants at South Mountains State Park are thriving. From the UNC School of Media & Journalism: Producer – Rob Gourley, Associate Producer – Kara Kochek, Scriptwriter & Narrator – Minali Nigam, Cameras/Video Editors: Rob Gourley & Bob Gunter, Executive Producer: Dr. Tom Linden, Photographs courtesy of Amanda D. Lasley, Additional video courtesy of Rahima Rahi.

Poachers threaten native ginseng in NC parks

Ginseng is native to the mountains of North Carolina, but poachers are digging it out of state parks and national forests. The herb is valuable medicinally, especially in Asian markets, but poaching has pushed it towards extinction. This story is produced in partnership with the UNC School of Media & Journalism: Producer & Narrator – Nez Covington, Associate Producers – Allie Miszewski & Raymond Tu, Scriptwriter – Charlotte Harris, Camera/Video Editor – Bob Gunter, Additional Video Editing – Nez Covington, Executive Producer – Dr. Tom Linden

Ancient Shark with ‘Spaceship-Shaped’ Teeth Discovered

Remember that popular 1980’s video game Galaga? Little triangle shaped space ships would fly around the screen. Laser cannons would fire out of the top of the ships, laying waste to aliens that dropped down from the top of the screen. Now imagine finding the fossilized teeth of a freshwater shark that lived 67 million years ago in the forests, swamps and winding rivers of what is now South Dakota. Amazingly, those teeth look like the Galaga spaceships! So, if you’re a scientist, what would you call your ancient shark discovery? That’s right. Galagadon.

What to do when you see a box turtle

Chances are, you’ve probably seen a box turtle, either at a zoo or in a park, backyard or green space. It’s not as if they move quickly. With their short legs, box turtles lumber along and retreat at the first sign of anything unfamiliar. The box turtle pulls its head and legs into the shell and then, in an amazing protection skill, uses the hinged pastron (the bottom part of the shell) to close up behind them forming an impenetrable box. Yep, that’s where the name “box turtle” comes from.