Join us from January to June 2024 for Saving Our Savannas: Stories of the Longleaf Pine, a 6-month series of programs and events that honor the natural, cultural, and historical significance of these remarkable environments that are adapted to frequent fire, hold deep cultural significance, and are the origins of the reference to Tar Heels. Longleaf pine communities, including savannas, sandhills, and others, extend across the southeastern United States from Virginia to Texas. Longleaf pine is more than a tree, it is a legacy that we must protect and restore for the future.

January: Introduction to Longleaf Pine Communities 

February: Longleaf Pine Natural Areas and Their Amazing Adaptations to Fire 

March: Cultural Significance of Longleaf Pine Communities 

April: The Longleaf Legacy: How a Vanishing Forest Shaped the History and Culture of the Southeast 

May: Taking Action for Longleaf Pine Communities 

June: Leaving a Legacy for the Future 

The objectives of this program are to: 

  • Increase visibility/awareness to the conservation significance of longleaf pine natural areas
  • Increase knowledge about longleaf pine natural areas
  • Uplift the cultural significance and historic relationship of the longleaf pine natural areas to indigenous Tribal Nations in the southeastern U.S.
  • Increase visibility/awareness of the complex history of the longleaf pine and historical impacts on the original Tar Heels.
  • Inspire action to support conservation of longleaf pine natural areas.

View upcoming Saving Our Savannas programs

Find recordings of past events

Dig Deeper

Recommended Resources

Want to learn more about longleaf pine savannas? We've compiled a list of books, videos, articles, and more for you to check out.

Saving Our Savannas Sponsors

Advocate Sponsor

The Nature Conservancy

Promoter Sponsors

Southern Conservation Partners
American Indian Center

Community Sponsors

Chuck Roe & Charlotte Jones-Roe
Jackie and Rob Trickel
Triangle Land Conservancy

This program is partially supported by the NC Science Museums Grant Program.

Call for Sponsors

Organizations and individuals are asked to support overall cost of speakers, workshops, community engagement activities, exhibit creation, and program facilitation. All sponsorships are fully tax-deductible and contributors will be recognized in program literature.

Recognized levels:

Title Sponsor (1 available):  $20,000
Program Sponsors (2 available): $10,000
Advocate Sponsors (4 available): $5,000
Promoter Sponsors (5 available): $2,500
Community Sponsors (unlimited): $1,000

To discuss additional ways to sponsor ‘Saving Our Savannas: Stories of the Longleaf Pine,’ contact Stephen Keith at 919-962-9458 or via email Stephen.Keith@unc.edu

Now on Display

May 5 – June 28

Saving Our Savannas: A Community Art Exhibit

Artists of all ages have contributed work to this show that celebrates longleaf pine savannas and the plants and animals that live in them. Come explore!

Steering Committee

North Carolina Botanical Garden
Joanna Massey Lelekacs, Director of Learning & Community Engagement, Convener
Mike Kunz, Director of Conservation Programs
Chris Liloia, Curator, Habitat Gardens
David Michaud, Program & Engagement Coordinator
Emily Oglesby, Communications & Exhibits Coordinator
Alan Weakley, Director of Herbarium 

The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Department
Kevin Melvin, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer 

NC Museum of History
Earl Ijames, Curator of African American History and Agriculture 

NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Jerry Reynolds, Head of Outreach

American Indian Center
Marissa Carmi, Associate Director 

The Longleaf Alliance
Sarah Crate, Outreach Communications Coordinator

The Nature Conservancy – North Carolina Chapter
Debbie Crane, Communications Director

Triangle Native American Society
Jesalyn Keziah, Executive Director

Venus Flytrap Champions
Julie Moore, Coordinator

For partners

Media Toolkit

Help us spread the word about Saving Our Savannas! This kit contains draft social media posts, graphics, and background information.