The Coweeta Listening Project will host the community conversation and provide an opportunity for local residents to share experiences, observations and concerns about climate change and to learn regional researchers are studying these topics.
The conversation will include a short presentation by John Maerz, an ecologist at the University of Georgia and the Coweeta Long Term Ecological Research Program. Maerz’s research examines how climate change, invasive species and the conversion of forests to farms and housing developments will affect Southern Appalachian reptiles, amphibians, forests and streams.
In one recent study, he tested how eight different climate scenarios would affect salamander habitats in the Appalachian Highlands. All scenarios would lead to significant habitat loss, with strong possibilities for population decline and extinction. Another recent study examined how salamander behavior changes as a result of streamside development.
The discussion will focus what these changes mean for regional forests and streams and what residents can do to conserve and manage the local environment.
Attendees are encouraged to bring lunch. The discussion will be followed by live music. The Rickman Store is located at 259 Cowee Creek Road in the Cowee-West Mill historic district, just off N.C. 28.