Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Eagle Spices Up the Garden

The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher has added carnivorous plants to its lush gardens thanks to Jacob West, a junior volunteer at the Aquarium. The 40 square foot stone garden was built within the Aquarium’s garden, and houses several types of carnivorous plants.

Jacob West, a senior at Isaac Bear Early College High School in Wilmington, has always loved the Aquarium. This 17-year-old enjoys outdoor hobbies such as scuba diving, which led him to volunteer at the Aquarium for the last two years. During the completion of his Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America, West had to plan and implement a service project that benefits the local community. He knew immediately he wanted to pursue his Eagle project at the Aquarium. After clearing a 100 square foot area in the garden, Jacob constructed the stone garden where the carnivorous plants would be placed.

West is happy with the final outcome. “This new addition is something that visitors to the Aquarium will enjoy. I hope that since carnivorous plants are so special to this area that visitors will take the opportunity to learn about how unique and remarkable these plants are by visiting the garden,” he said. West recently completed all the requirements he needed to receive his Eagle Scout.

The garden now houses several diverse types of carnivorous plants, including yellow and purple pitcher plants, sundews, butterworts, and Venus flytraps, which are endemic to coastal North and South Carolina, mostly in the Wilmington area. Although widespread, carnivorous plants are rare. Carnivorous plants gain some or most of their nutrients from trapping and consuming insects and appear adapted to grow in places where the soil is wet, acidic and poor in nutrients.

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