“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
-Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Since its creation in 1959, the Research Triangle Park strives to balance our economic development mission with conservation and stewardship to maintain the quality of life which attracts so many to our region. The natural scenery with greenway trail systems offer employees a peaceful work setting and a sense of privacy. With zoning on land within the RTP boundary limiting the built area of each site to 30% or less, our founders intended to create a work environment with an ambiance conducive to intellectual activity and where “no odors, noise, dust, or smoke” cross property lines. These covenants also ensure that highways and streams are buffered by natural areas to prevent noise pollution and filter runoff from impervious surfaces. As the Research Triangle Park reaches build-out and adjusts land use plans to meet the needs of the future, preservation of the environment is a top priority.
Many companies in RTP have implemented landscape plans designed to require fewer inputs in the form of chemicals, irrigation, and physical maintenance. These landscapes include native plants which are drought and disease-resistant and support wildlife - there have been over 100 species of bird recorded through sightings on the campus of NIEHS alone.
Working with companies in the park, a species inventory has been established of all the known species in the park. This inventory includes birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, plants, and even some insects. The species inventory is a continuing process which is monitored through the park on a regular basis and several sampling techniques are implemented. Numerous coverboards are located throughout RTP to help attract and identify reptiles and amphibians. Opportunistic searching and general observation are two of the key methods for identifying species within the park. Through all the individual campuses in the park we have compiled quite a list of species and it continues to grow. In the future we hope to have a good idea of the wildlife which shares RTP with us and to gain a better understanding of how to coexist peacefully.