Trees in Johnston forest teach love of nature

Posted June 3, 2011 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated June 4, 2011 11:18 a.m. EDT

— A character in the Dr. Seuss classic, "The Lorax," declares that he "speaks for the trees, for the trees have no tongue." But in a Johnston County forest, the trees speak for themselves.

Clemmons State Forest is all about education, so signs, pictures and paintings placed along the paths let the trees and rocks tell their own stories.

Lorrie Lucas brought her 5-year-old son, Jacob, to the forest in the hopes that he would learn there. "I've been coming here since I was his age," she said.

Adults also find that the thick canopy of Clemmons State Forest offers cover from the daily grind.

"On summer days when it gets hot, there's plenty of shade, and the scenery is absolutely beautiful," forest visitor Ryan Rudisil said.

"I think a lot of people come here for exercise," Lucas said.

But it's the trees and the messages they carry that teach the most to forest visitors.

"It teaches them to appreciate nature," Lucas said. "It shows them what nature is all about, that we need everything that's out there."

Her son Jacob expressed enthusiasm for Clemmons State Forest.

"It's my best, favorite forest in the whole wide world," he said.

Next week, WRAL's summer travel series "Nooks and Crannies" visits the edge of North Carolina, Harker's Island.