How to Help

wetland with small green shrubs

How can you contribute to Wake County’s Open Space Program?

You can play a role in conserving open space in Wake County. Helping the open space program begins with learning and educating others. If you have land, consider selling or donating the land to the open space program or granting a conservation easement. Steward your land or help us steward the open space lands.

1) Stay Informed

A first step to contributing to any initiative is learning about it and being able to communicate its goals and objectives to other people. Reading the documents on this website, such as the Consolidated Open Space Plan, is a good place to begin supporting the Open Space Program.

2) Educate Others

One helpful activity you can get involved with is simply to spread the word about the value of open space. If you don't speak up, who will? Let your neighbors, friends, family and elected representatives know how important it is to you.

3) Make a Land Sale or Donation

Perhaps you have some land or a portion of acreage that you cannot use and wish to donate it for open space preservation. If it is in Wake County's jurisdiction, our staff will examine it based on its potential value as open space.

4) Consider a Conservation Easement

When you own land, you not only own the ground itself but also a "bundle of rights" that governs what you can and cannot do with your property. A conservation easement is simply a legal document that transfers some of those rights to the entity holding the easement. By granting a conservation easement, you pass on stewardship of the land to another entity, thereby agreeing to give up some of the "rights" in your bundle.

5) Get Involved with a Local Land Trust

There are nonprofit agencies in the Triangle whose mission is to purchase and preserve open lands. You can volunteer or send a tax-deductible financial contribution to one or more of these organizations.

6) Steward your own land or help steward open space lands.

The best thing you can do to help open space is to steward your own yard or land. Your land and your yard could be the only connection between the fragmented open space lands across the landscape of Wake County.

Native plants provide food and shelter for wildlife. Encourage or plant native plants in your yard. These plants and animals have adapted to our climate and have evolved together. One example of many includes the relationship of the migratory birds from Central and South America with native plants and insects. The birds arrive here just in time to eat the insects, which have emerged and feed on specific native plant species. The birds breed and feed these insects to their young during the spring and summer. They fatten up on the seeds and insects provided by and on native plants throughout summer to fuel their flight back south to their winter homes.

Learn about and control invasive plant species that can crowd out native plants or are poisonous to wildlife. For example, many people like to plant Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) because of the pretty berries, but those berries are toxic and kill birds. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) also have pretty berries, are native, and are a good food source for birds in the winter.

Since there are no public access roads or parking areas on open space lands, volunteer projects are typically limited to individuals or to small group projects. If you have a volunteer service idea that you think would benefit open space lands, email staff at openspace@wakegov.com .