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Biology professor and alumna inventory species at Flat Rock Park

2020-08-14-Tom Diggs research
Dr. Tom Diggs, associate professor of plant biology at the University of North Georgia, collaborated with Dan Spaulding, senior curator at the Anniston Museum of Natural History, and UNG alumna Katie Horton on a two-year plant survey of Flat Rock Park. After the 2019 growing season, the trio identified 365 plant species on the 25-acre day-use park that overlooks Harris Reservoir, also known as Lake Wedowee.

As a self-described plant geek, Dr. Tom Diggs has savored inventorying the species growing atop a granite rock outcrop in Flat Rock Park in Alabama.

"I enjoy doing it because, I have seen species that I haven't seen before," said the associate professor of plant biology at the University of North Georgia (UNG). "And we hope to preserve and conserve this habitat."

Diggs collaborated with Dan Spaulding, senior curator at the Anniston Museum of Natural History, and UNG alumna Katie Horton on a two-year plant survey of Flat Rock Park, which is operated and managed by Alabama Power. After the 2019 growing season, the trio identified 365 plant species on the 25-acre day-use park that overlooks Harris Reservoir, also known as Lake Wedowee. Of those species, 67 were never recorded in the county before.

"We found one species that is found in that location and only that location in Alabama," Diggs said.

Diggs explained the team will complete its 2020 growing season inventory in November and then submit a final report to Alabama Power. He said he hopes the company will consider re-designating the granite rock shelf as a natural and undeveloped land.

Diggs, Spaulding and Horton's efforts were recently reported on the Alabama News Center website. The news outlet provides information and shares stories with Alabama Power customers.

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