Piedmont Environmental Center and Bicentennial Greenway
Habitats: Mixed hardwood and pine forests, marsh, lake edge, and meadow.
Key birds: Summer: Eastern Kingbird, Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, and Red-eyed Vireo. Winter: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated and Chipping Sparrows. Year-round: Great Horned Owl, Pileated, Red-bellied, Hairy, and Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, White-breasted and Brown-headed Nuthatches, Song Sparrow, and American Goldfinch.
Best times to bird: Year-round.
Description: The Piedmont Environmental Center occupies 376 acres of property on the western shore of High Point Lake where it features an environmental education building and hiking trails. It also serves as the southern terminus of the Guilford County Bicentennial Greenway, about three miles of which are on center's property. The Bicentennial Greenway is a joint project of Guilford County, City of High Point, and City of Greensboro to link these communities with a paved multiple use walking, jogging, and bicycling trail. To date, portions of the Greenway have been constructed both in High Point and in Greensboro; currently completed are about seven miles in High Point and 3.8 miles in Greensboro. The Greensboro section links with the paved Lake Brandt Greenway (2.45 miles) and an extensive network of about 35 miles of unpaved trails around the three city reservoirs. The High Point portion described here offers more of interest to birders at this time.
Directions: Piedmont Environmental Center is located at 1220 Penny Road in southwestern Guilford County, about six miles south of I-40 between High Point and Jamestown. From I-40 take the NC 68 exit (exit 210) south toward High Point. At Wendover/Skeet Club Road turn left, go to Penny Road, turn right, and watch for the Piedmont Environmental Center sign on the left.
Birding Highlights: Birders may explore more than eleven miles of nature trails on the Piedmont Environmental Center property. North of the property are at least nine major access points. Most of these points have parking. At mile point 2.8 there is an observation deck that gives access to a marsh. Another good beginning or ending point to the Bicentennial Greenway is Gibson Park, which is near the middle of the High Point portion about 3.5 miles north of Piedmont Environmental Center.
General Information: Piedmont Environmental Center is open seven days a week from sunrise to sundown. Parts of the Bicentennial Greenway are heavily used during peak periods such as holidays and weekends, but the Greenway can be a pleasant birding experience by foot or bicycle especially in early morning and on weekdays. Care should be taken to be aware of other users on fast moving bicycles and skates.
DeLorme map grid: Page 37, A6
North Carolina Travel Map grid: G2
For more information: Piedmont Environmental Center, (336) 883-8531
Bicentennial Greenway, (336) 641-3544. http://www.piedmontenvironmental.com/