UNCW grad student builds greenhouse to protect the Venus flytrap

UNCW grad student builds greenhouse to protect the Venus flytrap

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A UNCW graduate student is using a greenhouse to educate the public and urge needed protections for the Venus flytrap.

M.S. in Biology candidate, Jessica Roach, is fascinated by the Venus flytrap and she has taken action to protect this vulnerable plant species indigenous to southeastern North Carolina. The flytrap is frequently poached in the Cape Fear area — a state crime — and Roach decided that she had had enough.

Last October, Roach submitted a proposal to the Friends of Pleasure Island State Parks Organization to fund a greenhouse at Carolina Beach State Park. She pointed out that she did it “because the public loves Venus flytraps. It’s the state carnivorous plant. The whole world knows what they are and the whole world finds them fascinating but what they don’t know is how vulnerable they really are.”

Roach hopes the greenhouse will be a way for the public to view the plants up close and raise awareness to just how often the delicate plants are poached in the area.

Not long after Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina, Jessica’s proposal was accepted and immediately granted funding. However, the post-Florence recovery caused a delay in the project getting off the ground. In February, Jessica’s greenhouse was finally able to begin construction. Working completely separate from the university, Jessica received no credits and received no profit of any kind.

Jessica’s next step is to coordinate a date with the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that will officially introduce the greenhouse to the public.

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