Asheboro, NC - As part of the 2013 North Carolina Science Festival, the North Carolina Zoo and other Greater Uwharrie Conservation Partnership agencies will host Nature Day at the N.C. Zoo's Nichols Longleaf Preserve on Saturday, April 13, from 1-4 p.m., for nature enthusiasts young and old.

The recently protected Nichols preserve is located at 3239 N.C. Highway 134 North, Troy, NC 27371 and boasts some of the oldest longleaf pines in the Piedmont region.

A kick-off event will be held April 12 from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the Montgomery County Cooperative Extension office at 203 W. Main St., Troy. The event will feature a special presentation by Larry Earley, author of "Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest," and a meet-and-greet opportunity for landowners and conservation professionals in the Greater Uwharrie region. Additionally, at 7 p.m., Early will conduct a lecture on longleaf pines.

The Nature Day event will include a guided hike of the Nichols preserve; activities for young people; and presentations on prescribed fire, local history, wildlife, invasive species and the longleaf pine ecosystem.

Admission is free for both events. The North Carolina Science Festival is a regional, two-week-long celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Across the state, North Carolinians participate in science talks, lab tours, nature experiences, exhibits, performances and other activities, hosted by various community organizations: schools, colleges and universities, parks, libraries, museums and businesses.

NCSF was founded in 2010 by UNC-Chapel Hill's Morehead Planetarium and Science Center and is the first statewide science festival in the United States. Morehead continues to produce the festival in partnership with various sponsors and event hosts. The 2013 festival is scheduled for April 5-21; Time Warner Cable is the 2013 Festival Champion.

More information on this and other N.C. Science Festival events can be found at
The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.