MGC HOSTS BOTANIST DR. MINCY MOFFETT
(Cochran, GA) – Middle Georgia College recently hosted Georgia Department of Natural Resources Non-Game Botanist Dr. Mincy Moffett, who spoke to students, faculty, and community members about his work conserving rare plants in Georgia. The event was sponsored by the MGC Science Club.
Although he was always interested in plants, Dr. Moffett earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics and a MBA before becoming a mortgage broker. He then became involved in environmentalism, which lead him to go back to school to earn his Doctorate in Plant Ecology. “I got to be an activist and take direct action.” he said. “Find what you’re passionate about, and then you must do whatever you can to be the very best at it, and you will be happy.”
Dr. Moffett gave a brief description about the differences between animal and plant regulation laws. “Plants have less protection under the law than animals,” he said. “Plants belong to landowners, which is a major difference between plants and animals.”
At the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Dr. Moffett works in the Nongame Conservation Section of the Wildlife Resources Division. He performs rare plant and botanical surveys, monitors rare plants and natural communities, and works to restore critical habitats. “I work mostly on public lands looking for rare plants and plant communities,” he said. Dr. Moffett also completes ecological restoration. “After you clear the habitat, local botanical gardens put rare plants they have grown back into the area.”
Dr. Moffett also works in prescribed fire, which according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website, is used by wildlife personnel to encourage the growth of grasses, deter the growth of small trees, provide habitats for threatened species, and reduce high fuel levels. “Most Southeastern forests need fire,” said Dr. Moffett. “Biodiversity is highest where regular fire occurs; however, natural fires are few these days so we have prescribed fires.” The GDNR has burned over 30,000 acres across Georgia.
Dr. Moffett also works to control invasive exotic plant species, which are non-native species that have been accidently or intentionally introduced into areas outside their natural ranges. “They are not native to the area, and they can cause harm to the economy, environment, and human health,” said Dr. Moffett.
Dr. Sharon Mozley-Standridge, an Associate Professor of Biology at MGC, said students enjoyed Dr. Moffett’s presentation. “Many of the students were greatly intrigued both by Dr.Moffett’s approach to developing a career (do what you love) and by what he does now for the state of Georgia in conservation,” she said. “Students also signed up to volunteer at the Ohoopee Dunes where Dr. Moffett does some of his conservation work. Overall we were glad to have Dr. Moffett and would love to have him come speak again.”