We cannot understand the present without a clear understanding of the past. Mark Catesby journeyed to the Carolinas in 1722. The descriptions included in his book, the Natural History of Carolina, Georgia and the Bahama Islands seems outlandish considering the natural communities surrounding us today. Imagine a Carolina where bison, elk and wolves roam vast grasslands, where fire, set by humans shape the land and where Native Americans are still the dominant force managing the landscape. Understanding this world and the changes that humans have made during the past 300 years is critical to our preservation of the unique plants and animals that call Carolina home.