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#06-83 April 3, 2006

USC students work to enhance Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve

University of South Carolina students recently worked to enhance the safety, usability and cleanliness of Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve in Calhoun County.

Students from the University of South Carolina Columbia campus recently sacrificed a Saturday during Saint Patrick’s Day weekend to help the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation with a cooperative effort to create a third hiking trail, improve the safety of an existing observation deck and pick up trash at Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve.

USC students at Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve “It was amazing to experience the excitement and determination of this group as they worked on these tasks,” said Brett M. Moule, DNR wildlife biologist and heritage preserve manager. “They obviously came with one thing in mind—and that was to work! Although many of them were introduced to certain activities for the first time, they overcame those limitations quickly. The group worked steadily as a team throughout the afternoon. They managed to pickup trash across a majority of the property, cut, clear, and post signs for a mile and a half hiking trail, and built an additional hand-rail on an existing observation deck in a relatively short period of time.”

Moule said DNR greatly appreciates the cooperation of South Carolina Wildlife Federation, USC and USC’s students. “This is a model example of how non-profit groups, local, state, and private interests can work in concert to protect the environment,” he said.

For more information on Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve, visit the Web site http://www.dnr.sc.gov/managed/heritage/congbluffs/description.html or call the Columbia DNR office at (803) 734-3886.

Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve provides recreational opportunities such as fishing, hiking, plant and wildlife observation and photography. The preserve also provides opportunities for research and serves as an outdoor classroom for nature study. The preserve contains a house with a three-car garage, which will be used as an environmental and cultural education facility. It will provide teachers with a variety of programs that specifically meet the needs and interests of their students. These programs will reach hundreds of teachers and students from a variety of backgrounds and locations.

The educational facility at Congaree Bluffs will not only provide students with programs, but it will also be available to groups interested in natural and cultural resources. The education facility will be available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis beginning in August. Currently, an outside classroom/picnic area that is available at the preserve, which is open to the public sunrise to sunset daily.

For more information about applying for the educational facility, contact Margaret Thornton, Calhoun Conservation District, at (803) 874-3337, extension 3, or e-mail Margaret.Thornton@sc.nacdnet.net.
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