January 27, 2009
Coastal Explorations Series offers spring opportunities in Lowcountry
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is once again hosting an event series in the Lowcountry for the public this spring, the Coastal Explorations Series.
The goal of the Coastal Explorations Series, free of charge to the public, is to raise regional awareness of issues pertaining to South Carolina’s marine resources, the importance of conservation, and the significance of historical preservation in the Lowcountry area. Increasing the public’s understanding of S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) projects and goals is another important initiative of the scheduled programs. The Coastal Explorations Series provides the public with an opportunity to interact with and meet DNR employees that have knowledgeable insight into the following topics.
The DNR Coastal Explorations Series is two years old, hosting 32 events and all free to the public since February 2007.
The public is encouraged to register through the online calendar. Online registration is available 30 days prior to each scheduled event. Reservations are required for all of the events, as detailed logistical information varies for each seminar and public outing.
The Coastal Explorations Series during the spring will span from February through May. The events range in format from seminar, lectures, discussion, to hands-on identification and field outings. For additional information on the Coastal Explorations Series, contact Kim Counts, DNR coordinator, at the Marine Resources Center, at (843) 953-9354, or CountsK@dnr.sc.gov.
Nemours Plantation of the ACE Basin
Speaker: Ernie Wiggers, Manager of Nemours Wildlife Foundation
Date: February 24, 2009 - 9 a.m. to mid‐afternoon (bring lunch)
Capacity: 20 people
Description: Much of the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers (ACE) Basin Project Area is composed of plantations which utilize the river systems for cultivation. These plantations are host to abundant wildlife and unique cultural heritage. Join us to tour one of the primary plantations of the ACE Basin, Nemours Plantation. Ernie Wiggers will host the tour as the manager for the Nemours Wildlife Foundation.
Native Gardening and Rain Barrel Demonstration - DNR Fort Johnson Marine Center, James Island
Speakers: Colette Degarady (Conservation Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy), David Joyner (Natural Resources Agent, Clemson Extension), Rebekah Szivak (SCDNR)
Date: March 18 - 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Description: Are you interested in tips that can help you create and sustain an attractive garden or landscape while protecting the environment and potentially saving on your water bill? If so, join us for an evening of learning about ways you can lower your global footprint in your landscape. Colette Degarady from the S.C. Nature Conservancy will discuss the benefits of planting native as well as give suggestions for plants that do well in landscaped environments. David Joyner from Clemson University Extension will give the group a demonstration on constructing a rain barrel. Rain barrels are used to collect water from rooftops after rain events; the presentation will give best practices for building your own. Both presentations will supply the audience with resources for additional information.
Birding in the ACE Basin - Donnelly and Bear Island Wildlife Management Area
Speaker: Pete Laurie (retired SCDNR)
Date: March 23, 2009 - 9 a.m. to 1 pm. (bring a lunch)
Capacity: 20 people
Description: Come explore the ACE Basin! Tour the Donnelly and Bear Island WMA’s with an emphasis on birding. Birds will be viewed in a variety of habitats including wetland impoundments, open fields, long leaf pines, and black water cypress swamp. The diversity of habitats makes this area a bird watchers paradise. Our speaker, Pete Laurie; birder, writer, photographer and contributor to SC Wildlife Magazine, is knowledgeable on wildlife management techniques utilized within the area as well as bird life which may be found.
Huntington Beach State Park: Marine Invertebrates
Speaker: Mike Walker (SC Park Service)
Date: May 4, 2009 - 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (bring lunch)
Capacity: 20 people
Description: The northern end of Huntington Beach State Park offers a great diversity of marine habitats, both natural and man-made, in a compact area. Participants will have a chance to get their feet wet and their hands muddy as we explore from the ever-shifting sands of the high-energy outer beach to the crashing waves of the jetty’s rocky shore to the calm, protected mud and sand flats of Murrells Inlet. Along the way, we will use suction samplers, sieve boxes, and other tools to investigate the myriad of sea creatures who call these habitats home. We may encounter sea stars, sea urchins, ghost shrimp, sea anemones, acorn worms, mole crabs, and many other marine invertebrates. Please wear closed-toed, lace-up shoes with good tread that you don’t mind getting wet and muddy, and bring heavy-duty work gloves for protection from barnacles and oyster shells. A hat, sunscreen, and drinking water are also recommended. Transportation from the beach to the jetty will be provided. Meet at the Education Center.
Exploring Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve
Speaker: Deanna Ruth (SCDNR)
Date: May 5, 2009 - 9 a.m. to noon
Capacity: 20 people
Description: Come explore the plethora of natural wonders that abound at Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve. A Longleaf Pine Ecosystem restoration project is currently in progress, the preserve recently planted 350 acres. Participants will learn about this forest type which once dominated the south and the characteristics that make it a unique ecosystem. We will discuss the federally endangered red‐cockaded woodpecker while in the Longleaf, and efforts taken to assure these birds don’t go extinct. The group will also experience Carolina Bays. Lewis Ocean Bay is the highest concentration of Carolina Bays in the state, 23 in all. We hope to find native orchids and carnivorous plants along the way. We will also touch on research regarding dense population of black bears present on the property.
Birding in the Headwaters of the ACE Basin - Francis Beidler National Forest
Speakers: Jeff Mollenhauer (SC Audubon)
Date: May 18, 2009 - 9 a.m. to noon
Capacity: 30 people
Description: Take the boardwalk deep into Four Holes Swamp lead by Audubon experts to view resident birds and wildlife. Participants will experience old growth cypress swamp as well as some of the oldest and biggest cypress trees in the south. Some common misconceptions of swampy areas will be addressed as well as benefits these areas have to our Lowcountry. Birds that we may encounter include prothonotary warblers, yellow crowned night herons, barred owls, and pileated woodpeckers. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about a new citizens‐ science project, Project PROTHO, which takes a closer look at the use of forested wetlands by prothonotary warblers.
History and Natural History of the ACE Basin - McKenzie Field Station at Bennett’s Point
Speakers: Al Segars, Katie McMillan, Louie Heyward, and Kim Counts (SCDNR)
Date: June 2, 2009 - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Description: Come explore the ACE Basin aboard the Educational Vessel Discovery. The group will travel into the heart of the ACE Basin to pull a trawl net in the estuary. Participating speakers will talk on the animals caught and the roles the estuary plays in the overall health of the ocean. Participants will learn of this highly productive ecosystem we call our own backyard. We will also focus on some of the historical significance of the ACE Basin including events in the Civil and Revolutionary Wars, as well as the highly prosperous phosphate mining industry.
Deveaux Banks: A Resting and Nesting Place for Shorebirds (Depart from McKenzie Field Station, Bennett’s Point)
Speakers: Felicia Sanders and Al Segars
Date: July 29, 2009 - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Description: Participants will venture to Deveaux Banks in the mouth of the North Edisto River via our Educational Vessel Discovery. There, we will witness one of the most important success stories as a result of legislation enacted to help increase nesting activities of important coastal birds in our area. The group will be awed by the experience of the variety of sea and shorebirds we see throughout the day.
DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.