September 10, 2009
Coastal Explorations Series offers fall opportunities in Lowcountry
You can learn about the 3,500 hummock islands on the South Carolina coast, take a fall wildflower walk or build a rain garden in your own backyard and all for free this fall in the Lowcountry. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is once again hosting these public events and more with the Coastal Explorations Series.
The goal of the Coastal Explorations Series is to increase stewardship ethics of natural resources by highlighting managed properties and projects of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). All offerings are for free, field based, expert led and combine hands-on and lecture components. 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. This fall, a few partnering agencies involved with the implementation of event series include Clemson Extension, USC Belle Baruch Institute and Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission.
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 this fall will span from September to December. 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.
- Discovering Hummock Islands
Speaker: Billy McCord (DNR)
Sept. 25 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: McKenzie Field Station, Bennett's Point, ACE Basin
South Carolina is home to approximately 3,500 hummock islands which lay scattered in the salt marsh between barrier islands and the mainland. Billy McCord is a DNR wildlife biologist and has conducted ecological surveys on more than 130 hummock islands. We will begin learning about McCord's research in the classroom where participants will view a presentation exhibiting various data and photo images from surveyed islands. We will then board the DNR Educational Vessel Discovery, to take a closer look by water of a group of such islands. Participants should wear closed-toed shoes and long pants for this offering.
- Fall Wildflower Walk
Speaker: Beth Thomas (NIWB NERR)
Sept. 30 - 9 a.m. to Noon
Location: North Inlet Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; Hobcaw Barony
Take a walk through maritime, upland forest, and wetland habitats to see fall in bloom at Hobcaw Barony. Reserve staff and naturalists will help identify common fall wildflowers. The group will travel by van to selected sites. Participants must wear comfortable walking shoes and bring insect repellant if they so desire. Cameras and binoculars welcomed.
- Reptiles of the Lowcountry
Speakers: Dr. Jayme Waldron (USC) and Tony Mills (Spring Island)
Oct. 9 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Parris Island (Beaufort), Osprey Inn Conference Room
Join Dr. Jayme Waldron and LowCountry Institute's Tony Mills as we learn about the reptiles of the LowCountry- focusing on Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, alligators and exotic reptile introductions. We will start the event with a lecture and progress to a field trip to view the diamondbacks being studied on Parris Island by Dr. Waldron. Instructions will follow regarding directions to Osprey Inn and instructions on accessing Parris Island. Need to bring lunch, drinks. Dress for walking outdoors.
- Marine Invertebrate Identification
Speaker: Dr. Alex Marsh (retired professor)
Oct. 15 - 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Harbor Island near Beaufort
Join professor Alex Marsh on the Harbor Island flats to identify some of the common, but rarely seen, invertebrates of the intertidal zone. Participants will likely capture polychaete worms, bivalves, gastropods, numerous crustaceans and others. Be prepared to get wet, muddy and to do some digging. Be sure to bring a lunch, drink, and sunscreen.
- Building a Rain Garden in Your Own Backyard
Speaker: David Joyner (Clemson Extension)
Oct. 22 - 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Fort Johnson Marine Center, DNR Outdoor Classroom
Rain Gardens are utilized to promote water quality by decreasing runoff in nearby waterways. They are crafted in such a way that is aesthetically pleasing and take advantage of native plants that can survive both very dry and very wet conditions. What better way to learn about rain gardens then to build one? This event will focus on the benefits of having a rain garden and lead the group in a step by step process on building your own. All participants will receive a rain garden manual courtesy of The Clemson Extension project Carolina Clear. This is a hands-on activity; therefore, please bring gloves and appropriate shoes to be involved. By the end of the event, the group will have built a rain garden on the Fort Johnson campus.
- SCORE Oyster Reef Restoration Project
Speaker: Nancy Hadley (DNR)
Oct. 27 - 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Fort Johnson Marine Center, James Island
The group will learn about the significance of oyster reefs along the South Carolina coast. These productive areas within the saltmarsh provide habitat and nursery grounds for a variety of estuarine animals. The project uses bagged oyster shell to create the base of oyster reefs. Bagged oyster shell allows an area for SPAT (oyster larvae) to attach and mature—that is, make more oyster reefs. Currently, the SCORE project has utilized the entire supply of bagged oyster shell. This event will serve both as a volunteer opportunity and education opportunity. Participants will learn of the significance of oyster reefs as well as bag shell for next spring's "planting." Ultimately, the SCORE project will require 5,000 bags of shell by next spring. The group will help in attaining this goal by bagging shell as a group for an hour or maybe a little more!
- Coastal Butterfly's and Tagging
Speaker: Billy McCord (DNR)
Oct. 30 - 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
This outing will begin at the DNR Fort Johnson Complex on James Island. Begin with a PowerPoint lecture by Billy McCord, DNR wildlife biologist, on the ecology of butterflies found along the South Carolina coast. Billy will also display specimens of common coastal species. As October is time for monarch migration, the group will travel to the Folly Beach County Park for a demonstration on monarch tagging. The outing will also afford opportunities to observe other butterflies, their nectar and host plants, and other wildlife and plants.
- Capers Island
Speakers: Al Segars, Louie Heyward, Kattie McMillan, Kim Counts (DNR)
Nov. 20 - 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location: Meet at Fort Johnson Marine Center, James Island
The group will travel aboard the Educational Vessel Discovery, departing from Fort Johnson Marine Center on James Island. We will travel the intercoastal waterway to our destination of Capers Island Heritage Preserve. Once to Capers, all will debark to explore the intertidal zones of this dynamic shoreline. We will discuss barrier island dynamics and creatures which call this place home, including birds and marine invertebrates. All participants must be able to walk distances up to two miles. The group will return to the Discovery, upon journey home we will pull a trawl net and discuss the estuary and animals which inhabit this productive nursery ground. Participants may get wet, please dress accordingly.
- Birding at Santee Coastal Reserve
Speaker: Felicia Sanders and Jamie Rader (DNR)
Dec. 8 - 9 a.m. to Noon
Location: Santee Coastal Wildlife Management Area
Hosted at the Santee Coastal Reserve, this event will offer an array of opportunities for the bird lover. The outing will be lead by DNR wildlife biologists, Felicia Sanders and Jamie Rader. The group will first visit a longleaf pine ecosystem, home to the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and many other rare birds. A short walk will follow on a cypress pond board walk. Lastly, the group will embark on an open-air wagon ride to view the rice impoundments and marsh areas of the Reserve. This portion will provide the opportunity to view abundant waterfowl species.
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