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#07-272 September 24, 2007

Public event series offers conservation programs during September, October

The fall Public Event Series continues with many opportunities for the public to learn about happenings at the Marine Resources Division, the importance of conservation and the significance of historical preservation in the Lowcountry. New events have been added to the fall lineup, taking place in September and October.

Event twelve, Birding in the Headwaters of the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto (ACE) Basin, will be offered Monday, September 24th at Francis Beidler Forest Sanctuary. This field event will lead participants through the Four Holes Swamp watershed. Audubon South Carolina has generously agreed to provide participants with a guided tour along their 1.75 -mile boardwalk at the Francis Beidler Sanctuary, which provides excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. Resident birds, such as White Ibis, Barred Owl and Red-shouldered hawk are a few species likely to be seen. Audubon South Carolina is a non-profit organization that works to protect and conserve birds and their habitat throughout the state. Like all other offerings in the Public Event Series, there is no cost for the field trip, however a donation to Audubon South Carolina to help their conservation efforts is appreciated.
The last event offered during September, a lecture on South Carolina’s Striped Bass Fishery, will be hosted on Thursday, September 27th at the DNR auditorium on James Island. The informative lecture, hosted by DNR fisheries biologists, will inform participants about the fish hatchery at the DNR’s Bonneau facility, the species’ life history, conservation of striped bass, efforts towards their sustainability for future generations, and the recreational fishery.

During October, the Series will host an additional 5 events to pique the public’s interest. On Tuesday, October 2nd, biologists will host an Animals of the Estuary boat outing aboard the DNR education vessel E/V Discovery. The outing takes place in the heart of the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto (ACE) Basin, and biologists will speak about animals retrieved in a trawl net through the estuary, as well as the role the estuary plays in the overall health of the ocean environment.

A Coastal Butterflies and Tagging field experience takes place Wednesday afternoon, October 10th. DNR biologist Billy McCord will speak about coastal butterflies found in SC. As October is the time for migration, participants will venture to Folly Beach County Park where McCord will demonstrate tagging of Monarch butterflies.

Event sixteen, offered Friday, October 12th, features a History of the ACE Basin boat outing. The tour and interpretation, led by Drs. Larry Rowland and Steve Wise, will be hosted aboard the education vessel E/V Discovery. The event will emphasize the historical uses of marsh islands, such as phosphate mining, rice cultivation and the Civil War, with a particular focus of the islands endemic to the ACE Basin.

On Tuesday, October 16th, DNR biologists Tom Murphy and Felicia Sanders will conduct a boating tour of shorebird sites in the ACE Basin. The boat outing will also be held on the education vessel E/V Discovery, and discussions of shorebird conservation will highlight the trip.

The final event in the fall Public Event Series lineup, a lecture on DNR’s adult male loggerhead turtle tagging project, will be hosted Wednesday, October 17th at the Marine Resources Division on James Island.  DNR biologist Mike Arendt will provide an in-depth look into the findings of the project’s research, which seek to unveil the whereabouts of adult loggerhead male turtles. This project has used radio-transmitting devices to track the male loggerhead sea turtles.

The National Estuarine Research Reserve has partnered with DNR to assist with funding and support enabling more opportunities with the Public Event Series. All events are free to the public and pre-registration is required to participate in the DNR’s Public Event Series’ opportunities.  To sign-up for any of the events, contact DNR Public Event Series Coordinator Kim Counts at (843) 953-9354, or CountsK@dnr.sc.gov.

The Public Event Series, since its inception earlier this year, has offered 9 educational programs and hosted over 400 participants statewide. Counts notes that, "The pilot round of programs offered with the Public Event Series has certainly met our expectations and has provided momentum to continue offering these types of educational experiences to the public again this fall."  Participants in the initial events provided important and positive feedback, as well as ideas for topics that will be incorporated into the fall Series.

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.

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