** Archived Article - please check for current information. **
February 10, 2011
Coastal Explorations Series offers Lowcountry learning, adventure opportunities
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has launched the fifth year of the Coastal Explorations Series. Interested individuals may view the Spring 2011 Calendar and register for events online.
The Coastal Explorations Series aims to foster the relationship between the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the public while increasing stewardship of South Carolina’s natural resources. Events largely highlight managed properties, projects, and expertise of staff of the DNR and partnering agencies and organizations. All programs are offered for free to the general public. All offerings contain both a lecture and field component and include topics such as winter shorebirds, rice cultivation, impoundment management, life history of horseshoe crabs and wetland night sounds.
As part of the Coastal Explorations Series spring 2011 lineup, an "Introduction to Wildlife Photography Workshop" will be held in the Ashepoo Combahee Edisto (ACE) River Basin. This is a one-day workshop held free of charge with professionals from the South Carolina Wildlife Magazine.
Participants are required to have a SLR (single-lens reflex) camera and some experience with photography, although certainly beginners are welcome. Registration is open until Feb. 16. Once registration is closed participants will be selected via a random drawing and notified by Feb. 18.
Registration is required for all events via the website and opens 30 days in advance. Once registered, participants will receive directions and further event details at least one week prior to the offering. Please direct any questions to the following: Kim Counts, DNR//ACE Basin NERR, (843) 953-9354 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Event One: Birding in Bear Island
Speaker: Dean Harrigal, Dr. Al Segars, Daniel Barrineau, DNR
Date: Feb 11
Time: 8:30 a.m. to Noon
Location: Bear Island Wildlife Management Area
Event Description: Tour the Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, with an emphasis on birding. Wetland impoundments and various habitats exist within Bear Island which makes this area a bird watchers paradise. Participants will travel in hayride style as they are pulled in an open trailer with bench seating. Birds to be experienced throughout the day include, but are surely not limited to, tundra swan, white pelican, bald eagle, northern harrier, glossy ibis, and a variety of egrets, herons and waterfowl.
- Event Two: Introduction to Wildlife Photography in the ACE Basin
Speaker: South Carolina Wildlife Magazine Staff
Date: Feb 25
Time: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Donnelley Wildlife Management Area
Event Description: Join South Carolina Wildlife Magazine photography staff in exploring the ACE Basin and nature photography. This workshop is focused on wildlife photography and will be held in the heart of the ACE Basin at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Bear Island WMA. This one day event will incorporate two photo outings and a "how-to" session at the McKenzie Field Station at Bennett’s Point. Participants should have an SLR camera and some camera experience. Registration will close on Feb. 16 and a random drawing will take place on Feb. 17 to decide participation.
- Event Three: Impoundment and Waterfowl Management on Nemours Plantation, ACE Basin
Speaker: Dr. Ernie Wiggers (president and CEO of Nemours Wildlife Foundation)
Date: March 2
Time: 9 a.m. to early afternoon (bring lunch)
Location: Nemours Plantation
Event Description: Much of the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Rivers (ACE) Basin is composed of plantations that use the river systems for cultivation, hosting abundant wildlife and maintaining unique cultural heritage. The outing will feature a tour of one of the primary plantations of the ACE Basin. Dr. Wiggers will narrate the offering with a focus on the management of plantation impoundments and the use of these areas by wildlife. Waterfowl, shorebirds, birds of prey and other bird species will be identified.
- Event Four: Historic Rice Cultivation and Gullah/Geechee Heritage of Lowcountry South Carolina
Speaker: Erica Veal, Keith McCullough, Chet Morse (CCPRC)
Date: March 10
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Location: Caw Caw Interpretive Center, Ravenel
Event Description: The culture and identity of the Lowcountry is largely defined by the prosperous rice plantations of the past and the people who cultivated them. This event will focus on methods used in historic rice cultivation in South Carolina and the Trans Atlantic Connections between Lowcountry South Carolina, the Caribbean and West Africa as evident through rice agriculture and the emergence of the Gullah/Geechee. Participants will visit formerly operational inland-swamp rice fields which have remained largely unchanged over the centuries. The methods utilized in the present-day maintenance of rice field impoundments as well as the past, present and future ecological significance of these areas will also be highlighted on a walking tour.
- Event Five: Winter Shorebird Identification
Speaker: Ken Scott, local birder and member of Fripp Audubon
Date: March 22
Time: 10 a.m. to early afternoon
Location: Harbor Island
Event Description: Harbor Island has been designated as part of an Important Bird Area by The Audubon Society. Join us at Harbor Island for a classroom and field session identifying winter shorebirds. Following the classroom session the group will venture to beach at beautiful Harbor Island to ID winter resident shorebirds. Bring binoculars (spotting scope if you have one) and dress appropriately for weather of the day.
- Event Six: Deveaux Bank Seabird Sanctuary: A Resting and Nesting Place for Seabirds and Shorebirds
Speaker: Felicia Sanders, DNR biologist
Date: March 29
Location: Boat pickup location TBD
Event Description: Participants will venture to Deveaux Bank in the mouth of the North Edisto River via the SCDNR Educational Vessel Discovery. There, we will witness one of the most important sites for coastal birds in South Carolina. The group will be awed by the variety and number of sea and shorebirds we see throughout the day. During this time of year we expect to see pelicans, terns, oystercatchers and other species courting and finding nesting sites.
- Event Seven: Horseshoe Crabs
Speaker: Larry DeLancey, DNR biologist
Date: May 4
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Fort Johnson Marine Center, Auditorium
Event Description: DNR biologist Larry DeLancey will give a presentation on life history, coastwide population management and monitoring, and a current tagging project supported by South Carolina Sea Grant. Horseshoe crabs are ancient animals that have long fascinated nature lovers. They are utilized by the biomedical industry in South Carolina to produce an assay for detection of bacterial contamination in intravenous drugs and vaccines. While harvested in some states for bait, they have gained increased protection through coastwide management efforts. They are considered a "keystone" species, since their eggs are eaten by migrating shorebirds moving northward to nesting grounds in the spring. They are an important educational resource for the South Carolina Aquarium, and are monitored by citizens interested in conservation along the coast. Attendees will have an opportunity to observe the tagging process of live animals.
- Event Eight: Birding in the Beidler (Headwaters of the ACE Basin)
Speaker: Denise Ecker and Mark Musselman (S.C. Audubon)
Date: May 16
Time: 9 a.m. to noon
Location: Francis Beidler Forest
Event 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 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 citizen-science project, Project PROTHO, which takes a closer look at the use of forested wetlands by prothonotary warblers.
- Event Nine: Wetlands Night Sounds
Speaker: Tony Mills from the Lowcountry Institute at Spring Island and DNR staff
Date: May 17
Time: 5-9 p.m.
Location: Donnelley Wildlife Management Area
Event Description: Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, an 8,000-acre tract of land managed by DNR, is home to diverse habitats including rice impoundments, longleaf pine forest and tidal marsh. This event, led by Tony Mills, a herpetologist with The Lowcountry Institute, will begin with a presentation highlighting a few animals that depend and thrive upon these isolated wetlands. Participants will venture out into the evening in a wagon-style vehicle, to experience the sounds of the night. As dusk settles in, the forest will come alive showcasing an array of lightning bugs, frog sounds and more. Although this event is our latest in the day, it is one not to be missed!
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- Charleston student wins 2011 S.C. Junior Duck Stamp contest
- Coastal Explorations Series offers Lowcountry learning, adventure opportunities
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- Angler again breaks trout record
- Black sea bass recreational harvest to close Feb. 12
- Trammel net surveys over two decades vital to managing fish populations
- Shad, herring, eel fishermen using commercial gear now need permits
- Aiken County wildlife area will open to the public three Saturdays in March
- Natural Resources Board meets Feb. 18 in Charleston
- Drought Response Committee maintains status, long term forecast indicates potential ongoing drought
- Draft 2011 Aquatic Plant Management Plan is now available for public review and comment
- S.C. Wildlife’s 27th Annual Outdoor Photo Contest accepting entries
- Join the Rusty Blackbird Blitz Jan. 29 to Feb. 13
- DNR recommends new comprehensive deer management program based on hunter input
- Youth Bass Fishing League announces tournament dates
- Free family day at the range set Feb. 12 and March 5
- DNR seeks help in locating abandoned crab traps
- North Island hog hunts with dogs to remove destructive feral hogs
- Freshwater fishing trends
- Saltwater fishing trends
- S.C. weekly tidetable
- DNR video