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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

April 14, 2015DNR's Marine Resources thanks volunteers during National Volunteer Week

On a muggy day in mid-April, dozens of people sit around an outdoor classroom focused on the often imperceptible differences between loggerhead and Kempís ridley sea turtles. Everyone in the classroom is a dedicated volunteer, and this training is just the beginning of a season of hard work.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR)ís Marine Resources Division on the coast relies on thousands of such volunteers each year to help carry out the divisionís mission of conserving and advocating for South Carolinaís marine resources.

Whether their service is for sea turtles, water quality, or a specific landscape, volunteers for the DNR Marine Resources Division brave challenging weather and environments, and they donít mind getting dirty.

This week, DNR is pleased to recognize and thank these exceptional volunteers, who form the lifeblood of so many DNR programs.

In 1974, President Richard Nixon issued a presidential proclamation to establish National Volunteer Week, an occasion to recognize the significant contributions of the countryís volunteers and to encourage all Americans to consider volunteering in their communities. National Volunteer Week falls on April 12-18 this year.

On beaches from Jasper to Horry Counties, over 1,000 individuals represent the vanguard of protection for nesting and stranded sea turtles. Coordinated by DNRís Marine Turtle Conservation, these volunteers patrol the beach, monitor nests, and are the first to respond to distressed or stranded sea turtles. The success of sea turtle conservation in South Carolina is a testament to their enduring efforts to protect and educate.

Oysters are another mainstay of coastal life that benefit from hard-working volunteers. In 2014, more than 1,350 volunteers, many from local schools and colleges, helped construct oyster reefs at 32 sites through DNRís South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement (SCORE) program. These reefs provide essential fish habitat, improve water quality, stabilize shorelines, and, of course, satisfy South Carolinaís appetite for oysters.

At DNR-managed Botany Bay Plantation on Edisto Island, another devoted team of volunteers greets and educates visitors, maintains trails, cleans up trash, and performs countless other tasks that might seem thankless if the volunteers didnít enjoy each othersí company so much or care so deeply for property.

These programs are just a few of the many that benefit from service hours contributed by South Carolinians. National Volunteer Week provides a great opportunity for DNR to express its gratitude for their commitment to our stateís natural resources.

If youíre interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities with some of the programs listed here, visit the following webpages.

Volunteer Opportunities with Marine Species

South Carolina Marine Turtle Conservation Program

South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement

Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area

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