Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Summer Activities Kick Off at Edisto

Artwork unique to Edisto from Lions Club Bingo
It’s hard to convey the uptick of activity that arrives during Memorial Day for beach towns like Edisto. Families plan their annual vacations around such holidays and so do local businesses that provide entertainment activities. The 2017 summer season in particular is more meaningful to Edisto’s local population because it follows seven months of continuous recovery, after the bedlam that Hurricane Matthew brought ashore last October.

The Edisto Island Open Land Trust (EIOLT) helps to protect the natural beauty and scenic vistas all over Edisto Island. Their annual cocktail party and fundraising auction for conservation minded patrons is held on June 16 at 42 Station Court. Jewelry, artwork, guided activities and one of a kind items associated with Edisto will be up for bids. A golfing event called the Tomato Open benefits EIOLT and is held the next day on Saturday June 17 and includes breakfast, lunch and multiple contests to win prizes, not to mention spending a day on the Plantation Golf Course.

Sometimes the best way to find out what is happening at Edisto is simply to pay them a visit and ask around. The Town of Edisto Beach is selling Sea oats for $1 a plant on June 5 for those wishing to help restore vegetation to the newly established sand dunes. The Edislo Java coffee shop at the pier is now offering breakfast, and they plan to move ahead with plans to utilize the same space as an upscale watering hole in the evenings.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from 2016 at Edisto click on Jim Bost Memorial - Dolphin Slam - Cobia Tourney - Spring Shorebird Synergy - Bovine Bones on Beach - Edisto River book - 2016 Edisto Billfish Tourney - Police Chief

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hunting Island State Park Reopens May 26

Hunting Island Fishing Pier from May 16, 2017
The impacts from Hurricane Matthew affected the coastal plain of the Lowcountry in numerous ways, including beach erosion from Tybee Island to Edisto Island. The Memorial Day holiday brings good news for those with longstanding traditions of visiting the pristine beaches at Hunting Island Sate Park, which is set to reopen after seven months of deliberations and repairs. My visit to the Hunting Island State Park nature center and fishing pier on May 16 revealed that the facilities and staff are ready to welcome visitors once again.
T-shirt sales benefit hurricane recovery efforts
To reach Hunting Island State Park requires a trek down Highway 21 deep into Beaufort County, passing through Lady’s Island, St. Helena Island, and Harbor Island. The entrances to the campground area and the lighthouse grounds were still blocked by large signs stating that these park areas were still closed. The Nature Center is at the southern tip of the state park, and the fishing pier extends into the Harbor River, and looks out towards Fripp Island.

I was surprised to see that the wooden pier is still in disrepair and is closed to the public about halfway down. The pier may not be fully repaired yet, but it appears that ospreys are building a nest on the end of the pier, so the natural world is adapting to the changes. Hunting Island State Park is a 5,000-acre barrier island and maritime forest, and it saw significant damage from Hurricane Matthew. The state estimates property damages around $5 million and revenue losses from being closed of $2 million.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about S.C. State Parks click Barnwell - Hickory Knob - Huntington Beach - Hampton Plantation - Edisto Beach 
Their nature enter is top notch!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wetland Night Sounds at Donnelly WMA

Tony Mills show the underbelly of a Mud Snake
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources held an event on May 9 for folks interested in visiting Donnelly WMA for a wagon ride through both forest and wetlands in search of the sounds and scenes found only as dusk grips the Lowcountry. Veteran SCDNR employee Al Segars met participants at 5 p.m. at the game check station on Donnelly WMA and signed them in for this program, a part of the Coastal Exploration Series. Sitting on picnic tables under the shade of a grand live oak surrounded by freshly planted dove fields, it was exciting to think about all manner of wildlife that we might soon be viewing.

Baby Box turtles - so cute!!
Tony Mills is a herpetologist with the Lowcountry Institute at Spring Island and he was in charge of the one-hour grass class about wildlife found at Donnelly WMA. Some people know Mills from the TV show on ETV called Coastal Kingdom. Mills experience is extensive having served 20 years UGA’s Savannah River Ecology Lab, and his outgoing nature comes in handy when teaching Master Naturalist courses each year.

Young and old came to listen and learn in the outdoors
SCDNR’s Nick Wallover was riding with participants and gave a narration as the wagon rolled through the woodlands. We saw white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and feral hogs as the daylight dimmed. Just then someone saw the first firefly of the evening and soon the entire forest was lit up with these frolicking flies, blinking intermittently. “One certain occasions we have seen the fireflies display mating behavior and they all link up and flash on and off at the same time,” said Wallover. I had never even heard of such behavior and hope to see that in person one day.

To view the entire feature story in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about Donnelly WMA click on Trails of Colleton County - Deer Draw Hunt

To view past blog entries about the ACE Basin click on 25th Anniversary

Wading Bird Paradise at Dusk
To view past blog entries on snakes click on Edisto SerpentariumSeptember Snakes Seen Slithering - Duck Season Snakes -  2014 Snakes at SEWE - 2016 SEWE