Fall 2015 Junior Naturalist Program and Scholarship Announcement

Do you know a child between the ages of 8 and 12 who loves nature? If so, check out the Jr. Naturalist program. This course combines nature exploration with art and science and makes learning about the outdoors both fun and meaningful. This year the Coastal Master Naturalist Association is funding a scholarship that will cover the cost of all 9 classes! For more information or to apply for the scholarship click on this link to visit the Junior Naturalist page on the Charleston County Park’s website.

Jr graduation

Barry Lopez ~ Premier Nature Writer ~ September 10th 2015

The Avian Conservation Center/Center for Birds of Prey is honored to host the nation’s premier natural history writer, Barry Lopez, for the author’s first visit to Charleston. Readers of Barry Lopez praise his unparalleled insight into the natural world and all its residents, expressed in a tone of spellbinding intimacy

Barry Lopez is best known as the author of Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award. Among his other nonfiction books are About This Life and Of Wolves and Men, which was a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of several award-winning works of fiction, including Field Notes, Winter Count, and a novella-length fable, Crow and Weasel. All of his works reflect a life of travel and cultural inquiry that has taken him to nearly seventy countries. Barry Lopez has, in his own words, “an unquenchable desire to immerse myself in landscapes still owned by their resident animals.”

Robert Mcfarlane of the San Francisco Guardian says of Lopez’ work, it’s “as though Lopez has gripped you by the shoulder and pressed binoculars to your eyes.” He speaks on the topics of stewardship, philosophy, and morality as they pertain to nature and humanity. Mcfarlane describes Lopez’ viewpoint eloquently saying, “the stern curve of a mountain slope, a nest of wet stones on a beach, the bent trunk of a wind-blown tree: these abstract shapes can call out in us a goodness we might not have known we possessed.”

The program will run from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at the Charleston Museum located at 360 Meeting Street and includes the presentation and a reception and book signing with the author. Admission is $20 per person, $10 for students with a valid ID. Space is limited and advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Reservations can be made at this link online or by calling 843.971.7474



Volunteers are needed to help with Monarch Butterfly Research along the SC Coast!

There is a research project on wintering monarchs developing and your volunteer assistance is needed to make it happen!! The project will require volunteer citizen scientists who can help with tagging monarchs (and/or recovery of tagged monarchs) and will be accomplished through cooperation between the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Billy McCord with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

Wintering behavior by monarchs likely occurs all along the southern section of the SC coast, beginning around McClellanville. Coastal communities typically provide enough trees and cover for the monarchs to use them during the cooler months as protected roosting sites when weather is not appropriate for butterfly activity.

McCord needs several volunteers to help tag (and find recovery tagged monarchs) at sites along the central SC coast. McCord is hopeful to have as many as 16 tagging sites established for this study. This means there is a call for volunteers to work as teams or individually – from as far south as Edisto Beach to as far north as McClellanville. Other sites within the study area could include Kiawah, Seabrook Island, Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. The hope is that volunteers live at, or very near, these sites. This is also a perfect combination of an experience that will count towards advanced training hours (initially) and then volunteer hours!! Win-win!!

Tagging may begin as early as the second half of November and extend though the spring. McCord will arrange at least one training session towards the end of October or early November on how to properly handle and tag monarchs. The project will also supply tags, tagging platforms, glassine envelopes in which to stash monarchs before tagging, and butterfly nets.

Please email Billy McCord at mccordb@dnr.sc.gov for more information. Also, please do not hesitate to share this information with anyone who lives in these areas that you think might be interested in helping with this very important research project!


Certified Interpretive Host Training Workshop August 13th and 14th 2015

The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, in partnership with the National Association for Interpretation, is offering a professional certification course for individuals who have public contact at interpretive sites. The Certified Interpretive Host program is designed for new hires, seasonals, docents/volunteers, maintenance workers, receptionists, law enforcement or anyone who has public contact but does not deliver interpretive programs to the public. It covers the basics of interpretation, customer service and hospitality, and using informal interpretation to support the agency mission.

This 16-hour course includes:

  • History, definition, and principles of interpretation
  • How to provide great customer service
  • Hospitality and communication skills
  • NAI Certification requirements (open book exam; video exam)
  • All materials and workbook

For more information please visit this link!


Photo by Keith McCullough

Please report your volunteer hours by July 1st !

The purpose of the volunteer service requirement of the SC Master Naturalist Program is to provide a service to the community or state with regard to natural resources; to help the volunteer gain knowledge and experience; and to support the work of the State Office, partner agencies and Host Sites through volunteerism.

Master Naturalist volunteer service hours are very important to the SC Master Naturalist program and its many affiliated organizations. The educational service you provide to the visitors to our parks and the environmental service projects in which you participate demonstrate your value and the value of the SC Master Naturalist Program to the state of South Carolina.

Please help keep our partners and Clemson university administration aware of the benefit that you provide. Report your volunteer service and advanced training hours in the SC Master Naturalist Online Volunteer Hour Reporting System. At the end of June each year, I generate a report of your hours from July 1 through June 30 which I then report through a system just like the Master Naturalist reporting system. Your volunteer service hours are multiplied by a dollar value published by the Independent Sector, a coalition of charities, foundations, corporations, and individuals that publishes research important to the nonprofit sector. The current hourly value of your volunteer service in South Carolina is $20.56.

The other reason to update your hours is to qualify for the amethyst that goes in your name tag for yearly service (January to December) in the SC Master Naturalist Program. Jewels are presented by the local associations or host sites. In order to receive your amethyst, your 30 hours per year must be reported in the online system.

Most Master Naturalists should have received a username and password to access the online reporting system. If you need your username or if you need your password reset please contact me at jblake@clemson.edu. The username and temporary password can only be assigned by me.

The reporting system can be found at http://cufan.clemson.edu/masternaturalist/

Please report your hours for July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 by July 1, 2015.

Thank you for your service to SC.

Dr. James H. Blake, State Coordinator, SC Master Naturalist Program

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The Lower Savannah River Alliance presents the 2nd Annual Kite Outing on July 25, 2015

8am meet at Lower Savannah River Alliance Educational Center, 12049 Burton’s Ferry Highway, Allendale , SC 29810

8:30am guided tour of Allendale Kite Field

11:30 am Guest Speaker: John Cely: Author, Naturalist, One of the Founding Fathers of Congaree National Park

12:30pm Lunch

All for $30.00

Afternoon, self-guided, hike LSRA Nature Trail and/or additional Kite Field. For more information contact: Catherine Campbell at 803 584 4207 or ccampb5@clemson.edu.


Swallow-tailed Kites – photo taken at Caw Caw Interpretive Center by Keith McCullough

Volunteer Opportunity with Charleston County Parks

Charleston County Park’s Environmental Education team will be hosting students at Beachwalker County Park on Thursday, June 25th from 9:30-11:30. We are looking for a volunteer to assist staff in pulling a seine net in the surf zone. The volunteer must be able to pull a large net against the current, willing to get wet and enjoy educating children. If you would like additional information about the opportunity, contact Beth Burkett at bburkett@ccprc.com.


Butterfly Walk May 23

Hi Everyone,

The Lowcountry Chapter of the Carolina Butterfly Society will be having a butterfly walk at Roxbury Park in Meggett, SC on Saturday May 23.
Dennis Forsythe will lead the walk. Meet up is at 9:30. We will specifically be looking for King’s Hairstreak, though there should be many other butterflies around this time of year!

The address for Roxbury Park is: 4468 State Highway 174, Hollywood, SC 29449​

Please remember your binoculars,guide books, and some nice walking shoes.

If you’re interested in coming, please email me back, so I know how many of you to expect! Please check your email the day before the walk in case of cancelation due to inclement weather.

Charleston Audubon to host a Bio-Blitz ~ May 16-17, 2015

Join the Bio-Blitz Team at McAlhany Nature Preserve (MNP) for some amazing citizen science work! The Nature Preserve has a vast diversity of organisms and habitats on the 367 acre property. The purpose of the Bio-Blitz is to involve specialists in all areas of biology to document the biodiversity and to provide a comprehensive flora and fauna species list. The Bio-Blitz will begin at 9 am Saturday (May 16th) and continue through Sunday (May 17th) ending around 5pm. Participants are welcome to campout at MNP which has numerous tent sites available.

Please RSVP to Brian Reid at bkrcoach@yahoo.com with the number of people who will be attending and to give them a feel for the type of biodiversity you feel comfortable inventorying (e.g. birds, terrestrial plants, aquatic plants, aquatic insects, butterflies, moths, reptiles, amphibians, etc).

For more info, visit the Facebook event page.


SCORE Program needs Volunteers!!

We have a few events in your area that we need some help with and are hoping YOU can make it, so please mark your calendars for upcoming SCORE events in the Lowcountry! The more the merrier at these events, so please do not hesitate to spread the word.

Here are the details for featured builds:

  • Thursday, 5/14/15, 9:00 am – Noon – Daniel Island Waterfront Park, Daniel Island, SC
  • Saturday, 5/16/15, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm – Cooper River Marina, North Charleston, SC          Event Partner: Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission

If you would like to join us for any event(see full calendar here), please RSVP to score@dnr.sc.gov so we may plan accordingly. Some events may be limited to the number of volunteers that we can accommodate so it is important that we are aware if you plan to attend.

-The SCORE Team with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Phone: (843) 953-9842 Email: score@dnr.sc.gov Website: score.dnr.sc.gov