Waterkeeper Volunteers Needed!

Join our team as a volunteer Field Investigator for the Recreational Water Quality Monitoring Program! Field Investigators assist in collection of water samples from both boat and land sites. Volunteers meet our staff on Wednesday mornings at 7:30 AM and sampling normally lasts about 4 hours. Training is required of all volunteers. Sampling runs from May through October. Contact Cheryl for more information.



Contact: Cheryl Carmack cheryl@charlestonwaterkeeper.org 843-607-3390

Francis Marion Recreation Public Meeting

On Saturday, August 16, the Francis Marion National Forest hosted another of their ongoing series of topical meetings to engage the public in the current Forest Plan Revision.   This meeting covered prospective additions to wilderness areas, wild and scenic river designations, and possible expansion of recreational and cultural awareness activities. At the outset, those seemed to me to be simple questions. Why not, I asked, protect our precious natural resources as much as possible?   Over the course of the meeting, I discovered that the planners have very challenging choices to find balance between competing objectives.


The Francis Marion National Forest already contains four designated wilderness areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System: Hell Hole Bay, Wambaw Creek, Little Wambaw Swamp, and Wambaw Swamp.   The planning process requires that the Forest Service identify and evaluate additional areas that might meet the eligibility requirements for new wilderness areas. One new separate area and several expansions of existing areas have been identified.

Planners next step will be an evaluation phase, which is where the challenges come in. The restrictions that are part of wilderness designation may conflict with other important objectives in the forest plan. For example, restoring Longleaf Pine to more of its historic range is a major goal but the wilderness area prohibition of wheeled vehicles would make it more difficult and expensive to maintain fire breaks and conduct the prescribed burns necessary for Longleaf to prosper. Other forest personnel involved in protecting rare habitats and threatened/endangered species might also be less successful if hindered by wilderness area restrictions. After the evaluation phase, the Forest Supervisor decides whether or not to recommend any wilderness area. The decision is then outside the Forest Service, requiring approval by a review board and finally an act of Congress.

One topic of discussion following the wilderness area presentation was a question from local firefighters about ATV rescues in a wilderness area. The answers were that the forest supervisor can authorize wheeled rescues and that the forest personnel present had recorded a follow up note of “911 coordination”.

Wild and Scenic Rivers

There are currently no wild and scenic rivers in the Francis Marion National Forest. As required, planners have identified streams that might be eligible for such designation, including sections of the lower Santee River, Wambaw Creek, Echaw Creek, Wabdoo Creek, and Awendaw Creek.

Wild and scenic river designation is less restrictive than wilderness area designation but would include a commitment by forest managers to preserving the unique ecological, scenic, recreation and cultural values that qualified the stream. One of the identified streams, Wambaw Creek, is inside a wilderness area and already enjoys substantial protection. The full course of another, Wabdoo Creek, is largely outside the forest and therefore outside forest managers’ ability to protected the associated values.


For purposes of planning additional recreation opportunities, planners have divided the forest into four zones that each present unique recreational potential. Somewhat simplified, that division is a coastal zone that with salt water access and rich cultural assets, two eastern zones along the Santee River (one rich with wilderness and one with roads offering scenic drive potential), and one western zone along the Wando with the most convenient access from the Charleston urban area.

The Wando zone contains a Wildlife Management Area where hunting takes place and there is already some history of conflict between hunting and non-hunting users. The prospect of additional non-hunting activity, e.g. with expanded horse and hiking trails, generated the most intense comments by attendees. This is a very difficult issue for forest managers for several reasons. They are mandated to be non-political but hunting regulation in South Carolina is, in fact, very political. Also, there are quite a few agencies involved besides just the U.S. Forest Service: U.S. Fish and Wildlife manages the WMA, SC DNR manages hunting, and local law enforcement has jurisdiction. Many, if not all, of those agencies have mixed use mandates, so they need to accommodate the conflicting uses. I and several other attendees argued that managers from all of those agencies simply must sit down together to work out a coordinated plan for managing and minimizing the conflict. Perhaps the plan could, at least, contain additional public education and more transparent coordination of law enforcement.

Challenging Choices

Having identified potential wilderness additions, wild and scenic river designations, and recreational expansions, planners are now tasked with analyzing the benefits, costs, and conflicts. Those of us who love the forest should be glad that there are forest planners and managers who are willing and able navigate such complex problems that have no simple, obvious solutions. It will be very interesting to see what they propose at subsequent public meetings.

Written by Carl W. Cole, Master Naturalist


Additional reading:

Francis Marion National Forest Plan Revision 2012 – 2016


Volunteers for CCPR in Oct., Nov. & Dec.

Two opportunities are listed below:

We need 3 volunteers each night for 15 nights at our Holiday Festival of Lights @ James Island County Park. These volunteers will manage our resource recovery stations (recycling, compost, landfill). We are VERY excited about this because it is the first time we will be offering it at the festival. We feel that we can make a HUGE impact by diverting a lot of waste from the landfill, so this is definitely a “feel-good” kind of activity – and we will give preference to Master Naturalist grads who sign up! This would be an easy and quick way for some of them to knock out their hours if they want!

The nights we will need volunteers are as follows:
11/28 (Friday) & 11/29 (Saturday)
12/5 (Friday) & 12/6 (Saturday)
12/12 (Friday) & 12/13 (Saturday)
12/19 (Friday), 12/20 (Saturday), 12/21 (Sunday), 12/22 (Monday), 12/23 (Tuesday) & 12/24 (Wednesday)
12/26 (Friday), 12/27 (Saturday) & 12/28 (Sunday)
***Fridays & Saturdays are from 5:00-11:30pm***
***Sunday through Thursdays are from 5:00-10:30pm***

Those interested in signing up may email Erin Guerrero (eguerrero@ccprc.com) or they may sign up through our volunteer website at:
They need to tell her that they are Master Naturalists.
We need volunteers for our resource recovery efforts at Latin American Festival (same activity as above)…
Date: Sunday, October 5, 2014
Time: First shift (11:00am-3:00pm), second shift (3:00pm-6:30pm)
Place: Wannamaker County Park
Volunteer description from website: “Recycling Ambassadors will be stationed at or in close proximity to recycling and compost bins throughout the festival, serving as a guide to assist attendees with proper disposal of materials and helping them get their materials into the appropriate bins.”

Sarah Giles, S.C. Master Naturalist
Stewardship Aide
Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission
5200 Savannah Highway, Ravenel, SC 29470
Primary: (843) 889-8898
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Volunteers for Jane Edward School on Edisto

Jane Edwards

I am the teacher and a master naturalist here at Jane Edwards on Edisto Island. Boy do we have a great project in the works!!! And we need some master naturalist volunteers.

There is an ephemeral wetland next to our school which the Edisto Island Open Land Trust owns. They are going to create an outdoor classroom on it, complete with boardwalks and such, all with volunteers. We need it planned and built but we also need people who are willing and able to work with individual teachers to plan and teach standards-based lessons throughout the whole process. We want the students to be participants from the start and we would like this to be a partnership of the land trust, communities in schools and master naturalists for the 2014-15 school year. The project’s name will be the Edisto Community Outdoor Classroom (ECOC).

If you can help by volunteering, please contact Amanda Fox at
afox@cischarleston.org or 843.869.4809

Kathy Mayer
Master Reading Teacher, PGA
Jane Edwards Elementary School
Edisto Island, SC

Wood Magic Volunteers Needed!!

PO Box 21707, Columbia, SC 29221 Phone (803) 896-8890 fax (803) 896-8896

The 2014 Wood Magic Forest Fairs are almost here! The Piedmont event is just 2 weeks away!

I am still in need a many volunteers. Can you volunteer this year? Volunteer for another day? Do you have co-workers you can encourage to volunteer with you? One does not need to be a forester or other natural resource professional to volunteer, especially for the guide spots.

While I do need volunteers for all locations, I will specifically address the Piedmont event here as it is just a couple weeks away. The positions still needed at the Piedmont are as follows:

Tuesday, September 16th 4 guides, 2 Sawmill instructors, Paper Making instructor,
Paper Making helper

Wednesday, September 17th 2 guides, 2 Sawmill instructors, Paper Making instructor,
Paper Making helper

Thursday, September 18th 9 guides, 2 Sawmill instructors, Paper Making helper

Friday, September 19th 5 guides, 2 Sawmill instructors, Paper Making helper

Contact me (skolok@scfc.gov, 803-896-8855) to volunteer for any of the events.

Thank you!

Stephanie Kolok
WMFF Coordinator

Butterfly Observation weekend opportunity

Carolina Butterfly Society Members,

We will be going to Edisto Island for walks on October 11th and 12th. On Saturday we will investigate Roxbury Park in Meggett, SC and on Sunday we will go to Botany Bay Plantation HP. On both days we will begin at 10:00. We will meet in the parking lot at Roxbury Park located at the intersection of 174 and Little Britton Road in Meggett. We will meet at the gate at Botany Bay located on Botany Bay Road off SC 174, Edisto Beach, 29438.

We have been invited by Annie McIlhenny, one of our members, to rent three of her units on Edisto Beach for $50 per unit per night. We will use them the nights of Friday, October 10th and Saturday, October 11th. All units have two bedrooms and 1 bath so you would probably share a unit with others. Some bedrooms have room to sleep three people and some have an extra rollaway bed. Two have full kitchens and one has a kitchenette. I already have responses from 4 people to rent 4 of the bedrooms. Two bedrooms are left. If you would like to rent one of them, please let me know. kastners@aol.com It will be a first come, first serve basis. Please come with a check to pay for your portion of the unit. The groups in each unit will have to figure out the amount each one owes based on the number of people staying in the unit. The checks will be made out to Alcemac. We will give them to Annie personally. I will send you more information on the units if you are staying there.

If you do not want to rent one of the rooms and just want to meet us there, that is also fine. Everyone should bring a lunch each day along with plenty of water and snacks. Please bring the usual binoculars, cameras and field guides.
Amanda Szwarc

Environmental Educator & Butterfly House Curator
Cypress Gardens
(P) 843.553.0515
3030 Cypress Gardens Rd
Moncks Corner

Attention All Butterfly Lovers!

Good Morning, Everybody!

I hope you’re all enjoying August so far! I know that as this month has gone on, I have been seeing more and more butterflies out and about. Hopefully this is a good preview for our Butterfly Walk on Saturday.
Saturday’s Butterfly Wak will take place at Dixie Plantation on John’s Island. We will meet at GATE 4 at 9am sharp. Graduate student Carmen Ketron will show us around the paths and will give us a tour of the student demonstration gardens.

Sunday, August 31 is the date of the Francis Marion Butterfly Count. It will be a day of scouting out areas in and around McClellanville for butterflies. Meet at the Palmetto Store at 9– the Palmetto Store is located at the corner of Hwy 17 and Hwy 45 in McClellanville. There is a charge of $3 to participate, so please bring cash with you.

As always, bring along plenty of water, sunblock, good shoes, a hat, binoculars, and a helpful identification guide. For the Butterfly Count, it is probably better to wear long pants because you will be trekking through tall grass.

Also, remember that the CBS Symposium will be taking place September 13 in Asheboro, NC. It is $12 to attend, and $12.50 more for a catered lunch. Registration forms are located on the CBS site: carolinabutterflysociety.org The symposium will run from 10-4. If you would like to make a weekend of it, there will be butterfly walks on the afternoon of Friday the 12 at Purgatory Mountain, and another on Sunday morning, September 14, at Pisgah.

I hope to see you all soon!


Amanda Szwarc

Environmental Educator & Butterfly House Curator
Cypress Gardens
(P) 843.553.0515
3030 Cypress Gardens Rd
Moncks Corner, SC 29461

Volunteer Opportunities at the Center for Birds of Prey

 Volunteer for the SC Coastal Raptor Migration Survey – Sunday August 24th 10am-12pm

The Center for Birds of Prey is recruiting volunteers for the annual South Carolina Coastal Raptor Migration Survey. The survey begins on September 1 and runs through November 30th. The standard observation hours are 10am-1pm, but observation beyond these hours is welcomed.

They will be offering an orientation on Sunday, August 24th from 10am-12pm covering Hawk Watch protocols, counting techniques and basic raptor identification. Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome! Interested individuals should contact Audrey Poplin at audrey.poplin@avianconservationcenter.org

New Volunteer Staff Orientation & Transport Training – Sunday August 24th 2-5pm

Learn about the various volunteer opportunities available on campus and off, meet current staff and active volunteers, and have all your questions answered!

What do Volunteer Staff do for the Center?

• Help with management of our resident educational collection of birds of prey from around the world • Aid in the treatment and care of injured wild birds of prey and shore birds in the Avian Medical Clinic • Assist with education programs and helping deliver our conservation message to the public • Help with the release of rehabilitated wild birds back into the wild • Aid in ongoing research initiatives such as bird banding, Hawkwatch and the Christmas Bird Count • Assist with general maintenance, construction, or administrative projects • Capture and transport injured birds of prey and shore birds to the Avian Medical Clinic

The Center for Birds of Prey operates with the help of more than 70 on-site Volunteer Staff and hundreds of Transport Volunteers located throughout South Carolina.




Hawkcount Volunteer Opps on Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is seeking volunteers to help with the HMANA hawkcount again this year. Whether you are a seasoned veteran at the hawkwatch or a newbie, everyone is welcome to participate. The more eyes on sky the better!!  They are hosting their annual Hawkwatch orientation twice on August 27th, at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the Top Shop Visitor’s Center near the count site.

During the training they will discuss logistics of participation in this year’s count and go over some basic hawk I.D. tips, counting techniques, and educational resources.  Hopefully everyone will be on the same page when they begin the count on September 1st!! They are trying to cover the count every day, and there are still some week days that need coverage. Please e-mail Lesley Platek, our volunteer coordinator, at volunteer@grandfather.com if you are interested in participating.