Coastal Master Naturalists...

Volunteer as a Shorebird Steward with Audubon SC

Have you been hearing all the buzz about being a shorebird steward? Were you worried that you had missed out on training opportunities? Well, if so – you are in luck, since more training sessions were just added. It’s simple- just pick the best time/location for you! If you are a Facebook user please visit these links to let them know you are coming…

July 22nd at Caw Caw

July 29th at Wild Dunes

If you have further questions or need to sign up outside of Facebook, please email Nolan Schillerstrom at

SCORE Volunteer Opportunity for Boaters! July 5th 2017

Join S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the S.C. American Canoe Association’s Stewardship Team for the July 5th Reef Construction Event. Plan is to meet at the Wappoo Cut boat landing at 9:30 AM. Once there, SCDNR will load a barge with pre-made recycled oyster shell bags. After loading, the group will kayak or powerboat (you need your own boat – Sea Kayak Carolina is renting them at a discount for this event) down to the build site (right underneath the James Island Connector) on Wappoo cut to the shoreline where SCDNR will have parked the barge. Then the fun reef construction begins! Volunteers must wear close-toed shoes (no flip flops or crocs), and clothes they don’t mind getting muddy. They will provide water, Gatorade, first aid, sunscreen, bug spray, gloves and eye protection. Be eco-friendly and bring your own refillable water bottles! Please email Ashley Brown, the coordinator for this event with any questions or to sign up!

If you are interested in the Meetup Announcemnt for this event – feel free to visit this link!

Oyster Reef Construction Volunteer Opportunities ~ June 2017

Come get muddy with SC Aquarium as they work with DNR South Carolina Oyster Restoration & Enhancement (SCORE) to build the aquarium’s second artificial oyster reef.  This will restore the habitat for fishes, crabs, shrimp, and turtles, and help buffer the shoreline against erosion and rising tides. The dates that still had opening are as follows…..

  • Monday June 19: 8:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • Tuesday June 20: 9:30 am – 1:30 pm
  • Wednesday June 21: 10:30 am – 2:30 pm

The plan is to meet at the Wappoo Cut Boat Ramp, Folly Road Blvd. Located under the Folly Road drawbridge in the West Ashley area of Charleston, SC

What to bring/wear:  water to drink, sunscreen, clothes that can get wet and dirty and are appropriate to the weather, closed toed shoes that protect you from oyster shell (tennis shoes and work boots are appropriate; absolutely no flip flops, water shoes, or other sandals that will come off in the pluffmud or expose your feet to very sharp oyster shell); a towel or change of shoes to clean up prior to getting back into your car.

What to know:

  • Boats will load and depart from the Wappoo Cut Boat Ramp promptly at the start of each day. A 5-10 minute boat ride will transport you to and from to the build site. Return times are approximate.
  • Each volunteer should make his or her own arrangements to be at the Wappoo Cut Boat Ramp on Folly Rd. in time for loading.
  • 7th grade and older only, please.
  • Volunteers must be comfortable walking on uneven ground (oyster shell, pluffmud) and capable of lifting ~20 lbs. There will be walking boards to stand on in some places since the shoreline may be very soft.
  • You will get very dirty and most likely wet to some degree – your feet will definitely get covered in mud and seawater.
  • We will begin each day by loading 350 bags of oyster shell at Wappoo Cut Boat Ramp into a skiff for transport to the build site.
  • The builds will last 2.5-3 hours.
  • We need at least 10 people each day and can accommodate many, many more.
  • The build will only be cancelled for severe weather. Please be aware of the elements and dress appropriately.  Please provide a contact number so we can notify you in the event of cancellation.


Please send your name, date you would like to volunteer, and a contact number to Rachel Kalisperis or 843-579-8610

Another option is to join Charleston Waterkeeper & SCDNR for later stages of this reef construction! They will meet at the Wappoo Cut Boat Landing on June 23 at 12:30 PM. All materials are provided, including gloves, eye protection, water, gatorade, bug spray, and sunscreen. Please wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and close-toed shoes. Be eco-friendly and bring your reusable water bottle to refill! Sign up to volunteer online at

Bird Banding Volunteer Opportunities with Audubon SC ~ June /July 2017

Audubon South Carolina has started a new bird banding project at the Francis Beidler Forest being initiated this spring/summer. They will be running a bird banding station as part of the MAPS program – Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship – which is a national initiative run through the Institute for Bird Populations. They will be banding in the forested habitat behind the barn at Beidler, not far from the visitor center, in the same area where past Audubon employees have done banding work. They are interested to learn what species are using this habitat; from past projects, and know that many fledglings (including those of Prothonotary Warblers) and some rare species (e.g. – Swainson’s Warbler) have been found in this area.

A MAPS banding station only requires nine banding days throughout the summer, spread fairly evenly throughout June and July. They are seeking volunteers to help with this project; this is a great way to learn more about birds and bird banding by experiencing the process up close. A typical MAPS day starts around 5:15 a.m. and runs through noon, though volunteers could arrive any time between start time and 9:00 a.m. If interested, be prepared for heat, biting insects, a good amount of walking and the possibility of encountering snakes. Participants will need to bring food, plenty of water, and appropriate footwear. Our setup area is arranged so that we are never far from our vehicles during the course of the morning, so volunteers won’t need to carry everything with them throughout the day.

For questions, or to be added to our list of volunteers for this project, please contact Matt Johnson at .

Beach Program Volunteer needed on March 30th from 10:00-2:00 at Isle of Palms County Park

Under the supervision of the Education department, the beach program volunteer will assist in the implementation of marine science school field trips. This may include, but is not limited to: setting up for beach programs, pulling seine nets in the surf zone, assisting in the teaching of children, cleaning up after programs, and assisting in the maintenance of beach program supplies.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of local marine fish and invertebrates
  • Knowledge of coastal processes
  • Knowledge of local flora found on South Carolina Barrier Islands
  • Ability to work with large groups of school children
  • Ability to function outdoors in a wide range of weather conditions
  • Ability to make competent decisions
  • Ability to provide excellent customer service to our park visitors
  • Ability to follow instructions effectively and work in a responsible and competent manner
  • Ability to establish and maintain harmonious relationships

If interested, please email Beth Burkett at to sign up. Volunteers will be asked to register with the Park’s volunteer system.

Volunteers Needed for Summer Bat Surveys!!

Jennifer Kindel, with the SC Department of Natural Resources, will be conducting targeted mist netting at properties in Beaufort, Charleston and Greenville Counties. The goal is to capture northern long-eared bats (any Myotid bat or tri-colored bat capture will be useful). Jennifer would like to have local volunteer help to record data, assist in decontamination to avoid the spread of White-nose Syndrome in bats, and help raising and lowering the nets. No volunteer handling of bats is permitted unless the volunteer has up-to-date rabies shots, but it will be a great opportunity to see these wonderful creatures and be part of an important research project. During the 2016 season, 106 individuals of eight different bat species were captured, and other nocturnal creatures encountered included Southern Flying Squirrels, Luna Moths and Polyphemus Silkmoths.

Starting at the end of May through early August 2017, sites to be netted include Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve, Tom Yawkey Heritage Preserve, Watson-Cooper Heritage Preserve, and Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve. This involves being on site in the evening for set-up and netting until 2:00 AM and then clean-up (decontamination of nets, ropes, clothing and other materials).

Interested persons should contact Jennifer Kindel at


Train to volunteer as an Audubon Shorebird Steward this Friday January 24th 2017!!

Be trained to “beach” with a purpose. Help protect nesting & resting coastal birds by being an Audubon Shorebird Steward this spring and summer. Educate beach goers, help count nests and chicks, all while hanging out at the beach! This training will give you a knowledge base and protocol for being an Audubon Shorebird Steward.

Trainings to take place at James Island County Park and registration is required. Please visit this link for more information! or see this Flyer Advertisement for 2017 Steward Training

January 27, 2017
6:00 pm – 8:15 pm

February 11, 2017
2:00 pm – 4:15 pm

If you have any questions please contact Nolan Schillerstrom at or 630-290-1350

Share our Seas

Volunteer for Climate Watch with Audubon South Carolina

You might be interested in helping with a new Audubon South Carolina citizen science initiative called Climate Watch. Stemming from the National Audubon Society’s 2014 climate report – which found that half of U.S. birds are threatened by climate change by the year 2080 – Climate Watch will feature on-the-ground surveys to help groundtruth the predictions of the climate models in this report. Read more about Climate Watch here: .

Surveys will focus on species that are easy to identify and show a high degree of habitat loss (or gain) based on this report. In 2017, we’ll be focusing on Eastern Bluebirds in South Carolina. I’ve been working with the Charleston Audubon chapter to set up surveys in our area, and I’m looking for a few more volunteers to help out. If interested, you would simply go out one morning during the survey window and stop at 12 predetermined points and conduct a five-minute count of all of the Eastern Bluebirds (and any other species that you’re able to identify) seen and heard at each point. This will hopefully be a fun, easy way to get out and count birds as part of an important census!

The one catch is that the first survey window is here (January 15th – 30th); if you are interested, please let me know as soon as possible so that I can work with you to determine the best area to survey. If you are interested but can’t participate this January, let me know as we will be conducting surveys again during the breeding season (June 2017).

If you have questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you soon! 


Matt Johnson

Education Manager at Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest

843-462-2150 or


Volunteer for winter cleanups with Palmetto Pride

Francis Marion National Forest Cleanup: February 4, 2017 — Join PalmettoPride and the USDA Forest Service with help from Palmetto Conservation Foundation as they celebrate the 10th anniversary of their most popular cleanup event.

 Filbin Creek Clean Up: February 11, 2017 — Save & Beautify Charleston County’s estuary Filbin Creek by helping them pick up trash and pull out debris.

Visit this link for more details!!

Palmetto Pride

Happy Holidays from the CMNA

“Some of nature’s most exquisite handiwork is on a miniature scale, as anyone knows who has applied a magnifying glass to a snowflake.”  

Rachel Carson

We know there isn’t too much snow to view in South Carolina, but we liked the quote and wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday.

Best Wishes for a New Year filled with all the goodness nature has to offer. ~Your friends with the Coastal Master Naturalist Association.