Coastal Master Naturalists...

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.


CMNA Graduation Celebration and Semi-Annual Meeting ~ Sunday January 8th 2017 2-5pm

SAVE THE DATE now on your shiny new 2017 calendars! Come mingle with fellow graduates of the Charleston Master Naturalist program and meet members of the Board of Directors for the Coastal Master Naturalist Association. Enjoy an afternoon surrounded by your nature tribe full of like-minded individuals! The event will go on rain or shine! More details soon to follow – Be on the lookout for a Sign-up Genius email for this event!


Volunteers Needed for Sea Islands Bird Count!! January 4th 2017

Help out and hone skills by participating in the 117th Audubon Christmas Bird Count!! Volunteers are needed for the Sea Island CBC that will be held on Wednesday January 4th 2017. If you are interested in participating in this count (which includes Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Wadmalaw Island and much of John’s Island – please contact Aaron Given at or call (843) 768-9166. With your help, the data will fuel important science and conservation work.


Photo taken by Keith McCullough

Advanced Training Opportunity – Plants the Permaculture Way ~ December 3rd and 4th 2016

Surplus Permaculture Design is offering a course where you can gain techniques to help identify and use local trees and plants, come to an understanding of their significance in the landscape and practice using these plants for food, medicine and utility.  You will also study how natural plants form guilds and communities and how these structures can be utilized or replicated to provide for many of needs. For more information and/or to register, please visit this link!


Volunteer for a Christmas Bird Count!!

Audubon’s 117th Christmas Bird Count will take place Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 through Thursday, January 5th, 2017. Since the Christmas Bird count began over a century ago, it has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteers like you. Please visit this link to learn more.

There are several counts that will take place in the Charleston area. Please visit this link for a searchable map view of the circles that are planned to be run near us (or far away if you are traveling) in the 117th CBC. The more volunteers that the area compilers can enlist, the greater the coverage they can provide to their count areas. It is a wonderful way to get time outdoors and gain your volunteer hours!

Nesting Bald Eagle

Advanced Training Opportunites

Dear Coastal Master Naturalists,

The end of the year is coming up fast and many of us have not had the opportunity to collect our eight hours of Advanced Training. Here is a fun, simple and local way of doing just that with our own Keith McCullough, Kristina Wheeler and/or Chet Morse leading the way.

Following are three opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, learn some fascinating information about our local flora and fauna, network with other Master Naturalists or would be MNs and perhaps gather at a nearby café for lunch or cup of hot tea to warm ourselves after several hours on the beach, in the maritime forests or on the rice fields at Caw Caw.

To register please click this to go to the CCPRC programs or call 843-795-4386. The course numbers are listed with each description simplifying your search.

JAMES ISLAND BIRD WALK   Course # 47263 

November 10, 2016 8:30-10:30 am 

James Island County Park offers diverse birding habitats. Explore and count songbirds, birds of prey, wading birds and others with one of our Master Naturalist instructors. This walk will count towards two hours of advanced training.


November 11, 2016 8:30-10:30    

Explore the wonderfully diverse areas of Folly Beach, marshland and maritime forest habitats. Shore birds, sea birds and much more will be identified and counted under the able leadership of one of our Master Naturalist instructors. This walk will count for two hours of advanced training.  

CANOEING at CAWCAW: Habitat to Heritage   Course  #47202

November 19, 2016   9:00-12:00pm

Explore the history of rice while you travel back through time. Historians and naturalists will point out evidence of rice culture and the incredible diversity of wildlife found here today. This fun trip on the water will earn three hours of advanced training. This trip is near full capacity and won’t have spots for long.

 Kim Norris

CMNA Chair of the Advanced Training Committee

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Plant Sale/Open House at Roots and Shoots ~ Saturday November 5th 2016

Here is a message from the owner, a fellow Master Naturalist……….

Greetings gardeners and naturalists,

We hope you’ll save the date and join us for our fall open house on Saturday, November 5th from 8-3. We are located at 7 Briarcliff Dr, Charleston SC 29407. We have lots of great perennials, shrubs, trees, grasses and vines. There will even be some tasty fruits (non-native) that are a great addition to an ecologically diverse yard! Check out our availability here and visit our website if you’d like to see some pictures.

David Manger


SCNPS Plant Sale Volunteer Opportunity!!

Help is needed for the SC Native Plant Society Plant Fall Sale at Charles Towne Landing in West Ashley. Click this link for more info scnps_fall2016

They need volunteers on Friday, October 21st 2016 from  830am-noon to unload plants, water and weed plants, set-up tables and tents.

They are also seeking volunteers on Saturday, October 22nd 2016 from 730am-noon to prepare for the beginning of sale, assist at holding area and for loading plants.

*Volunteers wishing to shop early on Saturday (8am) must work a minimum of 3.5 hours either on Friday or Saturday or both.  Please contact Miranda Sanders if you are interested in volunteering and indicate your availability.