Coastal Master Naturalists...

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. 



Caterpillars Count! Citizen Science Project

Caterpillars Count! is a project that relies on citizen scientists (you!) to help understand some of the most important organisms in our ecosystems—caterpillars and other insects—by conducting surveys of the plants and trees around them.

Your observations can also help track how the abundance of caterpillars and other insects varies over the seasons. The seasonal timing of caterpillar availability is especially important for birds which try to time their spring migration so that there will be lots of insect food around (caterpillars are an especially tasty treat!) to successfully raise their young. Visit this site for more information and how to become involved with this research!


Marsh Dagger Caterpillar ~ Photo by Keith McCullough

Zugunruhefest – Center for Birds of Prey ~ September 15-17 2016

Introducing Zugunruhefest – the Southeast’s most comprehensive migration-focused birding festival. Zugunruhe (zu – gun – rue) is a German word derived from Zug (move, migration) and Unruhe (restlessness). This state of restlessness is commonly noted in migratory animals, especially birds. As fall approaches and instincts prevail, birds are compelled by this silent call to take flight to their wintering grounds. As part of the Atlantic Flyway, the Lowcountry serves as a predictable thoroughfare for migrating raptors and shore birds during fall migration passage. Exploiting the Center’s strategic location, Zugunruhefest will afford numerous opportunities for observers, both novice and advanced, to experience fall migration from an exceptional vantage point. In addition to onsite vendors and children’s activities, the festival will include three days filled with naturalists, ornithologists, and educators leading bird walks, flight demonstrations, informative lectures and programs, and more. The festival will culminate with a panel of avian experts in a round-table discussion and reception. Significantly, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which provides over-arching legal protection for all migratory birds, is marking its Centennial this year, a fitting context and milestone to recognize as we celebrate the wonders of migration.

When: Thursday – Saturday, September 15 – 17, 2016

Where: Avian Conservation Center/Center for Birds of Prey, 4719 North Highway 17, Awendaw, SC 29429. Bird walks, field trips and excursions will take place in additional locations throughout the Lowcountry.

Admission: Fees vary depending on activities chosen. For a complete schedule of activities with pricing, please visit or call 843.971.7474 to have a schedule emailed to you.  

**There are a few volunteer opportunities available if you are interested in manning an education table, please call Emily Davis at 330-607-5914

Day by Day Details

Event Schedule



The Coastal Geology and Ecology of South Carolina Lecture ~September 6th 2016

The coastal geology of South Carolina is complex, formed by the combined processes of sea level rise, sediment supply, waves, and tides. This presentation consists of two parts. Part I describes the general processes and landforms of the coast, explaining the history of how the South Carolina coast evolved and how processes such as waves, tides, sediment supply, and sea level rise have combined to produce the modern coastal features such as barrier islands, deltas, estuaries, tidal flats, and salt marshes. Discussion of the impacts of hurricanes, changes in sediment supply that are both natural and man-made, the beach cycle, and methods to control erosion is included. Part II describes in more detail the coastal geomorphology of each of four compartments: the Grand Strand; the Delta Region; the Barrier Islands; and the Low Country. Explanations are provided for key features of the coast such as Carolina bays, capes, barrier islands, and tidal inlets.

This lecture will be given by Drs. Miles O. Hayes and Jacqueline Michel, on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016 from 4:30 – 5:30m SSM 129, College of Charleston (202 Calhoun St.) Signed copies of their book, A Coast for All Seasons: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Coast of South Carolina, will be available for purchase at $20.

A Coast for All Seasons