Coastal Master Naturalists...

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




Wood Magic Forest Fair Volunteers Needed!!

Consider volunteering your time to help South Carolina’s students know the importance of forests and the forest industry to their everyday lives.

There will be three events this fall:

            Piedmont Forestry Center (Tamassee)-September 20-23

            Harbison State Forest (Columbia)-October 10-14

            Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center (Georgetown)-November 15-18

To conduct these programs they need approximately 30 volunteers each day to serve as guides, instructors, and helpers.  Each volunteer is given a t-shirt, lunch, and the satisfaction that they have helped provide the youth of our state an important pro-forestry experience.  

To sign up, first visit the WMFF instructors’ web site at to see what days and positions are available (this is updated weekly). You can also find lesson plans, driving directions, and other information at this site. Then contact Matt Schnabel, Assistand WMFF Coordinator at or 803-896-8892 to let him know for which days and positions you would like to volunteer. (Please note the above website is not where you sign up, but where you see what volunteer slots are still needing to be filled.


Crabbers Needed for a developing Diamondback Terrapin Study!!

Diamondback terrapins are the only exclusively estuarine turtle found in North American and in South Carolina, they are listed as a “high priority” species for conservation in the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy.

Dr. Michael D. Arendt, Assistant Marine Scientist at the SC Department of Natural Resources is still looking for folks that would be interested in participating in a Bycatch Reduction Device (BRD) evaluation study. He is looking for both commercial and recreational blue crabbers to help test out BRDs on crab traps. Please visit this link to fill out a short survey OR feel free email him at or call 843-953-9097 for more information.

Another way you can help out this research, if you are not a crabber, is to act as a citizen scientist and become familiar with the Diamonback Terrapin Reporting Form. Use it as often as you can, along with telling others about it! Click here for access to this form! and for more general information about these amazing reptiles click on this link!



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


By Ray Ward.

The road is still dirt. I’ll use that as my excuse for not recognizing the

turn and zooming on past. After I’d passed Eddingsville Road and Main’s

Station, I knew I had missed the turn to Botany Bay. I am seventy years old

and the kind little lady at Main’s felt comfortable calling me “Sonny”.

“Sonny, you jus ben gon a lill to fah. Tun rite rund un go bke to da Allen

AME cut. Das du plas.”


Her soft West African Gullah dialect was enough to make the whole trip

worthwhile. Think Sooliman Roghe and Sierra Leone.

Forty or so years ago some fishing buddies and I had been down Botany

Bay Road several times. We were going to Cap. Ron’s to put the boat in, a

22 foot Aqua Sport, head down the creek to Frampton Inlet and out to

Deveaux Bank to fish. The road was washboard rough but beautiful and

cool with its canopy of live oaks. It’s all still there- ruts, trees, beauty.

Cap. Ron’s is to the right at the end of Botany Bay Road. In our fishing

days we could only turn right. The left side of the road, heading toward the

creek and ocean, seemed mysterious and entry was forbidden. Today the

mystery is gone and entry is open. The washboard ruts are still there for

good reason.

On April 6, 2013, I turned left off of Botany Bay Road and for my first

time entered the nearly 5,000 acres Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife

Management Area. Just at the entrance is a small but adequate information

kiosk where a map, complete with background information is available.

Some of our Coastal Master Naturalist Assoc. folks had already checked in

and others were on the way. Bill Johnson, our guide for the day, was waiting

for us at a parking area % of a mile away. A new smoother road led through

more pine and oak forest, then open fields to the parking area on the edge of

a marsh.

Bill Johnson is a DNR employee who one day is running a tractor to cut

brush, the next day he may be giving kayak lessons and perhaps the next

day he is leading a tour of the marsh, estuaries, and front dune of Botany

Bay Heritage Preserve and Wildlife Management Area. A Ph.D level, Bill

conies across as a happy man who loves his work.

As a gathering of a dozen or more Master Naturalists with guests we

began our tour over a short path through a pine, oak ,myrtle, underbrush

forest and then onto a man made causeway across the marsh. Typical of

Master Naturalist walks, our progress was not fast. Bill and others led us

into a discussion of local history, history of the causeway, water flow in the

marsh, crabs, grasses, birds, critters, and other topics. As the morning

passed we made way for more and more day trippers. After all at the end of

this trail is a beach, a public beach.

Before the beach there is a narrow strip of maritime forest/dune area.

This maritime area is of special interest because it displays the natural

intrusion of saltwater. The sight of big, old live oaks and lots of palmettos

dead or dying is sad but it is natural. And here as much as can be, things are

left natural.

Once through the area of salt water intrusion, we were on the beach.

There were the day trippers, many of them, not natural but they have their

needs and rights. The beach itself is natural, has some bone yard

characteristics and many seashells especially whelk.

Bill dismissed us midday as a group and as smaller units we explored the

beach, its whelks and patches of mud/peat. Eventually we ambled back the

marsh path and several of us made out way to the volunteer’s house for a

quiet, pleasant place to have our packed lunches.

Bess Watson is the volunteer’s coordinator at Botany Bay. Bess gave us

permission to make use of what had once been a caretaker’s house for the

private owners. A gentle sea breeze and a shady spot in the yard made an

inviting place to relax and chat with fellow naturalists. Fossils, bones, skins,

colonial and Indian artifacts have been gathered in the volunteer cottage.

You can imagine the lively discussion these items generated at the ending of

our visit. Like children with new electronic devises, adults with old stuff.

Yes, the road into this fantastic gift, Wildlife Management Area and

Heritage Preserve is still dirt and washboard rough. There is a good reason

as I said before. There are 4687.5 acres and over two miles of beach that

attract lots of attention and lots of use. The whole thing is somewhat fragile

and must last from now on. Maybe a little roughness will discourage those

who do not care and remind the remainder of us to handle with care.

What a day. What a place.

Monarch Watch

Did you know that Monarch butterflies are the subject of tag & release research? Join Kristina Wheeler, CCPRC’s Natural History Interpretation Specialist for a tagging demonstration on Saturday October 26th from 1 to 3pm at Folly Beach County Park. She’ll discuss what has been learned & show you how you can participate in this research. This session would provide MN’s with two volunteer/advanced training hours and more down the road if you like this type of citizen science activity! Space is limited to 20 people. Please be on the lookout for the SignUp Genius Email from Bill Thielfoldt, CMNA’s Events/Field Activites Committee Chair!

Monarch Tag-Along


Junior Naturalist Certification

Do you know any young nature enthusiasts who might be interested in CCPRC’s Junior Naturalist program? If so, please help spread the word! This pint-sized version of the Master Naturalist program immerses children in their natural environment, teaches them how to make a difference, and is loads of kid-friendly fun!
Children ages 8-12 are invited to become a Junior Naturalist through hands-on science discovery, journaling, and art to encourage children to have fun while learning about the natural world. Kids who attend six out of the eight programs offered September through October will be certified as Junior Naturalists!

Registration & Fees

  • Children Ages 8-12: $12/$10 CCR*
  • Adult chaperones are welcome to attend free of charge.
  • Register online.

Questions? For more information on the Junior Naturalist program, call Caw Caw Interpretive Center at (843) 889-8898.
Jr Naturalist Pic


Botany Bay Field Trip Recap

American Oystercatchers WhimbrelBy Nancy Salas

APRIL 6th Botany Bay Field Trip:
These are some pictures from Botany Bay WMA beach…oystercatchers, terns, red knots and whimbrel….taken by Bill Johnston, MN and DNR employee. Such an abundance of shorebirds here and volunteers have assisted with roping off nesting areas at the beach and educating our visitors about protection of both shorebird and loggerhead nests.
It's mine! Bill led the April 6th CMNA field trip, a 1/2 mile walk from the beach parking lot to the beach, over a causeway built in the 1700’s (the beach was about 1 mile from the present beach; sea island cotton and goods were loaded on ships and the sent to Charleston).
The walk, through marsh and 2 hammock islands, only took the group a couple of hours….not the 8 expected hours! Bill did a wonderful job discussing the marsh and maritime forest ecology on the way to the beach. Once at the beach you also have a view, looking north, at Deveaux Bank, the 212 acre bird sanctuary and one of the most important bird nesting sites in SC. B Bay Beach is 2 miles long and has eroded quite a bit since Hurricane Irene ‘missed’ us….the Boneyard of B Bay beach has definitely expanded, a reminder of the dynamics of our coastline. Red KnotsThere were 5 out of 14 participants who came as guests of our MN association, which was a fun way to introduce them to the CMNA; hope some of them decide take the course and become members!
I would invite anyone who’s never experienced Botany Bay to make the trip to Edisto. There are also volunteer opportunities, which give you access to other activities/ talks etc which happen at Botany Bay: for example: monthly bird walks, opportunity to assist in monitoring the loggerhead nests, and beach/ kiosk duty- a great opportunity to educate and learn from our visitors from all over the world.

Notes from our Technology Share discussion on the best nature apps for naturalists

As a parent, Judy is often frustrated by kids hanging out inside with their gadgets.  Here are some ways to get them (and us) outside WITH our gadgets and exploring the wide world around us.  We all brought some ideas and suggestions to the Library on April 22, where we shared what was on our devices. We looked at the best nature apps for naturalists.  Judy’s presentation is here on the Dewees Island Blog.  And check out Carl’s comprehensive list of PDF Field Guides to download.

Of course, too much technology can be a problem.  We found ourselves in stitches at a description of a nature tour participant who stared at an ipad with a butterfly guide, sadly mourning that “you just never see these anymore,” while butterflies flitted about nearby.