Coastal Master Naturalists...

Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET)

Calling All (Former) SEANETers: the Data Portal is back online!

The Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET) was designed to bring together interdisciplinary researchers and members of the public (i.e. citizen scientists) in a long-term collaborative effort to identify and mitigate threats to seabirds along the Atlantic seaboard. Several members of the Master Naturalist community received training in 2013 or later and embarked on a volunteer initiative to monitor a section of beach twice a month to report any beached (dead) seabirds.

Sometime in 2017, the online data portal went offline, and volunteers were left with a choice: 1) continue to collect data and hold it indefinitely until an online system emerged or 2) suspend their efforts until an online system emerged. I’m happy to report that an online data portal is now available, and SEANET is now a part of the Anecdata.org community!

For existing SEANETers, please visit Anecdata.org to create a free account and then “Join” the SEANET project. You can then resume your SEANET volunteering. For more information or to find out how to become a new SEANET volunteer, visit the project website at https://seanetters.wordpress.com/.

Junior Naturalist Scholarships

Each year, the CMNA looks forward to supporting environmental education opportunities for Junior Naturalists with our scholarship fund. Through the generosity of CMNA member donations, we have provided needs-based support to several children over the years in the county park’s fall Junior Naturalist series and Beidler Forest’s Swamp Camp. New for 2019, we are expanding our reach to sponsor the 6-part Junior Naturalist series for CCPRC’s Discovery Summer Camp on Johns Island.

Each week, up to 25 campers will attend the series with topics including insects, barrier islands, the salt marsh, and the various animals and plants found within the Charleston County Parks. This partnership with CCPRC allows CMNA to reach more children with scholarships than in past years. Thank you to the CCPRC Environmental Education Team for devising an innovative approach to providing Junior Naturalist opportunities to more children in the community.

Litter Sweeps

It’s addictive. It’s dirty. It happens everywhere, often in broad daylight, and it makes you feel good. I’m talking about picking up trash.

Everywhere I look I see litter. It seems to be getting worse here in our beautiful neck of the woods. I don’t think I am seeing things either. It’s a logical conclusion to draw that more people equals more litter. The more people part of that equation is fairly irrefutable. Have you driven around Charleston lately? We are full. And I suppose so are our trash cans, just take a look around.

I have taken part in two litter sweeps with my fellow CMN’s recently and just signed up for a third. At our last meeting, with seven or so volunteers actively recovering garbage from the marsh off of the Stono River on John’s Island, we picked up:

Total items removed: 1458
Top 5 items: plastic bottles (696), Styrofoam (178), glass bottles (119), Al cans (117), shoes/clothes (60)
Total plastics: 913

We were picking up trash actively for about an hour! I picked up 300 plastic bottles alone.

It’s an uphill battle to be sure, but an important one nonetheless. Litter sweeps are also a great way to meet your compadres in the CMNA. On our last sweep I connected with an individual and through that individual I was able to get signed up to do some volunteer work with DNR on their research boats, something I’ve been very excited to try out.

Even if it’s a couple of plastic bottles or some styrofoam junk, pick it up! The journey of a clean planet begins with one chicken tray.

Read more about the #trashtag hashtag!