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Edisto Beach State Park and Otter Island Outreach Opportunities

Monarch Butterfly and milkweed plant on October 25, 2019.

Anyone looking for ways to get outdoors in November and December will find ample opportunity in the ACE Basin. The emphasis to raise awareness about pollinators in the local ecosystem is continuing into late fall with the presence of monarch butterflies, especially around milkweed plantings. Though storms Dorian and Nestor only skirted the coast, litter, and debris that washed ashore on barrier islands remains and needs cleaning up. Lectures that educate about oysters and shorebirds are upcoming, and a free class at a Lowcountry plantation features managing impoundments for wildlife species.
The Friends of the Edisto Beach State Park organization is looking for volunteers. On October 22, participants gathered to maintain the fence that protects the Bache Monument near the environmental learning center. Their next project is to establish a monarch butterfly garden at the beachfront area of the state park. Volunteers can choose from Nov. 6, Nov. 13 or Nov. 20 and the work will take place between 10 a.m. and noon. Bring drinking water, bug spray, work gloves and anything else required for work in the field. For more information visit www.frespace.org on the Internet.
On Tuesday, November 5 the South Carolina Aquarium and the Center for Sustainability at the College of Charleston will host a discussion about local efforts to protect seafood. A sustainable seafood supper complete with an oyster roast and deconstructed Lowcountry boil will take place from 6 until 8 p.m. in downtown Charleston at 14 Green Way Street. The supper is free for students with a Cougar Card ID, and community members can purchase a ticket for $15.
The Fall 2019 calendar for the Coastal Exploration Series with the SCDNR includes trips to barrier islands and even a visit to a Lowcountry plantation. The beachfront clean up of Otter Island in the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve will take place on Wednesday, November 13. Otter Island is a 2000-acre barrier island in the ACE Basin and a boat ride is required to get there. Volunteers should meet at the McKenzie Field Station at the end of Bennett’s Point Road prior to the 1 .p.m. departure time. The focus will be on 2.5-miles of beachfront and close-toed shoes are required for all, but trash bags and gloves are provided.
On Wednesday, November 20 the Coastal Exploration Series provides a lecture on the importance of South Carolina’s oysters. The event takes place at the Fort Johnson Marine Resource Center on James Island from 2:30 until 5 p.m. and includes time spent in an outdoor classroom. The discussion will include more than how to harvest your own oysters, it will reveal how oysters provide habitat for organisms and provide a solid structure to the shoreline. For more information about the class on oysters or any of these programs call 843-953-0663.
Nemours Plantation will host a free workshop on how historical rice fields are still being managed today for wildlife habitat. On Wednesday, December 4 from 9 a.m. until noon, participants will learn first hand about what waterfowl, shorebirds, birds of prey and other wildlife that is present during an open wagon tour of the impoundments. Located in Yemassee, Nemours Plantation is situated along the Combahee River in the ACE Basin, and attendees should dress for the weather and remember to bring binoculars. Look for lots of natural beauty along the way including a mature live oak alley that leads to a handsome plantation house.
Some shorebirds migrate through South Carolina and one of their favorite beaches is on Harbor Island in Beaufort, which is designated as an Important Bird Area by The Audubon Society. The 2-mile beach walk and educational talk take place on Monday, December 9 from 10 a.m. until 1. Birders can bring a spotting scope, binoculars, camera, and bird identification book to enhance their experience. Harbor Island is situated south of Edisto Island, or on the opposite side of St. Helena Sound from Edisto Beach. Many of the visiting shorebirds fly back and forth between Kiawah, Seabrook, Edisto, and Harbor Island depending on food sources and habitat conditions, which makes this workshop information very valuable since it is applicable up and down the coastline.
Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis
Jeff Dennis, Contributor (375 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com