South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve offer these public programs to inspire stewardship and appreciation of our state's coastal wildlife and landscapes.
Registration is required, and all events are free unless otherwise noted. Registration is first come, first served, but there is a wait list if spaces become available. Space is limited, and we are continually striving to maintain a fair system that also encourages first-time participants.
CES events are often held outdoors, and activities and conditions could include, but are not limited to, extreme heat or cold, exposure to insects, walking or standing for long periods of time on unstable surfaces and climbing onto or out of boats, docks and trailers, etc.
Please email CES@dnr.sc.gov or call (843) 953-0663 with any questions regarding the Coastal Exploration Series. Register for individual events at https://bit.ly/2MM1TOK.
BIRDING AT BEAR ISLAND
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 12
Location: Bear Island Wildlife Management Area
Limited to 20 participants
Join SCDNR staff on a tour of the Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, with an emphasis on birding. Wetland impoundments and various habitats exist within Bear Island which makes this area a bird watcher's paradise. Participants will travel hayride-style in an open trailer with bench seating. Possible birds to be sighted throughout the day include, but are not limited to, tundra swan, white pelican, bald eagle, Northern harrier, glossy ibis and a variety of egrets, herons and waterfowl.
There are no restrooms on site. Dress for the weather; water and snacks are recommended.
DIY RAIN BARREL WORKSHOP
Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 2
Location: Edisto Environmental Learning Center
Limited to 15 participants
Harvesting rainwater is a great way to save water and reduce stormwater runoff around your home. Learn to build your own rain barrel and make other simple stormwater management changes at your home. We'll discuss rain barrel placement and design and then build a rain barrel as a group.
Participants will receive a free rain barrel to take home.
RAIN GARDEN BUILD
Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 16
Location: Fort Johnson, SCDNR Marine Resource Division
A rain garden is not only a beautiful addition to your yard, but also a functional way to reduce stormwater runoff around your home. Come out to Fort Johnson to learn how to design and install a rain garden and select native plants that thrive in coastal South Carolina. After an introduction in the classroom, we will construct a rain garden at the SCDNR license/titling office.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty. Tools and equipment will be provided. Bring a reusable water bottle; water refills will be available.
SHOREBIRDS AT HARBOR ISLAND
Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon May 10
Location: Harbor Island
Every year, thousands of shorebirds on their spring migration stop at Harbor Island to feed on millions of horseshoe crab eggs laid in the sand around the time of the spring full moon. On this morning shorebird walk, we hope to observe shorebirds foraging as the tide begins to fall, exposing horseshoe crab eggs laid the night before in the intertidal zone. This time of the year is one of the best for viewing shorebirds in South Carolina, both in numbers and also diversity, as they are fueling for flights to their nesting grounds. The walk will be followed immediately after by a talk about shorebirds and horseshoe crabs in the Harbor Island classroom.
The walk will cover more than a mile on boardwalk and sand; wear comfortable shoes and plan for cool breezy conditions. Binoculars are recommended, although there will be optics to share among the group.
ARCHAEOLOGY DIG AT POCKOY ISLAND SHELL RING
Time: Date TBD
Location: Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area
Each year the beach at Botany Bay is eroded more from storm surges and sea level rise. As the ocean creeps further into the maritime forest that used to be an inland marsh, it has revealed layers of history in the sediments that have been exposed. With the help of aerial light detection and ranging imagery, researchers have discovered what is thought to be the oldest shell ring in the Southeast. Radiocarbon dating of animal bone artifacts revealed that the Pockoy Island shell ring was created by Native Americans more than 4,000 years ago. The SCDNR archaeology team has joined forces with shell ring experts from across the Southeast to study the site before the Atlantic Ocean claims it. Come out to learn about this project and help sift through history.
Participants should dress for the weather and be prepared for the 1.5-mile walk on uneven terrain to the beach and back. Sunscreen, bug spray and water are recommended.
HORSESHOE CRABS ON OTTER ISLAND
Time: 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 8
Limited to 12 participants
Join SCDNR staff in a spawning survey and tagging of the fascinating horseshoe crab! Join us for an opportunity to learn about the critical role horseshoe crabs play in both wildlife populations and human health. We will meet at the Edisto Environmental Learning Center and then head to the island by boat. Be prepared to wade in knee-deep water and be exposed to hot and buggy conditions. No sandals; you need closed-toed shoes for wading. Be prepared for being on the beach for several hours, and bring water and lunch, as well as bug spray and sunscreen. Participants must be 10 years or older.
HORSESHOE CRABS ON HARBOR ISLAND
Time: 6:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. June 17
Join SCDNR staff in a spawning survey and tagging of the fascinating horseshoe crab! Join us for an opportunity to learn about the critical role horseshoe crabs play in both wildlife populations and human health. The event will start with a classroom session and then head to the beach (approximately one-mile walk each way).
Be prepared to wade in knee-deep water in the dark on return beach walk. No sandals; you will need closed-toed shoes for wading. Bring a flashlight, bug spray and a jacket (conditions will be cool to cold at night on the beach).
Once you join the group on the beach, you must stay until the conclusion of the program and return with the group.
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