Botany Bay's Volunteers
Spending time on Edisto? Be a part of Botany Bay! Volunteer today!
Shortly after SC DNR received Botany Bay Plantation, EIPA began to work
them to implement a volunteer program. SC DNR hired island resident
Bess Watson, seen below, as their volunteer coordinator and the result
has been a wonderful relationship.
EIPA has provided promotion, shared important information in the community,
recruited a sizeable contingent of volunteers, and sought donations of materials,
the use of tools, and enthusiasm. We participate in the regular beach sweeps, help with
greeting and educating visitors, and every Tuesday when Botany is closed we help
with maintenance projects.
SC DNR has managed the program, provided training,
and thanked those involved by having wildflower walks, bringing in DNR experts to
teach us about things like butterflies and birds, and making everyone feel a
personal connection to this wonderful property. They have held wildflower walks and let us participate in wildlife studies and
we've learned about the wildlife that lives all around us, even helping in banding painted buntings one of Edisto's most amazing birds.
Here volunteers participate in a wildflower walk with Bess learning about
plants and flowers so they can share their knowledge with Botany visitors.
On the SCDNR boat DISCOVERY the volunteers learned more about the marine
environment that surrounds our island. Several specimens were collected for the
state park's interpretive center exhibits.
Some of our Botany volunteers and SCDNR staff at the 2010 volunteer party.
Yes, we work hard but we have a lot of fun along the way!
Among the many accomplishments:
Kiosks at the Entrance and the Beach Parking Lot:
Working with SCDNR's Kevin Aman, Bob Sandifer, Tom Mason, and Bud Skidmore
constructed two new kiosks to hold educational information and
important notices for Botany Bay Visitors.
Kevin, Bob and Tom place rafters on the new kiosk.
Bob Sandifer and Bess at the finished entrance kiosk. Not a bad job!
The old caretaker's cottage was converted into an office, training center, and apartment
for the turtle patrol staff. The volunteers played an important
role in accomplishing this.
From installing new door hardware to hanging new ceiling fans...
to painting porches, organizing storage, simple - and sometimes not so simple - plumbing and electrical repairs, repairing porches, screening, and painting - lots of painting.
The office would soon become a critical nerve center for the plantation. Volunteers would receive educational training, temporary staff would bunk there, and Curley the Cat would keep a sharp eye on everything going on.
General maintenance, repair, and ongoing work:
Accomplishments included everything from replacing broken glass to painting porches. Volunteers tried to help
where they could and, with only 3 full-time employees on the property, their contributions of time, skill and work were significant and on-going. Several sheds and workshops were cleaned up, roofs repaired, shelving built and
organized to make maintenance more efficient. Irrigation was run to the garden. Grass has been cut, two graveyards cleaned, many repairs made. Volunteers have assisted the turtle and bird protection efforts, they helped with repairing a key bridge, they fixed the bucket on the backhoe, they painted all of the gates. No job has been too big or small from hoeing the newly planted sweetgrass to helping check bluebird houses.
The volunteers spent many hours first in cold, now in heat, cleaning up
places where people would need to go. Among them the causeways,the trail behind
the beach, around the ice house, and all of the historic sites. Volunteers from the
Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society have been actively involved and
the ruins of Sea Cloud Plantation house.
Botany's volunteers cleaned up and collected two large trailers of trash during
the 2009 Beach Sweep River Sweep. They have periodically swept the property for litter and participated in Beach Sweep again in 2010 and 2011.
Being Present to Meet, Greet, and Educate our Visitors
Perhaps the most significant role volunteers have played has been to greet
visitors, to explain the few simple rules, and to educate them on the importance
of protecting this fragile place. With the property open 6 days a week, 50 weeks a year from thirty minutes before sunrise to thirty minutes after sunset the presence of volunteers on the property has helped protect the resource and assist the visitors. It is a role SCDNR cannot afford to fund with paid employees. It is by far the hardest work we do... sometimes boring, sometimes rewarding, but always necessary.
Our motto: "Leave only footprints, take away memories."
Want to volunteer? Email us!
You can be a part of something wonderful... maintaining and protecting
this historic plantation for future generations.
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