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A record number of wood stork nests were recorded in South Carolina in 2022, the third time in the past four years a new mark was set for the state.South Carolina Department of Natural Resources biologists and technicians counted 3,928 of the wading birds’ nests this year, up about 400 nests from what was a record number in 2021 and nearly twice as many nests as were counted in the state a decade ago.Wood storks were reclassified from federally endangered to federally threatened during 2014 in response to increasing popul...
A record number of wood stork nests were recorded in South Carolina in 2022, the third time in the past four years a new mark was set for the state.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources biologists and technicians counted 3,928 of the wading birds’ nests this year, up about 400 nests from what was a record number in 2021 and nearly twice as many nests as were counted in the state a decade ago.
Wood storks were reclassified from federally endangered to federally threatened during 2014 in response to increasing population trends. Much of the wood stork population’s recent growth in the United States has occurred in South Carolina. While the highest numbers of nests remain in Florida, the South Carolina Lowcountry – particularly the ACE Basin – has during the past decade become a site with one of the highest densities of wood stork colonies along the East Coast.
The rise in recent years could be attributed in part to storks moving up from Florida during years when the Everglades are less suitable for nesting and foraging. The increased numbers are also a testament to the successful management of impoundments and wetlands conservation efforts in the ACE Basin, a triumph not only of the work of state and federal biologists but also of private land managers’ increasing willingness to manage wetlands for the benefit of wading birds and shorebirds in addition to waterfowl.
For instance, periodically drawing down the water level in waterfowl impoundments throughout the summer and fall as part of the management cycle to provide feeding habitat for wintering ducks can allow wood storks to move in and feast on shallow pools full of small fish.
Wood storks are larger than other wading birds and require a lot of food in areas they plan to nest. The birds forage for food in tidal impoundments, flooded forests and other floodplains where receding water forms shallow pools that trap fish and make easy, fulfilling meals for the wood storks.
"We have this diversity of wetlands where storks can feed," said Christy Hand, wading bird biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. "And it means that if one type of wetland is not optimal for storks, they have several different options."
Long-term threats to the wood storks’ continued breeding success include the Cuban bulrush, an invasive plant, and the effects of climate change and sea level rise.
Cuban bulrush grows in dense mats that cover water, crowding out native plants and forming walkways for predators such as racoons to raid wood stork nests for eggs.
The co-founders, Mark and Sandra Myers, said the festival is not only to entertain folks but to educate them at the same time.REMBERT, S.C. — Cowboys and cowgirls put on their boots and hats to saddle up for the 23rd annual Black Cowboy Festival."There are people of all races out here participating or spectating," said John Kenndy, Sumter Resident."We don't know that there is a lot of black cowboy and girls in South Carolina," Columbia resident Jacqueline Watts said. "Being so close, we can...
The co-founders, Mark and Sandra Myers, said the festival is not only to entertain folks but to educate them at the same time.
REMBERT, S.C. — Cowboys and cowgirls put on their boots and hats to saddle up for the 23rd annual Black Cowboy Festival.
"There are people of all races out here participating or spectating," said John Kenndy, Sumter Resident.
"We don't know that there is a lot of black cowboy and girls in South Carolina," Columbia resident Jacqueline Watts said. "Being so close, we can do this too."
"When we first started it, the first event was to raise money for our church," said Sandra Myers, the Black Cowboy Festival co-founder. "It just went from there."
Sandra Myers and her husband Mark have been putting on the festival at their farm in Sumter County to showcase that cowboys come in all races and nationalities. They said it's normally a four-day festival in May, but they had to change it to two days because of the pandemic. The co-founders say the festival is not only to entertain folks but to educate them at the same time.
"You have black rodeos, and you have black trails," Sandra said. "However, this event is to commemorate the African American cowboy."
"One out of every three cowboys were either African American or African American descent," said Mark.
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The co-founders of the rodeo and festival said it usually draws in more than 2,000 people to Greenfield Farm every year. Jacqueline Watts said a Netflix series led her there.
"I Googled some stuff in South Carolina after watching a cowboy show on Netflix that was based in Philadelphia," Watts said. "Once I Googled what was going on in South Carolina, that's what led me here for the first time."
The Black Cowboy Festival is expected to return to regular operations next year.
For more than two decades, Sandra and Mark Myers have been holding a festival dedicated to the black cowboy and African American heritage.Every first May weekend in this small S.C. town, the Black Cowboy “Man or Myth” African-American Cultural Festival attempts to bring the legacy of the black cowboy to the public on their ranch, Greenfield Farms.“We were left out of history,” said Sandra Myers. “The community didn’t know about the black cowboy.”The Myers bought the 60 acres that...
For more than two decades, Sandra and Mark Myers have been holding a festival dedicated to the black cowboy and African American heritage.
Every first May weekend in this small S.C. town, the Black Cowboy “Man or Myth” African-American Cultural Festival attempts to bring the legacy of the black cowboy to the public on their ranch, Greenfield Farms.
“We were left out of history,” said Sandra Myers. “The community didn’t know about the black cowboy.”
The Myers bought the 60 acres that would become their farm in 1991, after Mark Myers decided to pursue his dream of owning a horse ranch. But Sandra Myers was hesitant at first about selling their home in Horatio and moving to Rembert. Her family worked as slaves and sharecroppers on the land when it was part of a plantation.
“I didn’t look at it as a fond memory; but when I walked on the property, I had a connection,” Myers said. A historical demonstration during the festival is now set up for people to learn more about life as a slave.
When they moved to the farm, children in the neighborhood were surprised to see a black family with horses.
“People had seen donkeys and mules but never horses,” said Myers.
TV westerns popularized the cowboy in American homes but never depicted African Americans in these roles.
“The term ‘cowboy’ originated from the African American ranch hands who were called ‘boy’ and handled cattle,” said Kelly Sellers, a professional rider who’s been competing in barrel racing since 2002. “It’s something that has not been taught in the history books.”
The Myers’ love of horses and interest in discovering more about black cowboys led them to different parts of the country, learning about heroic figures such as Jesse Stall — a black bronco rider who sat on his horse backward during rodeos — and Bass Reeves — the first black deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River who is speculated to have been the inspiration for the Lone Ranger.
“Our main focus was to see if African American cowboys existed. It’s important to know who our people are,” said Myers.
It was a small horse show event to raise money for their church that they began to share their knowledge of black cowboys with the community. After seven years, neighbors began calling Mark Myers a black cowboy, and the festival grew to include USDA workshops and seminars, line dance classes, historical demonstrations and a horsemanship competition and rodeo.
“For people who don’t ride, there’s something there for everybody,” said Sellers.
It was through a group of African American trail riders who first told her about the festival in Rembert. Her captivation with the rodeo began when she was a kid watching the national finals rodeo on TV.
“I saw this girl come through the gates wide open on a horse and I fell in love with it then,” Sellers said.
Sellers traveled the country competing in barrel racing, but the black cowboy festival was the first time she saw the combination of a horse show with information behind the rise of the cowboy. Ten years later, Sellers is still driving from Marion County where she works as a firefighter to participate in events and share her love for horses with her children.
“It reminds us where we come from and what we have done,” said Ivory Johnson, founder of the Junior Buffalo Soldiers Leadership Academy.
Johnson couldn’t believe what he was seeing when he first went to the festival. “I was in heaven,” he said. Johnson, a member of the Buffalo Soldiers, spoke with the chapter president to create a group for children and meet weekly at his ranch in Arthurtown, a historically black neighborhood in Columbia.
“So vital for African Americans to have this festival and share out history in a positive light,” Johnson said.
The leadership academy allows children who wouldn’t be able to afford to go horse riding a chance to become cowboy themselves. Johnson hopes they learn a sense of purpose and compassion for animals.
The Myers have struggled over the years to fund the event but continue each year out of the good it does for the community and fellowship created out of a love for horses.
“We’ve touched so many lives. It’s a love,” said Myers.
What: Black Cowboy “Man or Myth” African-American Cultural Festival
Where: Greenfield Farms, 4585 Spencer Road, Rembert, SC
When: Thursday, May 2, through Sunday, May 5
$20 per person, 13 and older
$10 per person, 12 and under
Free, 5 and under
For more information call: 803-499-9658
This story was originally published May 1, 2019, 8:20 AM.
REMBERT, S.C. — A rabid bobcat was found in Kershaw County.The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a bobcat found near Sumter Hwy (Highway 521) and Cantey Lane in Rembert, SC has tested positive for rabies.There are no known human exposures reported at this time.Two dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.RELATED: ...
REMBERT, S.C. — A rabid bobcat was found in Kershaw County.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a bobcat found near Sumter Hwy (Highway 521) and Cantey Lane in Rembert, SC has tested positive for rabies.
There are no known human exposures reported at this time.
Two dogs were exposed and will be quarantined as required in the South Carolina Rabies Control Act.
The bobcat was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on November 12th and was confirmed to have rabies on November 13th.
"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space," said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it since the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator." The possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere, anytime. If you believe that you or someone you know has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this or another suspect animal, please reach out to your local Environmental Affairs office. An exposure is defined as a bite, a scratch, or contact with saliva or body fluids from an infected or possibly infected animal.
If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet could have been exposed to rabies and contact the Sumter office at (803) 778-6548 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number at (888) 847-0902
It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination which is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This bobcat is the eleventh animal in Kershaw County to test positive for rabies in 2020. There have been 156 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2011, South Carolina has averaged approximately 130 positive cases a year. In 2019, one of the 148 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina was in Kershaw County.
An abbreviated March 21 Town Council meeting saw the Moncks Corner Council green-light a proposed ordinance to annex real property along the intersection of Rembert C. Dennis Boulevard and the Main Street Extension into Town limits. Lawmakers agreed that a portion of the 15 acres in question would be reclassified from a General Commercial (GC) District to R-3 Single Family Attached Residential, while the other portion would be converted from GC to Transitional District (TD).At a prior Planning Commission meeting, Town Administrator Je...
An abbreviated March 21 Town Council meeting saw the Moncks Corner Council green-light a proposed ordinance to annex real property along the intersection of Rembert C. Dennis Boulevard and the Main Street Extension into Town limits. Lawmakers agreed that a portion of the 15 acres in question would be reclassified from a General Commercial (GC) District to R-3 Single Family Attached Residential, while the other portion would be converted from GC to Transitional District (TD).
At a prior Planning Commission meeting, Town Administrator Jeffrey Lord explained that the intent behind the zoning recommendations was to pave the way for the property to be developed down the road. Surrounding space, he added, could be used to connect the neighborhood to a future real estate project.
When asked about possible amenities, Lord noted that the development would be “small” in terms of its dimensions and/or units and therefore wouldn’t include the necessary space for extra conveniences/services.
In lieu of any amenities, the administrator asked that additional buffer be added “on the highway side” to hide the residential complex.
The rentals would comprise 84 units, according to Town documents.
All of the maple trees of the world belong to a genus which has been named “Acer.” There are well over 100 different species, and practically all of them are native to the northern hemisphere.
Maples play an important role in various ecological settings and forest types, and several species have considerable economic value. For instance, there is sugar maple, from which maple syrup comes. Maybe that’s the best example. Otherwise, the wood of different maples is useful traditionally in making musical instruments, bowling pins (although I can’t imagine that some sort of plastic is now more commonly used for them), and just good for carving, too. Oh right, and also baseball bats.
Maples are some of the most attractive canopy species in temperate forests, especially in the autumn, with really colorful foliage, one of the big reasons to spend time driving around in the mountains around here at “peak” season.
All maples are what we say are dioecious. This is a term we’ve used before, and it refers to a species whose individual plants are either staminate (“male”) and producing pollen, or pistillate (“female”), producing seeds. The leaves are always opposite, that is, two at a time on a twig. The leaves are simple, with a single blade, and usually equipped with lobes, most of the time angular, and often toothed. Think of the maple leaf on the Canadian flag. Or maybe a Japanese maple. The fruits are distinctive, and they are called “samaras”: each is equipped with an elongated wing which allows it to helicopter through the air once dropped.
Our Mystery Plant is a maple, but a bit of an oddball: its leaves are compound, with three leaflets. The twigs are green. It’s a tree which is frequent in most of the eastern USA, and it is generally found in damp forests.
And now, for some true confessions. Those of you who have ever gone on one of my botany field trips will remember that I am fond of being naughty with my students at times…I’ve enjoyed teasing them occasionally with little snippets of botany humor. I have, I shall admit, used our Mystery Plant as one of these subjects, announcing to the gathered class that this tree is an example of the astounding “POISON-IVY TREE”! And that the kids need but to gaze upon its fearsome trunk and bright green “let-it-be” foliage to know and tremble!
Of course, and as we have learned, our Mystery Plant has foliage which does look a lot like that of poison ivy. But poison ivy is never a tree … it often grows on trees, however, and large vines of it with their horizontally spreading stems can make it look like a tree itself. If you are fond of hikes in the woods, it’s a good idea to be confident about knowing what is and what is not poison ivy: mistakes involving its identifications can cause serious torment, if you are susceptible to its biochemical power. Our Mystery Plant, though, shouldn’t cause any problems.
John Nelson is the retired curator of the Herbarium at the University of South Carolina, in the Department of Biological Sciences. As a public service, the Herbarium offers free plant identifications. For more information, visit www.herbarium.org or email email@example.com.