natural history

"P" is for Pines

Feb 20, 2018

"P" is for Pines. Nine native pine species are found within South Carolina. Three species are restricted to the upper Piedmont and mountain regions, three are found nearly throughout the state, and three are found primarily within the coastal plain. South Carolina pines are divided into white and yellow. Yellow pines have needles in groups of two or three, while white pines have needles in groups of five. The only white pine in the state is the eastern white pine. Among the yellow pines are loblolly, slash, longleaf, Virginia, pitch, pond, table mountain, and spruce.

Mary Alice Monroe

Best-selling author Mary Alice Monroe and Rudy Mancke, naturalist, teacher, host of NatureNotes and SCETV's NatureScene, share a deep love of the Lowcountry of South Carolina. They join Walter Edgar to talk about the unique, priceless treasure that is South Carolina's Coastal Plain. 

Dr. J. Drew Lanham
Clemson University

“In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. I am, in the deepest sense, colored.” From these fertile soils—of love, land, identity, family, and race—emerges The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature (2016, Milkweed Editions) a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist J. Drew Lanham.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Peter Miller via Flickr

"E" is for the Eastern tiger swallowtail. State butterfly. In 1994, by act of the General Assembly, the tiger swallowtail became South Carolina's official butterfly. The legislature acted at the behest of the Garden Club of South Carolina which selected the butterfly because it can be seen in deciduous woods, along streams, rivers, and wooded swamps, and in towns and cities throughout South Carolina.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Ancient fossil records show some pretty fascinating facts about how both plants and insects responded to changing levels of atmospheric oxygen, fossil records show dragonfly relatives with wingspans of up to three feet during times of very high oxygen concentrations. Cockroaches stayed the same size but the hollow tracheal tubes that carried oxygen through their bodies got smaller, allowing the insects to invest resources in other dimensions.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Usually after several hard frosts, we get a break from cockroach surprises in the kitchen. So I was surprised when a huge palmetto bug ran across the pantry shelf last week. But it could have been worse.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. When ancient clubmosses in the family Lycopodiacaea were growing in what is now the coal fields of West Virginia, over 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous period the weather was much warmer and carbon dioxide levels vastly greater than today. Sometimes carbon dioxide is a limiting factor in plant growth – the ancient relatives of today’s clubmosses, plants like running cedar, grew to enormous heights of over 100 feet in those humid, warm swampy conditions.

Origins of Coal

Jan 18, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Our 1880’s house in St. Matthews was built with coal-burning fireplaces.

North Inlet - Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Aerial view of meandering tidal creeks and extensive pristine marshes in North Inlet Estuary. Vicinity of Georgetown, South Carolina.
NOAA Photo Library/Flickr

(Originally broadcast 10/30/16) - Dr.Maria Whitehead is Project Director of Winyah Bay and Pee Dee River Basin for The Nature Conservancy. Winyah Bay is comprised of 525,000 total acres and encompasses the lower drainage of the Black, Big Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, Sampit, and Waccamaw rivers.

This vital watershed sustains 123,000 acres of forested wetlands and 23,000 acres of tidal freshwater marshes that support the annual use of up to 40,000 migratory waterfowl, 6 federally threatened and endangered species, and numerous species of migratory songbirds. 

"L" is for legal education. A high percentage of colonial South Carolina’s lawyers were trained at the Inns of Court in London. After the Revolution, reading for the bar was the only means of studying law in the state. In 1866, a law school was established at the University of South Carolina—and from 1886 to 1951, its graduates did not have to take a bar exam.  After 1951, USC graduates and those of the law school at South Carolina State had to take the bar exam.  In 1958 the state Supreme Court prohibited reading law and required all candidates for the bar to be law school graduates.

Rudy Mancke

  SCAN turns 40 this year.

  Paleontologist Dave Cicimurri digs up fossils 34.5 million years old, not in some wilderness spot, but almost in downtown Aiken. The ancient sharks, rays, barracudas and more tell him not only that the area was once the bottom of the ocean, but the very sediment they’re buried in contains information about the environment of past eras. This information, in turn, may point to where the environment is headed in the far-flung future.