May Think & Drink and Walk & Talk
Was conducted by newly graduated Master Naturalist Gabe Shuler, a naturalist employed at Cypress Gardens in Moncks Corner.
Gabe gave us a very interesting insight of his duties at the gardens, which along with educational outreach, involves ongoing research and the clearing of non native invasive species on the property.
We had a tour of the gardens during our Walk & Talk and had plenty to identify and discuss!
An Osprey was busy feeding it's young
The gardens themselves were originally part of the 1750 Dean Hall rice plantation, which depended on fresh water from the Cooper River. The area that is now a swamp was dug out and fitted with water gates to become a fresh water reservoir. It had fallen into disuse when the property was purchased by Benjamin Kittredge for a duck hunting reserve. During the depression, over 200 men built out the 4.5 miles of trails around the swamp, and it was opened to the public in 1931. Kittredge's son donated the property to the City of Charleston on June 1, 1963.
Hurricane Hugo in 1989 severely affected the park, causing it to close for a year, and Berkeley County took over ownership when the City of Charleston no longer wanted to support the garden.
In October 2015 historic flooding hit the state and it was announced that the attraction would be closed indefinitely following an assessment of millions of dollars of damage and only reopened on April 13th, 2019, after nearly four years of being closed!
A Bronze Frog was among our sightings
Our tour included the 80acre bald cypress/tupelow blackwater swamp, Swamparium, and Butterfly House and an introduction, from a distance, to the two resident captive alligators.
Along with Swamp Primrose
The gardens have also had their 15 minutes...maybe more...of fame, appearing in movies such as The Patriot, The Notebook, and Cold Mountain, to name a few.
And a White Eyed Vireo
Fragrant Water Lilies were abundant
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