With school budgets tightening and field trips being severely restricted or banned, it was a quiet spring and has been a slow fall at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest when it comes to visiting school groups. The sunny, mild weather of September and October has given way to rain and cooler temperatures this week. Both grant-sponsored school groups (80+ students each) scheduled for this week canceled due to the rainy weather. "Rain, rain, go away!"
Last week, we began painting an internal, cross-swamp boundary line. We began on the north side of the swamp and moved southwest. The tract of the swamp we were painting was clear-cut prior to its purchase by Audubon South Carolina, so we moved through areas alternating between thick blackberry bushes and open cypress/tupelo stands that were left as buffers around creek channels. Overall, the water level in the swamp has been very low, so the majority of the work was done on dry land. However, the thick vegetation ensured that our progress was infinitely slower than it would have been through an open, mature forest. As you can see in the image, we stopped painting just before reaching the wettest portion of the transect. This week's rain will fill all the creek channels, which will go swimmingly (pun intended) with the cooler weather! "Rain, rain, go away!"