Friday, August 27, 2010

Norman's Boardwalk Sign

At the Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest, sun and time have taken their toll on the interpretive signs around the boardwalk.  Signs have become dingy and faded, which is unacceptable when standing in the foreground of nature's beautifully-constructed old-growth swamp.  With the help of sponsors, all of the degraded interpretive signs have been replaced.

One of the replaced signs was sponsored by Phyllis and Ray Brunswig in honor of Norman Brunswig, their son, for his decades of service to the Francis Beidler Forest and the National Audubon Society.  Norman arrived in 1972 to become the first sanctuary manager at the Francis Beidler Forest.  Though his job titles have changed over the decades (currently state director for Audubon South Carolina), he has remained in the old-growth forest of Four Holes Swamp.  It is appropriate that the "Islands of Life" sanctuaries sign was the one honoring Norman.  The sign describes how the National Audubon Society began, what sites are currently being protected, and the goals for the sanctuary program.

Protection - minimizing human impact on fragile sites
Research - gaining critical insights into ecosystem dynamics
Education - teaching appreciation of wild places and wildlife
Advocacy - promoting wise environmental public policy

Life in the old-growth swamp moves unmolested toward the future with 1000-year-old Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) trees continuing to stand tall, Ebony Jewelwing damselflies (Calopteryx maculata) reproducing, and fledgling Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) contemplating flight. As a result of Norman's eye to the Francis Beidler Forest's future, the sanctuary has grown from the original 3,400 acres to over 16,000 acres and additional strategic parcels are sure to be acquired.

Here's to many more years of service!

Images by Mark Musselman

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