Explore the Mysteries and Marvels of the Intertidal Zone

08/04/2011  |  Bob Bender

The motto of the Lowcountry Estuarium based in Port Royal, SC is “Conservation through Education” with a focus on the Port Royal Sound Estuarine system. This unique coastal environment stretches from the barrier islands bordered on the north by St. Helena Sound to the Savannah River. It is arguably the richest ecosystem on earth with regard to the production of biomass.

A mixture of fun and learning activities available and led by Estuarium staff include but are not limited to an exploration of the intertidal zone at Sands Beach in Port Royal and a visit to nearby shrimp docks to learn the lifecycle of shrimp, how shrimp boats operate and how to throw a cast net. Also offered is evening program at accommodations site that includes a PowerPoint with video, live animals and touch table.

The World Between the Tides
Explore the Mysteries and Marvels of the Intertidal Zone

The greatest salt marsh tidal ranges (distance between high and low tide lines) from southern Maine to the Florida Keys occur in South Carolinas’ Port Royal Sound Estuary. The salt marsh intertidal zone is a world unto itself at low tide and to explore it with Lowcountry Estuarium staff is an eye-opening, if somewhat muddy, adventure of discovery.

Learn how the intertwined life cycles of oysters and marsh grass are central to the health and vitality of the estuary and all that inhabit it. Observe how an oyster rake is a living metropolis supporting billions of inhabitants and visitors alike.

As an added treat you’ll be able to search a dredge spoil beach for 50m year old shark teeth and fossils.

Program length: 1hr. 30min. Fee $12.50 per person, driver and 2 group leaders comp.

Note: Bookings are time of tide dependent.

Live Caught Wild American Shrimp
The Fascinating Route from Ocean to Tidal Creek to Plate

Introduction to the fascinating life cycles of white and brown shrimp harvested locally both commercially and recreationally. You will visit a local dock to observe shrimp boats and their rigging and learn how they operate.

Learn the health issues concerning foreign farm raised shrimp and what environmental issues threaten local wild shrimp habitat. The program will conclude with instruction on when, where and how to throw a cast net.

Program length: 1hr. 30min. Fee $12.50 per person, driver and 2 group leaders comp.

What’s an Estuary?
Learn what Estuaries are, How they Function, Why PRSES is Unique

PowerPoint presentation gives a basic understanding of estuaries in general before focusing on the unique nature of the Port Royal Sound Estuarine System. Included are videos guaranteed to entertain as they inform.

After a Q & A period there will be access to a touch table of dry specimens along with a traveling Estuarium table of live critters for viewing up close and personal.

Designed as an evening activity the presentation will take place in space provided by the overnight accommodations provider. May also be scheduled on relatively short notice should weather forecasts jeopardize planned outdoor activities.

Program length: 1hr. 30min. Fee $150

For more information, contact Bob Bender at phone number 843-524-6600 or via email at [email protected]

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