2014 Wildlife Conclave Field Trips

All participants should be prepared for these field activities by bringing water, snacks, and appropriate inclement weather clothing, including rain gear, warm clothes, and boots. Some field trips/workshops will have inclement weather plans that will be guided by the Clemson student leader, but most will proceed rain or shine. Transportation will be shared among attending schools. Please check the van box on your registration form if you can supply a van.

1. Shotgunning/ Wildlife Law Enforcement Demo

Captain Mike Isaacs of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) Law Enforcement will give a presentation on the requirements, duties, and stories of being part of the law enforcement.  After Mr. Isaacs’ presentation, students will travel 5 minutes to the Pickens Bend Range, where they will get a tour of the facility and be able to shoot shotguns.

2. Wildlife Art: An Introduction to Sketching

Join wildlife artist Dr. Jeanne Jones for an afternoon introduction to wildlife sketching. Dr. Jones will introduce aspects of sketching and illustration techniques used for centuries by illustrators of wild nature.  Students will conduct field drawings in selected natural features in the field and learn about shape, shading, and rendering texture to these field subjects. With this exercise, students will rediscover the field naturalist within, become better observers, and watch selected subjects evolve on sketch paper. By the end of this field trip, participants will have a greater understanding of wildlife art, understand its use for on-the-job tasks, and have an improved ability to convey their passion of natural resources to others. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Participants of this workshop should bring the following: 1) 3 drawing pencils (Lead rating: #3, #2, and #2B); 2)  1 sketch pad (12 x 12 inches or similar size); 3) 1 white, clear, or kneaded eraser; 4) 1 bottle of India Ink – black is preferable color

3. South Carolina Botanical Garden Tour

The South Carolina Botanical Garden is a diverse 295 acres of natural landscapes, display gardens, and miles of streams and nature trails. The South Carolina Botanical Garden is home to an official American Hosta Society Display Garden, a 70-acre arboretum, a butterfly garden, wildflower meadow and many specialty gardens. The Garden is also home to over 300 varieties of camellias, as well as an extensive collection of hollies, hydrangeas, magnolias and native plants.  John Bodiford, Senior Horticulturist, will give an overview of the extensive Garden’s collections, the history of the Garden, and lead a walk along the Carolina Heritage Garden Trail which contains a collection of plant species, some quite rare, that occur from the maritime forest to the mountains of Jocassee Gorges.

4. Trout Management

Operated by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), this fish hatchery is one of five in South Carolina serving a vital role in the management of the state’s fishery resources. The Walhalla State Fish Hatchery is unique in that it is the only state hatchery involved in the culture of trout, a coldwater species. Students will be given a tour of the hatchery, different duties, culture of trout, and possibly hands on demonstrations with fish.

5. Sporting Dogs

Colby Williams graduated from Clemson University in May of 2012 with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. Colby's introduction to dog training began with his first dog Sprig; training for fun and running a few UKC hunt tests.  After Sprig received his Started Title, Colby realized he had a gift for training dogs.  In October of 2012 Colby joined Team MPR (Mossy Pond Retrievers) and Brad Arington.  He is already making a lot of noise in the retriever game and widely thought of as an up and coming star! In April of 2013 Colby opened Mossy Pond Retrievers North in Pendleton, South Carolina. Colby will discuss and demonstrate training techniques that have won his dogs a boatload of medals.

6. National Wild Turkey Federation Tour

A national non-profit organization founded in 1973, the NWTF is headquartered in Edgefield, S.C., and has local chapters in every state and Canada. The NWTF is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of the hunting heritage. Through vital partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF has helped restore wild turkey population throughout North America — from a mere 30,000 in the entire United States to more than 7 million across the United States, Canada and Mexico. The NWTF also supports numerous conservation programs benefiting both game and nongame species. NWTF personnel will lead a tour of their extensive Museum and the surrounding grounds that contain habitat management demonstration sites.

7. Wildlife Rehabilitation

Paws Animal Wildlife Sanctuary, Inc (PAWS) is a certified wildlife rehab center operating in South Carolina and will be giving a demonstration on the rewards and challenges of wildlife rehabilitation with several rehabilitated ambassadors. 

8. Edible/Medicinal Native Plants

Emmy Award winning Patrick McMillan will lead a walking tour around Issaqueena Lake identifying and describing medicinal and edible plants.

9. Wildlife Cooking

Paul Johns, a retired wildlife biologist, will be setting up large pots, cookers and burners for his famous low country boil. Cooking outside, he will explain step by step how to cook this delicious South Carolina delicacy.  Paul will entertain as he cooks with stories from the old days and best of all, students will be able to enjoy the feast.

10. Wildlife Damage Management

USDA Wildlife Services personnel will demonstrate capture and removal methods for a variety of nuisance wildlife problems that have plagued the upstate in recent years. They will discuss a wide variety of wildlife conflict cases and the techniques employed to resolve those issues. Wildlife damage management trapping and removal techniques for beaver, feral pigs, and others will be demonstrated.  The removal of a large beaver dam using explosives will be a part of this exercise.  

11. Wildlife Habitat Management in Mountains/ Black Bear Research

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Biologists will lead a tour through the beautiful Jocassee Gorges Management Area. They will discuss the challenges of managing wildlife habitats in these steep and remote areas. Timber management, wildlife plantings and prescribed fire will be discussed. The black bear research and management program including nuisance problems, trapping, hunting, and research will also be discussed. This is a beautiful area and students should bring their cameras. 

12. Private Lands Wildlife Management

Students will visit two small privately owned properties in the Piedmont of South Carolina intensively managed for a variety of wildlife species. Discussions will focus on options available to private land managers to increase biodiversity and benefitting game species through active management.

One area will focus on management of upland game species including small game, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey while the other area will focus on waterfowl management.  Management activities include burning, forest thinning, wildlife plantings, native plant enhancements, harvest management and controlling invasive species. These properties are prime examples of private land management that are beneficial to both game and nongame species.

13. Upstate Waterfalls/Salamanders

Students will take a short walk along a relatively flat trail to a waterfall in upstate South Carolina. Along the way we will identify riparian vegetation and determine its uses. Graduate student Nathan Weaver will discuss stream related issues of the Blue Ridge Mountains and talk about the ecology of this unique area the Southeast is lucky to call its own. At the waterfall, students will capture salamanders and learn to identify them by dichotomous key.

14. CEF/SFI Prescribed Burning

Adjacent to Clemson University is the 17,500 acre Clemson Experimental Forest (CEF) which is comprised of a wide diversity of habitats from commercial forests to hardwood bottoms and ridges to wetlands and natural areas.  The CEF is a Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Tree Farm certified working forest and is also managed as two Wildlife Management Areas in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  The Forest is utilized by the University and public for teaching, research and a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities.  During this tour we will visit areas that demonstrate various management activities that incorporate forest management with wildlife and recreation management. A prescribed burn may be included if the weather permits.  

15. Songbird Tour/ Citizen Science

Keowee Clemson Bird Club will be leading an expedition to Townville, SC listed in E-bird as a biodiversity hotspot of almost 200 different species, including a multitude of waterfowl (ie. Teal, Shovelers, Scaup, hawks, gulls, woodpeckers, and song birds. The field trip could have up to 12 different stops. Citizen Science will be emphasized for birding research, including citing species, listing in E-bird, and building bird houses.

16. Management of Unique Habitats

Mary Bunch, a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources biologist, will lead a tour through Stumphouse Mountain Heritage Preserve and Tunnel Town Park in Issaqueena Falls. This hike will showcase the intersection between cultural history, natural history, and a history-making fungus.  The hike will include a colonial era Native American princess story, a pre-civil war saga of hard work and ambition run afoul by mismanagement and poor timing, and a story still being written- the one of White-nose Syndrome and its impact on bats living in the tunnel.  

17. Reptile Handling and Capture Methods

This field trip includes a presentation on Southeastern reptile species, with an emphasis on snakes found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina. General reptile ecology, behavior, myths, medical significance, and conservation will all be discussed. Many live reptiles will be on display, including venomous snakes, and there will be opportunities for participants to handle a non-venomous snake.

18. Rope Course/ Team Building

Challenge yourself physically, emotionally, and personally with the high ropes course located at Camp Hope. You will climb through the course and through the beautiful hardwoods.

19. Quality Deer Management Seminar

Management options for those aspiring to manage deer herds for optimum growth and development while enhancing the habitat will be part of this seminar. Speakers will discuss the history of the Quality Deer Management Association which has its roots in South Carolina. Also, students will be given information on how to form their own student chapter.  A dynamic young speaker will inspire you with his experiences with QDMA and how it has changed his life.

20. Jocassee Lake Tour

Tour Lake Jocassee with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources biologists to see a beautiful mountain lake surrounded by protected lands.  We will take two pontoon boats to discuss fisheries management on the lake, land management on the protected lands, and discuss the history of the area.  Look forward to seeing natural environments including waterfalls, and the impacts of both wildfires and prescribed fires on the mountain landscape.

21. Wildlife Photography

Bring your camera and join nationally published nature photographer Witt Langstaff in the SC Botanical Gardens for a photography adventure. Students will participate in a workshop covering essential techniques and popular gear used by wildlife photographers as well as addressing the challenges they often face. Participants will spend the rest of the afternoon in the garden and arboretum for demonstrations and guided practice. Witt is a Clemson Forestry graduate who has become a voice for the rare ecological jewels of the Southern Appalachians through work with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy as the past president and with The Nature Conservancy. He has been capturing and sharing his passion for these places and their wild inhabitants through his lens for the past 20 years. All levels of photography experience and camera types welcome.