Rudy Manke: Sandhill REC

Rudy Manke, Naturalist and Host of NatureScene

I think this site is special for a number of reasons. One it’s close to a lot of people which sort of is good news and bad news but it’s still a wonderful area, great diversity of habitat, good variety of plants and animals. From the first time I visited in the 60’s I’ve been impressed with a great variety of plants and animals on this particular site.  Austin Jenkins, the work he’s doing now on the biodiversity here is spectacular. He was able to find a species of dragonfly that had never been collected before in the state of South Carolina. He found it on this property as I told him when I got with him first I said there are going to be surprises so you might as well just get ready, but I never expected to add a new dragonfly species to the state. You would never predict that species in the middle of the state, but here it is- those kinds of surprises. A snowy owl, which is a rare animal in South Carolina ever. I remember seeing it on a fence post out this way back years and years ago I think it was in the 60’s when I saw that or 70’s so great variety of habitat. We’ve never looked as closely as we should so this is a great opportunity to really look closely at the biodiversity here and we’re already surprised by what we see. My prediction is the more we’ll be surprised the more we look at it. History, natural history, art, science, religion, philosophy, they are all mixed together you can’t pull them apart they are like taffy you can pull them but they are still connected you know if you let them go they are going to glue back together and in a place like this is just a wonderful place to point that out to people as anything could possible by. It is close enough you can get a lot of people into this site and do it in a way that won’t save some great negative impact on the area that’s left and give them a good lesson not only in naming plants and animals, which is fun enough for me, but connections. To me that’s the most important part. Maybe that’s the crutch that environmental education is all about. It’s reminding us that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.