Biology Classes Experience Nature First-hand

Beach trip

Dr. Eran Kilpatrick and students at the beach

In April 2010, both sections of Dr. Eran Kilpatrick’s Biology 102 class took field trips to destinations near their respective campuses. The West Campus class toured lower Coastal Plain wetland ecosystems in Bamberg County. Stops included examples of a blackwater creek and river swamp habitat, along with a gum pond at River’s Bridge State Historic Site; a Carolina bay at Cathedral Bay Heritage Preserve; and a pond cypress savannah. The East Campus class explored tidally influenced wetlands and longleaf pine forest habitats in the ACE Basin at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in southern Colleton County. The classes focused on flora and fauna habitat relationships, bird migration, and research topics related to ecological field studies.Kilpatrick also invited students from both East and West Campus classes to attend an all day coastal field trip. They toured saltmarsh, dune, tidal creek, and maritime forest habitats at Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area and Edisto Beach. The group then traveled to the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge where students could explore old rice fields, a brackish marsh, a bottomland hardwood forest, and a managed pine forest. Multiple arthropod, mollusk, algae, fish, and shorebird species were observed in the dune and beach habitats. A diversity of vascular plant, amphibian, reptile, and mammal species were identified and discussed. The students were also able to view actively managed wetland and upland resources that provide critical habitats for wildlife species.