Local Destination By Mary Caldwell
LOST ACRES IS SPARTANBURG’S HIDDEN JEWEL
Forty acres of wooded forest might seem like a difficult thing to hide amid growing Spartanburg County. But even many lifelong county residents haven’t heard about Lost Acres, home to the Hughston Resource Education Center. “I’ve been told we’re the best-kept secret in Spartanburg,” says Dick Cassel, president of the Upstate chapter of Wildlife Action, which owns and oversees the land. Lost Acres is located off of New Cut Road, on land that previously adjoined the property of Newt and Jane Hughston. For years, taxes weren’t being paid on it. The Hughston family eventually paid the taxes owed and acquired the land. The family donated the land to the Upstate chapter of Wildlife Action, which uses it to help educate Spartanburg County children and adults about nature. The all-volunteer organization hosts many school groups, Scouts and day-care groups, with about 800 to 1,000 kids visiting each year. The children get to take a nature hike, where they learn about the trees, flowers and vines they see along the way. Guides also point out animal tracks and holes that they spot. Children and educators enjoying BB target shooting at the annual “Wild Days” event.
The kids also learn about bird calls and, with help from volunteers, make a bird house to take home. Volunteers also lead a “Skins and Skulls” presentation that lets kids touch animal skins and skeletons. They learn about what the animals’ tracks look like, how their fur feels and more. The children’s reactions range from those who won’t touch them to those who run up to touch them and can’t wait to them around to their classmates. Tanya Roberts, a second-grade teacher at Carlisle-Foster’s Grove Elementary School in Chesnee, has seen first-hand the excitement kids feel as they visit Lost Acres. Edwin Foster helps bird lovers make custom bird houses to take home.
20 •Spartanburg Everyday • Volume 3, Issue 17 • June/July
“The kids loved the nature walk and exploring the various plants and trees. They also got to touch real animal furs,
June/July 2014 Edition of Spartanburg Everyday