SOUTH CAROLINA Wildlife
SOUTH CAROLINA Wildlife
CELEBRATING 69 YEARS
Did you know that South Carolina Wildlife has been the state’s voice for natural resources conservation since 1954? Share the tradition with a South Carolina Wildlife gift subscription today! Visit scwildlife.com
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ mission is to serve as the principal advocate for and steward of South Carolina’s natural resources. SCDNR website: www.dnr.sc.gov Henry McMaster, Governor of South Carolina S.C. DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD Dr. Mark F. Hartley First Congressional District; Mount Pleasant Michael E. Hutchins, Vice Chairman Second Congressional District; Lexington Jake Rasor Jr. Third Congressional District; Clinton Norman F. Pulliam, Chairman Fourth Congressionval District; Spartanburg James Carlisle Oxner III Fifth Congressional District; Union Duane M. Swygert Sixth Congressional District; Hardeeville Jerry A. Lee Seventh Congressional District; Johnsonville S.C. DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES Robert H. Boyles Jr., Director Deputy Directors Angie Cassella Administration Division Col. Chisolm Frampton Law Enforcement Division Emily Cope Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Ken Rentiers Land, Water and Conservation Division Blaik Keppler Interim Deputy Director Marine Resources Division MAGAZINE STAFF Joey Frazier, Editor Cindy Thompson, Managing Editor Kathryn Badal Diaz, Art Director Phillip Jones, Photographer Emeritus
Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the programs and activities of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is available to all individuals regardless of age, race, religion, color, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, status as a parent and protected genetic information. Please direct any questions to the SCDNR Office of Human Resources, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, (803) 734-4400, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Diversity and Civil Rights, 1875 Century Boulevard, NE, Atlanta, GA 30345, (404) 679-7080/7148. South Carolina Wildlife (ISSN 0038-3198) is published bimonthly by the Office of Media and Outreach of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, 1000 Assembly Street, Rembert C. Dennis Building, Columbia, SC 29201. January-February 2022, Vol. 69, No. 1. Copyright © 2022 by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. No part of the contents of this magazine may be reproduced by any means without the consent of South Carolina Wildlife. Manuscripts or photographs may be submitted to The Editor, South Carolina Wildlife, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202-0167, accompanied by self-addressed envelopes and return postage. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. Subscription rate is $18 per year; Canada and foreign rate $24. Canceled subscriptions will not be refunded. Preferred periodicals postage paid at Columbia, SC, and additional mailing offices. Circulation: 1-800-678-7227; Editorial: (803) 734-3967; Website: www.scwildlife.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and inquiries to South Carolina Wildlife, Circulation Department, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202-0167.
OVER THE HOLIDAYS I FOUND MYSELF REFLECTING on my grandfather’s simple intercessions, regularly and simply thanking the Almighty for “past blessings, present bounty and future hope.” Powerful words from a smart and humble man, he consistently reminded our family to remember the blessings of the past, our forebears and the world we inherited — our heritage. He was also quick to remind us to act responsibly and dream about the future, anticipating the fruits of our labors — our legacy. So it occurs to me, here we find ourselves, caught squarely between our heritage and our legacy. What are we to make of it, and how does it relate to the time-honored tradition or expectation of resolving to work to do things better in the new year?
As Shakespeare wrote, “the past is prologue,” and it is helpful to consider our past as we kick-off 2022. In that vein, this special themed issue of South Carolina Wildlife commemorates the 300th anniversary of the journeys of the English naturalist Mark Catesby. Beginning in the 1720s, Catesby traveled extensively through the land that would come to be known as South Carolina, and he produced one of the first published accounts of the flora and fauna of North America. Catesby’s work led countless others to value the unique and splendid place we call home here in the Palmetto State, and we see this reflected in a piece on the effects of feather collecting that ultimately led to a conservation legacy for later generations. Further, we feature a piece on wildlife art that represents yet another way in which our natural heritage is captured by talented and passionate artists to be passed on as our legacy for future South Carolinians. Mr. Catesby’s work lives on today through the selfless and dedicated service of the women and men of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and you’ll get a sense of what happens between heritage and legacy with a feature on modern wildlife management and how our present generation labors to leave things better than we found them. As I sit here now, between our heritage and our legacy, let me encourage you to consider the blessings of the past and the promise of the future. Let me also challenge you to help build an enduring legacy for our future by getting outside, away from the crowds and the noise, and marvel in the natural wonders of South Carolina. Then, consider how you can support stewardship of our natural resources. As you do so, know that your SCDNR staff are grateful for the natural heritage we inherited from our forebears, and we look we look forward to working with you with you to Empower South Carolinians to Live Life Outdoors, in 2022 and beyond. — Robert H. Boyles Jr., Director South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
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Catesby in Carolina May 23, 2022, marks the tercentennial of Mark Catesby’s arrival in Carolina. Catesby’s contributions to science and natural history investigations offer valuable insights that influence ongoing efforts to conserve South Carolina’s natural resources.
A Burning Question When is fire the right tool for land management?
A Sketch in Time Although early explorers relied on rudimentary methods to illustrate their findings in nature, modern day naturalists and artists continue to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.
The Feather Wars How a tea party started a conservation movement.
South Carolina Wildlife magazine is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of our state’s wildlife and natural resources, and to the education of our people to the value of these resources. Published by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. SCDNRWildlife website: www.dnr.sc.gov 2 South Carolina
WHAT’S COMING UP IN SCW March - April 2022
40 Cooking Wild With a campfire for cooking and comfort, food and a hot beverage prepared with that most wonderful of human breakthroughs, the use of fire, we become time travelers across eons.
46 A Look Back in Time Celebrating the 300th anniversary of Catesby's visit to Carolina
Join us in the next edition of South Carolina Wildlife as we take flight with well-known naturalist, author and pilot Giff Beaton to learn more about dragonflies and damselflies. Photo of Edmund’s Snaketail, taken in Oconee County by Giff Beaton
DEPARTMENTS 32 36 56
ON THE COVERS JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
South Carolina Wild
SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
11/23/2021 11:29:23 AM
Front cover, Pileated woodpecker, orginal art by Ellen Fishburne Back cover, Gentiana catesbaei, original art by Ellen Fishburne. SCW digital publications: www.scwildlife.com www.southcarolinawild.org
Special thanks to Lilly B. Anderson-Messec, Director of North Florida Programs for the Florida Native Plant Society, for providing reference photo of G. catesbaei. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 3
Catesby in Carolina
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ALL IMAGES OF PLATES FROM
Catesby's Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands courtesy of the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina Libraries.
May 23, 2022, marks the tercentennial of Mark Catesby’s arrival in Carolina. Catesby’s contributions to science and natural history investigations offer valuable insights that influence ongoing efforts to conserve South Carolina’s natural resources. BY HERRICK BROWN, CURATOR, A. C. MOORE HERBARIUM
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Following the founding of Charles Towne in 1670, the rich environs of the colony of Carolina offered a seemingly endless supply of novel productions of nature. Correspondence between colonists in Carolina and English naturalists quickly established a steady exchange of information about the New World. On almost every ship that left Charleston harbor were caches of natural history objects such as seeds, plants, preserved skins and pickled (in rum) specimens. In some cases, specimens were “lost at sea” when sailors’ freshwater supply ran out and the rum barrels had to be tapped. The vast amount of new species reported and steady stream of specimens arriving in England sparked intrigue among naturalists such as Sir Hans Sloane who amassed significant natural history collections that are still curated today. Beyond the limits of Charles Towne, the land remained largely unexplored by European colonists, and wealthy patrons like Sloane recognized the need to explore and document new and potentially useful productions of nature. By 1722, Sloane had already chosen a prodigal young naturalist and artist who was ready and willing to return to America (after a prior visit with his sister to the colony of Virginia) for the express purpose of exploring and documenting the natural world. The only thing preventing Sloane’s young explorer from returning on his own volition was that he was financially unable, but Sloane along with several other noble benefactors were willing and able to cover all expenses. May 23, 2022, will mark the tercentennial of Mark Catesby’s arrival in Carolina. Catesby’s contributions to science and our long history of natural history investigations in South Carolina are significant and still offer valuable insights that influence our efforts to conserve South Carolina’s natural resources. Through his monumental work, the two-volume Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, Catesby provided the first fully illustrated work depicting flora and fauna of North America. The hefty “Elephant Folios” contain 220 hand-colored engravings, which include illustrations of hundreds of species of plants, birds, fish, mammals, 6 South Carolina Wildlife
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reptiles and amphibians. For many Europeans, these images provided the first glimpse of natural wonders that inhabited North America. Catesby initially depicted his subjects in watercolors, the originals of which were later purchased by King George III in 1768 are now held at the Royal Library of Windsor. Later, he taught himself how to engrave copper plates for the purposes of printing. Production costs of his Natural History were covered by subscription and the volumes were issued in eleven parts, each containing twenty plates. The first parts were issued to subscribers in 1729 with the final set of plates issued as an appendix in 1747. Despite his achievements, few details of Catesby’s early life are known. He was born March 24, 1683, in Essex and evidently grew up in the area northeast of London. While his writing provides evidence of being well-educated, we do not know where he went to school. In the preface to his Natural History he describes his “early inclination […] to search after plants, and other productions in Nature.” However, he was unable to cultivate those interests with greater intensity due to his living “too far from London, the center of all science.” Details of Catesby’s life become clearer by 1712 when he traveled with his sister Elizabeth Cocke to the colony of Virginia, where her husband William was living. For the next seven years Catesby spent most of his time observing the natural world around him. He shared his observations through letters he sent along with seeds and dried plant specimens to some “curious” friends in England. One such friend was Dr. Samuel Dale of Braintree, who was a botanist. Dale shared some of Catesby’s correspondence with one of the most well-known botanists of the time William Sherard, and word began to spread among the Fellows of the Royal Society (a scientific society founded in 1660) including Sir Hans Sloane. Upon his return to England in 1719, Catesby found himself catapulted to the center of interest regarding his observations on productions of nature in Virginia. In those conversations, he conveyed a desire to return to America in a more ambitious effort to explore “new” territory and 8 South Carolina Wildlife
continue cataloging his observations. With backing from Sloane and a dozen other “Fellows,” Mark Catesby was again crossing the Atlantic with a mission to explore Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. Arriving in Charles Towne at the beginning of Summer in 1722, Catesby quickly observed all the plants and animals
familiar to him from Virginia as well as many new species peculiar to Carolina. For the first year or so he confined his travels to the “inhabited” (by Europeans) parts of the country. By that point in time, this area would probably have been confined to no more than sixty miles inland of the Carolina coast. Later, he advanced his travels beyond
those limits at least as far as Fort Moore, which was situated along the Savannah River near present-day North Augusta. There he found friendship in the company of Native Americans (likely Chickasaws). [English colonists had negotiated with Chickasaws to set up an outpost along the Savannah River to guard against a potential
invasion from Choctaws, who were allied with French colonials around Louisiana. The English/Chickasaw agreement was borne out of a common dislike for the French/Choctaw alliance]. Catesby's guide led him on excursions further inland along the waterways, provided him with food from their hunting
successes, and were quick to build a bark hut at the approach of rain to prevent his cargo (which included watercolors and dried plant specimens) from getting wet. He remarked that nature differed in “these Upper Parts” which we would now call the Piedmont. From there he was able to take several journeys upstream toward the Mountains and observe “most delightful Prospects” where his guides hunted “Buffaloes, Bears, Panthers, and other wild Beasts.” Over the next few years, Catesby ventured through Georgia (only recently named so) and into parts of Florida — cataloging, documenting and painting along the way. By 1725, he set sail for the Bahamas again gathering and recording information about the natural world he encountered. Finally, in 1726, he returned to England where he soon set about learning how to engrave copper plates and garnering financial support in the form of subscriptions to his magnum opus. Catesby’s Natural History is remarkable, as it is the first fully illustrated account of the biota of North America. For the first time in history, Europeans laid eyes on accurate depictions of plants and animals that seemed new and exotic. To appeal to a larger audience, the accompanying text is presented in two columns with English on the left and French on the right. Catesby notes that he was indebted to his French translator who preferred to remain anonymous. While the text provides details such as an animal’s behavior or a plant’s suitability for the English climate, much information can be gleaned from the images alone. Catesby notes that he wished to depict his subjects in a “Flat [but] exact manner” and therefore “adapted the birds to those plants on which they fed, or have some relation to.” This exact manner of portraying his subjects highlights the level of detail and diagnostic characteristics Catesby included, which permits modern scientists, in most cases, to make accurate identifications of the plants and animals he depicted. The species associations he illustrated accurately depict ecological niches and habitat associations much in the way John James Audubon would illustrate his ‘Birds’ almost one hundred years later. Clearly, Catesby wanted his subscribers JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 9
The Catesby Centre Decades before John James Audubon launched his ambitious Birds of America project, English naturalist Mark Catesby prowled the 18th-century wilderness of what is now the southeastern United States and the Bahamas to document the plants and animals he found. Catesby devoted four years of exploration and twenty years of writing and exquisite illustration to create what would become the two-volume Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. The University of South Carolina owns first, second and third editions of that masterpiece, and, thanks to support from generous donors, The Mark Catesby Centre is now part of University Libraries. The Mark Catesby Centre highlights the university’s growing Catesby collection and its many other natural history holdings. A fundraising campaign now aims to digitize more of the collections to make them easily accessible to scholars, K-12 students and their teachers as well as our community. Learn more about the Mark Catesby Centre at digital.library.sc.edu/ markcatesbycentre.
THE HEFTY “ELEPHANT FOLIOS”
contain 220 hand-colored engravings, include illustrations of hundreds of species of plant and animal findings. 10 South Carolina Wildlife
to be pleased with their purchase, and while much attention is devoted to the colorful plates, there is an often overlooked “Account of Carolina” that precedes the images in volume one of the Natural History. The “Account” provides a text-based description of the climate, waters, soils, forest types, indigenous people and agriculture of Carolina. Passages in the Account are invaluable as they provide the first recorded observations of the landscape as it appeared shortly after British colonization. Of note is a perfect description of Carolina bays, the elliptical, isolated wetlands that are unique to North and South Carolina. Catesby also mentions the unearthing near Stono of “the grinders of an Elephant.” This was the first published record of fossil remains of mammoth in South Carolina. At this time Megalodon shark teeth were called glossopetrae and were thought to be the tongues of dragons! In describing the customs of Native Americans, Catesby cites John Lawson, whose earlier expedition was published in “A New Voyage to Carolina.” Lawson navigated up the waters of the Santee and spent the majority of his time in North Carolina before meeting an untimely end at the hands of the Tuscarora, who did not approve of his business dealings. Although Catesby borrowed heavily from Lawson, he included more details in his descriptions of customs of Native Americans. One interesting passage describes their manner of hunting by using the preserved skin of a male deer in which the skull and antlers are retained. The eyes being represented by the seeds of a “scarlet flowering horse-chestnut” (a plant now commonly called “Buckeye”) provided so realistic an appearance that on occasion some hunters were killed, so Catesby states, through mistaken identity. There is also a somewhat dramatic record of Catesby’s near-death encounter while traveling with some Chickasaws near Fort Moore. At issue, was that the Chickasaws had provided a small enclave to help protect against potential attack from the French / Choctaw alliance to the west of Carolina. However, the Cherokee saw this presence as
trespass on their lands. Catesby had to part with his Chickasaw friends as he was at less risk if confronted alone by Cherokee. The next day his Chickasaw friends returned unscathed, but they soon discovered that a large Cherokee war canoe had been stowed nearby. Colonial agricultural practices were very destructive. Not having heavy machinery to clear forested land, the approach to establishing arable land was essentially slash and burn. Catesby describes the sheer
magnitude of felled trees as being too large to saw into timber such that all that could be done was set them ablaze or allow them to rot in place. Herrick Brown serves as curator of the A. C. Moore Herbarium in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Prior to his current appointment, he served as assistant botanist for the SCDNR Heritage Trust program and acted as an official liaison between the herbarium and SCDNR. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 11
Photo by Janice Sauls
A Burning Question When is fire the right tool for land management?
BY JOEY FRAZIER 12 South Carolina Wildlife
round 1872, Dr. Brewster Higley wrote a poem he called “My Western Home.” Today we know that poem better as the classic cowboy song, “Home on the Range.” Higley probably never guessed he might be describing South Carolina in his
SCDNR Staff Photos
famous opening line: “Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam. . .” Most listeners, even in Higley’s time, quickly associated the song with the plains states of the Midwest where great prairies of long grasses and lush vegetation
stretch to the horizon with little shade as compared to the great forests that cover much of our landscape today. Though some early listeners might have been surprised to know that kind habitat, and the buffalo, too, could be found over a JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 13
Photo by Stewart Grinton Photo by Janice Sauls
large portion of middle Carolina right up through colonial times. We know this because early explorers, one in particular, not only made an effort to witness it, he also wrote about it and even painted the scenes offering us an artistic window into the natural world of the early 1700s. Mark Catesby came to South Carolina in 1722 to document what Europeans considered an exotic world. Folks across the pond, as some say, wanted to know what resources were here and how those resources might translate into riches. Even as Catesby was exploring the colony, thousands of deer hides were being exported to Europe, creating a lucrative market hunting industry that dramatically 14 South Carolina Wildlife
reduced the whitetail population. Not surprisingly, history, as recorded by early explorers, is still vital to modern wildlife managers today. “Among the things you watch as you monitor the health of a wildlife population are the numbers and the trends associated with species,” said Johnny Stowe, a South Carolina wildlife biologist, forester and land manager. “You’re looking at changes over time. So, we get some idea of wildlife abundance from Catesby’s work. He gave us a baseline of sorts through recording the species he saw. Some of those, such as the ivory-billed woodpecker or Carolina parakeet, now are gone.”
According to Stowe, what the landscape looked like during periods in history is as important as the species that existed during those same times. The wildlife (fauna) are connected inextricably to the habitat (flora). Knowing that the Carolina region looked much different than today offers clues about what species might thrive or, conversely, how we might try to manage habitats differently to create a better home for the species we want to help, such as bobwhite quail. Today only remnants of the prairie landscape still exist, and that makes it difficult to imagine how South Carolina once looked. Stowe defines Carolina prairies visually.
BISON NO LONGER ROAM IN SOUTH CAROLINA, but you can see them at Tatanka Ranch in York County.
Photo by Joey Frazier
Acccording to S.C. Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Johnny Stowe, Mark Catesby, and other early explorers, gave us a “baseline” of species and habitats during the colonial period. Catesby also found remnants of the fossil record suggesting other fauna had come and gone long before colonial times. David Cicimurri, curator of Natural History at the South Carolina State Museum, confirms that to be a fact. “Well, I could list hundreds of species that became extinct long before Catesby got to South Carolina,” Cicimurri said. “But if I had to list just three, I’d go with mammoth, sabercat and giant ground sloth. These animals were contemporaries here in South Carolina during the end of the Pleistocene Epoch.” According to Cicimurri, these are fossils that are commonly found in South Carolina. Catesby actually documented what he thought were elephant teeth, which turned out to be mammoth teeth. These animals were primarily grazers, indicating they lived among grasslands or at least open woodlands Saber cats are less commonly found in the Palmetto state, according to Cicimurri. He related that the fossil record shows species of Smilodon (“curved tooth cats”). “All of these animals became extinct around 10,000 years ago,” Cicimurri said. “And there are competing hypotheses as to why this happened: overhunting by early human inhabitants, disease introduced by other animals that migrated to the area, extraterrestrial impacts, or all of the above.”
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He says a forest could be defined as a place where there are enough trees that are big enough so that not much sunlight hits the ground. If you then take away some of those trees, say about half of them, you have a woodland. If you take away even more trees, so there is more open space, you have a savanna. Finally, if you take away almost all the trees, you have a prairie. “There are still small examples — postage stamps really — of this still around,” said Stowe. “Rock Hill Blackjacks Heritage Preserve, near Rock Hill, protects a remnant of Carolina prairie. One of the main differences you see on the landscape now, compared to Catesby’s time, is fire suppression. Over the last few thousand years, much of South Carolina burned more years than not. Fire didn’t burn every year on each individual tract, but many large areas, especially in the longleaf pinelands of the Sandhills and Coastal Plain, did burn almost every year. These longleaf firelands rarely went more than two or three years without a fire.” Before people arrived in the Southeast, fires were caused by lightning. After that, Native Americans, with great care and wisdom, used fire on the land for dozens of reasons — including to safeguard their villages from wildfires, clear land for agriculture, enhance berry production, clear autumn leaves to make chestnuts and acorns easier to harvest, drive animals or make good hunting areas, and to kill off ticks and chiggers, according to Stowe. As other cultures arrived in the new world, fire continued to be implemented as a land management tool. “They kept up that tradition of using fire to mold the landscape,” Stowe said. “Today we are working to restore that multicultural woods-burning heritage for its public safety, economic, ecological and other benefits. Stowe recalled the wise words of forestry expert Larry Landers: “Taking fire out of the longleaf pine forest is like taking rain out of the rain forest.” Underscoring this fact, Stowe added that there were once more than ninety million acres of longleaf pines across the Southeast from Virginia to Texas, but by the mid1990s there were only about three million 16 South Carolina Wildlife
Photos by Janice Sauls
Photos by Michael Foster
ABOVE, FOX SQUIRREL. Opposite page, whistling duck, cottontail rabbit and gulf fritillary.
acres left. Since that low point, millions of acres of longleaf have been restored through tree planting and with controlled burning. Today, agencies such as the SCDNR, The Longleaf Alliance and other groups are working to restore as much of the longleaf ecosystem as possible. Mark Catesby came here as an explorer and artist. There is some artistry in wildlife management for professionals like Johnny Stowe. Fire is something that
lends itself so beautifully to paintings and photographs, he explains. “But then you also have the art of fire as a management tool,” he said. “In science you learn the principles and the techniques. Land managers have choices when applying those principles. So, the art of land management comes in making those choices as you monitor your progress.” Many special species benefit from fire management techniques, according to
Photo by Janice Sauls
Stowe. The early successional habitats that controlled fires create are perfect for bobwhite quail and other grassland birds, but turkeys and even white-tailed deer benefit as well. And, says Stowe, if you use controlled burns regularly, you are also reducing fuel loads on the ground, so if a wildfire does get out, it does much less damage, and it is easier for firefighters to bring under control. Joey Frazier is editor of South Carolina Wildlife. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 17
A Sketch in Time
BY C INDY Altho THOM ugh e PSON a r ly exp rudim lorers en relied their f tary metho on ds to inding illustr s in na natur ate ture, m alis odern follow ts and artis day ts con in the tinue footst prede to eps of cessor their s.
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“As I was not bred a Painter I hope some faults in Perspective, and other Niceties, may be more readily excused, for I humbly conceive Plants, and other Things done in a Flat tho’ exact manner, may serve the Purpose of Natural History, better in some Measure than in a more bold and Painter like Way.” — MARK CATESBY, THE PREFACE OF NATURAL HISTORY OF CAROLINA, FLORIDA AND THE BAHAMA ISLANDS.
20 South Carolina Wildlife
hen English explorer and naturalist Mark Catesby embarked upon his journey across Carolina three hundred years ago, he likely carried only a few necessities and traveled by foot, canoe or horse. Navigating through rich ecosystems, moving from water to land, across lowlands and uplands, he studied the diverse plant life and observed creatures great and small as they darted, ambled, crawled or camouflaged to blend with their environment. During the 18th century, prior to the advent of cameras, cell phones or GPS mapping, the business of exploring and documenting was quite rudimentary. Explorers and naturalists of this era leaned heavily upon their creative skills to illustrate their observations in nature. Catesby, for example, may have jotted down bulleted notes or even drawn quick sketches to capture what he witnessed, to later elaborate in greater detail the characteristics of the species found in a world that was quite different from his homeland of England. Following his exploration of “Carolina,” coastal Georgia, Florida and the Bahamas from 1722 to 1726, Catesby shared his observations, as he was commissioned by his patrons to do, through the pages of Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. Over the course of the past three years, the final page of South Carolina Wildlife (SCW) has been reserved for plant and wildlife illustrations created by modern-day naturalist Ellen Fishburne. The growing archive of “Sketchbook” art embodies Fishburne’s lifelong quest to illuminate the natural world around us. Much like Catesby, her library of art has created a time capsule of native species found in South Carolina today. It is our collective hope that the species portrayed in her Sketchbook art do not go the way of the ivory-billed woodpecker that Catesby depicted in his work. And perhaps, through her research and artistic talents, Fishburne’s timeless illustrations will inspire new progress in the ongoing mission to manage and protect the diverse ecosystems of the Palmetto State. Let’s go behind the scenes to learn more about South Carolina artist Ellen Fishburne
(and SCW alum as well), who brilliantly illustrates native plants and wildlife in the SCW “Sketchbook” series. (Her beautiful artwork is also featured on the front and back covers of this special edition.) Q: Whether hiking along a nature trail, sitting in a deer stand or fishing, what are the thoughts that swirl around in the mind of a naturalist who is also an artist, or an artist who is a naturalist? What approach do you take to learning about your natural surroundings? A: Blending in with nature’s surroundings has long been a goal of mine. Being as unobtrusive as possible in the field lets me observe creatures going about their everyday
business. While sitting quietly I have listened to gray foxes yowl, watched yearling bucks play boxing games, and noticed the sounds of night birds give way to a brand new chorus at dawn. It isn’t only animals that are fascinating. On cold winter mornings, when the sun hits the trunk of a loblolly pine, that bark gives off a steam so heavy you’d swear that tree was breathing. Nature is so fascinating; I can’t imagine not wanting to learn about it. Q: The SCW sketchbook series has unfolded to become a library of species that JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 21
22 South Carolina Wildlife
are native to South Carolina. Some of these species are rare, while others are common. Can you explain how you have worked with guides, biologists and botanists to learn about the subjects you have painted (featured in past issues of the magazine)? A: Accuracy is paramount to being a good illustrator. Information I put on public view may very well be used as reference by others, so it needs to be right. I read about each subject, search out videos, study field guides and reference books. First-hand information is even better. Some years ago, I was able to draw chimney swift studies from preserved specimens archived at Clemson University and at the Charleston Museum. I check with botanists and biologists so they can point me to live specimens and look over my preparatory sketches. They’ve stopped me from going down the wrong path more than once! The professionals with SCDNR, University of South Carolina’s A.C. Moore Herbarium, the South Carolina Botanical Gardens and many others have been indispensable. And oh, so patient! Q: There are many readers who may enjoy photography, sketching, painting or writing. How do these arts overlap for you? A: Rarely do I have the luxury of doing detailed field sketches, so I rely heavily on my digital camera. Even when working in
the studio on non-commissioned paintings, landscapes for instance, I nearly always refer to my photos. But not all my photographs are shot for reference. Some are attempts to capture the beauty, the whimsy, the irony, or even the harshness that is out there. Having a background in art helps with composition, lighting, etcetera. Good writing can support or supplant visuals. I’ve joked with my family about writing a book. Maybe one day I’ll play with that.
A: In the late 1980s I illustrated cicadas and their life cycle for South Carolina Wildlife magazine. That is one of my favorites, because in those pre-digital days I found an entomologist in Hawaii — I wish I could remember her name — who happily shared her knowledge and reference photos. Loved that assignment because I learned so much. One day I would like to draw an Ivory-bill from life. If I can’t have that, maybe a series of native orchids.
Q: Do some illustrations proceed faster than others? (example: bird, mammal, plant subjects) A: Well, I’ve discussed my approach to research. That’s an intense, very timeconsuming — but fun! — part of the job. Plants are often easier in the sense that sometimes I may have the actual material in front of me while working. Illustrating subjects that are not accessible, say a black bear or a loggerhead turtle, is challenging. Because I want to create the most typical example of that animal possible, I refer to as many visuals as I can. I’ve found fish take a crazy amount of time. The number of spines in each fin must be accurate, and they have lots of little scaly details.
Q:What are some of the outdoor connections that have shaped you to become the person you are today? A: Dad hunted and fished, so my siblings and I were raised on doves and quail, bass and bream. Little did I know then how lucky we were! We explored the woods and creek behind our house, finding raccoon tracks and catching crayfish. Mom enjoyed gardening. She loved butterflies and hummingbirds, the beach and the mountains. She and Dad both got into birdwatching in their later years. South Carolina Wildlife magazine was one of the many outdoors publications we had in the house. I would study drawings by Ned Smith or Sonny Baines and think, “Gee. Somebody gets paid to do that!” Since adulthood I’ve been fortunate to know many outdoorswomen and men who have shared with me their love of wildlife. Of
Q: Is there a plant or wildlife species that you are most proud of illustrating? Is there a species that you hope to one day document?
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course, being employed by the Department of Natural Resources for ten years certainly didn’t hurt! Q: Do you usually work alone or in groups? A: Though I normally work alone, I do like working with other artists whenever possible. In the late 1990s I was a charter member of Columbia’s portrait group About Face. Plein air jaunts with friends are fun but all too rare. Last October I spent a grand weekend with like-minded artists at the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina. We studied nature journaling with Lara Call Gastinger. It’s important to continue learning about the craft from other artists, lest my work gets stale. Q: What have you learned from Mark Catesby and naturalists like him? Is there 24 South Carolina Wildlife
something specific that you can relate to as you study Catesby’s work? A: In natural history illustration, as in most everything, we stand on the shoulders of those who preceded us. Catesby certainly wasn’t the first to document flora and fauna; a few of his drawings show obvious signs of copying previous artists. That wasn’t unusual in the 1700s. Artists who followed Catesby, John James Audubon, referred to his works, too. But Mark Catesby was the first to extensively explore, record, and make known the plants and animals of southeastern North America. He did so while traveling foot paths and rivers, using only pencil and paint to record his observances. I cannot begin to imagine the difficulties he encountered. So, it’s with great awe that I pore over his rich watercolors and the
resulting etchings. It’s fascinating that he managed to capture so many intricate details! Did he have a telescope? What did it look like and how much did it weigh? How much gear did he pack onto his horse or into the canoe when he set out? How did he keep his sketches dry? I take so much for granted. Q: Are there opportunities for others to get involved in efforts to document information about South Carolina’s natural history through art? Are there places you frequent or resources you trust? A: Washington DC’s Museum of Natural History is a must-see. In South Carolina we have the State Museum, University of South Carolina’s A.C. Moore Herbarium, and Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia; the South Carolina Botanical Gardens in
ELLEN FISHBURNE CHECK OUT THIS SCDNR VIDEO: SOUTH CAROLINA WILDLIFE ARTIST TIME-LAPSE
Clemson; and the Charleston Museum. Anyone serious about pursuing natural history illustration may want to look into the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators https://www.gnsi.org/ and the American Society of Botanical Artists https://asba-art. org/ . Q: For someone who is getting started in art, what might an inexpensive starter kit look like? A: I’d suggest beginning with a variety of pencils, some fine-point drawing pens such as Micron, and a sketchbook. After you are comfortable making line and tone drawings, try adding color. At the minimum, buy one warm and one cool each of red, yellow, and blue. You may choose from colored pencil, pastel, oil, acrylic or watercolors. I prefer the latter.
Purchase the best quality media and brushes you can afford. It does make a difference. Q: For those interested in becoming a naturalist, which organizations would you recommend? A: Persons wanting to get involved with naturalists’ groups can find a wealth of possibilities in South Carolina. • South Carolina Association of Naturalists https://www.scnaturalists.org/ • The Carolina Bird Club https://www.carolinabirdclub.org/dues/ • Audubon South Carolina https://sc.audubon.org/ • South Carolina Native Plant Society https://scnps.org/scnps-membership/join • South Carolina Wildlife Federation https://www.scwf.org/donate
Of course, all the wonderful hunting and fishing organizations are great introductions to the natural world. Ducks Unlimited, Quality Deer Management Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Trout Unlimited … There is absolutely no substitute for being in the woods or on the water. Get out there every chance you make. Ellen Fishburne’s art is featured on the front and back covers of this edition of South Carolina Wildlife, and her illustration of bald cypress is on page 56, the newest addition to the Sketchbook series. Stay tuned to see new “Sketchbook” illustrations, on page 56, throughout the year ahead! To learn more about Fishburne’s work, email FishburneArts@ gmail.com or visit www.FishburneArts.com. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 25
Feather WARS The
How a tea party started a conservation movement. TEXT BY AMANDA MCNULTY 26 South Carolina Wildlife
PHOTOS BY JANICE SAULS
ROSEATE SPOONBILLS (opposite page), Great blue herons above.
In South Carolina, we rightly hold in high esteem such revered figures as Archibald Rutledge and Harry Hampton, whose love of the outdoors and wildlife created fertile ground for conservation of natural resources. Members of Ducks Unlimited and its associated Wetlands American Trust, through purchases and cooperative conservation easements, protect more than 360,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat. Similar conservation trusts are actively involving private property owners in designing and monitoring voluntary development restrictions on their land. And the massively consequential Audubon Society (which in our state alone protects the Beidler Forest, the world’s largest virgin cypress-tupelo swamp forest) actually had its beginning in the drawing rooms of two Boston Brahmin cousins. Hunters, lovers of the outdoors, environmentalists and bird watchers
all deserve credit for the expanding protection of habitat today. But if you are thinking of waterproof boots, binoculars, guns and bird guides as the standard dress code for those responsible for the wildlife protection movement in the United States, also imagine corseted women in white gloves sipping tea. As the Industrial Revolution spurred Americans to leave an agrarian lifestyle, and as cities grew in importance, and as centers for stylish and wealthy displays of prominence, women of means filled their homes with reminders of the natural world they’d left behind — indoor plants, displays of mounted butterflies, fresh flowers and other representations of nature. On the heads of many influential and well-heeled socialites, were fanciful hats decorated with beautiful feathers. As millinery factories flourished with cheap labor, a growing number of less-wealthy women also became interested in this
feathered fashion. At first, local Floridians, to supplement their meager farming and fishing income, hunted nearby aviaries of snowy egrets, (the feathers of four of these smaller egrets were needed to produce an aigrette — one of the most decorative evening hairpieces) pelicans, roseate spoonbills, flamingos and other striking birds. But as the middle-class expanded, women from Italy and other nationalities, supplied plentiful and inexpensive labor for the mass-production hat industry. Meanwhile, professional hunters, whose incomes came from collecting birds, pushed the breeding grounds into smaller and smaller areas. The most desirable birds were in their reproductive plumage, killing them not only eliminated the current generation, but also the eggs and recently hatched young that were left to starve or be eaten by predators. Profiteers of the trade said that most JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 27
feathers were collected from molting, picked up off the ground, but the sheer number of feathers sold on the London market made a mockery of that claim. And in the United States, destruction wasn’t limited to tropical breeding areas. The magazine Forest and Stream (forerunner to Field and Stream), whose editor George Grinnell was an early 28 South Carolina Wildlife
supporter of the conservation movement, reported that one single hunter operating on a small portion of Long Island sold 70,000 birds to the New York market in four months. London was the center for the sale of feathers; details from a 1902 catalogue suggest that 200,000 egrets were slaughtered to provide the one and a half
tons of feathers auctioned. An ounce of egret feathers was worth its weight in gold. Herons were similarly prized; that same year almost 50,000 ounces of those plumes were bought by milliners. Current researchers now believe the number may have been as high as 500 million birds killed for their feathers from across the world.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ROSEATE SPOONBILL, wood stork, yellow-crowned night heron, green heron. Great egret
And it wasn’t just feathers. Ornithologist Frank Chapman, who became the curator of birds for the American Museum of Natural History, spent two days in February of 1886 on a bird count, completely unlike the annual Christmas Bird Count he later began that continues to this day. On this outing, he was compiling the number and identity
of feathers and bird parts on women’s hats; not only feathers but heads, wings and entire mounted birds representing forty different species. At this time, the common tern, which now is increasing its nesting sites on the Hudson River, had all but disappeared due to the craze for birdthemed hats. At this same time, people were raising
alarms about the loss of native and exotic birds, which was accompanied by a movement of getting back to nature. In the late 1800s, smaller (although still bulky) cameras were available, as well as theater binoculars or opera glasses. People of leisure became more deeply involved in their visits and excursions into parks and woodlands. In 1889, Florence Augusta JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 29
Merriam Bailey wrote Birds through an Opera Glass, considered one of the first field guides. She was also active in beginning many local Audubon Society chapters. The rising press coverage of the near extinction of many game and nongame birds was being discussed in homes of those enjoying the movement to visit nature and using such guides that promoted an appreciation of the diversity still available. Harriet Lawrence Hemenway, a Boston socialite, was apparently fortunate in her marriage. Her husband was a member of the Boston Metropolitan Park commission, wealthy, and a supporter of philanthropic organizations. It seems likely that with five children, she and her husband visited the parks he helped to direct. After reading about the mass killings of birds in an article written by director of the New York Zoological Society, William Hornaday, Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall decided to direct their abilities to end the craze for feathered hats. Using their social standing, Hemenway and Hall created
30 South Carolina Wildlife
GORDON ROSS ILLUSTRATION courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.
Reference number LC-DIG-ppmsca-27739.
guest lists for tea parties from the Blue Book. When those invited arrived, expecting a lovely presentation of tea and delicacies, these pioneering cousins presented their captive audience members with information on the horrors they were perpetuating through their clothing choices and eventually solicited nine hundred signatures from leaders of
society, vowing to never again wear clothing or hats featuring bird parts. It was still a man’s world; it would be twenty-four years before women would be allowed to vote. Hemenway started the first Audubon Society chapter, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, but to give it credence and a more influential voice, asked William Brewster, curator of
ROSEATE SPOONBILLS (opposite page), Great blue heron (above).
mammals and birds at Harvard University, to serve as its president. With half its officers still women, this chapter was instrumental in having the Lacey Act passed in 1900, the first federal law making it illegal to transport or sell certain prohibited items from nature across state lines. Just as today, conservation efforts conflicted with economic interests of the era. But the Lacey Act was passed, many years before restrictions on importations and sales were successfully passed in England. Women’s involvement and leadership in the conservation movement continues to this day. In the United States, 42 percent of identified birders are women
and a growing percent are registered hunters (excise taxes on gun sales and almost all income from licenses go to support conservation efforts). If you visit the Aubudon Society website and enter “When Women Run the Bird World,” you see information that the membership is more than 70 percent female. I know more female birders than male, among them my friend and more than avid birder Ann Nolte, who takes me on forced marches. There was perhaps even more resistance to ending this import and sale of bird parts in the United Kingdom than in the United States, as the London plumage industry generated huge profits annually. Finally, in 1922, the
Importation of Plumage (Prohibition) Act was passed by Parliament twenty-two years after importation was made illegal in the United States by the Lacey Act. The organization that started the British campaign, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has the honor of being the largest nature conservation nonprofit organization in the United Kingdom. Even after the Lacey Act was enacted, the illegal bird trade continued with certain loopholes. Trying to enforce laws in the wilds was almost impossible. Several game wardens were killed as they tried to arrest persons still killing birds. Fruitcake, tea and cookies were not viable tools in stopping illegal destruction of entire colonies of birds. Perhaps it is fortunate that Theodore Roosevelt, who once posed in a buckskin hunting outfit a la Daniel Boone, had a passion for hunting and a fascination with wildlife. Growing up, he also spent many hours at the American Museum of Natural History, funded primarily by his farther. Curators instilled a latent environmentalism in him as they spent hours showing him the remarkable diversity in the wildlife specimens housed there. In particular, he became fascinated, as wouldn’t we all, with pelicans, which later had a profound impact on his critical actions protecting federal lands during his presidency. During his tenure, Roosevelt made two-hundred thirty-four million acres of federal land national parks, national forests and wildlife refuges, including the massive Grand Canyon. As we celebrate diversity in nature, we should celebrate diversity in the conservation movement. From a group of determined female socialites to a U.S. President who was passionate about the outdoors, many different personalities and ways of yielding influence combined to save certain birds from certain extinction. And today, their groundbreaking actions continue to serve as a foundation for natural resources conservation. Amanda McNulty is host of SCETV’s
Making It Grow television show. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 31
SOUTH CAROLINA WILD
32 South Carolina Wildlife
Preparing Vessels for a Traveling Exhibit TEXT BY NOAH SAFARI PHOTOS BY LELIA RICE JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 33
spent the summer of 2021 interning with SCDNR’s Heritage Trust Archeology team. It was great to finally resume in-person activity after a tough year. The group of people selected for the internship included people from around the nation ranging from high school and college students like myself to emerging professionals. About half of us worked inperson at Parker Annex on the Bull Street development in downtown Columbia; the rest brought their work home and participated virtually through Microsoft Teams. Thanks to this increasingly useful communication platform, we were able to work collaboratively from great distances. The array of different perspectives and skill sets each person offered provided a breath of fresh air when considering the wide gamut of interests that archaeology covers as a field. Tasked with attending a variety of workshops covering such topics as artifact identification, climate change, paleontology, media relations and far more, we bonded while working on group artifact processing. The group worked on material excavated from sites such as Fort Fredrick Heritage Preserve and the Pockoy Island Shell Ring Complex. As part of the internship, we were all given individual projects to focus on in our time at Parker Annex. The goal of the project I participated in was to inventory, catalog and initiate the development of traveling exhibits, focusing on a collection of stoneware vessels. These pieces, made by John G. Baynham and Company, are examples of Edgefield Pottery and serve as a point of connection between the state of South Carolina and the people who brought this revered industry to life in the nineteenth century. While not associated with the collection we worked on, the most notable artist in the industry was potter Dave Drake, who defied the norms of the time and created a legacy of craftsmanship for future generations to follow. During the internship, we worked to measure, describe and then store the three hundred-plus vessels 34 South Carolina Wildlife
currently within the collection. Then, we conducted research about the stoneware industry in anticipation of these cultural resources being exhibited in the future. Each piece in the collection is unique. Some are broken into several parts, but all are beautiful. There are various sizes and shapes of stacker jugs, some cream risers, and even a chicken water jug! Some are covered with a mute brown Albany slip,
others with an almost iridescent alkaline green glaze. One of the most interesting things about this collection is that the fingerprints of some of the individual artisans are impressed into the glaze on the handles. Were they left by conscious intent or through the haste of preparing pottery on an industrial scale? Some work has been done to track the individual potters who left their marks. It would be
amazing to utilize modern technology to track the handiwork of those people who built a special form of South Carolina pottery. The hope is to share these works of art with institutions around the state, spreading the word about the Heritage Trust Program and the beauty of the state’s pottery tradition. The opportunity to work in a live, collaborative setting with some of the
most enthusiastic archaeologists one could have the pleasure of working with has been one that has solidified my desire to work in the field. Together we explored the wide range of talents needed to form a successful team and worked to develop ourselves personally and professionally to prepare ourselves to be the next contributors to the field of archaeology — with the help of the SCDNR Heritage Trust team.
Please enjoy this time-lapse video, created by Lelia Rice and Ella Goulding, which sets into motion the work of the SCDNR archaeology team as they store pottery vessels at the Parker Annex Archaeology Center. Visit heritagetrust.dnr.sc.gov to learn more! JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 35
THE E VOLU TION OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT PHOTOS BY LE WIS ROGERS While exploring the wild lands of Carolina during the 18th centry, English explorer Mark Catesby vividly depicted flourishing ecosystems teeming with a diversity of plant and animal species. His journal detailed wild populations of bison and panthers that roamed freely through forests and open grasslands — where fire was utilized by Native Americans to maintain the vast natural landscape. It was also during this moment in history that overseas trade markets were beginning to take hold of the new land. As settlements grew, forests and grasslands began to morph, and many wildlife species were over-harvested. Furbearing animals played an important role in the settlement of North America, as explained in the following excerpt from South Carolina’s Furbearers, written by SCDNR wildlife biologists: Early American literature describes how much of this country was explored and developed by trappers in search of these animals. Preceding even the gold prospectors, early trappers pioneered new areas in search of beavers, setting up trading posts that eventually became today’s modern communities. New regions of Carolina were explored, and undisturbed habitat eventually gave way to development and agricultural communities. During this era in South Carolina’s history, little attention was given to management of furbearers or the regulation
of their harvest. Many changes occurred in species diversity during this time. A shift became evident from forest dwelling to open land species, which had a higher tolerance for disturbances in the environment. Land use patterns had changed so drastically by the end of the 1800s that two furbearer species were lost completely, the eastern cougar (Puma concolor) and the red wolf (Canis rufus). The red wolf and eastern cougar are species with large home ranges. As the acreage of South Carolina’s large forests and swamps dwindled, the habitat could no longer meet requirements for these species. Mature hardwood stands and pine savannas, which historically covered most of South Carolina, often lacked the diversity of plant communities needed to support small mammal and bird species and the furbearers that preyed upon them. Modern timber practices, on the other hand, that result in an interspersion of habitat types, appear to benefit foxes and bobcats by increasing prey abundance. Today, all forms of [game and] furbearer harvest, including trapping, are closely monitored and well regulated by S.C. Department of Natural Resources biologists. The greatest threats to South Carolina’s native species are development and the further loss of quality habitat. The key to increasing furbearer populations is the protection and improvement of existing habitat.
Wild populations of red wolf, eastern cougar and wood bison are no longer found in South Carolina, however, these species once roamed across the grasslands and forests of the Southeast. 36 South Carolina Wildlife
During the 1600s, beavers were nearly eliminated along the East Coast due to over-harvesting to accommodate the trade market. During the 1700s, deer pelts were shipped to England by the hundreds of thousands. Today, biologists monitor and support native species in South Carolina by collecting data (using many types of field reports and research) to develop precise plans and legislation.
FOX SQUIRREL(ABOVE AND RIGHT)
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 37
SOUTH C A R O L I N A’ S FURBEARERS, as defined by state law, include beaver, bobcat, coyote, fox (gray and red) mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, river otter, skunk (spotted and striped) and weasel. BOBCAT
38 South Carolina Wildlife
BEAVER (ABOVE AND RIGHT)
RIVER OTTER (ABOVE AND RIGHT) JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 39
40 South Carolina Wildlife
Wild BY JIM CASADA
PHOTOS BY JOEY FRAZIER
“With a campfire for cooking and comfort, food and a hot beverage prepared with that most wonderful of human breakthroughs, the use of fire, we become time travelers across across eons.” — Jim Casada JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 41
hree centuries have come and gone since Mark Catesby made his heralded explorations through what would become the state of South Carolina. Other naturalists such as William Bartram followed in his footsteps, and even earlier, Indigenous Americans and pioneering deer hunters (tens of thousands of whitetail hides were shipped out of Charleston annually at the very time of Catesby’s travels) had ventured into the Palmetto hinterlands. It was an area of productive land, geographical diversity, salubrious climate, and abundant flora and fauna. A region, in short, where an adventurous soul could live off of or settle on the land with fair prospects. No matter what an individual’s ultimate intentions when it came to putting down roots, so long as he moved from place to place, so long as his was an unsettled existence without permanent abode, he lived a peripatetic existence. An integral part of that way of life involved “cooking wild.” In other words, meals were prepared
42 South Carolina Wildlife
over an open fire, the foodstuffs consumed were what could be carried or harvested from nature’s rich larder, and self-sufficiency in terms of satisfying the inner man was a necessity. There were no cultivated crops to turn to come meal time, and circumstances reduced the “make do with what you’ve got” folk wisdom I heard so often during my boyhood to its most elemental. That does not, however, suggest that Catesby and the legions who wandered the Palmetto backcountry before him or followed in his footsteps lived hard or ate poorly. Often just the opposite was the case, with travel essentials such as grain for bread, salt and a few condiments being amply supplemented by game, fish, and in season, wild fruits and vegetables. Those times belong almost exclusively to a world we have lost. In today’s world, surviving without a place of fixed abode, not to mention access to grocery stores, restaurants and the like lies largely outside the realm of reality. Nonetheless, there is
something in the essence of the human spirit, deep in our innermost being, which links us inexorably to food eaten in a primal setting. That outlook may be intangible, but it is also undeniable. If you’ve ever been blessed by enjoying a simple meal cooked over an open fire, the feeling of self-sufficiency associated with overnight camping trips, a streamside feast during a backcountry fishing expedition, or a repast prepared during a break amidst a hard day’s hunting, you appreciate the special aura associated with foods prepared and consumed in the wilds. With a campfire for cooking and comfort, food and a hot beverage prepared with that most wonderful of human breakthroughs, the use of fire, we become time travelers across eons. We experience some of the same sensations known to our most remote of ancestors and are infused with a magical healing tonic physicians and psychiatrists alike would love to be able to prescribe as a sort of “cure all” for whatever ails patients.
Somehow, food just tastes better and assumes greater importance when it is cooked and consumed outdoors. The ordinary becomes extraordinary, taste appeal multiplies in exponential fashion, and the degree of satisfaction derived from a campfire feast often exceeds anything it is possible to experience in a setting involving fine crystal, bone china and sterling silverware. Cooking wild comes in many forms — frying up a batch of fish at day’s end; supper at a carefully chosen backcountry campsite, with tents pitched as gloaming gives way to darkness after a day of arduous hiking; replenishing the inner man in a ramshackle hunter’s camp with venison hot from the pan as an October hunter’s moon embraces the world in its golden glow; or relishing a mid-day break where a soup pot yields scrumptious fare. Aromas provided by such settings set salivary glands into involuntary overdrive, and the actual meal, no matter how simple, proves supremely satisfying. Today, thanks to dehydrated foods, readily available condiments, and a mind-
boggling array of cooking utensils for such settings, options for savoring cooking wild’s myriad joys are boundless. The only constants are remoteness from a standard kitchen, reliance on an open fire or any of the many types of camp stoves available, and an outdoor setting. Whether the fare involves items carried in a backpack, items foraged afield, the results of sporting success or a mixture of these and other food sources, the rewards can be supremely satisfying. Your culinary imagination and skills as a hunter/gatherer are pretty much the only limiting factors. Also, it is worth noting that you don’t need a bevy of special equipment to prepare memorable backcountry meals. For example, lightweight and easily shaped into whatever configuration you might require, aluminum foil can be used in numerous fashions. A lightweight frying pan is the essence of versatility, while a stew pot is suitable for rehydrating dried foods, preparing soups or stews, cooking rice or pasta, or making coffee or tea. For that matter, cooking with sharpened sticks,
scrubbed rocks, or even atop a raised platform of wood with the cooking fire several inches below are possibilities. Menu options are, in essence, unlimited, and for the knowledgeable it is amazing what is available just from nature’s wellstocked larder. In the latter context and adhering to the thematic thrust of this particular issue of South Carolina Wildlife, there’s even a direct culinary link to Catesby. The American bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus, is named for the great naturalist, and anyone who has sampled and savored them knows their deliciousness. Perhaps more realistically, depending on the season, a mess of freshly caught fish or small game. Similarly, some knowledge of what is available from nature at the moment — wild vegetables, nuts, berries, fruits such as pawpaws and persimmons, and edible mushrooms — can be quite helpful. Alternatively, and this is the approach most modern devotees of cooking wild adopt, you can utilize foodstuffs carefully selected in advance. Backcountry cooking wizards of my acquaintance plan basic JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 43
menus in advance then include any extras that become available during the outing as part of the menu. For example, a batch of wild berries gathered during the course of the day can give breakfast pancakes the following morning a college education, while pan-fried squirrel or rabbit combined with some freeze-dried vegetables or those old standbys, potatoes and onions, immediately elevate the menu’s appeal. Every experienced outdoor cook has, through the learning process involved during the preparation of scores of meals in the wild, developed special foodstuffs and favored approaches when it comes to preparation. Still, as a sort of rough road map for those just getting started, some general thoughts on food preparation and enjoyment outdoors might not be amiss. ESSENTIAL CONDIMENTS Salt and black pepper are absolute “musts,” and unless you plan to rely exclusively on baking and roasting, cooking oil is required. A little oil goes a long way, and some foods (bacon is a prime example) can provide grease for cooking other items. Beyond that, favorite spices or spice blends deserve careful consideration. For example, if you are planning for pasta dishes, Mediterranean flavor enhancers such as basil, garlic and oregano come to mind, while Tex-Mex dishes evoke thoughts of cayenne or chili pepper. The good news is that, generally speaking, condiments weigh little. Only in the case of oil does weight really become a factor. TOOLS OF THE TRADE When it comes to cooking utensils, as has been noted, the minimalist can get by with little more than a pot and a pan used over an open fire along with a means of filtering or purifying water. But even for long-distance hikers or in situations where weight becomes a major factor, there are lightweight “nesting” utensils, tiny one-burner pack stoves and implements such as spatulas which are lightweight and versatile. Over time, most devotees to cooking in the wild develop their personal list of essential tools. Of course, if you are in a setting up where weight isn’t a factor, the variety and extent of your equipment, 44 South Carolina Wildlife
from multi-burner cooking stoves to cast-iron cookware, can be greatly expanded. PRIME FOODS FOR THE WILDS While what would be deemed a stomach stuffer at home can assume gourmet dimensions in the wilds, certain foods lend themselves to cooking afield. That’s particularly true when weight is a factor. Accordingly, dehydrated items loom large among favorites for the outdoors. To my way of thinking, any outing involving several meals should feature at least one or two pasta-based offerings. In dry form, pasta weighs little, but when cooked in the requisite amount of water and performance of a
blissful marriage with meat, vegetables and spices, it becomes a hearty and tasty campfire feast. Much the same holds true for any type of dried beans or peas. Left to soak in water during a day of hunting, fishing or hiking, at twilight they can be joined with sauce, maybe some meat, and spices to make a fine and filling meal. Nor should dried fruits be overlooked. While they can be most enjoyable as a trail snack or for munching whenever you feel the need for an extra burst of energy, dried fruits come into their own when soaked and served as a side dish or, with sweetening and spice, for dessert. Dried apples, apricots, peaches and prunes are also fine choices, and with the addition
can easily be prepared at breakfast or the night before using camp-made dough and reconstituted dry fruit. SUPPER
of some flour, powdered milk and an egg or two, it is possible to whip up a mighty toothsome fruit cobbler.
and works wonders) and keep in mind that you can make sweetening from water, sugar and flavorings.
MUSINGS ON MEALS
Hearty, healthy and calorie- and proteinfilled breakfasts are the ideal start for an active day. Possibilities include traditional bacon-and-eggs with maybe hash browns or toast as a side; pancakes are ideal for any setting (the key ingredients — flour, powdered buttermilk and maybe real or powdered eggs — are all lightweight); panfried French toast; or oatmeal topped with raisins, nuts or bits of dried fruit. If weight is a concern, reconstitute dried ingredients, do some baking (a reflector oven weighs little
To this country boy, “dinner” is the mid-day meal, but call it lunch if you prefer. Sandwiches, high-energy snacks, or fruit (dried or fresh) are its usual essentials, but depending on the situation and time of year, doing some cooking, or at least having a fire for a hot drink or, in colder weather, nourishing soup, has much to recommend it. Speaking of soup, there are excellent dried options (split pea soup is a prime example) available where you can whip up a real treat in short order. Fried pies, an old-time favorite, are delicious cold and
Wrapping up a day in the wilds with a cheery campfire, a star-filled sky as a backdrop and an awaiting sleeping bag or cot offering a night of well-earned rest, cries out for a meal to match. It can be a onedish stew or pasta preparation, fish with accompaniments such as hushpuppies and potatoes, wild game with a couple of side dishes, or something else, but this is the meal where creativity can really enter the picture. Consider trying something new whenever you venture afield, and ponder how you might best utilize ingredients provided by a fine fishing trip, a successful hunt, a day when shrimping or crabbing provides rich yields, or some hours afield spent picking berries or foraging mushrooms and wild vegetables. (Expertise in edible wild foods is highly recommended if scavenging for a meal.) There’s joy in the planning, the pursuit, the preparation and ultimately the consumption. No matter what road you travel when cooking wild, whether a tailgate-type experience in a remote setting, a wilderness campsite along a mountain trail, or beside some blackwater river where there are few if any signs of civilization for miles, the experience is one of unmitigated joy. As anyone who has done much food preparation in such settings will readily attest, some of the most memorable meals of their lives have come far from kitchens, restaurants or modern life’s confines. Simple foods from the cooking wild experience are savory and supremely satisfying, an aspect of connecting to the good earth which provides us pleasure beyond measure. Jim Casada is a full-time freelancer who, with his late wife, has written a number of cookbooks focused on foods from or prepared in the outdoors. His latest major literary endeavor, Fishing for Chickens: A Smokies Food Memoir, is scheduled to appear in June 2022. Check his website, www.jimcasadaoutdoors. com, for details of it and his other writings. JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 45
46 South Carolina Wildlife
Celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Catesby’s visit to Carolina: A look back in time. COURTESY OF LEXINGTON COUNTY MUSEUM
LEXINGTON COUNTY MUSEUM STAFF, J.R. FENNELL, museum director, portrays Mark Catesby for a recent photo shoot (opposite page). Above, historical interpreter John Myers offers many educational programs for young museum visitors. Photos by Joey Frazier
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ave you ever experienced a sweltering Carolina summer day while wearing an 18th century costume? It has been done! Catesby 300, a group of educators and historians, have worn buckle shoes, knee breeches and pinched woolen vests, all in celebration of the naturalist and artist Mark Catesby (1683-1749) and his visit to the Carolina Colony three hundred years ago. For the past five years, Catesby 300, led by John Myers, a retired educator, has produced natural history events for children and adults across the state. These free events have included bird walks conducted by local Audubon Society volunteers, reenactments of Mark Catesby’s treks through the Carolina Colony, and presentations on Catesby’s art, birding (birdwatching) and Native American bird lore. “We have been welcomed with open arms by the Congaree National Park, area museums and educators across the state,” said Myers. “Of course, the bird walks have been well-received, but the most popular activity has been our bird coloring stations.” Children, teens and parents are invited to color a Carolina bird and receive a small prize for their work. “Coloring and drawing are useful learning tools,” Myers said. Art can foster creativity, develop fine motors skills for young children and also deepen focus and observation skills for all ages. “Without fail, when a child or teen begins coloring or drawing at our station, we observe a marked change in concentration. Coloring and drawing can produce a respite of quiet concentration and offer a creative handson activity for each participant. Art is powerful!” adds Myers. Interacting with families also can give Catesby 300 volunteers the opportunity to discuss activities a family can do in their own backyard or community to protect birds and support conservation efforts. “In general, families who we meet are stunned to learn that since 1970, approximately one-third of the North American bird population has been lost due, in great part, to the ever-growing destruction of wildlife habitats,” comments Myers. 48 South Carolina Wildlife
Catesby 300 in 2022 South Carolina Events
All events are organized and hosted by members of Catesby 300, a partnership group of National and State Park administrators, area museums and S.C. statewide historians, naturalists and educators. “Catesby at the Congaree.” Congaree National Park, Hopkins. Earth Day Weekend (Friday through Sunday, April 22-24, 2022). This three-day event will include: Bird Walks/Talks by the Audubon Society of Columbia; a Native American Presentation on Bird Lore of Indigenous Peoples; a Catesby Reenactor Monologue by JR Fennell (Director, Lexington County Museum); an Owl Prowl; a Carolina Bird Coloring Station; Bird-Watching and Natural Science Information Tables by S.C. Wildlife Federation, the Audubon Society and others. “Catesby Comes to the Carolinas: A 300th Anniversary Celebration Concert.” The Columbia Baroque Society, Columbia. Tuesday, May 10, 2022, with a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. by scholar, Peter Hoyt, and the concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall at the UofSC School of Music. The program will include music by Handel, Biber, Schmelzer, McGibbon, Sweelinck and more. “Catesby at Charles Towne.” Charles Towne Landing, S.C. State Park, Charleston. Saturday, May 21, 2022. Activities will include: Bird Walks/Talks by the Audubon Society of Charleston, a Carolina Bird Coloring Station, Colonial Era Reenactors. “Catesby at the Savannah.” Audubon’s Silver Bluff Center and Sanctuary. May 2022 (tentative dates). Bird Walks/Talks by the Audubon Society of Augusta, GA/Aiken, SC.
Photo by Phillip Jones
Catesby 300 Partnership is dedicated to promoting Mark Catesby in South Carolina. Catesby’s lifelong purpose was to communicate the beauty and the distinctive qualities of the plants and wildlife that he observed in Carolina (other colonies and the Bahamas). “We hope that Catesby would be proud of our efforts to celebrate his life and art.” (Catesby 300 activities for children are developed in coordination with state
academic standards for specific grade levels.) Throughout 2022, the Catesby 300 Partnership, as a multi-disciplinary team, is planning varied events across the state to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Mark Catesby’s visit to the Carolina colony. For a list of events, please see Catesby 300 Events List. For additional information, contact John Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lexington County Museum offers a unique learning opportunity to view structures and artifacts that focus on sharing the life stories of local residents from the colonial period to the Civil War. The museum complex sprawls across seven acres in downtown Lexington and features more than thirty historic structures that have been moved to the site from locations throughout the county. Exhibits feature locally made and used artifacts including
furniture, quilts, pottery and rifles. Historical interpreters open a door into the past through fun and fascinating demonstrations. Learn how people farmed the land, cooked their food and entertained themselves during the 18th and 19th centuries. Lexington County Museum http://lexingtoncountymuseum.org 231 Fox Street, Lexington, SC 29072 Phone: (803) 359-8369 Photo by Joey Frazier JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022 49
Let’s go back in time . . . to the 18th century! Visit Historic Brattsonville to see exhibits and re-enactments of day-to-day life during the 1700s and 1800s.
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HISTORIC BRATTONSVILLE offers exhibits, reenactments, a working farm and even a nature trail named in memory of SCDNR wildlife biologist Walt Schrader. Photos by Phillip Jones
Home to an award-winning Heritage Farm Program, Historic Brattonsville is one of the most heavily visited cultural attractions in South Carolina. The 800-acre farm features demonstrations of historical agriculture techniques and day-to-day activities are presented by costumed interpreters throughout the year on the Bratton Plantation. Historic Brattonsville maintains representative numbers of livestock to interpret the important role they played in the life ways of historic peoples in the region. The farm currently keeps a flock of sheep, small numbers of poultry, cattle ang pigs. Historic Brattonsville http://chmuseums.org/brattonsville Address: 1444 Brattonsville Rd., McConnells, SC 29726 Phone: (803) 684-2327 Group Visits: (803) 981-9182
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A SCENIC VIEW FROM the Walt Schrader Nature Trail at Historic Brattonsville. 52 South Carolina Wildlife
Photo by Phillip Jones
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VISITORS TO HISTORIC BRATTONSVILLE might enjoy touring exhibits of the working farm, the blacksmith
shop or watching reenactors work at a spinning wheel.
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Photos by Phillip Jones
Photos by Phillip Jones
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Taxodium distichum Mark Catesby’s description of “Cypress of America” is still timely. While reading (see page 10), note that Catesby pictured the Carolina parakeet and Bald cypress together. Excerpt from Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, written by Mark Catesby The Cypress of America The Cypress (except the Tulip-tree) is the tallest and largest in these parts of the world. Near the ground some of them measure 30 foot in circumference, rising pyramidally six foot, where it is about two thirds less; from which to the limbs, which is usually 60 or 70 foot, it grows in like proportion of other trees. Four or five foot round this Tree (in a singular manner) rise many Stumps, some a little above ground, and others from one to four feet high, of various shape and size, their tops round, cover’d with a smooth red Bark. These Stumps shoot from the roots of the Tree, yet they produce neither Leaf nor Branch, the Tree increasing only by seed, which in form are like the common Cypress, and contain a balsamic consistence of a fragrant smell. The Timber this Tree affords is excellent, and particularly for covering Houses with, it being light, of a free Grain, and resisting the Injuries of the weather better than any other here. It is an Aquatic, and usually grows from one, five and six foot deep in water; which secure situation seems to invite a great number of different Birds to breed in its lofty branches; amongst which this Parrot delights to Nest, and in October, (at which Time the Seed is ripe) to feed on their Kernels.
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ORIGINAL ART BY ELLEN FISHBURNE
SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES