Annual Meeting 2022

Title: Annual Meeting and Oyster Roast, Sunday, March 13, 2022

Friends of Congaree Swamp will hold its Annual Oyster Roast and Business meeting on Sunday, March 13, 2022, on protected private property near Fort Motte in Calhoun County. Share spectacular views of Congaree National Park with our host Dick Watkins.

Registration will begin at 2 p.m., followed by hikes to interesting sites nearby, including bluff views led by John Cely; Goodin Cemetery, an historic African-African cemetery, led by Jackie Whitmore; and the Revolutionary War battlefield at Fort Motte led by Prof. Steven Smith. We will reconvene for the business meeting, featuring a talk by Audubon South Carolina forester Tim Evans, who will discuss forest management activities at the site and other Audubon properties nearby. The Oyster Bar will serve roast oysters beginning at 5 p.m. Friends members will provide beverages, chili, vegetarian selections, and desserts.

Directions: Take Bluff Road east to U.S. 601 and turn right. Follow U.S. 601 south, cross the Congaree River and travel 1.9 miles. At the first paved intersection after crossing the river, turn right on Adams Road (S-9-80). Follow Adams Road east for 0.4 miles and turn right on Lang Syne Road. Follow Lang Syne Road north for 2.6 miles and take a sharp left at the intersection with unpaved Wise Road. Follow Wise Road for 0.5 miles then look for the unpaved road on the right (Moye Lane). Moye Lane will cross the railroad track (the crossing has no signals—be careful), then run parallel to the tracks before turning north along a hedge of cedar trees. Follow Moye Lane for 0.5 miles and look for parking signs.

Please register by March 6 by completing THIS FORM.  You may pay under our Membership tab, or by personal check either brought to the meeting or sent to: Friends of Congaree Swamp 2022 Annual Meeting, P.O. Box 7746, Columbia, SC 29202-7746.   Registrations will be accepted at the meeting, but please RSVP to friendsofcongareeswamp@gmail.com for an accurate headcount.

2022 Research Symposium Videos

Opening Remarks
Acting Superintendent Gregory Cunningham (Congaree National Park)

 

Review of Congaree National Park research
David Shelley (Congaree National Park)

 

Tribute to Will Graf and Rebecca Sharitz

Kimberly Meitzen (Texas State Univ, Dept of Geography and Environmental Studies)
Laura Stroup (St. Michaels Univ, Dept of Geography
Loretta Battaglia (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Dept of Life Sciences)

Session 1—Cultural History (Chair: Neal Polhemus)

Robert Greene (Claflin Univ, Dept of History): The Black history of Congaree Swamp: From the colonial era to Jim Crow

Mark Kinzer (National Park Service): Old-Growth and old fields: Historic human land use in the Congaree floodplain

Neal Polhemus (Univ of South Carolina, College of Arts and Sciences): Life and death on the edge of the swamp: Black farmers, White hunters, and the closure of the Congaree commons

 

Session 2—Hydrology (Chair: John Kupfer)

Greg Carbone (Univ of South Carolina, Dept of Geography): Historical climatology and future projections in central South Carolina
Ray Torres (Univ of South Carolina, School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment): Wetting and drainage of the Congaree River floodplain
Celeste Journey (USGS, South Atlantic Water Science Center): Water quality in Congaree National Park: New technologies to track contamination

 

Session 3—Geomorphology (Chair: Kimberly Meitzen)

Ellen Wohl (Colorado State Univ, Dept of Geosciences): Geomorphic influences on river corridor resilience to disturbance
Allan James (Univ of SC, Dept of Geography): Legacy sediment in the New World: Theoretical and practical concerns
Enrica Viparelli (Univ of SC, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering): Measuring sediment fluxes between the Congaree River channel and its floodplain

 

Session 4—Ecosystems/Ecology (Chair: Loretta Battaglia)

Graeme Lockaby (Auburn Univ, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences): Biogeochemical investigations in Congaree National Park
Will Conner (Clemson Univ, Forestry and Environmental Conservation Dept): Forested wetlands dynamics across an elevation gradient within a floodplain forest of the Congaree River
Loretta Battaglia (Southern Illinois Univ, Dept of Plant Biology): Floodplain forest change along a post-Hurricane Hugo disturbance gradient

 

Session 5—Panel Discussion (Moderator: David Shelley)

Upcoming challenges and the future of research at Congaree National Park.
Theresa Thom (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
John Kupfer (Univ of South Carolina, Department of Geography)
Tim Watkins (National Park Service, Climate Change Response)

2022 Research Symposium

Congaree National Park and Friends of Congaree Swamp are hosting the park’s third research symposium on Thursday, January 6, 2022 and Friday January 7, 2022. The symposium will focus on recurring themes in park research and feature a memorial session for Will Graf and Rebecca Sharitz. Participants may attend in-person or via Zoom.

Thursday, January 6, 2022 (UofSC Alumni Center Ballroom)

6:00-7:00 PM – Reception

7:00-7:45 PM – Welcome and Research Reflection
Opening remarks and a review of Congaree National Park research
   Acting Superintendent Gregory Cunningham (Congaree National Park), David Shelley (Congaree National Park)

7:45-8:30 PM  – Tribute to Will Graf and Rebecca Sharitz
Kimberly Meitzen
(Texas State Univ, Dept of Geography and Environmental Studies), Laura Stroup (St. Michaels Univ, Dept of Geography), Loretta Battaglia (Southern Illinois Univ, Dept of Plant Biology)

Friday, January 7, 2021 (SC State Museum Vista Room)

9:00-10:15 AM: Session 1—Cultural History (Chair: Neal Polhemus)
Robert Greene
(Claflin Univ,  Dept of History): The Black history of Congaree Swamp: From the colonial era to Jim Crow
   Mark Kinzer (National Park Service): Old-Growth and old fields: Historic human land use in the Congaree floodplain
   Neal Polhemus (Univ of South Carolina, College of Arts and Sciences: Life and death on the edge of the swamp: Black farmers, White hunters, and the closure of the Congaree commons

10:30-11:45 AM: Session 2—Hydrology (Chair: John Kupfer)
   Greg Carbone (Univ of South Carolina, Dept of Geography): Historical climatology and future projections in central South Carolina
   Ray Torres (Univ of South Carolina, School of the Earth, Ocean & Environment): Wetting and drainage of the Congaree River floodplain
   Celeste Journey (USGS, South Atlantic Water Science Center): Water quality in Congaree National Park: New technologies to track contamination

1:00-2:15 PM: Session 3—Geomorphology (Chair: Kimberly Meitzen)
   Ellen Wohl (Colorado State Univ, Dept of Geosciences): Geomorphic influences on river corridor resilience to disturbance
   Allan James (Univ of SC, Dept of Geography): Legacy sediment in the New World: Theoretical and practical concerns
   Enrica Viparelli (Univ of SC, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering): Measuring sediment fluxes between the Congaree River channel and its floodplain

2:30-3:45 PM: Session 4—Ecosystems/Ecology (Chair: Loretta Battaglia)
Graeme Lockaby
(Auburn Univ, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences): Biogeochemistry of floodplain forests
   Will Conner (Clemson Univ,  Forestry and Environmental Conservation Dept): Forested wetlands dynamics across an elevation gradient within a floodplain forest of the Congaree River
   Loretta Battaglia (Southern Illinois Univ, Dept of Plant Biology): Floodplain forest change along a post-Hurricane Hugo disturbance gradient

4:00-5:00 PM: Session 5—Panel Discussion (Moderator: David Shelley)
Speakers discuss upcoming challenges and the future of research at Congaree National Park.
   Theresa Thom (US Fish and Wildlife Service), Cliff McCreedy (National Park Service, US Biosphere Network), Tim Watkins (National Park Service, Climate Change Response)\

Registration

Sponsor

Water/Ways Virtual Symposium Video Sessions

Opening Session-A Black History of Congaree: From Slavery to the Post-Civil Rights Era by Prof. Robert Greene

 

Welcome and Introductions and Session 1- Home is where the water is: Water, Culture and history in the COWASEE Basin

K Lyn Berry (Congaree National Park)
TJ Wallace (SC Humanities)
Janae Davis (American Rivers)
Jon Manchester (National Park Service)
Marie Adams (Southeast Rural Community Outreach)
Mark Kinzer (National Park Service)
Moderated by John Cely and John Grego (Friends of Congaree Swamp)

 

Creative Exercise-Communal Pen Workshop experience with Eboni Ramm

 

Session 2-Water: Critical resource, societal asset

Quinton Epps (Richland County Conservation Department)
Michael Dantzler (Get Involved Lower Richland)
Jeff Duncan (National Park Service Wild & Scenic Rivers)
Bill Stangler (Congaree Riverkeeper)
Moderated by Greg Cunningham (National Park Service)

 

Session 3-It’s our water: Managing water at the local level

Synithia Williams (Richland County Stormwater Division)
Alex Butler (SC Department of Health and Environmental Control)
Guillermo Espinosa (Central Midlands Council of Governments)
Gerrit Jobsis (American Rivers)
Moderated by John Kupfer (University of South Carolina)

Session 4-What’s next? Spurred to action!

Robert Reese (Lower Richland)
Matt Johnson (Audubon, SC)
Stuart White (Congaree Land Trust)
Dr. David Shelley (Congaree Biosphere Region, NPS)
Carmony Adler (Gills Creek Watershed Association)

Water/Ways Virtual Symposium

Congaree National Park and Friends of Congaree Swamp are hosting the Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit through January 13, 2021 under the sponsorship of SC Humanities. The park and Friends of Congaree Swamp will host a virtual symposium Thursday, January 7, 2021 and Friday January 8, 2021 inspired by the exhibition’s themes.

Symposium Poster (pdf)

Registration

Symposium Sponsors

National Public Lands Day

As part of National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 26 and in anticipation of the upcoming Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit, Friends of Congaree Swamp will be hosting trash pickup at Congaree National Park. We will collect litter in small teams at several sites along US 601 at the eastern end of the park, and paddle parts of Cedar Creek as well. If you are unable to provide your own equipment, safety gear, litter grabbers and bags, masks and hand sanitizer will be provided by Keep the Midlands Beautiful. Anyone interested in paddling will need to bring their own watercraft. Please RSVP to friendsofcongareeswamp@gmail.com or (803) 331-3366 if you are able to attend and plan to meet at the Visitor Center at 8:30 am to organize into teams prior to dispersal. We will work no later than noon.

Sugarberry Hike

Saturday, March 7, 9:30am-12pm

The state champion Sugarberry resides a short distance off the Weston Lake Loop Trail, though access can be difficult since a water crossing needs to be negotiated in order to reach it.  The tree is one of a handful of the park’s champion trees that is truly exceptional for its kind.  At almost 14 feet around and over 120 feet tall, it is simply much larger than other Sugarberry that have been documented at Congaree National Park.  Since losing a large limb a few years ago, the tree has been in decline and likely will not live long.  Even though it is difficult to visit, it is fitting to make the attempt.

We will plan our trip at a most appropriate time of year.  The early spring foliage of sugarberry trees is the most beautiful in the park, and the color will be at its peak when we visit.  In addition to the champion Sugarberry, we will visit some nearby large hardwoods and make an optional trip to another large Sugarberry off Sims Trail.

Come prepared for a water crossing–a large stable log crosses much of the gut, but a small stretch of knee-deep water will have to be negotiated; we will do everything in our power to assist with a dry crossing.  The hike is only two or three miles on good terrain; dress appropriately for the weather and bring water and a snack.  RSVP to John Grego at friendsofcongarees; we wiwamp@gmail.com or (803) 331-3366.

Annual Meeting and Oyster Roast

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Friends of Congaree Swamp will hold its Annual Oyster Roast and Business meeting on Sunday, October 27, 2019, at Congaree National Park. The event will help celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the first organized hikes into the park—a Sierra Club outing on September 25, 1969.

Registration will begin at 2 p.m., followed by a memorial hike. We will reconvene for the business meeting, during which LaBruce Alexander, John Cely, Ann Timberlake and others will share their first hike experiences at Congaree Swamp.

After the business meeting, the Oyster Bar will serve roast oysters beginning at 5 p.m. Friends members will provide beverages, chili, vegetarian selections, and desserts.

2019 annual meeting flyer (pdf)

Adopt-a-Trail Workday (Paw Paw)

Sunday, August 25, 2019
9:00 AM – around 1:30 PM

It’s time again for trail-clearing on our designated trails. August is always a good time to cut back switchcane, and we can continue to make headway on storm damage from the past few years. There is again a bumper crop of pawpaw this year, and we will sample a couple along the way if they are still around.

We will meet at the Visitor Center at 9 AM and will finish in the early afternoon. Be prepared for warm weather, spiderwebs and bugs. Work gloves, light hiking boots, plenty of water, and a snack are recommended. If you have loppers, long-handled shears or bow saws, bring them along. Park staff will provide gear if you do not have any. Please contact John Grego friendsofcongareeswamp@gmail.com; 803-331-3366) if interested.

Please check back for updates!