2000 Swamp Stomp

The Friends of Congaree Swamp held their annual meeting on Sunday, November l2th, at the picnic area of the ranger station at the Congaree National Monument. A beautiful November afternoon was enjoyed by one hundred and twenty members and family. A variety of nature walks, "Biodiversity", "Fall in the Swamp", "Plants of the Lower Boardwalk" and "Birding on the Boardwalk" were led by John Cely, John Nelson, David Rembert and Robin Carter respectively. These excursions in small groups were very enjoyable for both young and old. Bob Janiskee took several groups through the new visitors center which is almost ready to open to the public. The wonderful new building and the educational displays are very exciting. The long fall drought made the anticipated canoe trips impossible.

The Friends gathered at 4:00 P.M. in the picnic area for entertainment and the annual meeting. Danielle Howle, a well- known singer and a devotee of the swamp, entertained with original songs from her most recent albums. When the crowd had gathered, Bruci Alexander, President of the Friends called the meeting to order. Robin Carter and Bob Bundy were elected to the Board. The prestigious Order of the Cypress was presented to Harriott Hampton Faucette and her two daughters, Mary Rutledge Cantey and Martha Faucette. The framed award had a picture of Harriott's father, Mr. Harry Hampton, standing in front of one of the swamp's record breaking Cypress trees.

Following the annual meeting, Danielle continued to entertain the crowd with her singing while they dined on Big T's delicious Bar B Q buffet. The peach pie inspired Danielle and her young audience to create a delightful song about peach pie that they all performed at the microphone. As the darkness came, the lingering crowd gathered around a camp fire and a glorious moon rose over the trees.

Volunteers who made the annual meeting possible are the following: Invitations-Virginia Winn, Printing-Bob Render, Mailing-Francis Robinson, Food-Francis Robinson, Registration by mail-Bob Render, Registration Table-Bob Render, Mary Kelly and Mina Winn, Program-Carol Kososki,

Meeting Program-Bruci Alexander and Photography-Virginia Winn.

Transition Zone Offers Habitat Diversity

John Cely, DNR

We confined our walk primarily to the "transition zone" or ecotone between the upland and the floodplain. In the case of the Congaree Swamp, the transition zone is very narrow, no more than a few yards and consists of the side slope grading into the swamp.

Transition zones are usually very diverse areas because they often share characteristics of both plant communities on either side of them as well as have plants (and animals) sometimes found in neither one. The beech tree is a good example of a transition species at Congaree - it doesn't like to get its feet wet (although some do occur in the floodplain) requires rich soils found in the transition zone, and doesn't do well in the drier soils where the upland pines grow.

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Robin Carter hasn't sent me a write up yet for Birding on the Boardwalk.

"Fall in the Swamp":

Fortunately, nobody fell in! John Nelson

On a beautiful, coolish afternoon, a healthy-sized crowd gathered outside the HQ for the "Fall in the Swamp" walk. Everyone was eager to see what floristic bounty the swamp had to offer, and we were treated to a huge assortment of plants. Some of the notable stops included a discussion of "epiphytes" such as Spanish moss and "parasites" such as Mistletoe, both conveniently growing on the same tree. Characteristic woody plants seen along the road were red maple, sweetgum, water oak, sparkleberry, and wax myrtle. The bluff and edge of the floodplain is one of the more diverse habitats within the entire swamp, and we observed plenty of Horse-sugar, Devil's walking-stick, and muscadine.

The "highlight" of the walk was scrambling down the bluff onto the floodplain itself and getting a feel for a completely different plant community. Plenty of true mosses and patches of Partridge berry (with bright red fruits) were seen on the ground.

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Bob Janiskee is going to write up something this weekend (I hope) and get it to me next week.

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Francis Robinson hasn't contacted me yet. I'll write her again tomorrow about sumitting a article. In the mean time these are just general shots. Virginia

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Plants of the Lower Board Walk

David Rembert

On this particular afternoon in November we were presented with very pleasant weather and rather dry conditions in the swamp. As a result of the lateness of the season and the dry conditions, we were limited in the plants found in vigorous growth.

Because of the season we concentrated on the large vines and hard wood trees typical of this kind of habitat. The vines of interest were poison ivy, Virginia creeper, climbing hydrangea, cross vine, supple jack, and grape vines. Some of these vines reach high into the forest canopy and become quite large.

The dominant trees became apparent as we walked deeper into the swamp. Cathedral like bald cypress and tupelo gum trees reached high above into the fading sunlight giving us pause as we gazed around in silent awe.

Last modified: May 11, 2008 by Edward Kujawski (focs@mindspring.com)
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