Video of the Month
Have you ever watched a Box Turtle drink water? It's about as riveting as it sounds! However, it's very adorable and not something you would probably get to witness in your everyday life!
This video features one of our education animals, Mike, who is an Eastern Box Turtle. This species can be found throughout the eastern United States. While they are a more terrestrial turtle species, they can be found enjoying a nice soak in a puddle or stream. Box turtles enjoy all kinds of habitats, but in South Carolina they pariticularly enjoy hardwood forests, field edges, or wetland habitats. They are omnivorous, feasting upon mushrooms, persimmons, berries, and other fruits as well as worms, slugs, and insects. Male Box turtles tend to have red eyes, as can be seen on Mike above. One of the most fascinating features of a Box Turtle is the same one that gives this species part of its name, "Box". These turtles have a hinge on their plastron, or bottom shell, that allows them to pull their head and legs into their shell and then shut themselves almost entirely inside. 
As mentioned above, Mike is an education animal and is well taken care of in our Nature Center. A new law recently passed in South Carolina protects all of our native reptile and amphibian species, which is a huge win for conservation! This law requires us to have special permits to possess Mike, and we were given instructions on how to mark his shell with unique markings in order for him to be recognized by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources throughout his life!
Come visit our Nature Center at Night Heron Park next time you are on the island and be sure to admire all of our resident animals and say hello to Mike! 
Red Knots Take Flight, photo captured by Jake Zadik
Migration, migration, migration!
It's about that time of year already... Spring! Spring means warmer weather, flowers blooming, insects buzzing, and birds migrating! Considered a stop-over for migratory species travelling up and down the coast, Kiawah Island will see its fair share of different bird species in the upcoming months. Keep reading for what to expect when it comes to arrivals, departures, and resident species activity during the coming month. 
We will have to say goodbye to our beautiful, beloved ducks. The most common wintering species on our island, the Hooded Merganser and Bufflehead, will both be heading back up north toward their breeding grounds. However, we may be suprised by a migratory species (or two) that decides to take a rest on Kiawah along its path. Our resident songbirds will begin the ritual of choosing a perfect mate and establishing their nesting territory. Osprey and hawks are incubating their unhatched youngsters while Bald Eagle babies have already hatched. You will also see that Laughing Gulls have transitioned back into their breeding colors with those unmistakable black head feathers. 
Arriving to the island, you can expect to find a myriad of different species: swallows, Chimney Swifts, Purple Martins, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Yellow-throated Warblers, Northern Parulas, and even Black-necked Stilts are all species marking the beginning of spring. On the beach, it is shore bird central as they begin to arrive and gather on the beach in preparation for migration. The arrival of one shorebird species in general, the Red Knot, brings particular excitment to the island. While migration is extremely challenging for all bird species, the Red Knot's migration takes them from South America to their Arctic breeding grounds which is a distance of over 9,000 miles! 9,000 miles!! They will fly continuously for up to 8 days over the open ocean before stopping. 
If you are visiting Kiawah sometime in the coming months, please be mindful of the bird species you may see on the island, especially on the beach. You may come across flocks of hundreds of birds attempting to rest or feed along the shoreline. Please give them plenty of space. Disturbances by people and dogs can have adverse effects on the bird's survival: each time a bird must fly while trying to focus on feeding or resting, it is using up essential energy that it is trying to save for their coming flights. So, as is always a good general rule with wildlife, admire shorebirds and other species from a distance and using binoculars if you want a closer view!
Check out the website at the bottom of this email to view all of our upcoming birdwatching excursions: from a leisurely one and a half hour walk around our park to a three hour van excursion around the island, we have something for everyone! 
Upcoming Days to Celebrate
March is FULL of environmental and animal days to celebrate! Keep up with our Facebook Page to celebrate with us throughout the month! Check out the break down below so that you can plan how you will celebrate!
Shorebird Stewards
Do you live on Kiawah, Seabrook, or another beach along the South Carolina coast? Audubon South Carolia has an amazing volunteer program called Shorebird Stewards where you can be trained to help protect the fragile shorebird populations that share their home and nesting sites with beachgoers. Learn more here or sign up for the online training here! If you live on Kiawah Island, you can learn more about the Kiawah Island Shorebird Stewards here!
Upcoming Events
Planning for Spring Breaks that are around the corner? Need a change of scenery for on-line learning or at-home work? Looking for something hands-on to supplement your student's science courses? We offer a variety of Nature Programs and School Programs year-round that are led by experienced Naturalists. Simply click on the button below to check out all of our upcoming programs or call the number at the bottom of the page with any questions and to make your reservations today!
Event Calendar
The South Carolina Aquarium has plenty of opportunities for virtual learning! From the Holland Lifelong Learning Series to the Teen Science Cafe there is something each month for all ages! You can even keep up with their Facebook page for weekly 'lives' that focus on different animals throughout the aquarium, as well as weekly "Turtle Talks" in which their Sea Turtle Biologists update viewers on progress and goings-on within the walls of the Sea Turtle Care Center!
Old Santee Canal Park is situated north of Kiawah Island with paths and boardwalks that take you alongside a creek and over classic South Carolina swamps. If you are visiting the area, it is a great area to do some migratory birding. They also offer tons of virtual programs for all ages! Click on the logo above to learn more and see thier upcoming events!
Interested in vamping up your South Carolina garden? The Charleston Horticultural Society hosts a variety of different virtual programs, as well as small, outdoor local events! Their new series is a monthly "how-to" that walks the Charleston gardener through topics like what to plant, prune, thin, and general maintenance! Click the logo above to learn more about their upcoming events, and click here to check out the upcoming March installation of their virtual "how-to" series! 
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