The SEWEE Association has worked with our partners to provide education programs, development of public use areas and eradication of invasive species. Click the tabs below to see more information about these projects.
Sewee Visitor & Environmental Education Center
Since 1996, the SEWEE Association has helped the Sewee Center with many of their interpretive projects including the interpretive panels at the Red Wolf Enclosure Area and plans for new interpretive signs along Nebo Trail. In 2006 we obtained a grant from the Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation which allowed us to install new audio-visual equipment and theater lighting in the auditorium. We also were able to add state-of-the-art SMARTboard and projection/sound equipment to the classroom which has enabled us to improve the quality of our educational programs.
We also use member donations to help with the care of the Red Wolves housed at the Center. When needed, we have helped with the veterinary care and we regularly help with the food costs for these animals.
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge:
SEWEE Association has worked with Cape Romain NWR over the years to improve visitor experiences on Bulls Island and to help with many research projects. The Dave Clough Memorial Platform gave visitors the first viewing opportunity deep into the Upper Summerhouse Pond on Bulls Island and was a gift to the refuge through memorials sent to the Association in memory of the husband of former USFWS Regional Director, Noreen Clough. This trail and viewing blind allow visitors to watch for egrets, ibis and herons amid the various waterfowl that use these ponds year-round.
During the final years of the Red Wolf Project on Bulls Island, the Association helped with the management of the last pups born there. We were involved with the biologists during their medical checkups and evaluations. We set up monitors to view their activities once they were released to the island and helped to track their growth.
The Association also has been helping with the Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nest Protection project through volunteers and funding. In 2006 we were awarded a multi-year grant that has allowed us to fund an intern during the nesting season. In 2008 we were able through generous donations to add 2 more part-time interns. This increase in personnel has allowed the project to regularly monitor Bulls Island for nests, adding 134 nests to the 1209 nests protected on Cape and Lighthouse Islands in 2010. This is an incredibly important project in South Carolina as nearly 44% of the sea turtle nests in the state were within Cape Romain NWR this year.
This multi-year funding through the SSPD grant has also allowed us to fund monthly shorebird surveys within the refuge and to begin an aggressive program to eradicate the invasive Chinese Tallow and Phragmites in certain areas on Bulls Island. The fight against these invasive species grew in 2008 when we received a grant through the USFWS Coastal Services Program that added funding to this project.
Francis Marion National Forest:
The SEWEE Association has helped Francis Marion National Forest through projects at the Sewee Visitor Center. We have provided tents and supplies for the Woods Magic Forest Fair, Wheelin' Sportsmen and Palmetto Pride events. In 2008 we were able to have the map of the Francis Marion NF reprinted for visitor purchase and now have that map available at our store in the center.
Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge:
Since 2002 we have been offering educational programs to schools in Georgetown County on the lands of Waccamaw NWR. During this time we have also been working with the refuge to build the Waccamaw Environmental Education Center to give us a facility to bring in our students. The Association provided over $200,000 to make this building happen and we are extremely grateful to the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation for their financial help in this endeavor. This facility is now open to the public and the many students from the surrounding counties for environmental education programs. The Association also manages the Trading Post within this facility as we welcome residents and visitors of the area to learn about the watersheds of the PeeDee and Waccamaw Rivers.
We also have worked with refuge manager, Craig Sasser, to bring about a new public use area near Conway, the Cox Ferry Lake Recreation Area. This area provides hiking and biking trails through upland forest and bottomland swamp as well as a view to the Waccamaw River.
We were able to help with the eradication of invasive species on this Refuge through the USFWS Coastal Services Program to help them control water hyacinth and kudzu throughout the refuge - two invasive species having a major impact on this public land.
Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge:
The SEWEE Association has worked with the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin NWR through education programs, development of public use areas and eradication of invasive species.
In 2008 we helped to develop a new public use area in the Combahee Unit of the refuge called the Pecan Grove. This area will be used for educational programs and hiking by the general public.
The Association also has worked with the fifth-graders at Minnie Hughes Elementary in the Sewee Earth Stewards program to bring students living near the refuge onto the Grove Plantation site for the first time. These students and their teachers know have a better understanding of the purposes of the National Wildlife Refuges and especially of the freshwater wetlands they protect.
This refuge also is combating Chinese Tallow and Phragmities, highly invasive plant species, with the help of the USFWS Coastal Services Program grant obtained by the Association.