Dear SCAN members,
The 15 SCAN members that participated in the November field trip to Paysour Mountain and the Schiele Museum and Planetarium in Gastonia, NC had a gorgeous day for a field trip. While the plan was to spend the morning at the Museum and the afternoon at the Mountain, the group reversed the order of activity to take advantage of the lovely weather.
Several fences with locked gates interfere with entry into the Paysour Mountain area. At present, the area is not open to the public but belongs to the City of Gastonia. Gates beyond the gate at the entrance appeared to be to restrict access to the sludge-holding ponds. Before lunch, the group explored a hillside and an area described as a “sludge farm”. Residue of corn plants and grass covered significant portions of the farm area. Several flocks of birds were observed including goldfinches, towhees, and sparrows. Beetles and lichens were abundant.
After lunch, Jim drove us to the top of Paysour Mountain where the view of the surrounding area was magnificent. The landscape was in full fall color. While the dominant tree on the mountain was the rock chestnut oak, the botanists found many other plants to identify. Outcrops of rocks on the mountain challenged those with some background in geology to identify them in addition to being a source of lichens.
At 3:30 PM, the group returned to the museum from the field to view the many exhibits until the 5:00 PM closing. The Schiele Museum and Planetarium is outstanding. One could easily spend an entire day with the whole family viewing the many exhibits. There is an extensive collection of stuffed animals and birds. Many of the animals seemed ready to come out of the exhibits and run away. The exhibit entitled “Journey into the Piedmont” is temporary and well worth seeing before it is changed. There is also an outstanding exhibit of gems and minerals. The consensus of the group was that a trip to this museum should be on everyone’s must-do list.
Thanks are in order for Charlie Williams, the Northern Regional Director, for a well-planned trip at an interesting site. Special thanks are due to Jim Green, a staffer at the Schiele Museum and a SCAN member, for leading the group through the Paysour Mountain area.
Ken Boni, President
Natural History Note: During the course of investigating one of the cornfields, Jan Ciegler turned over a cornstalk, to find not beetles but a black widow spider. It was a small to medium sized female who still had red markings on her back. Some will even keep these red markings into adulthood. There are subspecies in the Mediterranean and Mexico that have extensive red on the top of the abdomen. The hour glass on the underside is much less variable, and a good field key.
New Year Notes; The start of the new SCAN year is approaching. The January newsletter will contain your renewal form for 1998. Please pay it promptly, as all membership dues are due by January 31. You can pay at the annual meeting. Or you can help the officers by sending your check in ahead of time. So be prepared.
Request for slides: Lynn Smith will again be assembling the slide review of the 1997 field trips. If you have any usable slides, I would appreciate the opportunity to include them. There may be a couple of trips where there’ll be no photos as the chance of rain made photography too risky. Then there was the trip where I didn’t load the film properly, so I have lots of gaps that need filling. Please help! Bring your slides on the next field trip or send your slides to Lynn Smith, 407 Ridgecrest Drive, Camden, SC 29020 or phone (803) 432-1504 to see if we can work out a pick up.
DECEMBER 13, FOSSIL HUNTING
Martin-Marietta Quarry near Cross, SC
Note the special details! Our December trip will take us fossil hunting in Berkeley County at the Martin-Marietta Quarry near Cross. This is the second Saturday of the month to accommodate the holiday season. We hope to find fossils from the Eocene and perhaps Pliocene periods of the Cenozoic era, an era that started about seventy million years ago. We will meet at the mine office where you must sign the accident release before entering the mine area. Toilets are available at the office. WE will drive to our collecting area, and eat lunch at our cars there. Bring your own lunch, beverage and collecting equipment. NOTE: Special time. Try to be there at 9 a.m. and not the usual 10:30, for we will probably have to leave by early afternoon (request from Martin-Marietta).
Directions: (See maps) From Columbia take I-26 east to US 301 North (exit 154) towards Santee; take US 15 north to junction of SC 6 (stoplight in Santee). Turn right onto SC 6 though Eutawville and Eutaw Springs; From Eutaw Springs go about 3.7 miles to secondary road 59 (pass sign to Rocks Pond Campground at 3.1 miles, then its the first paved road on the right. Turn right onto SR 59; go about 2.2 miles and turn left into the main entrance of the quarry. Park at the main office and sign in.
From Charleston, take Alt. 17 north to Moncks Corner, turn left onto SC 6 towards Cross, go about 23 miles through Cross and turn left onto SR 59, then go the 2.2 miles to the entrance on the left.