June 29, 1998
Dear SCAN members,
The thirteen SCAN members that braved the 100° F heat at Hitchcock Woods in Aiken County were treated to a very diverse 2,000 acre southern forest in the midst of an urban area, The City of Aiken. According to our guide for the day, Dr. Harry Shealy, the foundation that is running this area is taking a very proactive approach to maintaining the forest including regular burns. Since fires will occur in a forest, controlled burns at regular intervals are much preferred to the out-of-control burns such as occurred at Yellowstone where planned fires were not allowed.
See the Flora/Fauna ListA very dry, sandy hillside that is ideal for long-leaf pine and wire grass and a mountain-type floral area were the dominant areas visited by the group on this trip. Many rare and/or endangered plants were observed. A particular highlight was a clump of Juniperus communis. This plant is low growing and found from Newfoundland to the Southern Appalachians. It was first observed in the area by Ravenal in the 19th century. Other unusual plants that were seen included Ceratiola and Nestronia umbellula.
Special thanks are due to Professor Harry Shealy, a Trustee of the Hitchcock Woods Foundation, who took his entire Saturday to show the group some of the highlights of the woods. His enthusiasm for the area was contagious. In addition, I want to thank Alex Ciegler, the Central Regional Director, for a well planned trip.
Ken Boni, President
Botanical – Horticultural Notes: The juniper we saw on this past trip is used for ornamental horticultural purposes, so you may have seen it and been unaware. It is an interesting subspecies. The plain Common Juniper (Juniperus conmunnis) is a small upright tree to 20 feet in height. There is a naturally occurring variety, depressa, or Prostrate Juniper that is found over a very wide area. I have now seen it in Aiken County, South Carolina, and I have seen it growing in rocky soil on Schoodic Point, a part of Acadia National Park in Maine. There it was growing adjacent to Juniperus horizontalis var. ‘Bar Harbor’, which is an even more low-growing and more finely textured plant, a common landscape plant used as an evergreen ground cover. ‘Blue Rug’ is almost identical plant. These are the very low-growing almost creeping blue-gray to blue-green junipers you may commonly see in landscaped areas. Juniperus communis var. depressa, in contrast, is a spreading evergreen shrub. The horizontal stems lie just at the surface, and send up ascending branches that go as much as three feet, although the colony at Hitchcock Woods looked to be about 24 inches high. It is typical to form extensive patches several yards across. The upright branches have stiff, sharp, half to one inch long, bright green ‘leaves’ that we would call needles. This shrub is rarely common but is widely distributed in areas of dry sandy or rocky soils and temperate climate worldwide.
Notice of Change! July Field Trip will be at Harbison State Forest, Columbia (Richland County)
July 25, 1998, 10:30 a.m.SCAN will visit the smallest of our state forests, Harbison, on this trip. Like Hitchcock Woods, Harbison State Forest, all 2200 acres of it, is almost completely surrounded by city-like area. SCAN members will get to visit a variety of areas such as pine forest growing on former cotton fields, flood plains with extensive pawpaw growth (look for zebra swallowtail butterflies), a bluff region, hardwood sections, and perhaps some surprises. Our leader for the trip will be the Head of Environmental Education for Harbison State Forest….our own Jerry Shrum. We hope you can join us on this trip!
Details: Bring plenty of liquids to drink, bug spray, sunscreen, and your lunch. We will most likely eat at the cars, but a snack to carry with you is always wise. Unless a major cold front comes through, carry lots of water with you. Directions are with the map on the next page. Any questions? Call Alex Ciegler at (803) 796-2862.
Harbison State Forest can easily be reached from either I-20 or I-26 coming from any direction. The map indicates the appropriate exits from these two interstates to get to Broad River Road. On entering the forest, go past the large parking lot, stay left where the road splits and goes through a gated entrance. In about 200 yeards you will come to the new environmental education building; park here. Toilets are available.