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Welcome to the Blue Wall Weekly, your source for what's going on outside along the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment. Feel free to share your own photos, videos, and adventures along the Blue Wall by sending them to the email address at the bottom of the page, and we'll do our best to make you (locally) famous!
Keep your riches, if they make you happy. Keep the stocks and bonds, the paper money, the gold, the store-bought gems. Let me breathe air cleaned by a million trees, and eat fruit and gourmet mushrooms offered up by the forest, and most especially, give me fresh, clean, uncontaminated water. These are my riches. As members of the non-profit Friends of Jocassee, Jocassee Lake Tour guides are actively involved with Adopt-a-Stream, testing the four rivers that feed this clean, clear, uncontaminated lake. The rivers prove to be as clean as we say they are. If that ever changes, we’ll let you know. ~K
Begin at the Nature Center at TRSP at 1160 feet and go via the Table Rock Trail to the top of Table Rock Mountain at 3124 feet, down to Panther Gap, and back up to Pinnacle Mountain at 3425 feet. Then we head down to Bald Rock Overlook, and complete our loop on streamside trails back to the visitor’s center.
Grab a beer and learn about local history at Keowee Brewing Company! Oconee History Museum Assistant Curator Jennifer Moss will chronicle the history of the city of Seneca from its early days as railroad town to the burgeoning micropolitan of today.
Dan and Sherrie Whitten are both Master Naturalists as well as being active SCNPS members. If you’ve been on a field trip with them you can attest to their keen powers of observation, and it will be a pleasure to see western flora through their eyes!
The first activity will be repairing the wood steps and trail bed across the Whitewater River, coordinated and lead by Jerry Harvey and Andrew Gleason. The second will be at Table Rock SP, coordinated and lead by Heyward Douglass. Participants must be members of the FTC.
Learn about winter tree identification from the people who wrote the book. This recently published work from Clemson University Press is a welcome addition to any library. A must for hikers, naturalists, and even the newly transplanted resident to the upstate! This truly beautiful, useful book will be available for purchase.
JOCASSEE WILD OUTDOOR EDUCATION
Do kids NEED to be outside? Of course they do! Jocassee Wild Outdoor Education offers school field trips into the Jocassee Gorges--by way of Lake Jocassee--to conduct hands-on investigations into the many wonders of this unique and valuable eco-system. These field trips are structured to 4th, 5th, and 6th grade SC State Standards. Public, private, charter, and home schools welcome!
And, drums rolling please, the bald eagle count for January 2020 on Lake Jocassee is a healthy 12! Last year it was 10, so we’re up two. 6 hours of a slow crawl around the edge of the lake, careful to not miss one and not count one twice. With the leaves down for the winter, the mature eagles are relatively easy to spot, what with their cotton top head and tail, but the immatures not so much. They simply disappear into any foliage remaining on a tree, especially the pines. The eagles weren’t all we counted, of course. The loon count was 105, about the same as last year, and the horned grebe count was 153, again, about the same as last year. These spectacular birds are the joy and the life of the lake in winter. Coming soon: loon molting (February) and bald eagle nesting (April). The wonder continues. ~B
Testing water quality of the Thompson River with Adopt-a-Stream volunteers:
Cyd and Sheryl find a macro critter under a rock...
Zach collects a little water to test for bacteria
Careful, Brandon! That water's cold!
Testing for pH requires good color perception!
DID YOU KNOW?
Devils Fork State Park has been approved as a 'hub' for the South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream (SC AAS), which creates a network of watershed stewardship, engagement, and education through involvement. SC AAS volunteers can play an important role in monitoring and tracking water quality while sharing information about local water resources with their communities. In providing baseline information about stream conditions, volunteers, local communities, educators, and local government agencies can partner to protect and restore our waters. You do not need to be an environmentalist, fisherman, or scholar to join this effort. All are welcome to find more information, seek training, and add to the knowledge base of river and lake health in South Carolina!
ABOUT THE BLUE WALL
Spanning three states (North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia) and encompassing 859,000 acres, the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment, known as the 'Blue Wall' by Native Americans, contains some of the highest natural diversity of rare plants and animals found anywhere in the world.