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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!
Bloom Time Continues
Some people mark the passage of seasons by day length or temperature; I mark the passage of time by what’s blooming around Lake Jocassee. Right now it’s Rhododendron minus, the one shrub that lacks a proper nickname all its own, making a show of lavender flowers on the west side of the lake. The beautiful star-flowered mountain laurel is fading away, just as pale Carolina rhododendron faded as mountain laurel came into full bloom. Next up will be rosebay rhododendron and sourwood trees as bloom time on Jocassee hits full summer, and soon enough the tiny flowers of devil’s walkingstick will appear, once again, as big as a baby elephant’s head. As time weaves its way through bud and leaf, flower and fruit, we can anticipate the future even as we’re enjoy the present gift of nature.~K
Rhododendron minus, a.k.a. Gorges rhododendron, small-leaf rhododendron, and punctatum
Originally a military compound and later a trading post, this Historic Site offers both recreational opportunities and a unique look at 18th and 19th century South Carolina. Oconee Station, a stone blockhouse used as an outpost by the S.C. State Militia from about 1792 to 1799, and the William Richards House, are the only two structures that remain today.
From now until September 2, 2022, Oconee State Park invites you to spend your summer Friday nights enjoying live music by the Dixie Bluegrass Boys and lots of family fun! Come and make some memories with us.
What a WILD & WONDERFUL week! My first week back post-surgery and my fellow naturalists and I were happily challenged to take 94 really cool kids from Youth Learning Academy on a Jocassee Wild Child Outdoor Education Adventure. Blue skies and a beaming hot sun provided lots of opportunities to swim in the invigorating pools on the Thompson River, soak under the chilling Wright Creek waterfall, jump from old protruding rocks into the clear clean water below, and float happily in the mix of aquamarine and jade-colored waters at Tahiti beach. I am all about having FUN! I believe that modeling and teaching fun is extremely important because it is one of our most basic needs as humans and it’s an essential part of students’ learning. As guides we toss the kids a few fun nuggets about the history of the valley, how and when the Blue Ridge Mountains were formed, what a temperate rain forest is and what they will see, hear, taste, feel, and smell in the Jocassee Gorges….all the while having loads of fun! When we treat fun with the seriousness it deserves combined with support, connection, love, and clear instruction students are more willing to participate and take risks. Oh, and the memories they create in this short 4-hour adventure will last a lifetime! Every kid should have a heart full of these memories! As we were walking deep into the rainforest, Dr. Steve Jackson, YLA 6th grade science teacher, said “wow, the smell is so rich and earthy, the smell of damp moss, rich soil, or humus. It’s taking me back to my childhood when camping with my family in the NC mountains.” Can you close your eyes for a moment and recall a few happy childhood memories in nature with your friends, family, a summer camp or school field trip?
A few 11 year old kids quotes I was able to capture during the week:
- “I’m having the time of my life!” This quote was literally the first 5 minutes into the adventure!
- “The best field trip ever – we saw an adult bald eagle and I had no idea they sounded so wimpy.”
- “I learned so much and all I thought I was doing was having fun!”
- “I’m coming back here someday and I’m bringing my family and friends! I want to be doing something outside every day, like you!” Be still my heart. ~Kerry McKenzie, JLT guide and JWOE Director
Duke Energy has begun the initial steps for relicensing the Bad Creek Project. A feasibility study is underway for a plan to double the energy output of the Bad Creek facility, which would potentially involve building a second powerhouse at Bad Creek, complete with a new cavern and tunnels.
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.