By SC DNR for The Island Eye News
Teachers and students at Moultrie Middle School raised hundreds to help the Crab Bank renourishment project in Mount Pleasant.
The only public school in the county to require uniforms held a “Dress Down” day on Sept. 27 where students could dress casually if they donated $1 to the project.
Sixth grade teacher Kylee Newkirk and the school’s student government put together this fundraiser to show support for Coastal Expeditions, which has given tours out of Shem Creek paddling near and around Crab Bank to each 6th grade class for the past 10 years.
Coastal Expeditions is one group supporting a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources program, the South Carolina Coastal Bird Conservation Program. The Coastal Bird Conservation Program was created under the Nongame and Natural Areas Trust Fund (SC Code of Laws §50-1-280) when SCDNR, Coastal Expeditions, Audubon South Carolina, Coastal Conservation League and others came together to discuss how Crab Bank could be restored.
The creation of the Coastal Bird Conservation Program will serve to receive funds to support coastal bird conservation efforts across South Carolina, restoring and protecting coastal bird habitats, increasing community awareness and general knowledge about the amazing coastal birds that call South Carolina home.
With the help of the school, the total donations raised were matched to provide a total of $675.25. These funds were donated to the Coastal Expedition Foundation, who so graciously will provide these funds to the Coastal Bird Conservation Program to aid in the Program’s founding project to restore Crab Bank.
In the past, Crab Bank has provided nesting habitat for as many as 5,000 birds in a single nesting season, including large colonies of brown pelicans, terns, black skimmers, egrets and herons, and a few dozen American oystercatchers. The 6th grade Moultrie class will be taking a kayaking trip to Shem Creek, but unfortunately won’t be able to see much activity on Crab Bank. Due to wave erosion and Hurricane Irma in 2017, all the available nesting habitat on Crab Bank was washed away, removing any opportunity for nesting birds during the 2018 season.
“With the general global decline of coastal birds, they need all the available nesting habitat we can provide,” said Felicia Sanders, shorebird and seabird biologist for SCDNR.
SCDNR and all the supporting organizations helping to raise funds for Crab Bank need approximately $1 million more to provide the funding needed to restore Crab Bank with the beneficial dredge material from the Post-45 Charleston Harbor Deepening Project. Individuals interested in supporting or learning more about this important endeavor will find more detailed information on the Coastal Bird Conservation website at SCCoastalBirds.org.