A One-of-a-Kind Forestry & Wildlife Program

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) staff enjoyed visiting Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) in February to talk about public relations in the natural resources field. The HGTC forestry and wildlife management technology program trains students for a successful and rewarding career in this field, and it is the only accredited associate degree program of its kind in South Carolina.

Westerhold's students and SCDNR employees stand posed for a group photo outdoors.

During their visit, SCDNR’s Media and Outreach representatives Julia Moye, Alix Pedraza (HGTC alumnus) and Cindy Thompson discussed:

• The mission of the SCDNR, and the divisions of the agency: Executive Office, Land, Water and Conservation, Law Enforcement, Marine Resources, Office of Media and Outreach, Office of Support Services and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

• The range of career opportunities in the natural resources field.

• The importance of marketing and public relations in the natural resources field and in developing a career.

• Ideas for future South Carolina Wildlife magazine and/or South Carolina Wild articles.

HGTC Professor Jim Westerhold leads three-hour labs in “Wildlife Techniques” on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. His students recently visited Santee Coastal Reserve where Andrew Grosse (SCDNR Herpetologist) and Al Mosley (SCDNR Wildlife Technician and HGTC graduate) led hands-on instruction in the field. The activity was to clear the woody vegetation from a Carolina Bay to promote endangered flatwoods salamander habitat, as shown in these photographs.

An SCDNR employee standing in front of a group of students outdoors while motioning with his hands mid-explanation.

While at Santee Coastal Reserve, Westerhold says that the class noticed hooded pitcher plants, and a good discussion followed. “This is the second year we have done this activity, and last year’s class did not observe any or that many pitcher plants,” he explains. “Maybe last year’s work has already had a positive impact on the habitat. I could go on for a while about this lab and how we were wonderfully led [by SCDNR staff]. They taught safe machine operation to many students who had not been taught before. The end result was a lot of education and habitat improvements for a salamander that none of the students have ever seen.”

A young woman (student) using land management equipment.

For more information, visit the Horry Georgetown Technical College’s Forestry and Wildlife Management website.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on South Carolina Wild are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect official policies, positions, or endorsements of activity or products by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.