A class essay assignment offered Thomas Sumter Academy students a chance to think about their everyday connection with nature. Jackson Blackwood explains his appreciation for South Carolina’s rich natural heritage.
The Great Outdoors
by Jackson Blackwood
Wildlife in South Carolina is something I’ve been interested in since I was a little boy. For instance, I have lived in a log cabin deep in the woods (and still only ten minutes from the closest city) since I was born. That’s hard to find in a lot of different places with towns encroaching on woodlands and wetlands at an alarming rate. All I wanted to do was to go outside. Just outside my front door are acres and acres of woodlands full of many different animal, plant and tree life. We have many white-tail deer, opossums, raccoons, turkey, rabbits, squirrels, hummingbirds, bluebirds, robins, woodpeckers, owls, hawks and the occasional escaped peacock. We have blackberry bushes, wild muscadine grape vines and there are many dogwood, pine, oak and maple trees in our yard, just to name a few.
The great outdoors has supplied the people of this region, and most recently South Carolina, with food, fuel and fun for thousands of years. I have had several encounters with the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. As a matter of fact, just two weeks ago, I went on vacation to Spartanburg County to spend two days with our family. We decided to go on a fishing trip to Lake Blalock. While on our fishing trip we caught a total of fifteen fish, and the worst part was putting them all back because they were too small for us to eat. After several hours we started to get tired, so we decided to head back to where we were staying for the night.
South Carolina has a lot of different kinds of environments. In addition to the already mentioned woodlands we have wetlands and mountain areas. South Carolina is well known for is the wetlands. Other names for the wetlands are marsh, swamp or coastal region. A wetland is a place where water and land meet and combine to make an environment fit for even an alligator to call home. There are two different types of wetlands: one is a saltwater wetland and the other is a freshwater wetland. The difference between these wetlands is rather obvious. There are only a handful of animals that can swim in both salt and fresh waters. Most freshwater animals wouldn’t be able to survive in a harsh saltwater environment.
The state tree of South Carolina is the Palmetto tree. South Carolina chose the Palmetto tree out of three hundred other different types of trees. The Palmetto tree is a very odd shaped tree because of its abnormally shaped leaves and how the bark of the tree appears. Our state flower is the Yellow Jessamine. The Jessamine is a beautiful shade of bright yellow and looks very much like the honeysuckle.
South Carolina has a lot of trees, but the most common one of them all is the pine. The pine tree is the most common tree found in South Carolina because of its growth rate. There are also a lot of them because people have to plant the same kind of tree that they cut down. The pine tree is a strange shaped tree because of its thin needle like pins that are its leaves. The pine tree uses its needles to do the same thing that an oak trees leaves do, to complete photosynthesis. But that’s not the only thing that its leaves are used for; they are also used for defending itself against anyone that might mess with it. When I think of a pine tree I first think of its flaky bark and how if an animal tries to climb it, they would lose their grip and fall out the tree. The pine tree offers a guarded home for many different animals such as woodpeckers, owls, raccoons and squirrels.
Along with these trees and plants, South Carolina has other natural resources as well. South Carolina’s resources include clay, sand, limestone, granite, peat, talc, gold and topaz. The most common out of this group is clay, sand, limestone and granite. The most useful out of these resources is clay because you could use it to mold and craft things like bowls and cups. A long time ago people would use it to put it in between the logs of their houses to make the house sturdy so the house would not fall apart.
I have enjoyed looking up facts and getting to learn more about South Carolina’s environment and about what kind of animals live around me. While writing this paper it made me want to go outside more and explore the environment around me. It has also shown me the true beauty of nature and why it is so important to the people of South Carolina.
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.