climatechEven those who believe that human activity is contributing to global warming and climate change do not want to ponder the likely ramifications of rising sea levels —intense flooding, shoreline erosion, and frequent and violent storms like hurricanes — because it is profoundly unpleasant to do so.

But according to the Coastal Conservation League, the Southeastern region of the United States ranks sixth worldwide in greenhouse gas emissions, while South Carolina ranks 28th nationally. The Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states scientific consensus that concentrated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels are resulting in an increase of average global temperatures, which leads to non-linear melting glaciers, longer and more intense heat waves, and drought. So what could climate change mean specifically for Hilton Head Island?

A unique attraction has quickly become a popular draw at the Port Royal Farmers Market. Visitors start their Saturdays by saying hello to the birds of Lowcountry Raptors.

Breezy the barred owl, Odin the one-eyed screech owl and Sully the red-shouldered hawk have become favorites for the kids.

HILTON HEAD SEA TURTLE PROTECTION PROJECT MANAGER SPEAKS OUT

I have always believed that people care and act with good intentions. Some are overly confident, some are very cautious, and some are just completely unaware. And, unfortunately, there is the occasional blatant disregard for wildlife. Either way, a little bit of consult and public education is always the best option. Enlighten yourself with these suggestions and help us to save endangered sea turtles.

IDENTIFYING THE AREA’S MOST COMMON VENOMOUS AND NONVENOMOUS SPECIES

I picked up the magnificent snake by the tail, admiring its bold pattern and shiny skin. The serpent had a glossy black hue, yellow bands and a dusting of minute chartreuse speckles. 

HILTON HEAD SNOWBIRD HOSTING SEMINAR ON SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

Many years ago, Dave DesJardins happened to be browsing in a Borders books store when he chanced upon a book on wild mushrooms. Like most Americans, he avoided wild mushrooms for fear of being poisoned.

However, an avid hiker, he had often spotted many delicious-looking mushrooms in the woods. What made him buy the book was the fact that it showed those wild mushrooms paired with many delicious looking recipes for eating them. As they often say, the rest is history.

THEY MAY BE CREEPY, BUT BATS ARE ALSO CRUCIAL TO THE HEALTH OF OUR ENVIRONMENT. WITH A DEADLY FUNGUS WIPING THEM OUT BY THE MILLIONS, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?

Much in the same way the streets of Gotham City swarm with criminals, so do the skies of the Lowcountry swarm with bloodsucking biting pests. Mosquitos, no-see-ums and their welt-raising ilk are inevitable down here during the outdoor season.

If you have ever seen Disney’s film “Finding Nemo,” you know that jellyfish are no laughing matter. Upon finding a baby jellyfish, “Finding Nemo’s” Dory decides to name it “Squishy” and keep it as a pet. This lands her in a field of jellyfish, where she gets tangled in their tentacles and is stung multiple times. Here on Hilton Head, jellyfish come through the waters each year, especially after big storms. With a variety of different kinds of jellyfish, it is best to be knowledgeable and safe when spending time on the beach or in the water.

How many times have you walked the beaches of Hilton Head Island and seen a horseshoe crab on the sand? Large and dark, with long pointed tails, multiple legs and flat “book” gills on their underside, they are commonly seen on our beaches, both alive and as skeletons. They are from a very ancient time, and look more like a Frankenstein experiment gone wrong than a modern-day crab; but then, they are not really crabs.

Horseshoe crabs actually are most closely related to spiders, scorpions, ticks and mites, and their ancestors have existed on earth from a time before the dinosaurs, a time when the first fish with jaws appeared in the oceans and glacial melting brought about a significant rise in sea level.

Environmental engineer. Devoted parent. Water provider. Aquatic weed controller. Habitat provider. Wildlife manager. Keystone species.

All of the above phrases describe the many roles that American alligators play on Hilton Head Island. Alligators belong to a group of reptiles known as crocodilians, which also include crocodiles, caimans and gharials. Crocodilians are closely related to dinosaurs, but their closest living relatives are birds.

ANIMALS YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE ON AND AROUND HILTON HEAD'S BEACHES

hat's that? It's a question visiting mothers and fathers are asked constantly by inquisitive children during family beach days. Don't lose cool points by answering, "that's a bird, son." Impress your little one with a name and a quick fact about the critter in question. Here is a look at the 18 most common animals you will see at the beach.