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shorebirdsIt was barely 8 a.m. when we hit the beach near Fish Haul Creek on a cold January morning. The wind was howling out of the north at 25 mph, making our eyes tear and faces sting.

The dry surface sand of the beach was moving swiftly past our feet like a white river that we were wading through; if you watched the ground as you walked, you were overtaken by a feeling of vertigo.

Better to look ahead, to peer through the fog of blowing sand and try to locate the reason we were subjecting ourselves to these very un-tropical conditions.

“People think local and short-term. When you tell people in Chicago this winter was a very warm winter around the world — the eighth warmest winter on record — their response is that they are scraping ice off their cars in mid-March.”

That’s the view of Rear Admiral David W. Titley, who recently spoke on “Climate Change and National Security” at the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head. 

climatechange

In his talk, which covered the history of climate change within the budgetary, policy and political perspectives of the U.S.

SEA ISLANDS INSTITUTE SUSTAINABILITY RESEARCH PROVIDING KEY ECOLOGICAL DATASea Islands Institute Sustainability Research Initiative providing key ecological data

How do we keep the ecology that drew many of us to this nirvana while continuing to foster growth in the industry that is the financial backbone of the Lowcountry?

It’s a question that Charles Fraser kept at the heart of every decision he made as he worked to transform Hilton Head Island into a resort community beginning in 1955.

Nearly six decades later, the question is more relevant and vital to the region’s future as ever.

SHARKS SHOULD BE ADMIREDWhen shark expert George Burgess heard about the recent shark bite a tourist sustained while wading in knee-deep water on Hilton Head Island, he greeted the news with more of a shrug than a shock.

"Sharks really don’t give a damn about humans, other than that we’re in their waters,” says Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research through the University of Florida. “We’re lousy swimmers, we flop around near the surface, more times than not we’re really white in color, so sharks actually deserve a lot of credit for leaving us alone almost all the time. Considering we don’t make any precautions, we’re treated very well.”

ENCLOSURE AT THE COASTAL DISCOVERY MUSEUM A POPULAR ATTRACTION FOR ALL AGES

butterfliesThe Karen Wertheimer Butterfl y Enclosure at the Coastal Discovery Museum opened in June 2009 and is still a favorite attraction to those that visit Hilton Head Island.

The screened structure is 1,200 square feet, surrounded by countless plants and features pilings sizable enough to secure it during a hurricane.

A variety of nectar plants to feed adult butterflies and many host plants to feed the butterfly larvae are located both inside and outside the enclosure.

Living in the Lowcountry is wonderful, but it comes with challenges. Now that warm weather is here and we’re spending more time in our yards, we are once again dealing with deer, rabbits, mosquitoes, moles and other critters.

critters

The Lowountry has its challenges, but just today I had a customer inform me that “The grass isn’t always greener somewhere else.” He has a home in Virginia and he has a family of deer that eat very well at that home also.

With that being said, we are in a constant search for ways to repel these unwanted guests.

web-coyotes
If you believe the tales, coyotes are everywhere on Hilton Head Island. Until five years, it was mostly urban legend and many cases of mistaken identity. But a funny thing happened among all the storytelling. Coyotes literally made their way down U.S. 278 and on to the island. While we are far from an outbreak situation, experts caution that the migratory predator is here to stay, like it or not.

TABLETOP FOUNTAINS, GARDEN ART, DECORATIVE PLANTERS HIGHLIGHT 2014 GARDEN TRENDS

gardenmay17Gardeners have known for centuries that their pastime has a calming and -- forgive the pun -- grounding effect. Now, science confi rms what we already know on a subliminal level.

Researchers have reported in the journal Neuroscience that contact with a bacteria in soil triggers the release of serotonin in our brains, which improves mood and learning. We’re naturally wired to want more time in the garden – to “play” in the dirt – and to bring plants inside our homes and offices to reduce stress and anxiety. The biggest trends in gardening for 2014 involve the evolution of our outdoor spaces as we spend more of our leisure time outdoors, and bring more live plants indoors.