Park back in action

Published 12:49 am Friday, November 4, 2011

Sandra Fambrough (right), lead interpretive and education ranger at Beaufort County’s Goose Creek State Park, shares “bat facts” with park visitor Kaitlyn Boyd following a nature program last weekend. (WDN Photo/Kevin Scott Cutler)

GOOSE CREEK STATE PARK — After a brief hiatus as personnel concentrated on hurricane cleanup efforts, Goose Creek State Park resumed its regular schedule of weekend programs in October.

Those programs, offering a close-up look at the natural wonders of the park, have been a popular weekend diversion for visitors and area residents alike. Sunday, Ranger Sandra Fambrough led a program about bats, an appropriate subject for Halloween Eve. Fambrough is the park’s lead interpretive and education ranger.

“All of the programs are geared toward families. … All are family oriented,” said Fambrough, whose background includes a bachelor’s degree and a masters degree in education. “At this time, with the staff we currently have, we’re giving nature hikes and interpretive talks.”

Fambrough, who joined the Goose Creek staff in April 2005, is a logical choice to plan the weekly programs, which are always free. She has worked extensively in presenting such programs, almost from the moment she arrived in Beaufort County.

“I did my first program the first week I was here,” she recalled with a smile.

Fambrough is careful to tailor her programs so that even the youngest park visitor will enjoy the experience and leave with a new found knowledge of nature. It’s not unusual to see parents, and sometimes grandparents, arrive for a program with several youngsters in tow.

With the bulk of the storm-recovery work at the park mostly completed, park personnel are concentrating on welcoming visitors and hosting the weekend programs on Saturdays or Sundays.

Sunday’s program will feature the National Geographic Society film “Wild Survivors!” beginning at 3 p.m. in the visitors/education center’s auditorium. On Nov. 13, also at 3 p.m., a ranger will lead a leisurely tour along the Palmetto Boardwalk. And on Nov. 20, another nature hike is planned, this one a trek along the Tar Kiln Trail. Rounding out November’s special programs will be the annual holiday open house, set for Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information about Goose Creek State Park and its series of nature programs, call 252-923-2191. The park is located at 2190 Camp Leach Road off U.S. Highway 264 east of Washington.

Bat facts

  • Bats can live up to 35 years.
  • A female bat will usually have only one baby a year.
  • A bat can eat as many as 600 insects per hour.
  • Bats are the only mammal that can fly.
  • There are two common misconceptions about bats. Despite widespread beliefs, bats are not blind, and they will not intentionally fly into a human’s hair.
  • The largest bat in the world has a wingspan of 6 feet.
  • The smallest bat in the world is about the size of a bumblebee.
  • There are approximately 1,000 different species of bats worldwide; about 40 different species can be found in the United States.
  • Bats are important to the environment because they pollinate flowers, distribute plant seeds and eat insects.

Information provided by Goose Creek State Park Ranger Sandra Fambrough