Goose Creek holds open house

Published 1:49 am Sunday, November 27, 2011

Natalie Gladding, 6, of Pinetown fashions a Christmas-tree ornament from beads and pipe cleaners during Goose Creek State Park’s holiday open house Saturday morning. Looking on is park office assistant Vanessa Fischer. (WDN Photo/Kevin Scott Cutler)

GOOSE CREEK STATE PARK — Oyster shells, hot coffee and story time were among the makings for Goose Creek State Park’s traditional holiday open house Saturday.
Sponsored by the Friends of Goose Creek State Park and manned by park employees Sandra Fambrough and Vanessa Fischer and several Friends volunteers, the event brought dozens of folks out to enjoy the camaraderie and festivities. The open house was a highlight of a busy weekend at the park, where visitors and area residents made the most of the beautiful weather by biking, fishing and hiking the nature trails.
The decadent aroma of rich coffee greeted park visitors who arrived early for Coffee with the Birds, a special program that celebrated the feathered creatures who make Goose Creek State Park their winter home, according to Fambrough, the park’s lead interpretive and education ranger.
“Ernie Marshall of Greenville led the program,” Fambrough said. “He talked about the birds who are already here for the winter or are coming soon. He also led a hike along the Palmetto Boardwalk so people could hopefully see some of the birds he talked about.”
The coffee served was a perfect complement to the variety of baked treats provided by volunteers and park staff. Hot chocolate and punch were offered to children.
Fambrough led story time for the park’s younger visitors, choosing a book titled “Stranger in the Woods” that gave the children a glimpse at some of the forest’s four-legged inhabitants. Also on tap for the youngsters was craft time, organized by Fischer, an office assistant at the Park.
“We’re turning pine cones into trees, and we’re making star and wreath Christmas ornaments from pipe cleaners and beads,” said Fischer as she watched 6-year-old Natalie Gladding of Pinetown carefully craft a holiday decoration to take home. Natalie attends Washington Montessori Public Charter School.
Those attending the open house were given the opportunity to create their own, one-of-a-kind greeting card by using a variety of ink stamps and glitter glue, Fischer added. And old Christmas cards were recycled into gift tags.
Helping out in the crafts department was Phoebe Wahab, a retired ranger who once worked at the park. Wahab helped make eye-catching Santa Claus ornaments from oyster shells, cotton and red felt; she also brought along a couple of holiday wreaths to share ideas for decorating during the Christmas season.
“I wanted to show some examples of what you can do with natural objects,” she said.
For those who missed Saturday’s activities at the park, don’t despair. The park will continue to host entertaining and educational programs every weekend throughout the winter. The park is open daily, except for Christmas, Fambrough noted.
For more information on Goose Creek State Park and its schedule of programs, call 252-923-2191. The park is located on Camp Leach Road near Washington.