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South Carolina

Brookgreen Gardens

1931 Brookgreen Drive

Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

(843) 235-6000 – Local Phone


In 1931, Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington founded Brookgreen Gardens, a non-profit 501(c)(3) garden museum, to preserve the native flora and fauna and display objects of art within that natural setting. Today, Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historic Landmark with the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world and has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of the Carolinas.

Conservation Efforts:

Brookgreen Gardens contributes to Monarch Butterfly conservation by having areas planted with milkweed for the Monarch’s to lay eggs and develop, and educates their guests with brochures provided by Monarch Watch (over at the butterfly exhibit at the zoo). As guests enter the butterfly exhibit, which exhibits species native to the southeast, volunteers are able to share information during their visit.

The Gardens provide information to AZA about research projects being done at their facility for the AZA’s annual ARCS report.  This year, Brookgreen Gardens reported participating in Helen Bateman’s otter fecal hormone project (Cincinnati Zoo) by providing fecal samples from their otters, which resulted in her prediction of pregnancies through hormone analysis. The zoo does have a masterplan  drawn up to include endangered Red Wolfs as an exhibit in the future but we do not have a timeline for completion.

The Gardens also has an ongoing conservation ecology project going on in the waterways of Brookgreen, Scott Neubauer, from University of South Carolina, Baruch Marine Field Laboratory. This project was also reported to AZA for the ARCS report.

Coastal wetlands are important habitats that buffer terrestrial-aquatic interactions and can exert a significant influence on processes in adjacent coastal waters. One of the more certain impacts of global climate change is sea level rise, which will move the salt gradient upriver into historically freshwater wetlands. Tidal freshwater marshes (and, along the southeast Atlantic and Gulf coasts, tidal freshwater swamps) are ecologically important ecosystems located at the interface between the terrestrial and aquatic zones, where rivers enter the coastal zone. These wetlands provide a host of ecosystem services, including acting as water quality filters (removing nutrients), sequestering carbon, serving as nursery habitats for juvenile fishes, and buffering storm and flood waters. Because of the key role of salinity in structuring plant communities, salt water intrusion can lead to an irreversible replacement of species-rich tidal freshwater marshes/swamps with brackish marshes.

The overall focus of this project is on tidal freshwater wetlands, greenhouse gas emissions, and interactions with future climate change stressors (specifically, sea level rise). This study is designed to provide valuable information on the effects of sea level rise on tidal marsh biogeochemistry. The goals of the project are to 1) develop and refine methods for in situ salinity manipulations, and 2) measure greenhouse gas emissions from a tidal freshwater marsh exposed to elevated salinity, as a proxy for how these systems will respond to sea level rise and salt water intrusion. The project was initially funded by a grant from the University of South Carolina’s Office of Research and Health Services and is currently supported by a grant from the US Department of Energy’s National Institutes of Climatic Change Research.


South Carolina Aquarium

100 Aquarium Wharf

Charleston, SC 29401

(843) 720-1990 – Local Phone

Website: http://www.scaquarium.org

The South Carolina Aquarium inspires conservation of the natural world by exhibiting and caring for animals, by excelling in education and research, and by providing an exceptional visitor experience. The South Carolina Aquarium is home to over 6,000 plants and animals. There are over 60 exhibits located throughout the Aquarium that focus on five major regions of the Appalachian Watershed: the Mountains, the Piedmont, the Coastal Plain, the Coast and the Ocean.

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

500 Wildlife Parkway

Columbia, SC 29210

(803) 779-8717 – Local Phone

Website: http://www.riverbanks.org/

From elephants and koalas to penguins and sharks, formal gardens to natural woodlands, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden promises new discoveries around every corner!

Conservation Efforts:

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is home the Bali mynah, Hyacinth Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, Thick-Billed Parrot, Short-Nosed Sturgeon, Rodrigues Fruit Bat, Black-Footed Cat, African Elephant, Western Lowland Gorilla, Queensland Koala, Red-Ruffed Lemur, Ring-Tailed Lemur, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Diana Monkey, Golden-Headed Tamarin, Golden Lion Tamarin, Siberian Tiger, Parma Wallaby, Golden Frog, Aruba Island Rattlesnake, Tomistoma, Indefatigable Island Tortoise, Radiated Tortoise, Atlantic Loggerhead Turtle, and Bog Turtle, all endangered species.

Participation in Species Survival Plans (SSPs):

Riverbanks participates actively in SSP programs for 30 species including Queensland koala, Rodrigues fruit bat, red-ruffed lemur, African lion, lion-tailed macaque, Debrazza monkey, siamang, golden-lion tamarin, golden-headed lion tamarin, Amur tiger, Matschie’s tree kangaroo, Diana monkey, spider monkey, ring-tailed lemur, black-footed cat, Hamadryas baboon, lowland gorilla, fishing cat, African elephant, Bali mynah, rhinoceros hornbill, thick-billed parrot, toco toucan, keel-billed toucan, cinereous vulture, Aruba island rattlesnake, radiated tortoise, Burmese star tortoise, ocellated mountain viper, and Panamanian golden frog.

For more information about conservation at the Riverbanks Zoo, please visit http://www.riverbanks.org/conservationcare/role.shtml

Ripley’s Aquarium

1110 Celebrity Circle

Myrtle Beach, SC 29577-7465

(843) 916-0888 – Local Phone

Website: http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/myrtlebeach/

Ripley’s® Aquarium in Myrtle Beach South Carolina is located in Broadway-at-the-Beach, an entertainment and dining complex that features restaurants, rides, shops and the 85,000 square foot Ripley’s Aquarium.

Greenville Zoo

150 Cleveland Park Drive

Greenville, SC 29601-3147

(846) 467-4300 – Local Phone

Website: http://www.greenvillezoo.org/

The Greenville Zoo is celebrating 50 years in Cleveland Park and invites you to be a part of the year-long festivities!