Day of the Dragon

Tue, Jul 16
9:30 am - 2:30 pm
Goodale State Park

Join us for an investigation into the exciting natural history of dragonflies and damselflies! These majestic creatures grace our waters on the wing throughout the summer in South Carolina, where we boast over a hundred species that come in all shapes, sizes, and incredible colors.

Goodale State Park, in the heart of the South Carolina Sandhills, is bursting with a bountiful regiment of these regal creatures. During our day, we’ll analyze each part of the dragonfly, from the eyes to legs to the wings to the tail, investigating the related biology of each aspect. We’ll mosey down to the aquatic habitats the dragons call home. This includes a large millpond that hosts a large number of skimmers, pennants, and pond damsels. We’ll also investigate the backwoods, where the running water gives rise to a completely different assemblage of dragons and damsels, to include jewelwings, rubyspots, and several dancer species.

In addition to surveying the sky, we’ll use the dip nets to capture larval dragonflies and damselflies, examining their differences and underwater lifestyles along with the associated biota with which they coexist. Dragonfly life also demands diverse aquatic vegetation, and we’ll discuss several of these plant species and the important strata they form upon the water.

By the end of the day, you’ll be able to:
1. Discuss the connections between form and function of dragonfly anatomy
2. Successfully identify several species of dragonflies and damselflies
3. Understand the variety of ecological requirements needed to support dragonfly life
4. Predict species assemblages associated with particular aquatic habitats

Who: This training is open to the public. No prior knowledge is required. Minimum age is 16. For SC Master Naturalists who have not taken a dragonfly course, this event can count as Advanced Training (4.5 training hours) and towards your statewide certification if you need a Sandhills component. If you are not a Master Naturalist, just come have fun with us. Participants will also receive contact info of other participants to allow for carpooling to the park.

This class will be taught by Austin Jenkins, who teaches and facilitates the popular Midlands Master Naturalist class for the South Carolina Wildlife Federation. Jenkins teaches Natural History of South Carolina at USC Sumter.