CCU students set up botanic bank for rare plants
Ben Flo and Mitchell Wimberly
Benjamin Flo and Mitchell Wimberley, both senior biology majors at Coastal Carolina University, have done their part to save plants endangered by the construction along International Drive near Conway. Barely keeping ahead of the bulldozers, the two students spent the fall semester transplanting pitcher plants and sundews in the area near the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.
Guided by biology professor Jim Luken, the students have been working on an independent study project involving the rescue and relocation of carnivorous plants to a new botanic bank at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA).
The purpose of the project is to save those rare plants that would otherwise be destroyed by development and relocate them to a safe site where they can flourish. The botanic bank, a two-acre tract of land provided by the HCSWA, is located near the recycle facility on Environmental Way off S.C. 90. All carnivorous plants tend to be relatively rare due to the unique type of habitats they require in order to grow: wet, open, nutrient poor and subject to frequent fire, according to Luken.
Green pitcher plant (Sarracenia oreophila), Sundew (Drosera), Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and Wild orchid (Orchidaceae) are some of the plants that are threatened by the paving project.
After he graduates this semester, Wimberley, who is from Durham, N.C., plans to pursue a career in environmental consulting, conducting wetland delineations, plant inventory and other environmental tasks. Flo, who is from Conway, plans to apply for the Master of Arts in Teaching program at CCU, hoping to teach high school biology.