Anne Tilghman Boyce Coastal Reserve, Waties Island
The Anne Tilghman Boyce Coastal Reserve (ATBCR), including a portion of Waties Island, is located on the northeast coast of South Carolina, just above Cherry Grove beach. Students and faculty at Coastal Carolina University regularly use a portion of the Reserve owned by the Coastal Educational Foundation, a private, non-profit support component of CCU. Classes, laboratories and independent research projects are conducted on the property by both undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff. In addition, field workshops for precollege classes (K-12) and adult groups are led by marine science educator Karen Fuss.
The Reserve is an outstanding example of an undeveloped complex of ocean frontage, fresh and saltwater marshes, tidal creeks, and upland woods. Surrounded by a rapidly urbanizing environment, it is becoming increasingly significant for research, monitoring and education about the natural coastal habitat.
It was the wish of Anne Tilghman Boyce that the property she left to the Coastal Educational Foundation be maintained "in essentially a wilderness state". Per her wish, in 1995, a total of 1,105 acres on Waties Island and the adjoining uplands of Little River Neck were deeded to the Coastal Educational Foundation which became the Anne Tilghman Boyce Coastal Reserve. The gift has been protected with a perpetual conservation easement through The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina. Through Mrs. Boyce's bequest and the support of her children, Coastal Carolina University has gained a magnificent addition to the facilities it can offer to students and faculty for education and research.
In addition to the gift from the Anne T. Boyce family, a substantial financial gift was made to the Coastal Educational Foundation by her sister-in-law, Kitty Lou Tilghman. Subsequently, an adjacent 4.65 acre tract located along Little River was donated to the Coastal Educational Foundation by Rebecca Randall Bryan and a 49.92 acre tract was donated by Horry County, bringing the total acreage to 1,105.17 acres.
Access to the Anne Tilghman Boyce Coastal Reserve is by permission only, and requires the presence of a Coastal Carolina University faculty or staff member unless otherwise approved. Usage of the Reserve is restricted to research and education activities relevant to the goals of Coastal Carolina University. The number of individuals involved is limited to 50 on the island itself and 100 on the upland section of the property at any one time. To apply for permission to use the island, proceed to the online reserve access form.