The Belle W. Baruch Foundation is a non-profit organization and owner of the 17,500-acre wildlife refuge, Hobcaw Barony. In 1982 the foundation created a public education center and recently expanded to the now 10,000 square foot facility. Featuring exhibits on history, ecology and research, the center also has a classroom for school field studies, a seminar room for lectures and films, retail space and offices. The new center features a 1200 gallon fish tank and marsh midden, exhibits about the pine and cypress ecosystem and the history of the 17,500 acre property. Information about tours and programs can be found in the Discovery Center.
Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free admission, but donations are appreciated.
Privately owned and operated by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation, Hobcaw Barony is a 17,500 acre research reserve charged with protecting one of the few undeveloped tracts of land on the Waccamaw Neck. The Belle W. Baruch Foundation of Marine Biology & Coastal Research of the University of South Carolina and the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Forest Science and Coastal of Clemson University are located on the property and engage in important research which attracts scientists, scholars, and visitors from around the world.
The renovated and expanded Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center features a 1,200 gallon fish tank and marsh midden, as well as other exhibits about the pine and cypress ecosystem, ecology, research and history. In this environment steeped in history and rich with wildlife and natural resources, Hobcaw Barony’s field studies are offered primarily on Wednesday and Thursday mornings between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The fee is $5 per student, per program; there is no charge for teachers and chaperons. Every effort is made to conform field study content to South Carolina state education standards.
Programs are offered most Wednesday and Thursday mornings during the school year, by reservation. For grades K-5, curriculum can include social studies, salt marsh or forest ecology. Minimum class size of 10 students, $5 per student. Please call 546-4623 to register.
SALT MARSH ECOLOGY: An introduction to the salt marsh, this field study features a trip to our salt marsh boardwalk. Students get a close look at the salt marsh habitat and its plants and animals. Often seen are animal tracks, fiddler crabs, periwinkle snails, various birds and fish species. Students are divided into groups with a worksheet to identify the different plants, animals or evidence of animals.
Students learn about the tides, salinity and the importance of estuaries.
FOREST ECOLOGY: An introduction to forests, this field study features a longleaf pine stand. Longleaf pine is the native pine that covered 90 million acres of the South when the colonists arrived. Because of harvesting for naval stores, forest management practices and non-native feral pigs, longleaf now accounts for only 3 million acres of forests in the South. Students observe different plants, trees and animals that comprise the longleaf forest. This program focuses on the endangered red cockaded woodpecker and the type of habitat in which it lives, the old growth longleaf pine.
PLANTATION HERITAGE: Plantation history is discussed as students visit the only remaining slave street on the Waccamaw Neck. Friendfield Village, a nineteenth century slave village, contains original slave cabins, a church built in 1890, two cabins built circa 1930, and a doctor’s office. A major focus of the program is on how the environment influences the culture. Students learn about life on a rice plantation, what was required of slaves and how freed slaves and their descendants lived until 1952, when the last residents left the village.
RESERVATIONS: Reservations for a field study should be made by calling the Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center (843-546-4623, M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at least two weeks before the desired date. Please have an alternate date in mind should the first choice be unavailable.
FEES: The cost is $5 per student, per program with no charge to teachers and chaperons. Payment may be made ahead of time (22 Hobcaw Road, Georgetown, SC 29440) or on the morning of the program. We accept cash, checks (made payable to The Baruch Foundation) or credit cards (no American Express).
GROUP SIZE: A minimum of 10 students is required to reserve a program, and we request that one teacher/chaperon be provided for every 10 students. Since we have only one van that holds a maximum of 13 visitors, we encourage groups to provide their own buses. Parent chaperons may not bring additional children nor guests. All members of the group must ride on a bus; no one may follow in a car nor join the program once the bus has left the center.
ARRIVAL: Groups should arrive at Hobcaw Barony at least 15 minutes before the start of the scheduled program in order to check in and process fees. It is important that the group arrive on time. Late arrival may necessitate shortening of the program in order to accommodate scheduled time slots.
ON SITE: No one is permitted to go to any areas other than those included in the field study. There are no facilities for lunch on the property. If lunch is included in the outing, please consider Georgetown’s nearby East Bay County Park. Call 843-545-3275 for information.
CANCELLATIONS: Programs and tours are conducted rain or shine unless the weather is too severe. Cancellations must be called in to the Discovery Center at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled program. Refunds can not be given if the cancellation is made on the morning of the program unless the reason is severe weather.