“We honor the earth every time we get on the water.”
Nancy Stills, Sun City Kayak Club former president, acknowledges that formal Earth Day gatherings will probably not happen this year. “Earth Day is worldwide, and really is not just one day (April 22) but a state of being. It’s important for us all year round.”
Stills came by her kayaking expertise in a unique way. In 2003, she joined the Peace Corps and went to Kenya, where she used a variety of watercraft to paddle to the market and to work on her project, planting mangrove seedlings as part of her mission to promote small enterprise development and conservation.
Although they are now staying on land, and obeying Gov. Henry McMaster’s latest order to stay home, Stills and more than 120 paddlers in Sun City’s Kayak Club look forward to being back on the water as soon as they can.
Each excursion is termed a “paddle,” and there were 102 paddles last year. Club members have joined together to commit themselves to making our world better. Their list of projects is extensive.
The kayakers carry bags behind their seats and in their hatches to collect trash every time they go out. They participate in a huge variety of initiatives, including regular clean-ups at the Coastal Discovery Museum salt marshes, and Beaufort County’s C.C. Haigh Boat Landing. Some of the paddlers are master naturalists, board members for the Savannah Wildlife Refuge, and volunteers on Pinckney Island.
“The waters around Beaufort County are beautiful,” said Ed Fine, current Kayak Club president. “When we get out there, we see dolphins; sometimes we hear them breathing. We can’t help but feel grateful for this experience. When we are back at the dock, it is so good that we want to do it again.”
Bill Dickinson, the club’s paddle organizer, put it beautifully when he said, “Probably the best aspect of moving to the Lowcountry has been being able to kayak in its many and varied waterways. Gliding through the water brings home the importance of clean air and water and why it is so important to preserve them. Our club members hope in some small way to keep the waterways natural and unblemished.”
Katherine Mace is a freelance writer who lives in Sun City.