The Aiken Land Conservancy Hike Series kicked off with a hike to the Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve on Saturday, September 23rd. Over 30 participants joined Peter Kleinhenz, our executive director, for a three-mile hike through the property. On the way, participants learned about longleaf pine, prescribed fire, wiregrass, and the many species that are specialized to live in sandhill ecosystems. The participants got to observe a family group of federally- endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers up close and saw unusual plants such as the sandhill milkweed, which has leaves that resemble stained glass windows when the sun is observed through them.
Our second hike occurred at Langley Pond Park on October 7th. Over 40 participants observed a beautiful male American redstart, a sleeping raccoon, a ground skink, several Southern toads, and even a juvenile rat snake! The next hike will take place on November 4th at Boyd Pond Park. Peter plans to lead one hike every month, each of which will take place at a different natural area within 45 minutes of Aiken. We hope to see you on a future hike!