Resident Peter Cotton appears on Channel 4 Friday Morning

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fred the snake bookDr. Peter Cotton, aka the chair of our social committee here on Dewees Island, is scheduled to be interviewed on Lowcountry Live! this morning from 10 – 11. He’ll be talking about his books, his distinguished career as a gastroenterologist, and living on Dewees Island.

Peter’s books include 2 children’s books about “Fred the Snake” and ”
The Tunnel at the End of the Light: My Endoscopic Journey in Six Decades”.

Check it out on local ABC channel 4.

You can also check out his website and his Facebook Page for Fred.


Dershie McDevitt’s Novel Has Just Been Released

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Need a great last minute Christmas gift? Buy Dershie McDevitt’s novel “Just Holler Bloody Murder.” It just became available on and will be coming out in local bookstores and on Kindle soon. The book follows female lead Callahan Banks as she returns to her beloved Timicau Island near Charleston, South Carolina. The imaginary island is based in part on Dershie’s experiences on Dewees Island.

If you order from Amazon, you can easily get the book before Christmas. I ordered a copy today and it will arrive on Wednesday.

Please follow Dershie’s book on Facebook at

There’s a press release for the book on her website at

Here is the cover of the book.

Just Holler Bloody Murder Book Cover
Book Cover


Tropical Storm Sandy Predicted to Stay Offshore

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The current models from the National Hurricane Center indicate that Tropical Storm Sandy will stay offshore and Dewees is unlikely to feel significant winds. There may be unusually highly tides as the path of the storm pushes up the coast of Florida toward Myrtle Beach before turning and heading up the North Carolina Coast.

Dewees is hosting a Palmetto Pro Birder Training session this weekend. Perhaps some unusual tropical birds will be pushed our way.


Living on Dewees

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The Dewees Island Blog is focused on “Nature, News and Neighbors on Charleston’s Natural Barrier Island Community”.

The Fairchild clan moved to Dewees Island, Charleston, SC full time. To document our experiences, help others get a feel for island living, and hopefully encourage you to join us, we’ve started a new blog called, “Living on Dewees“. It’s focused on “One Family’s Adventures in Living on an island Just Off the Coast of Charleston, SC”.

Today’s post is about how island life makes us so much more in tune with the weather.

We hope you’ll subscribe and enjoy reading our new blog.


Roundup of News Coverage of Dewees Island Fire

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UPDATE: Andrew Knapp from the Post and Courier wrote another good story. It starts, “Yell “fire” here, and people don’t run away. They jump into their golf carts, then into action.”

Special thanks to all the news crews and islanders who got the word out that no one was hurt, the fire was contained to 2 buildings, and the community pulled together to do what needed to be done.


Long Day

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Today was a long day on the island. Our staff was back on hand after only hours of sleep to continue to keep things under control. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was met with a sympathetic smile or a warm hug as they got off the ferry. I found myself the unlikely transporter of media today, as we brought news crews from all three of Charleston’s networks and the newspaper to the island.

We boarded the 9:00 ferry for coffee with a legion of people returning to the island after a few hours of sleep. Tales of last night’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things abounded. A crew of seven young men, searching Dewees Inlet for their missing friend were some of the first 911 callers and came ashore and grabbed hoses to help. Fire hoses are heavy, and they ran lines and battled at the edges, keeping Jan and Bubber’s home from burning. Jim and Bubber working the smaller catch-fires at the edges, Paul working on the water, Ginny watching the gauges, Rita getting off work and spending all night at the fire, Joe still working this afternoon (as well as Terry, Ryan, Robert, Kim, and Lori). Jane and John calling it in from the boat, Janet keeping Colette save away from the blaze, etc. I know I am missing some; everyone helped in some way.

News crews came back and forth all day today, as we stressed to them that fires can happen anywhere, but the amazing thing was the way we have a plan; it worked, and things were contained. The overwhelming sentiment from ferry riders was gratitude.


Garbage Sculpture to be unveiled at Shem Creek tomorrow

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Jennifer Mathis has participated in beach sweep on Dewees Island in the past, and she and her family are regular visitors to the island. (Through her design business, Blue Bowl Interiors, Jen has also done some great room makeovers, but that’s another story.)

Jennifer cleaning the Dewees Beach; Sept 2006

Just like the Dewees Island’ Environmental Program Board on the island has encouraged us to reduce our waste, Jen’s main mission was to draw attention to the issue of plastic waste in the oceans and waterways. Her family was inspired by an exhibit on the west coast, as the website FromHeretoSargasso explains:

By using garbage to create something beautiful and draw attention to the challenges of discarded plastics in the ocean, we hope to change attitudes toward our throw-away society. The project is inspired by The Washed Ashore Project, an art installation at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito… We hope to inspire you. We want you to think about your daily choices and how they affect the planet at large. We want you to be moved by the actions of local students and help protect our pristine beaches and the wildlife therein.

Local Metalsmith Sean Ahern created the form, SOA student Elsa Cline designed the pelican sculpture, and other SOA students assembled it and gave it the 3d exterior. Many different sponsors from the community came forth and donated time and treasure, and the final result is two unbelievable sculptures, one of which will find a home at the S.C. Aquarium, the other will be unveiled tomorrow at Shem Creek. We have been involved in this project as volunteers and sponsors; you can read more about our participation on the project blog. We’ve collected trash, cleaned it, helped with the website and publicity, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves along the way. We have learned so much: from getting us all to think about our bottled water consumption and consumer habits to inspiring us by changing the world a little bit at a time. Dewees is so fortunate to be part of the dialogue around marine debris and our abundant natural resources. We’ll be there tomorrow; please stop by and visit this fantastic sculpture assembled by SOA students.


Toothache Tree (Xanthozylum Clava-hercules)

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Xanthozylum Clava-Hercules is blooming right now, and it seems to be host for a wide variety of pollinators that are drawn to it.  This plant is also known as Hercules Club, or Southern Prickly Ash.  It is a pretty amazing tree native to the lowcountry.  Dewees Island Ecologist, Lori Sheridan Wilson, often gives a taste of it to students when she is on an ecology tour of the island.  “Native Americans might have taught the early settlers about the medicinal properties of this tree,” she says, breaking off a piece to share.  “You can chew the bark or leaves and experience a numbing sensation that relieves a toothache.”

On mature trees, the bark is covered with large, spiny protuberances (hence the name prickly ash),  and it loses its leaves in the winter.  The tree loves calcium rich soils, and is sort of a barrier island specialist, tolerating salt spray periodically.  It is a native citrus relative, and a host tree for the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly, whose caterpillars actually resemble bird droppings as a way of camouflage.  SCDNR, in a great downloadable publication called Best Management Practices for Wildlife in Maritime Forest Developments recommends planting Hercules club as a way to attract caterpillars and butterflies.

Some plants that are preferred food-plants for caterpillars and adults include: Hercules club, black cherry, sassafras, fennel, red bay, passion-flower, milkweed, pawpaw, violets, loquat, Carolina laurel cherry, daylilies, Salvia, rosemary, asters, marigolds and honeysuckle.

Last week, one bush was covered with pollinators of all shapes and sizes:  from ants to bees to wasps and hornets to butterflies and moths.  A mockingbird hopped from branch to branch, snacking on the insects which were drawn to the blooms.



Turtle rescue!

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This weekend, there was a turtle rescue in Dewees Inlet, according to the blog from the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital.  Still alive, but severely debilitated, the turtle managed to survive the night Saturday after being rescued by members of the (IOP/Sullivans) Island Turtle team and SCDNR and transported to the hospital.

Rescuers Courtney and her dog Moses, are no strangers to sea turtles, spending a great deal of time in coastal waters for work (Barrier Island Eco Tours) and play. While enjoying the beautiful spring day, Courtney and Moses encountered the sea turtle floating at the water’s surface and it was obvious the animal was in distress. As they inched the boat closer to get a better look, the turtle was unable to dive.

Rescuers got the turtle to the hospital, where they assessed its condition and started treatment, according to Kelly Thorvalson.

Read the whole story and latest news here.