Congaree, SCMar 3rd, 2018 to Mar 10th, 2018
Trip Logistics & Participant Requirements:
We will be tent camping within Congaree National Park at the Longleaf Campground, which is near
the bathrooms/showers and a picnic shelter! We will provide tents and cooking supplies but participants
should bring their own sleeping bags, pads, and other camping gear. We will drive to the park using two
cars on March 3rd with a stop in Charlotte, North Carolina for lunch.
There are no participant requirements for this trip. We will be working closely with the National Park
Service with whatever they need for the week. If you love the outdoors and getting your hands dirty, then you will enjoy helping to maintain the beauty of Congaree National Park!
Our service learning activities will depend largely on the needs of the Congaree National Park at
the time of our trip. Potential projects include fire line preparation and clearing/maintaining trails. On the first day of the trip, we plan to stop by the Harry Hampton Visitor Center in order to broaden our
understanding of the park’s history as well as learn more about present day conservation efforts.
The Congaree floodplain has an extensive cultural history. From the 1700’s to 1860, cultivation
of crops was attempted on the land but these efforts were eventually thwarted by the flat elevation and
tendency for flooding. However, the same attributes that stifled agricultural activity proved to be perfect
conditions for the expansion of a lush forest, which boasts some of the tallest trees in the Eastern part of
the United States as well as a vibrant wildlife. The Sierra Club recognized the need to preserve this
valuable ecosystem and began a grassroots campaign in 1969 to protect the area from logging operations. They were eventually successful, and Congaree was designated a National Park in 2003.
The local temperatures at this time of year typically fall in the mid- to upper-70’s with a chance
of rain and thunderstorms. Make sure you are prepared with clothes appropriate for the warm weather and possible rain!
The United States Department of the Interior is responsible for a large number of diverse tasks.
The Park Service is often dependent on volunteer work. Their job in protecting the beauty of the park is
accomplished by controlling invasive species, maintaining trails, cleaning pollution, and restoring damage from logging and agriculture in the past. The park rangers work hard so we can appreciate the ecosystem as tourists. This means it’s important to remember: leave no trace!
When not doing service work, we will be partaking in many of the park’s amenities. You can
look forward to hiking, kayaking, a park guided canoe tour, and more. We will have one free day outside
the park in which we will travel to the city of Columbia! There are many activities to do there including
visiting the Columbia Museum of Art, Riverbanks Zoo, Soda City, or Room Escape Games. Overall our
free day will be spent exploring the city of Columbus, South Carolina. What we do exactly in Columbia,
and throughout the week, will be flexible with whatever the group wants to do!
About the Site Leaders:
Our names are Jessika Washington and Jacob Weitzman. We met each other during our first ASB
trip to Nashville, TN last year (2017), and we are extremely excited to be leading an ASB trip together to
the wonderful Congaree National Park!
Jessika is a 3rd year American Studies major and possible Spanish minor. At UVA, she is
involved with First Year Players, Spectrum Theatre, and InterVarsity. She is obsessed with the Belcher
family, the Keating 5, Bughead, anything Disney, açaí bowls, awkward family vacations, and
volunteering during Spring Break!
Jacob is a 2nd year Government major and Urban & Environmental Planning minor, to be. He
serves as a co-chair of Student Council’s Sustainability Committee and is passionate about turning used
things into new things (another word for this – recycling)! You may see him driving a UTS bus around
grounds or refereeing an Intramural sport, and hopefully you see him and Jessika at Congaree National
We both are looking forward to meeting the rest of our team this spring break!