Charleston, SC

Mar 4th, 2017 to Mar 11th, 2017
Cost: $637.00 Partner Organization(s): Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission Service Type: Environmental conservation Number of Participants: 8

Trip Logistics and Participant Requirements:

We’re planning to leave bright and early Saturday, March 4 so we can get a jump on the 7 hour drive to Charleston. Once in the city, we’ll be staying at the Notso Hostel, a super cute building where we’ll most likely meet other travellers from all over the world. Walking will be our primary form of transportation downtown, but we’ll be driving to our service location every morning. We’ll head back to Charlottesville after a great week of service and sightseeing on Saturday, March 11.

It will be an exhausting, fun-filled week, so we’re looking for participants with good attitudes! We’re hoping to have a group that works hard during our service (be prepared for getting dirty and sore), but one that also is ready to have fun exploring Charleston in all of our down time. You get bonus points if you love walking!


Service Activities:

During our time in Charleston, we’ll be working with the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission (CCPRC). Our work will include preparing some of the Charleston County parks for the summer season. We won’t know the specifics of what the CCPRC needs until we get closer to Spring break, but service on previous trips has included planting flowers, clearing trails, and cleaning the parks. We’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot about the people who work for the CCPRC, and also learn from them about some of the unique plants that we’ll see when working. We will most likely do service Monday-Friday from 9-1, after which we’ll eat lunch and go sightseeing around the city.

Regional Background:

Charleston sits on a peninsula on the southern end of South Carolina’s coast. Nestled between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, Charleston boasts some of the finest urban and natural beauty in the South.

The city’s natural and social histories are intricately intertwined. The rich swamp ecosystem attracted English settlers to develop a booming rice business operated by slaves. Charleston melds these English and Gullah cultures, and we’ll witness the ecological impact of the rice industry during our service in the parks and tour of Middleton Plantation. Nowadays, Charleston’s tourism industry is thriving thanks to its natural splendor and rich history as an antebellum hub of the nation.


Community Background:

Charleston was voted the Number 1 city in the world in 2016 by Travel & Leisure, largely thanks to its friendly environment, great restaurants, and of course, the beautiful nature found in and around the city. This is where the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission comes in. Its mission is to improve the quality of life in Charleston County by offering a diverse system of parks, programs, and services. The various parks in Charleston County certainly are diverse – they have beaches, land parks, a historic plantation site, an interpretive center, and even an equestrian center. These parks allow people to connect with nature and escape from the city in a variety of different ways.


Recreational Activities:

A large quantity of ice cream will be consumed on this trip. We will burn these calories through our nature expeditions and urban roving. Charleston has countless gems to admire such as Waterfront Park, Charleston Aquarium, and Rainbow Row! Venturing beyond the city, we’ll marvel at natural wonders like Angel Oak and be immersed in an unfamiliar and wonderful ecosystem rife with Spanish moss, gargantuan oaks, ospreys, alligators and bald eagles. We’ll bike on Kiawah island, explore Middleton Plantation and Francis Marion National Park, and go on a murder mystery tour through the city. If you’re looking for a nature getaway or an urban escapade, Charleston offers a harmony of both.


About the Site Leaders:

John (jfp5ut) is a second year in the College. If you asked him what his major is he would say “pre-winning” and laugh at his own joke. He’s a volunteer firefighter/EMT serving Albemarle County and a member of the Catholic Student Ministry. As an ASB participant to Charleston last year John studied all the brochures and maps available on the car ride down then went for runs down King Street at 6AM before service. Come see the sunrise in Charleston! (Or sleep in like Mary Ellen.)

Mary Ellen (mep5rc) is a third year studying elementary education in the Curry School. She volunteers in several elementary schools in Charlottesville and co-teaches a third grade religious education class, during which she attempts to ignore questions the kids ask about zombies and dinosaurs. Mary Ellen plays club tennis at UVA and loves eating dessert and going to fitness classes at the gym. She went on the ASB trip to Charleston her first year and loved it so much that she co-led the ASB Charleston trip last year. On that trip, she met John (possibly the greatest participant ever to have gone on an ASB trip) and decided to lead the trip with him so she could go back to Charleston over Spring Break for the third year in a row.


Site Leader Testimonials:

Working with the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission has taught me so much about Charleston’s natural environment and its history. One of my favorite memories from this past year is when our site contact taught us how to find whelk shells on the beach. My other favorite memory is when our site contact pointed out a yaupon holly plant and told us that you can make caffeinated tea with it. We took some leaves back to the hostel with us and made tea the next morning! — Mary Ellen

I hopped into a minivan with ‘hoos I barely knew to a city I had never seen. So started my weeklong adventure of discovering Charleston with my ASBuddies. By the end of our trip, I felt a certain intimacy with Charleston that I don’t share with any other place. The city is small enough to get acquainted with quickly but big enough to get immersed in. I look back fondly on my ASB experience not due to a collection of snapshot memories but because of the daily rhythm. Run to see the sunrise at the aquarium, do service on Kiawah Island all day, rove down King Street at night. That Charleston rhythm is too catchy, and I’m coming back for more. — John