S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Coastal Heritage Magazine

Where the Wild Places Are: Captivating Carolina Bays

Carolina bays have long captured the human imagination. From asteroids to whale wallows to melting glaciers, origin stories of these unique elliptical depressions found throughout the Atlantic Coastal Plain continue to provide intrigue.

Tall and wide pond cypress in a swampy area.

SAVAGE BAY. Pond cypress welcome visitors in a Carolina bay. Photo by Erica Hussey.

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Coastal Heritage Magazine

Volume 36 – Number 3
Fall 2023

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ERICA HUSSEY
Editor

Where the Wild Places Are

Thick vegetation presses in from both sides of the trail, forcing the group of naturalists to walk single file. Dense shrub has replaced the entwined bracken ferns scattered among four types of scrub oak (blackjack, bluejack, sand post, and turkey) that marked the way forward. Slash pine punctuates a stand of sparkleberry and smattering of pondspice. The elevation changes from the area the group formerly occupied as they enter a slight depression. Verdant green has also replaced the earthen browns and muted olive greens that made up much of the surroundings’ palette.

Austin Jenkins stops ahead, bends slightly at the waist to avoid branches overhead, and checks the group’s satellite position, with a gigantic insect net gripped in his other hand. Taller than most in the group, Jenkins stoops then shuffles through a thick cluster of overhanging swamp cyrilla branches—a shrub that occasionally takes on treelike stature. He has widened a tunnel through the shrub with his passing. As he moves further into the brush, a branch snaps back into place, obscuring the path Jenkins is on. The others in the group move forward, pushing branches aside to pursue him.

A man with a hiking pole looks up at a tall pond cypress tree.

ON THE COVER: Austin Jenkins leads a Carolina bay workshop in Savage Bay Heritage Preserve. Photo by Erica Hussey.

Here at the margins, Jenkins says: “All right, everyone. Close your eyes. If I had blindfolds, I’d have you wear them before we enter.” He waves a hand, beckoning the group forward. The ground has gone soft—despite the thick leaf litter, the change is noticeable underfoot.

As the naturalists push forward into a clearing, the group audibly gasps.

“It is breathtaking, isn’t it?”

Pond cypresses, Taxodium distichum var. imbricarium (previously known as Taxodium ascendens), tower overhead. A relative of the iconic giant sequoia and redwood, the pond cypress (and bald cypress) is swamp-loving and found mostly within the Southeast. Long-lived, some cypress trees in South Carolina are estimated to have been around for at least a century. The base of each cypress tree meets the earth in a flared trunk ten- to fifteen-feet wide. Rounded cypress knees peek out from under shed needles and other detritus. Pond cypresses are deciduous conifers that shed their needlelike leaves, which is unique among conifers that trend toward evergreen. A red-bellied woodpecker calls out from the canopy as it basks in a patch of sunlight. Everything is slightly touched by the beginning of another Southern autumn deep in the Sandhills region of South Carolina. The leaves of the Carolina redroot—a plant with swordlike leaves bearing a close resemblance to blades of tall grass or young, slender iris leaves—are stippled in brown, some slick with decay as they begin to recede with the waning season. The plant was so named for its reddish-colored rhizomes and roots that were used by Indigenous Americans as a natural dye. Now, uprooted plants displaying their red hue provide pops of color in the wash of green. The clearing is dry for now (usually in late summer and fall), but when the rains come, the area takes on a different appearance—one that requires hip waders to push through the almost knee-high waters.

A dried and pressed branch showing oval leaves, marked with various identification.

LITSEA AESTIVALIS. Pondspice is a rare, endemic deciduous shrub species found in the coastal plains of the Southeast. Photo courtesy University of South Florida Herbarium, Atlas of Florida Plants.

Austin Jenkins is a naturalist, and instructor for the SC Master Naturalist program through Clemson Extension and the SC Wildlife Federation as well as USC Sumter, where he teaches natural history of South Carolina and environmental biology. Today he’s leading a group of naturalists in a Carolina bay workshop within the Savage Bay Heritage Preserve.

Savage Bay is located near Cassatt, South Carolina—so named in honor of the naturalist Henry Savage, an attorney turned naturalist (and eventual mayor of Camden) who penned a book on Carolina bays. The 110-acre preserve is home to what Savage called “the imponderable mysteries of nature” in an August edition of The State in 1957. That imponderable mystery? Carolina bays.

Hiking through Savage Bay’s interior that holds two Carolina bays within its boundaries, one might be remiss in noticing anything out of the ordinary. Viewed from above, Carolina bays reveal some of their mysteries.

Although hints of the existence of Carolina bays have been noted in the writings of early colonial explorers in the late 1700s, aerial photography of farmlands and forests in the 1930s revealed the distinct ovoid-shaped depressions that incited scientific curiosity and public imagination. Now, almost a century later, Carolina bays still captivate with their mysterious origins and strange beauty. Savage himself believed they were created by a shower of meteorites. While others held even more imaginative theories: it was proposed that the depressions were “whale wallows” or areas that enormous groups of schooling fish dredged the seabed when the Atlantic Seaboard was covered by the ocean. Sinkholes were floated as an origin as were sea currents when areas were under water. Others postulated that perhaps melting glaciers or icebergs were the cause. And other theories mused that a large impact event—the “Saginaw impact manifold” in what is now Michigan—created a spray of debris that resulted in craters across the country. Like Savage, many are drawn to the creation story that includes extraterrestrial impacts. Woods Bay State Park located in Olanta has a placard that overlooks a lush swamp and playfully asks “It came from outer space?”

An aerial photo shows distinct oval shapes in the landscape.

OVERHEAD. An aerial view of Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve reveals the characteristic elliptical shape of Carolina bays. Map by Shu-Mei Huang, ArcGIS Online.

Many in the scientific community lean toward a theory of wind and water. Since the advent of radiocarbon dating, it’s been estimated that most of the Carolina bays were formed during the Pleistocene. The SC Department of Natural Resources has cited research that estimates the age of bays being between 7,500 to 20,000 years old, each having its own distinct birth date. This has led to two interpretations: 1.) perhaps the Carolina bays were formed at the same time then altered through the years or 2.) they were created at different points in time. Many in the scientific community appear to support the latter interpretation. So far, there is an absence of specific minerals or debris that would signal the impact of meteorite clusters. There are also a few examples of Carolina bays overlapping one another or shifting their boundaries over time. For now, their origins still generate divergent opinions but with more understanding of how they might have formed or continue to evolve through the constant manipulation by wind and water.

Carolina Bay Illustration

CAROLINA BAYS. Sharing the same northwest-southeast orientation and elliptical shape, Carolina bays show signs of manipulation by prevalent winds. Graphic by Lee Bundrick.

Carolina bays are usually ovoid in shape and have a northwest-southeast orientation, some running eerily parallel to each other. A ring of sand tends to accumulate along the perimeter and can build up on the southeast and northeast ridges. They vary in size: from thirty feet to three miles in diameter. The depressions are thought to be the product of prevalent wind patterns coupled with the receding oceans. Within their basins, some Carolina bays contain swamps, ponds, or wetland. Some were filled in while others were ditched and drained for agriculture.

The name “Carolina bay” is somewhat of a misnomer as Carolina bays—an estimated 500,000 of them so far—are scattered throughout the Atlantic Coastal Plain from Florida to as far north as New Jersey. However, they are more numerous within the Carolinas. “Bay” does not refer to the bay that signifies a body of water; instead, it might indicate the name was derived from the observation of an abundance of bay trees (such as loblolly, red, and sweet) in some of the Carolina bays.

“Some” is the key word here as each Carolina bay is distinct, supporting unique environments based on geographic region.

“Across the state, they’re not all the same. And some—their own histories have not remained the same. There are bays we might never know what originally looked like before they were ditched or filled or permanently changed. There’s restoration work that has been done and is being done, but we may never know what some of them looked like in the beginning,” says Jenkins.

A boardwalk winding into a cypress swamp.

WOODS BAY. On the boardwalk in Woods Bay, visitors can trek through part of a Carolina bay alongside resident alligators. Photo by Erica Hussey.

Carolina Bays, Each Their Own

Among the thousands of Carolina bays, a wealth of diversity exists:

Woods Bay State Park – Olanta in Florence County

Woods Bay, a 1,590-acre park, is further inland in the coastal plains region. It features oak-hickory forests, shrub bogs, marshes, and sandhills. Visitors can walk a 1,150-foot boardwalk, canoe the cypress tupelo swamp with the resident alligators, or hike the surrounding trails to get a glimpse of this Carolina bay. A length of boardwalk that extends into the bay showcases dense brush on either side of the trail, making this one of the more accessible Carolina bays.

Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve – Horry County

Located west of Myrtle Beach, Lewis Ocean Bay is host to some of the most diverse plants in the state. Within its 10,427-acres, pitcher plants, orchids, Venus flytraps (native to South and North Carolina), an array of avian life, and black bears thrive. It is also one of the Carolina bays that is fire dependent, relying on prescribed burns as part of its ecosystems’ cycles. Lewis Ocean Bay houses twenty-three intact Carolina bays.

Francis Marion National Forest – Charleston and Berkeley County

Francis Marion is home to swaths of towering pine trees, marshlands, and swamps anchored by bald cypress that are larger than the pond cypress found at Savage Bay. Here about twenty-five of the remaining Carolina bays can be found within the forest. Francis Marion like Lewis Ocean Bay regularly sees prescribed burns in the area to manage the forest.

Carvers Bay – Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1997 within the National Wildlife Refuge system, the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge is located near Georgetown. Carvers Bay was transferred to the refuge in 2023 from The Nature Conservancy. Situated in a coastal area, Carvers Bay boasts a population of coastal black bears among other unique species of plants. Black bears flourish in Carvers Bay, creating tunnels through extremely thick brush that become bear centric sanctuaries.

Three small black bears in front of vegetation.

URSINE HABITAT. Coastal black bears make their home in the thick vegetation of Carolina bays. Photo by Debbie Mann.

Ephemeral Wetlands

“Savage Bay is ephemeral,” says Jenkins, referring to the ground the group now treads.

Ephemeral meaning transient and short-lived. Applied to a bay, ephemeral demonstrates a transient nature within a cyclical existence. Many Carolina bays have an ephemeral existence, transitioning through wet and dry cycles as isolated wetlands—not obviously connected to other wetland habitats or surface waterways such as streams, creeks, rivers, or lakes. Instead, rain and groundwater dictate their water saturation. But isolated doesn’t imply they aren’t connected to the rest of the waterways, as water finds a way to travel whether through groundwater or other means.

Jenkins points around the base of a pond cypress to indicate where the water might be if they were visiting in another season: “Imagine this area full of skirting dragonflies and damselflies. Water thick with life.” Now the water is replaced with waning redroot and copious mats of a variety of Sphagnum species. But when the rains come, the area becomes a haven for tadpoles, insects, and other wildlife.

A man in hiking gear holds a laser pointer.

OBSERVATIONS. Austin Jenkins guides workshop participants in interpreting the surrounding flora and fauna. Photo by Erica Hussey.

There is no standing permanent water nor is the area obviously connected to other bodies of water like streams or tributaries. The surface dries out. Which is important for many animal species as it does not have perennial water. Insects such as damselflies and South Carolina’s state amphibian, the spotted salamander, spawn in the absence of predatory fish—the short-lived waters become a nursery for a multitude of animal species.

“And maybe salamanders predict the weather?” suggests Jenkins, as he points toward the ground and explains their unique adaptions.

When the waters dry up, some creatures have adapted methods to wait out dry spells: some salamanders are known to bury then cocoon themselves in a mucus secreted from their skin that hardens allowing them to avoid desiccation. It’s estimated that they might remain in this state for some thirty-five weeks according to a 1972 study of Siren intermedia published by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Other studies have suggested that salamanders might be able to sustain this state even longer, possibly years.

People and infrastructure also benefit from these elliptical depressions during weather events: Carolina bays serve as protection against storms, as reservoirs for heavy rainfall, and as buffers that improve water quality. Additionally, they support recreational benefits (such as outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking to bird watching to hunting). The bays operating as water reservoirs and buffers underscore the interconnection of the waterways; even as isolated wetlands, they play an integral part of hydrological connectivity. Despite no obvious surface waterbody connections, there are subsurface processes that connect water in the hydrological cycle (groundwater, for example).

Isolated wetlands are also known by another name: “non-federal wetlands” since the federal government no longer covers them with federal protections.

A man bends over and examines the ground.

GROUND LEVEL. Bill Twomey takes a closer look at a slumbering bumblebee in the plant matter underfoot. Photo by Erica Hussey.

Under the recent rulings for Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are now looser protections for wetlands based on this precedent that essentially examined the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) which oversees pollutant discharge into waterways. According to The National Sea Grant Law Center via their publication The Sandbar, Sackett v. EPA scrutinized the very language used to protect wetlands—specifically, the term “navigable waters,” what defines the “wetlands” covered by the CWA, and whether a wetland can be considered “adjacent.” In the case, the Sacketts filled areas of their property in Idaho and were subsequently sent a compliance order from the EPA. The EPA interpreted the property as containing CWA-covered wetlands. The issue hinged on the interpretation of “navigable waters” and whether the wetlands on the Sackett property could be considered “adjacent” to a tributary despite a road interrupting the connection between the two. The Sacketts argued that because the area lacked an obvious surface connection to a CWA-covered waterbody, the property wouldn’t fall under the same protections. Ultimately, the US Supreme Court sided with the Sacketts. In the conclusion of the case, the US Supreme Court decided it was easier for landowners to apply a “surface water connection test” that would help them avoid penalties and misinterpretations of terms and regulations.

What that means for the future of the nation’s wetlands remains to be seen. According to the SC Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina does not have a program for regulating wetlands (Carolina bays, swamps, pocosins, bogs, savannahs, and others) that is specific for the state. Instead, the state relies on federal programs to regulate wetlands—programs like the Clean Water Act.

A tangle of dried vegetation showing redroot with slender leaves low to the ground.

REDROOT. Mottled in brown, redroot shows signs of the changing seasons in its leaves among patches of Sphagnum species. Photo by Erica Hussey.

Restoration

During the twentieth century, many of the Carolina bays were stripped and denuded for agricultural use and forestry. Once viewed as impenetrable swamps of the North American landscape—Carolina bays were harvested for timber and peat or converted into farmland. “Swamp” areas often earned other labels during that time—dismal, barren, desolate, snake-filled, no man’s land—that hastened the move to attempt to change them into something more “productive.”

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) estimates that the majority of the Carolina bays are gone, with only 3 percent of them remaining intact across the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Within South Carolina, the U.S. Forest Service estimates that only two hundred of the original 2,600 surveyed Carolina bays still remain intact and in their “pristine state.”

The pervasive attitudes toward an inclination of exploiting resources provided by Carolina bays continued into the late twentieth century. A participant in Jenkins’s workshop recalled a bumper sticker from the ’70s that read: “Drain the Bay, Make ’em Pay.” Which indicates the level of interest in such areas was still deeply tied to monetary gains. However, at the turn of the century and into the most recent decades, public perception of Carolina bays and similar environmental features is changing—and quickly.

According to David Bishop, TNC’s coastal and midlands conservation director, he’s noticed this trend within the last decade: “The conversations are positive and making me optimistic for the future. It’s my impression that communities are beginning to understand the importance of wild places and green infrastructure. Especially in coastal communities, people see the connections between hurricanes and large rain events in hand with flooding and are seeing the important role Carolina bays and other wetlands play in storing water and releasing it slowly, diverting it. I see these landscapes similar to a quilt—wetlands, forests, communities, development, wildlife, watersheds, and nature, people—but if all your quilt is concrete, you have a problem. And people are beginning to talk about that. This is all a part of the conversation now, which it wasn’t a few years ago.”

Loblobby Bay Flower

GORDONIA LASIANTHUS. Loblolly bay is found in some of the Carolina bays and prefers swampy soils. Graphic by Lee Bundrick.

During the summer of 2023, TNC transferred Carvers Bay, a 2,110-acre tract of land, over to the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge (WNWR). TNC had the land for over a decade, slowly restoring the area, its hydrology, and even worked in tandem with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation service to secure a Wetland Reserve Easement before handing it over to the WNWR for further restoration and management. The iconic property that was formerly used to harvest timber and as a practice bombing range in WWII was sold to TNC with the request that the property eventually be incorporated into the refuge.

“We’re so excited about Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge as they’re the perfect long-term stewards to oversee the restoration and protection efforts,” says Bishop.

Carvers Bay—the largest intact coastal Carolina bay according to TNC—contains vital habitat along the Atlantic coast that houses a population of coastal black bears alongside some of the only known Atlantic white cedars and rare plants (Venus fly traps and pitcher plants). Black bears are also ingrained into the community’s identity—the local high school having made it their mascot.

“A big goal for the refuge is connectivity from bay to bay. Wildlife corridors are really important, as are the buffer areas around the bays. Black bears love Carolina bays. If you have isolated bays here and there, even if they’re protected, with no corridors the bears are going to get hit by cars or end up in people’s yards. We’ve taken a landscape conservation approach: we’re not just focusing on the bay but a lot of the land around it,” says Craig Sasser, the WNWR’s refuge manager.

Atlantic White Cedar

CHAMAECYPARIS THYOIDES. Carvers Bay contains an Atlantic white cedar forest, a wetland species that is a member of the cypress family. Graphic by Lee Bundrick.

Some of the restoration processes in Carolina bays have focused on restoring hydrology through vegetation restoration and attending to areas that have been ditched and drained. Many of the bays also depend on fire as a restorative means and as a part of their ecosystems’ cycles—prescribed fire clears away dead vegetation, stimulate growth in the understory, return nutrients to the soil, and some plants and animals have evolved to include fire in their life cycles. The problem is development encroachment around the Carolina bays, making developments vulnerable to fire.

“Some of the Carolina bays are very fire dependent. A lot of this depends on their hydrology and hydrological connection to other bays or wetlands. You see this particularly in Horry County. And land use changes have really isolated some of these areas. You end up with Carolina bays circled with residential development that interrupts that hydrological connection. What ends up happening is a lot of fire suppression in those areas to try to keep them from burning, but that fuel adds up. Eventually, whether it’s a drought or a lightning strike or a combination, they catch on fire. This can cause major issues when that happens,” says Sasser. “That’s why it’s so important to also think of the land surrounding the bays and consider the connectivity between these systems.”

It’s a challenge the WNWR is up for as it has previously succeeded in boundary expansion and modification and permanent protections gained through conservation easements.

Beyond restoration of natural Carolina bays, an artificial one is now on the horizon—Chestnut Bay Resilience Project. Citing wetland benefits seen in providing stormwater management, flood reduction, improved water quality, and recreation, the city of Conway looked for ways to harness the benefits of Carolina bays. In the fall of 2023, Conway was awarded $2.17 million FEMA grant, which will be used to create a 7.8-acre wetland in the area. The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina
provided the initial $40,000 grant to allow Conway to conceptualize the bay project. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew extensively damaged residential areas resulting in buyouts. With increasing weather events, communities have prompted a prioritization of stormwater management. The move toward creating new resilience programs by mimicking natural Carolina bays appears to be the first of its kind.

“We’re seeing a new era of public interest in wild places. It used to be that we saw green spaces, wild places discussed in very narrow terms: it’s just recreation or it’s just wildlife or it’s just for some rare species. Now, people view themselves as a part of these wild places—not separate,” says Bishop. “So, it’s vital to restore and protect.”

People walking in a line through the forest.

EXPLORATION. A group of workshop participants makes their way through Savage Bay. Photo by Erica Hussey.

Savage Bay, a Ponderable Mystery

Acting as an environmental raconteur, Jenkins draws the group’s attention to various spots in the bay and interprets their meaning: from deer rub spots to slumbering bumblebees underfoot. Like his mentor, the late Rudy Mancke—who was the host of NatureNotes and NatureScene as well as the naturalist in residence at the University of South Carolina—Jenkins possesses an infectious curiosity and enthusiasm for sharing his subject matter.

In another moment, Jenkins gently captures a bird grasshopper in cupped hand. It is an impressive and conspicuously large grasshopper—they are common and some of the largest grasshopper species in the state. Jenkins extends his hand outward to let the others examine the insect pinched between his fingers before placing it on the base of a tree. A few moments after releasing the grasshopper, the insect takes flight. It appears to almost float to a nearby tree then back down, disappearing into a tuft of reindeer moss, a soft lichen.

Along another section of a trail, Jenkins falls silent and points upward. At first, it’s difficult to decipher the object of interest in a canopy full of green then the familiar shape, an icon of the winter holidays, becomes apparent: mistletoe. A hemiparasitic plant, mistletoe is capable of creating its own food through photosynthesis while also sourcing nutrients and water from its host. Jenkins uses the insect net to extend his reach and collect mistletoe berries. A workshop participant watches as Jenkins reaches upward with the net, rattling the mistletoe berries off their stems: “Who would have imagined a butterfly net would be that useful?”

With mistletoe in hand, Jenkins allows everyone to inspect the leaves and white berries. He encourages the group to pop them and fling the contents. Mirth quickly ensues. A few of the workshop participants rub the stubborn berries between their fingers. The berries are viscous and sticky on purpose: to propagate in the height of the canopies, mistletoe relies on birds for seed dispersal.

A man dressed in hiking clothes holds a grasshopper gently in his hand.

CLOSER LOOK. Jenkins holds out a grasshopper specimen for the group to inspect before releasing it. Photo by Erica Hussey.

Mistletoe berries contain viscin, the substance that affords them their sticky nature. As the birds digest mistletoe berries, they excrete seeds in this gooey substance, which acts as a natural adhesive. Viscin is made up of strands of cellulose that are adapted to adhere to surfaces. As the berries are dispersed, they effectively glue themselves into the canopies, allowing a future generation of the mistletoe to take root. Viscin is now being studied as another option in place of synthetical adhesives as well as a potential biomedical adhesive for wound sealant. Historically, the effective stickiness has already been deployed in a myriad of ways: in birdlime, the gluelike substance from mistletoe and similar species was spread on perching surfaces to trap small birds. The Greeks and Romans used mistletoe for its purported healing abilities, ranging from balms for epilepsy to adhesives for wound closure to aphrodisiacs and remedies for spleen disorders.

As Jenkins guides the group back out of the Carolina bay, a light rain stirs the canopy. Birds chatter and the group stops as a few individuals mimic calls back to them. This stand of trees is still dense in the margins of the bay, but ahead there are signs the path is opening up back to the scrub oaks and ferns. Here, Jenkins points to a tangle of branches high in the trees: “One bird you’re probably familiar with, the white-eyed vireo, loves these thick shrubby habitats. And that’s who will be nesting here.” Even in the rain, the group remains in high spirits, listening to the other calls of birds around them while pointing out a variety of nests in the trees and  discussing the plant life around them.

Looking up through tall trees.

TAXODIUM DISTICHUM VAR. IMBRICARIUM. Towering pond cypress trees overlook a Carolina bay. Mature trees can reach heights of forty-nine to fifty-nine feet. Photo by Erica Hussey.

Exiting the bay, the group brushes up against the last of the thicker shrubs and trees. Drying swamp cyrilla seed capsules rest in some of the groups’ hair and on top of packs. Rain patters lightly along the canopy before falling more evenly and heavily. The group nears the entrance of Savage Bay and reconvenes around Jenkins.

Even though most in the scientific community support theories of wind and water, the imaginative capacity for Carolina bay origin stories is hard to ignore. Conversations about the creation of the bays begin again as the group synthesize their experiences and interactions under the shade of the cypress and pine. Whale wallows are playfully thrown around and a lively conversation about meteorites and comets ensues finally coming full circle back to wind and water.

“But it’s just not as sexy as meteorites,” says Jenkins, as he has pushes aside pine straw and fallen leaves to reveal dirt—nature’s chalkboard— here, he creates an outline of the state with a stick.

“Or dinosaur footprints,” chimes in one of the participants, as the group laughs and shakes off the rain.

Jenkins draws the group’s attention to the different regions of the state, from the Lowcountry to the Sandhills. With the lines drawn, it’s easier to visual the orientation of the bays and how wind might have caused sand to accumulate in specific areas because of wind direction. Jenkins highlights the diversity between each region: “The environments are diverse and support an enormous diversity of plants and animals. You wouldn’t expect to find the same landscapes in the coastal bays here in the Sandhills. You might find a few repeated species supported in both, but overall, they wouldn’t look exactly the same.”

After exploring the enigma of Carolina bays, Jenkins and the group end the conversation musing about the imagination the bays incite and the ponderable mysteries we are inspired to understand and protect.

Jenkins adds: “They’re extraordinary. Magnificent. Each one is different and each has its unique personality—they are captivating.”