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Brown Bag Outings

We offer some of the best nature outings in town! As a benefit of membership, we hold quarterly, members-only guided outings to beautiful nature destinations and historic properties throughout the Midlands. These outings often include tours of private properties and sites that are not open to the general public.

Join our email list if you’d like to receive notices about our Brown Bag outings.


We are planning several great member outings for 2016-17!  Please check our website in August for upcoming events!


Winter Brown Bag #2February 27, 2016 – Dixie Plantation

Approximately 15 CLT members and guests assembled in the Ryan’s log home where James Hugh spoke about Dixie Plantation’s fragmented past and his efforts to recombine family lands over the past 50 years. Currently, the land is utilized and managed for outdoor recreation and forest stewardship and tree farm programs. After James Hugh’s initial overview of the property, John Cely led a short hike along a gravel road through pine and mixed-hardwood stands pointing out yellow jasmine buds and the early signs of spring. After the walk through this scenic property, the members returned to the cabin where they enjoyed their brown bag lunches. As a wonderful conclusion to the day’s events, Janet offered freshly baked brownies to all guests for dessert! CLT would like to thank James Hugh and Janet Ryan as well as John Cely for serving as wonderful hosts and tour guides for this outing!




IMG_1996May 9, 2015 – Peachtree Rock

Thanks to Mother Nature, our Winter Brown Bag at Peachtree Rock turned into a second Spring Brown Bag, but it was such a beautiful breezy day – it was worth the wait!  CLT member, Wayne Grooms led us on a wonderful tour of the property, weaving in significant historical facts, fun details about the plant life and clues to the geological formations on this stunning property.  Although the large Peacthree Rock is no longer standing, we were all impressed by the Small Peachtree Rock which remains in an upright position with beautiful character and colorful striations that make it a work of art!  After the hike, we adjourned to Dupre at the Market for a delicious lunch of farm-fresh fare from the South Carolina State Farmer’s Market.  Thanks to all who helped to make this a memorable morning!




IMG_1725April 11, 2015 – Hendricks – Wild Edibles Walk

CLT members gathered among the brilliant green of spring in the Hendricks’ wooded forest along the Broad River for a foraging walk with Matthew Kip.  Matthew, a native of Columbia is a permaculturalist and a wild food forager who has an extensive knowledge of native plants in the Midlands.  Matthew guided CLT hikers on a tour of the woods, highlighting a wide array of edible plants and inviting us to gather several samples for our “salad bowl” that we would enjoy later.  During our walk we discovered root-beer scented sassafras, chickweed, wood sorrel and bull brier, along with a PawPaw tree and the toxic Pokeweed plant, which we opted not to try!  Following the hike, we enjoyed a brown bag lunch along the Broad River, complete with our fresh greens that we had gathered earlier that day!  We express our sincere thanks to the Hendricks family and Matthew Kip for making this unique opportunity available to us!


September 27, 2014 – Doty Farm

Our very sincere thanks to our wonderful hosts, the Doty Family, for sharing their beautiful property with us on a gorgeous fall day!  Crisp fall weather provided a great backdrop for all of the activities.  Members and guests spent a wonderful morning fishing, petting the farm animals, hiking with our Land Protection Director, Mary Crockett, while enjoying a delicious cookout – compliments of our Land Protection Intern – David Palecek! Everyone was amazed at the number of fish caught by some of our youngest fishermen!


Billy and Dottie May 17th  Cate Farm Paddle on the Wateree River

Thanks to Billy Cate and canine host, Dottie, for their hospitality at the CLT Spring Member Paddle and Brown Bag!  Members of the Congaree Land Trust gathered at the Cate Farm on a gorgeous spring day in May to launch their excursion from Spears Creek, making their way out to the Wateree River for what proved to be a perfect day on the water!  Members meandered their way down the river while taking in the beautiful scenery before stopping for lunch at the Tolar Boat landing.  The views from the boats seemed virtually untouched, as both sides of the river are flanked by CLT protected properties, totaling approximately 8,500 acres in the COWASEE Basin.  Thanks to Billy, Dottie, and Mary Crockett for leading us on this pristine paddle.


SCWAPic3 February 2014 South Carolina Waterfowl Association

The harsh winter weather subsided briefly so that CLT members could enjoy a sunny day touring the South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA) property, with SCWA Executive Director, David Wielicki.  The SCWA property, also home to Camp Woodie, was established as a habitat research and demonstration area with over 200 acres of waterfowl impoundments.  With binoculars and cameras in hand, CLT members were first guided to an impressive observation deck where several species of ducks and other waterfowl could be seen, flying and foraging for food.  While watching the birds in their natural environment, David shared several interesting facts about the birds’ habitat, diet, and migration patterns.

Camden Clemson Property BB September 2013 Hard Scramble

On a crisp fall morning, CLT members gathered on the Clemson Hard Scramble Property to enjoy a scenic tour of this historic property.  Led by CLT’s Land Protection Director, Mary Crockett, the tour group ambled along the borders of the Wateree River in Camden.  During the tour, hikers were guided to several panoramic spots which had once been pasture and farmland, as was evident from glimpses of tree-encased barbed wire fencing, where trees had grown around the existing fences, reminding us that others had been there long before us.   As we made our way to a grove of river birch trees, we stopped to listen to the sounds of the fall leaves rustling in the wind, as we took in the beauty of the pastoral setting.  After crossing a tea colored stream, Mary pointed out many different types of flora and fauna, including bunches of Yellow Crown-Beard flowers which greeted the hikers in full bloom at our lunch spot on a river bluff.

Dunn's Mountain Hike May 2013 Dunn’s Mountain

During our spring brown bag, Dottie Tate served as our gracious host for a scenic tour of Dunn’s Mountain.  With walking sticks in hand, CLT members were treated to a spectacular hike up this Midlands monadnock.  Throughout the morning, hikers enjoyed scenic views of gorgeous mountain laurel and yellow jessamine in full bloom, along with a close-up view of loblolly and longleaf pines.  Adults and children enjoyed a lesson from our tour guides, Billy Cate and John Cely, on how longleaf pines played such an important role in the early twentieth century economy of South Carolina.  Longleaf pines were tapped for their natural turpentine, much like a maple tree is tapped for syrup.




Fairey Farm 4February 2013 the Fairey Farm Property 

CLT members John Fairey and Dan Fairey served as our hosts for the February Brown Bag on a very cold and rainy Saturday.  The Fairey’s property in Orangeburg County is located along the eastern floodplain of the North Fork Edisto River.  The Fairey brothers placed a conservation easement on their family’s farm property with CLT in 2007.  The 2000+ acre property has been in their family since the late 1800’s and features several farm fields planted with native grasses and a pecan grove behind the historic house and barns.  We walked through an upper floodplain filled with a hardwood grove of ash, chestnut and overcup oaks.  There were many beech trees still hanging onto their golden leaves along with sandy planted pine ridges.  We listened to the different sounds the wind makes as it blows through the different habitat types.  We saw evidence that spring was on its way with the visible blooms of our state flower, the yellow jessamine, and the small red flowers at the tops of maple trees.

IMG_2126May 2012 Sparkleberry/ Rimini Swamp Paddle

CLT members were treated to a beautiful day of paddling in a small portion of the flooded habitat known locally as either Rimini or SparkleberrySwamp.  SparkleberrySwamp lies at the headwaters of LakeMarion, a part of the Upper Santee floodplain formed by the junction of the Congaree and WatereeRivers.  From there, the swamp continues southward to the Rimini-Lone Star railroad trestle. This flooded area contains approximately 16,000 public acres owned by Santee Cooper.  It has been a favorite place for many because, with the exception of a plane flying overhead and a rare train on the track between Lone Star and Rimini, it is one of the few places in this state where you will hear only natural wildlife sounds. You simply have to be still and listen.  

BB Granite Hill Sept 24 2011 049 croppedSeptember 2011 Granite Hill

CLT Board Member Moffatt Burriss was our host as we visited his property in Fairfield County, we enjoyed learning about the history of the area, as well as the management plan that is in place for the property. We saw several buildings built in the early 30’s, built of granite mined from the Anderson Quarry. We also saw a section of the Rockton and Rion Railroad which was used to deliver the granite that was mined. We were joined on our walk by a very friendly doe, “Mamma Deer”, who stayed with us for a great deal of our walk.


 Wannamaker Peterkin Nature PreserveMay 2011 Wannamaker Peterkin Nature Preserve

CLT member Luther Wannamaker was our host as we visited his 305 acre preserve in Calhoun county that is both an historic Revolutionary War site and an exemplary nature preserve with incredible views overlooking the Congaree National Park. We saw wild turkeys, painted buntings, as well as other wildlife.



Brown Bag Lunch Singleton FarmMay 2011 Brown Bag Lunch at Singleton Farm

Following our visit to the Preserve, we enjoyed our brown bag lunches at Singleton Farm, home of CLT members Ann Nolte and Hank Stallworth as well as home to a wide variety of beautiful birds including the painted bunting which many of us saw, some for the very first time! We had a lovely time touring the fabulously restored farm house and Ann’s lovely gardens.

Poinsett State ParkFebruary 2011 Poinsett State Park

After rescheduling due to bad weather, we were treated to a beautiful spring-like day in late February for a hike at Poinsett State Park in the High Hills of Santee in Sumter County. This unique park offers a mix of steep hills and bluffs, pine and hardwood forests and Lowcountry swamp with a wide range of plant and animal life.

Walk in the Woods at CLT-owned Buff PropertyOctober 2010 A Walk in the Woods at CLT-owned Buff Property

This 30-acre green space in Lexington county was donated to CLT by retired professor Dr. L. H. Buff. This tract has hardwood ravines reminiscent of the mountains and foot hills featuring various oaks, hickories, and beech as well as a headwater stream of the Saluda River that runs through it. The group enjoyed a slow, leisurely walk through the woods then a tail-gating picnic in the parking lot!

Photography Outing on Cedar CreekMay 2010 Nature Photography Outing on Cedar Creek

CLT members Pat and Jane Dorn welcomed us to their beautiful home and property along Cedar Creek in upper Richland county. The enthusiastic group, led by CLT member and photographer Don Wouri, had a great time taking photos in and around the creek!

Santee National Wildlife RefugeFebruary 2010 Santee National Wildlife Refuge

Our group braved the cool, windy morning for an insider’s tour by refuge biologist Haven Barnhill.

Sparkleberry SwampOctober 2009 Paddling at Sparkleberry Swamp

John Cely, our Land Protection Director, considers Sparkleberry Swamp one of the best paddling sites in all of South Carolina.

Cemetery TourJune 2009 Historic Cemetery Tour

Led by Sumter historian Charles Broadwell, we were able to tour Bloom Hill Cemetery in the High Hills of the Santee, private land not ordinarily open to the public.