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“C” is for Carolina bays

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“C” is for Carolina bays. Carolina bays are elliptical, shallow depressions found on unconsolidated sediments of the coastal plain region of eastern North America from Maryland to Florida. Most of these unique geomorphic features occur in North and South Carolina, with Horry and Dillon Counties having the most bays. Of the thousands of bays that once dotted the coastal plain, only about 219 have been preserved, and only 36 of these are in pristine condition. Most bays in South Carolina are dry all year round. Many bays contain cypress-tupelo communities, Virginia bays, red maples, sweet gums, and willows among tree species. They form unique habitats occupied by several endangered animal and plant species, including bobcat, osprey, bear, mock bishop’s weed, and rose coreopsis. Carolina bays range in size from three acres to thousands of acres.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.