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Day of the Dragon

  • Goodale State Park (map)

This class is currently FULL - email Sara Green to be put on a waiting list.

Join us for an investigation into the exciting natural history of dragonflies and damselflies! These majestic creatures grace our waters on the wing throughout the summer in South Carolina, where we boast over a hundred species that come in all shapes, sizes, and incredible colors.  

Goodale State Park, in the heart of the South Carolina Sandhills, is bursting with a bountiful regiment of these regal creatures. During our day, we’ll analyze each part of the dragonfly, from the eyes to legs to the wings to the tail, investigating the related biology of each aspect. We’ll mosey down to the aquatic habitats the dragons call home. This includes a large millpond that hosts a large number of skimmers, pennants, and pond damsels. We’ll also investigate the backwoods, where the running water gives rise to a completely different assemblage of dragons and damsels, to include jewelwings, rubyspots, and several dancer species.  

In addition to surveying the sky, we’ll use the dip nets to capture larval dragonflies and damselflies, examining their differences and underwater lifestyles along with the associated biota with which they coexist. Dragonfly life also demands diverse aquatic vegetation, and we’ll discuss several of these plant species and the important strata they form upon the water.

By the end of the day, you’ll be able to:
1.    Discuss the connections between form and function of dragonfly anatomy
2.    Successfully identify several species of dragonflies and damselflies
3.    Understand the variety of ecological requirements needed to support dragonfly life
4.    Predict species assemblages associated with particular aquatic habitats

Where:  This training will take place at Goodale State Park just outside of Camden, South Carolina. Meet at the community building on top of the hill.   The website, which includes directions, can be found by clicking here.  

When:  Tuesday, June 13th.  We’ll meet at 9:30 AM.  The day will conclude sometime around 2:30 PM.  

Who: This training is open to the public. No prior knowledge is required. Minimum age is 16. For SC Master Naturalists who have not taken a dragonfly course, this event can count as Advanced Training (4.5 training hours) and towards your statewide certification if you need a Sandhills component.   If you are not a Master Naturalist, just come have fun with us. Participants will also receive contact info of other participants to allow for carpooling to the park.

This class will be taught by Austin Jenkins, who teaches and facilitates the popular Midlands Master Naturalist class for the South Carolina Wildlife Federation.  Jenkins teaches Natural History of South Carolina at USC Sumter.

IMPORTANT: Participants should be in good physical shape.  Goodale State Park is HOT in June.  In addition, we will be on our feet most of the day.  DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN YOU CAN HANDLE THESE CONDITIONS.  

Cost: The cost is $60.00 per person. 

Other Important Notes:

•    Restrooms are available at the park.

•    Participants should bring a bag lunch and water and be prepared for a day in the field.

•    There is no rain date for this event. We will make every effort to hold it, even in a few rain showers. If we can’t make it happen due to weather or some other situation, we will refund your money.

•    After registering you will receive important correspondence via email from  If you change your email between now and then, make sure to notify us.

•    If available, please bring binoculars and a hand lens. If you have a dragonfly book, bring it, but this is not required or necessary. Otherwise, we will have several copies of field guides so that you can choose one for future studies. Feel free to bring an insect net if you have one.  Otherwise,  we will have some available.