There are over 1,100 acres of land in the Colleton and Chechessee Nature Preserves, owned and protected in perpetuity by the Spring Island Trust. Spring Island is a rich amalgamation of habitats, thanks to its unique coastal topography and history of human use. With 19 different kinds of soils ranging from dry sandy ridges to wetlands, the island’s 3,000 acres are home to over 600 species of plants. Each habitat offers a different experience of nature which changes according to season, weather, and time of day. Colors and textures are never the same and return visits always yield new discoveries.
At the south end of the island, you’ll find species originating from an ancestral hardwood bottomland swamp that surrounded the island 13,000 years ago. Here, spruce pine, bluff oak and the spectacular mottled trillium occur along bluffs with soils rich in oyster shells discarded by Native Americans thousands of years ago. Other species, normally associated with Piedmont and mountain regions, are just a stone’s throw from the salt marsh.
The longleaf pine here tells of a past when periodic ground fires, created by lightning, once swept through the undergrowth. Today, the Spring Island Trust is working to restore this disappearing habitat by replanting old fields with young longleaf pine and maintaining a first-rate prescribed burn program. This both perpetuates our distinctive habitat and helps protect our homes from the threat of a future wildfire.