Caw Caw Interpretive Center – Ravenel, South Carolina
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A visit to Caw Caw Nature and History Interpretive Center in Ravenel lets guests explore a variety of habitats such as dry upland forest, old rice plantation fields, and cypress swamps. This area was once home to several rice plantations and also to African slaves, who created rice fields using their agricultural knowledge and skills.
Beyond the different landscapes, there is a chance to experience an important but often forgotten part of South Carolina history. The Caw Caw Interpretive Center offers educational programs that feature important sites related to the Stono Rebellion.
Pausing under the giant, Spanish moss-draped live oaks, one can almost sense the ghosts of the men and women who joined the Stono Rebellion on September 9, 1739. Marching from farm to farm, nearly 100 rioting slaves killed 20-25 white people and burned several homes before they were stopped by a militia. Within a few hours a third of the slaves had been shot, and within a week the rest were caught and executed.
As a result of this rebellion, new laws were passed that forbade slaves to grow their own food, learn to read, assemble in groups, or earn their own money. The revolt occurred more than 100 years before the Civil War, but the human consequences of slavery have a longer history than many realize.
Aside from being rich in local history, Caw Caw has over six miles of walking trails through its diverse habitats. Boardwalks take visitors through the wetlands, and rice fields dating to the eighteenth century are now home to a variety of waterfowl and other birds. Canals and dikes from the rice planting era are still visible at Caw Caw. Naturalized tea plants also abound, and painted buntings are often spotted during the summer months.
Caw Caw Nature and Interpretive Center is owned and operated by Charleston County Parks and Recreation and hosts several nature classes along with its cultural programs.
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Contributor Cortney Price says of her above photo: “During the winter, the black water cypress swamp at Caw Caw Interpretive Center turns all the colors of the rainbow. An oily-looking film (which is tree sap) on the surface and the angle of the winter sun create prismatic color.”
Caw Caw Interpretive Center Info
Address: 5200 Savannah Highway (US 17), Ravenel, SC 29470
GPS Coordinates: 32.791416,-80.197402
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