The land is fragile, all its parts interrelated. It is not possible to create more of it. There is no substitute for it. Our continued life on earth depends upon it. How we use -- or abuse -- the land affects our present and our future.
In Horry County, the land and water have too often been used for present profit and pleasure without regard to the future and the welfare of those who will live here after us.
We must work out both short and long term strategies to save it -- strategies that will require major sacrificial efforts by individuals, businesses, and governments. This will not happen unless we educate ourselves and our children to respect and protect the land and to make the hard decisions now that will enable future generations to live here in an environment that is healthful and productive.
Playcard Environmental Education Center is committed to fostering knowledge of the relatedness of plants, animals, soil, water, and human beings through teaching the natural sciences in the special world of a blackwater swamp. Although primarily focused on Horry County, it can provide a model for environmental education centers across the Southeast.
The vision of Playcard's founder Mr. James P. Blanton is to expose as many different user groups to the land and water donated to the Horry County Conservation Foundation as possible on a voluntary basis. Small groups of participants are preferred for educational access to the Center for safe operation. Playcard is to expose the wonders of nature to generations of people that need connection to the natural world. An informal voluntary outdoor environmental education program open to all user groups of all age levels is preferred by the Horry County Conservation Foundation to support this mission.
Swamps are part of Horry County history and heritage and are an essential part of the way nature works in this place. They control floodwaters, replenish the underground water system, filter pollution out of our waters, and provide habitat for plants and animals, some of them endangered. Like the seashores and marshes, swamps are important to people who live here now and those who will come after us.
At Playcard Center our goal is to instruct students in the natural sciences on-site, enabling them to experience first-hand the interrelationships of living things. Their teachers receive training which enhances their effectiveness in the classroom by increasing their knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching hands-on about the natural world. The Center also provides a site for observation and study by various scientific disciplines.
Playcard Environmental Education Center, unique in South Carolina and perhaps in the United States, has the potential for providing a laboratory setting for scientists and other professionals in such diverse fields as agriculture, life science, fisheries biology, hydrology, forestry, wetlands management, ornithology, experiential education, natural history, and game management. Inquiries by the scientific community across the nation and their enthusiasm for this facility when they visit lead us to believe that we have the potential of hosting research that will be basic to the future of the environment.
Playcard's mission is limited only by our imagination, our commitment and the financial resources available -- for acquiring additional land, recruiting the necessary staff and supporting its operation.