Spring Island

10.12-10.14 Spring Island interconnectivity

10.12.Islands-4-Horizontal-with-Figure Spring Island, South Carolina Highlights Relevant to Sustainable Design:

Respect interconnectivity.

I was fortunate to join an outstanding group of friends for a retreat weekend and golf outing on Spring Island in South Carolina. The pine trees, Spanish moss, and the diversity of the waterfowl all create a picturesque backdrop. The interconnection of natural life on islands appeals to me. Islands are by definition pieces of land surrounded by water. They are isolated and detached, which makes them an excellent study point for sustainability. The idea of islands standing “free” on their own is key in the balance of resource dependency and the cycles of life.


When a water bird dies, we may take for granted that a scavenger like a crab may eat its remains. As the counterpart, some water birds eat crabs. Waterfowl eat a surprising range of foods. We might expect that they eat fish, but here are the things that they eat that don’t typically move around: algae, grasses, roots, weeds, seeds, grain, small berries, fruits, nuts, and fish eggs. The food on the move includes insects, small crustaceans, snails, worms, mollusks, frogs, and salamanders.

Surprisingly, some waterfowl, like ducks, will seek out sand and small stones to eat for the grit that helps their digestion. These clearly nonmoving components of their diet typically include very small amounts of minerals that help balance their overall diet.[i] This idea of interconnectivity is key when we understand the complexity of the ecosystem and our ability to unintentionally disrupt the balance.

[i] Waterfowl: Islands 4: Spring Island, South Carolina: Detail (b): Clemson University: http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/kennedycenter/



Author and illustrator: Charlie Szoradi is an architect, inventor, and the CEO of Independence LED Lighting. He writes about many other topics related to Spring Island and island life through his extensive travels around the world.

If you have found this posting online, it is an excerpt from Mr. Szoradi’s book Learn from Looking that served as the inspiring seed content for this drawing share resource. For additional drawings and insights on Spring Island and other islands, we hope that you enjoy exploring LearnfromLooking.com. You can search via general terms such as sustainability as well as narrower terms such as Spring Island.

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