Left - Fire Ant Mound - undisturbed-------------Right - Fire Ant Mound disturbed

Undisturbed fire ant mound disturbed fire ant mound


The Edisto Fire Ants


In March 2004, it became known that secretly, a developer from Greenville was quietly negotiating with Colleton County and the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism to build a hotel and convention center within the Edisto Beach State Park.
Close neighbors who lived at "The Neck" gathered one evening to organize opposition to the project.

The small group asked Tom Mason to lead it. He agreed under a tenet of leadership that said "the successes are yours, and the failures are mine."
Then resident and still faithful Fire ant Helen Alexander had suggested the name because fire ants "swarm and sting when disturbed."

Indeed they did. Within two months, over a hundred people had met, agreed upon a strategy, and went to work. The rest is history, and there is no hotel in the state park. The Fire ants have since become known as Edisto's rapid response unit when Edisto's unique way-of-life becomes threatened. As the membership grew, so did the threats, and a little over a year ago the Fire ants enlisted the help of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to broaden its reach and make it more inclusive. The result is the Edisto Island Preservation Alliance (EIPA), with the Fire ants as one of a nine founding organizations - still ready to swarm and sting when summoned.

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