Land & Field
Plan Your Visit
The Oyster House is home to The Ford’s Naturalist Center and is without a doubt one of the most popular places on the property for members of all ages. In addition to being the base for the on-staff naturalist, the Oyster House–originally Henry Ford’s cabin—is the setting for monthly member Oyster Roasts, and casual gatherings.
Inside the Oyster House is where learning comes alive. Our naturalist maintains a collection of fossils as well as live snakes and turtles which are used for kids’ camps and educational demonstrations. Just outside is an observation deck overlooking the marsh, turtle pens plus an owl barn for rehabilitating injured birds of prey.
In addition to being home to the Naturalist Center, the Oyster House is a casual, welcoming place for members to enjoy at their leisure. Surrounding the Oyster House are several tables used for shucking during The Ford’s monthly Oyster Roasts, as well as a s’mores-ready fire pit, all illuminated by strings of lights.
Our experienced naturalist leads a number of year-round activities and excursions designed to help members and visitors understand The Ford’s unique flora and fauna and help preserve the property’s natural splendor for generations to come.
Brittany Dodge was one of those kids always covered in mud, following the trail of an unsuspecting animal to learn more about it. She graduated two years early from Mercer University with the intention of pursuing a career in the medical field, but a mission trip to Trinidad changed her plans. Brittany spent the summer teaching biology by day and doing sea turtle research by night, and she quickly realized that she was meant for a different path. She interned at Oatland Island Wildlife Center and worked briefly with North American river otters.
Brittany obtained a Masters of Biology from Clemson University while working as a veterinary technician and wildlife rehabilitator. She worked with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as a Wildlife Biologist doing sea turtle and alligator research. After joining the Outdoor Pursuits team at The Ford, Brittany obtained her Captain’s license. She is a member of the American Society of Naturalists, where she lectures regularly.
The club has received Audubon Certification for environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, water conservation and education—inviting all member families to join the on-site staff naturalist for bird counts, demonstrations, animal rehabilitations and educational activities.