A land trust is a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect land forever. This is typically accomplished by helping landowners protect the character and valuable natural resources on their property with conservation easements. In addition to the landowner’s benefit of preserving their land and legacy, there are substantial community benefits including clean water, protected scenic views, and native wildlife habitats. Protecting these conservation values benefits both future generations of landowners and the community as a whole.
MEET THE LAND PROTECTION TEAM
With its highly focused mission and many years of experience, backed by dedicated supporters and a substantial stewardship endowment, Lowcountry Land Trust’s Land Protection team is well-equipped to work with landowners in creating conservation easements and safeguarding those easements in perpetuity or in purchasing land when appropriate. Learn more about our land protection team below!
David Ray is Lowcountry Land Trust’s Chief Conservation Officer. Previously an attorney in government, large firms, and academic settings, he became Lands Program Director for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in 2002. Subsequently, he managed conservation planning and grant-making programs at the Open Space Institute and has led land protection and restoration programs for The Nature Conservancy in the Southern Blue Ridge and Colorado. David holds degrees from Davidson College and the University of Georgia School of Law. During his career, he has played a significant role in over fifty conservation projects on more than 40,000 acres.
Josh Bell works closely with landowners and our various partners in conservation throughout the Lowcountry to achieve land protection goals. Upon earning his Bachelor of Business Administration from UGA, Josh began his career as a field biologist in Savannah. He became intimate with our coastal region’s geography and ecosystems by working in the field throughout the Lowcountry. Before joining Lowcountry Land Trust, Josh was the Stewardship Director for the Open Land Trust. He gained extensive knowledge of the intricacies of conservation easements and the vital role of dedicated landowners in ensuring that our fragile Lowcountry landscape is protected forever.
Natalie Olson joined the Lowcountry Land Trust in 2021 as the Sea Islands Program Director. She is responsible for pursuing strategies to conserve land on the sea islands, with a special focus on Johns and Wadmalaw Islands. Before joining the Lowcountry Land Trust team, Natalie worked for Conservation Voters of South Carolina, the Coastal Conservation League, and private-sector wetland mitigation banking. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctor from the Charleston School of Law.
Sam Seawell is a well-known conservationist in the Lowcountry community, having worked with Lowcountry Land Trust for nearly four years serving as a primary point of contact for landowners, stewarding a portfolio of conservation easements, and playing a vital role in the protection of new land. Sam now strengthens the community through conservation in his role as Community Lands Director. Before working with Lowcountry Land Trust, Sam graduated from The University of the South with a Bachelor of Arts in Environment and Sustainability and worked for several conservation and natural resources organizations throughout the country, such as Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, Trout Unlimited, and the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative.
Carl Taylor joined the Lowcountry Land Trust team in 2016 and serves as the Geographic Information System (GIS) and Conservation Planning Manager. In this role, Carl creates maps and performs geospatial parcel and ecosystem analyses vital to the completion of conservation easement projects. He also creates landscape-scale conservation plans and tools that support our overall conservation mission in the Lowcountry. He holds a Bachelor of Science from James Madison University and both a Master of Science in Environmental Studies and a Master of Public Administration from the College of Charleston.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
THE EBB & FLOW BLOG: CONSERVATION EASEMENTS
The Historic Cooper River Region
A prominent feature of the Cooper-Ashley-Wando -Stono (CAWS) River Basin, the historic Cooper River region is a remarkably intact cultural landscape containing archaeological features from both before and after European
All About Johns and Wadmalaw Islands
Johns and Wadmalaw Islands within the Lowcountry’s Sea Islands region form a flagship landscape for Lowcountry Land Trust. These islands represent a rural, traditional way of life under the pressure
Conservation Focus Area: The ACE Basin
Lowcountry Land Trust is a long-time conservation partner in the ACE (Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto) Basin, a 1.7-million-acre watershed recognized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and SC Department of Natural Resources
HELP US CONSERVE MORE LAND
By working together with community leaders, private landowners, businesses, and other conservation organizations, we can protect the open land that we need for agriculture, wildlife habitat, resilient infrastructure, and recreational enjoyment.
Lowcountry Land Trust’s primary strategic priority is to protect properties highly significant to rural landscapes, urbanizing communities, and the Lowcountry’s sense of place.