The Ebb & Flow BLOG

President’s Log: August 11, 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope this week’s President Log finds you well and staying healthy. What a summer it has been! I also hope you have enjoyed hearing from our very talented and dedicated team members over the past several weeks. We plan to continue featuring their voices and perspectives, as we have received very positive feedback from our readers. Thank you!  

One of the most delightful aspects of my job is working with an incredible group of people who are deeply committed to conservation and to Lowcountry Land Trust’s work. Even more inspiring to me is how the team has stepped up this spring and summer with vigor to lead the Land Trust through these very unusual times, including a disruption for me personally.   

As many of you know, I have taken a step back from my day-to-day duties as President & CEO to battle breast cancer. I received my diagnosis in late May, and with the support of the Board and staff, immediately swung into action to begin the process of treatment. The good news is, I am already halfway through chemotherapy, and while it has been no picnic, I have fared relatively well thus far. The best news is, I am already winning the battle, meaning I am responding very well to the treatment. Many of you have sent cards, care packages, texted, made phone calls, and cooked and delivered meals for my family. I can not thank you enough for your support. It is sobering for a “can-do” mom like me to receive such a diagnosis in the first place, and equally as humbling to receive so much love and encouragement from the Land Trust family. I have a long road ahead, but I am confident that by the end of it, I will be stronger than ever.  

You can already tell from the messages you have received all summer, LLT is in very good hands. From the very beginning, we appointed David Ray, Chief Conservation Officer, to act in my stead, and he is handling his increased responsibilities with grace and enthusiasm. I continue to work as President & CEO, but in a scaled-back arrangement to enable me to take care of myself and continue with treatments, and to focus my energy on strategic level matters and decisions for LLT alongside the Board, who have—not surprisingly—also risen to the occasion.  

Despite the tumultuous times we individually and collectively find ourselves in, the Land Trust team is leading, and they are innovating. Challenging times are often the origin of creativity, ideas, and discovery. Much like our natural systems adapt to changing conditions, we too are adjusting to new realities. This is how we persevere, and stay resilient. It is how we lead with courage through uncertainty. Your continued support inspires us to carry on. Thank you.  

Ashley Demosthenes
President & CEO
Lowcountry Land Trust

Monday, August 3rd: The Stewardship team met to discuss annual monitoring progress and numerous easement activities. To date, the Stewardship staff has monitored approximately 60% of properties protected by LLT.

Tuesday, August 4th: The Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law, providing permanent funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s most important conservation and recreation program. U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, Robert H. Boyles Jr., director of SCDNR, and Mike McShane, a Ducks Unlimited board member and former LLT Board Chair, share their thoughts on what this vital legislation means for South Carolinians in The Post and Courier.

David Ray, Chief Conservation Officer, convened the partners pursuing implementation of the John Island Community Conservation Initiative’s recommendations from LLT’s 2019 report. More to come on this project.

Wednesday, August 5th: Bruce Binney, Mid Coast Project Manager, and David Ray, Chief Conservation Officer, attended the Johns Island Task Force’s monthly meeting. Approximately 30 individuals and agency stakeholders gathered virtually to exchange information about conserving nature, cultural heritage, and quality of life on Johns Island.

Thursday, August 6th: Nathan Moyer, Senior Stewardship Program Manager, worked with The Nature Conservancy staff to discuss conservation easement interpretation questions for a co-held easement.

Friday, August 7th: Josh Bell, South Coast Project Manager, and Carl Taylor, GIS & Conservation Planning Manager, compiled the final materials needed for the Magnolia Hall conservation easement. Magnolia Hall is located on Old Chehaw River in the ACE Basin. Stay tuned for more information on this project.


We’re Hiring: Lowcountry Land Trust seeks an experienced self-driven philanthropy professional with a passion for nonprofit excellence. The Chief Advancement Officer works closely with the President & CEO and Board of Trustees to chart the strategic direction of the Advancement department and advancement initiatives. Learn more about this opportunity and apply here. 

LLT also seeks a Communications Coordinator who will assist in telling the story of our organization, providing a consistent brand voice and messaging across all LLT communication channels, and ensuring the overall integrity of the LLT brand. Learn more about this opportunity and apply here.

Duck Study: Clemson University researchers and partners are studying whether nesting boxes should continue to be used as a management tool for waterfowl. Read more at The Poultry Site.

[As we enter the long, hot days of summer, the President’s Log will feature a series of rotating guest writers, including LLT staff and board, as well as friends of Lowcountry Land Trust]