When it’s blazing hot outside like today (and I’m grateful to be “forced” to sit in my home office), sometimes I take a little break and peruse the South Carolina Nature Lovers Facebook group page. I always find something that allows me to pause and take a mental break from my cool, air-conditioned office and live vicariously through one of the 13,000+ member’s photos. This year, I’ve noticed a lot of Roseate Spoonbill photos, all accompanied by highly enthusiastic captions, which had me thinking about conservation success stories, and ultimately how much wonder and joy and, yes, even love, that nature inspires.
This week I’m also remembering Michael Soulé, widely considered the father of Conservation Biology, who passed away last month at the age of 84. When I met him, I was just starting out in my first job building support for conservation action. He sat on an advisory board for the early-stage conservation nonprofit where I worked in Santa Cruz, California. As a non-scientist working alongside biologists, I appreciated his description of his field of study as one that was “mission-oriented” with a focus on action and solutions.
Like Mr. Soulé, I also trace my work in this field directly back to time spent wandering around outside as a kid by myself—in his case, in the deserts, mountains, and beaches surrounding San Diego, in mine, exploring the pine forests, salt marshes, and beaches of the Lowcountry. He said, and I also believe, that we only protect what we love. This means that success in conservation is built upon a personal connection to nature, and that connection requires direct experience of the natural world. It was my experience as a child wandering the woods near my Colleton County home and roaming around Edisto Island on summer vacations that led me to Lowcountry Land Trust and our work to protect the Lowcountry that I love. I know you, dear friends, share this love. That’s why we’re all here.
As I think about how we truly protect what we love forever, though, it is vitally important that we ensure that future generations are able to experience the wonders of nature for themselves and develop those personal connections—that love—that nature inspires. So, here’s one last plug: please voice your support for the Great American Outdoors Act today. Thank Representative Cunningham for introducing this important legislation, and Senators Graham and Scott who have already voted in favor of it.
Michael Soulé also believed in what he called “possibilism,” neither optimism nor pessimism, but the idea that individuals always have the possibility of making a difference. Here’s one easy way you can this week.
Chief Advancement Officer
Lowcountry Land Trust
Monday, July 13th: Bruce Binney, Mid Coast Project Manager, joined various preservation and conservation groups to discuss the proposed Dominion Energy South Carolina East-Edisto-to-West-Ashley Natural Gas Line Project in Charleston and Dorchester counties. The proposed pipeline is coming before the Charleston County Historic Preservation Commission at their next meeting on Tuesday, July 21. LLT staff will continue to consider how the project may affect protected property in the region and respond accordingly.
Maggie Gardner, Stewardship Coordinator, monitored properties on Wadmalaw and Johns Island. On one property visit, she managed to visit three major waterways on Wadmalaw Island—Church Creek, Bohicket Creek, and Leadenwah Creek.
Marsh as far as the eye can see on Leadenwah Creek, Wadmalaw Island.
Tuesday, July 14th: Ashton Lamb, North Coast Project Manager, attended the Black Scenic River Advisory Council meeting, where the final edits to the Black Scenic River Management Plan were discussed. Stay tuned for more details.
LLT staff convened for our weekly virtual staff meeting to check in, see each other, and discuss departmental updates.
All smiles from the LLT Team!
Wednesday, July 15th: David Ray, Chief Conservation Officer, and Bruce Binney, Mid Coast Project Manager, visited with the owners of a key agricultural, scenic, and historic property in Charleston County to discuss possible conservation options within the coming year.
Thursday, July 16th: LLT permanently protected 1,373 acres in the ACE Basin, one of the largest intact ecosystems on the East Coast. Willow Lake, located near the town of Branchville in rural Bamberg County, lies directly adjacent to the Edisto River, the longest free-flowing blackwater river in North America. It also surrounds a portion of Heritage Highway, part of South Carolina’s federally designated National Heritage Corridor. Protection of Willow Lake was made possible through funds awarded by the South Carolina Conservation Bank. Read on to learn more about this exciting land protection project.
LLT’s Senior Leadership Team met for a scenario planning session in order to be better prepared for uncertainties inherent in the pandemic situation.
Friday, July 17th: David Ray, Chief Conservation Officer, attended the SC Land Trust Network’s quarterly meeting. Discussions included the status of the SC Conservation Bank’s funding, which is currently set at the recurring amount of $5.5M, and an in-depth review of possibilities for conservation under the federal Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
Carl Taylor, GIS & Conservation Planning Manager, attended the Coastal GIS Users Group virtual meeting, where local GIS professionals, spanning from academia, nonprofits, local, state, and federal government, came together to discuss current issues and projects in GIS.
A Special Celebration: Please join us in wishing former Lowcountry Land Trust Board member, Vice Admiral Doug Plate, a very happy 100th birthday on July 20th! In addition to serving a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, Vice Admiral Plate devoted himself to conservation and served as LLT Treasurer from 1998 to 2005. In this role, he helped lay the foundation for LLT’s continuing success today. Happy 100th birthday, Vice Admiral Plate!
Call Your Representative: U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) announced the chamber is expected to vote on the Great American Outdoors Act on Wednesday, July 22. Now is the time to call and email your U.S. representative today and urge them to vote in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act. Find additional resources and talking points here.
New Distribution Center for Walmart: In partnership with the state of South Carolina, Dorchester County, the South Carolina Ports Authority, the Department of Commerce, Walmart has announced plans to build a $220 million distribution center in Dorchester County, near Ridgeville, South Carolina. Once fully operational, the new distribution center is expected to increase volumes at the Port of Charleston by approximately 5%. SC Ports Authority is part of LLT’s Business Leadership Council. Read the full release here.
[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]