Have you met Salsa? That’s my trusty gravel steed that has taken me on lots of adventures lately, including one last weekend. With a colleague, I rode 40-miles of mixed-terrain, 20 miles of gravel and dirt road and 20 miles of pavement. We weaved through the ACE Basin by way of Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, down Bennett’s Point Road and into Bear Island Wildlife Management Area. Along the way, we passed thousands of acres of protected land including a few properties on which LLT holds conservation easements. When we returned to our base camp, I thought to myself how everyone comes to conservation and experiences it in myriad ways. For me, cycling backroads is one way—along with swimming, fishing, running and surfing. I connect to conservation in motion.
For the past year I’ve been involved with Conservationists of Color, which is a new national initiative originally spearheaded by the land trust community. Recently, it has grown exponentially. All the practitioners who participate have come to conservation from varied experiences and backgrounds, but we are all now leaders in the field of conservation creating change. During my almost-seven-year tenure at Lowcountry Land Trust, I’ve monitored protected properties with landowners, negotiated easements, talked with major donors about our work, and now I act as a recruiter growing our talented staff. Conservation set my career, and my passion, in motion and I feel a responsibility to grow the pipeline for other people of color who want to enter this field.
The South Carolina chapter of Conservationists of Color is just getting started. We’re building a directory of conservation professionals, along with others—the attorneys, appraisers, foresters and engineers—who help make land conservation happen. We are a platform to connect to one another, but also a place for mentoring that pipeline I mentioned. We’re about lifting each other up and adding more voices to the table. If you’re a conservationist of color wanting to connect, there is a seat waiting for you.
After a long ride, I’m proud and grateful for having a healthy body that allows me to do such things. I’m also contemplative. Everyone comes to conservation, practices conservation, and honors conservation in diverse ways. There are many ways to be a conservationist. I just happen to like my conservation in motion. Won’t you come along for the ride?
Helen K. Rogers
Director of Operations
Lowcountry Land Trust
Monday, June 15th: Chief Conservation Officer and Acting CEO, David Ray, communicated with staff in Senator Graham and Senator Scott’s office regarding support for the Great American Outdoors Act. The U.S. Senate passed the bill 75-25 on Wednesday, June 17. We are grateful to both South Carolina Senators for their leadership—Senator Graham was a co-sponsor and Senator Scott voted in favor. This landmark bipartisan bill, now headed to the U.S. House and supported by President Trump, will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address priority repair needs in our national parks and other land management agencies, as well as funding voluntary conservation on private land.
Maggie Gardner, Stewardship Coordinator, visited Wadmalaw Island after the rain stopped for a full day of stewardship visits. While it was VERY wet, the temperature was perfect for a day out in the field. A great way to return to the field for the first time in a few months.
Tuesday, June 16th: Amy Carter, Chief Advancement Officer, met with members of the South Carolina Land Trust Network board and joined the SCLTN’s Development Committee. SCLTN is is a statewide association that supports the protection and preservation of farmland, waterways, scenic views, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and historical resources. Keep up with land protection activities throughout SC by following the SCLTN Facebook page.
Wednesday, June 17th: Staff tuned in for the second episode of “Zooming in on Gullah/Geechee Sustainability” for a dialogue between Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and Amy Armstrong of the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP). Watch the full conversation here.
Mid-Coast Project Manager, Bruce Binney, virtually attended the first meeting of the newly formed Edisto River Basin Council, which includes representatives from various local governments, agencies, and community organizations as well as landowners in the region. The Edisto Basin plan will be the first completed under SC’s new State Water Planning Framework and is driven in part by population growth and drought. Collectively, the River Basin Plans will form the foundation of a new State Water Plan that achieves proactive, rather than reactive, water management. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, July 15 from 9-10:30 AM.
Thursday, June 18th: A team of LLT Board and staff members outlined and submitted comments to the Corps of Engineers regarding the proposed storm surge seawall around the Charleston peninsula. Read our comments here.
Friday, June 19th: Nathan Moyer, Senior Stewardship Program Manager, spoke to a researcher interested in the life of Samuel Ball, a formerly enslaved person who purportedly escaped from what is now LLT’s Hyde Park Plantation property in Huger, SC. Samuel Ball lived the remainder of his highly successful life in Canada. The researcher is interested in visiting the property this summer.
2019 Project Spotlight: For over 300 years, Boone Hall has been a working farm, first as a lucrative plantation and today as a one of the most popular attractions in the Charleston area. Owned by Elizabeth McRae Peterson and the late William Harris McRae, Boone Hall could have been sold and redeveloped. But Elizabeth and Willie wanted something different for Boone Hall. Instead of cashing in, they placed Boone Hall’s 599 acres under conservation easement with LLT, preserving forever its forests and working farmland for agriculture, education, and tourism. Read on to learn more about this project.
Honoring the McRae Family: At the May 21st Board of Trustees meeting, the LLT Board recognized the McRae family, owners and stewards of Boone Hall Plantation, with a resolution honoring Elizabeth McRae Peterson and William Harris McRae. Boone Hall Plantation is a monumental land conservation project, one of the most valuable private donations to conservation in the state of South Carolina. Thanks to their generosity, Boone Hall “will always be a magical, mystical place.” Read the full resolution here.
South Carolina 7: Join Tom Mullikin as he sets out on an epic journey during the month of July to follow the Palmetto Trail from the mountains to the sea. Along the way, he’ll highlight the “Carolina 7”–seven geographic wonders of the Palmetto State. “The purpose of the expedition is to bring attention to the natural marvels that need our protection and the myriad outdoor adventures that await us from our own backyards and beyond.”
Invasive Beetle Identified: After Asian longhorned beetles were found by a homeowner in Hollywood, SC, federal officials are surveying Charleston County to determine the beetle’s spread. The Asian longhorned beetle is a wood-boring beetle that threatens a variety of hardwood trees, including maple, elm, ash, sycamore, poplar and willow. South Carolinians who believe they have found the beetle may report it online at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling DPI at 864-646-2140. They may also make a report by calling the USDA’s Asian longhorned beetle hotline at 866-702-9938 or report online at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com. Learn more about the Asian longhorned beetle 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]