The Ebb & Flow BLOG

President’s Log: May 15, 2020

Dear Friends,

Is it just me or is the month of May flying by at light speed? Summer is right around the corner, which has had me thinking about what will keep my children engaged and occupied in lieu of their usual summer camps. Here’s a short list of what I have in mind:

  • Visiting our public spaces (state and county parks) that offer the opportunity for social distancing, fresh air, and exercise—there are so many options!
  • Driving out to local farms that offer U-Pick opportunities—an excellent way to engage children, support the farming community, and fill up a cooler with fresh produce.
  • Launching a kayak and paddling the creeks near our neighborhood and in our coastal watersheds.
  • Fishing and crabbing.

These are all activities that I participated in as a child growing up in the Lowcountry, and it is immensely gratifying to share that experience with my children, especially when I know how beneficial it is for their physical and emotional health. My team and I at Lowcountry Land Trust are privileged to be able to protect these outdoor adventure opportunities for future generations.

Our ability to do this work is because of your connection to land and water, and your extraordinary generosity. Thanks to supporters like you, we have already surpassed our $25,000 goal for the May Giving Challenge. To date, we’ve raised $34,000! We are humbled and inspired by your commitment to the future of the Lowcountry during this unprecedented time. Thank you!

Because we are radically passionate about our mission, we have a proposition for you. What do you think about a new goal of $40,000? This may be a stretch goal, but I think we can do it. Can you help us meet our new goal to raise $40,000 for Lowcountry land and water by the end of May?

If you’ve been waiting to make your gift, there’s still time! Every dollar makes a difference for Lowcountry land. Donate today.

With gratitude,

Ashley Demosthenes
President & CEO
Lowcountry Land Trust

Monday, May 11th: LLT staff began work on its first ever Coastal Wetlands Grant, a program administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We are partnering with the SC Conservation Bank on the proposal, and if funding is secured, it would position LLT to leverage additional funding to support a magnificent project in the South Coast. More to come!

Tuesday, May 12th: Chief Conservation Officer, David Ray, participated, with approximately 25 land trust leaders from across the country, in a Land Trust Alliance meeting to begin advocating for the conservation provisions and innovations to be included in the 2023 Farm Bill. This work builds on the conservation successes accomplished in the 2018 bill. The Farm Bill and its associated programs are responsible for protecting and enhancing thousands of acres of wetlands, forests, and farmland across the country, and right here in South Carolina. Funding distributed from these programs is often used as a match for our state and local conservation grants.

Wednesday, May 13th: I attended a Zoom meeting as a member of the OneRegion Executive Committee. OneRegion has developed a plan for the tri-county region to safely and effectively return to work and that plan, re|IGNITE, was released this week. re|IGNITE is a complicated endeavor that has been, and continues to be, informed by leaders in multiple sectors, most notably the healthcare profession. As a member of the OneRegion Executive Committee, LLT’s perspective on natural resources conservation is a much needed and highly valued voice at the table. Whether in the midst of a pandemic or not, land and water conservation is essential to our community’s health and wellness.

Thursday, May 14th: Our partners at American Forest Management began a late spring controlled burn on our 425-acre French Quarter Creek property in Berkeley County. A grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is enabling us to restore longleaf pine, a native, fire-dependent forest type that harbors extraordinary biodiversity and wildlife benefits, on the property. And just because, here is a link to Johnny Cash’s classic anthem, Ring of Fire. Did I mention this property is on the market? Check out the listing.

French Quarter Creek

Friday, May 15th: As part of a series of Land Trust Alliance pop-up webinars, I served on a virtual panel with three Executive Directors from different parts of the country to discuss how land trusts are deploying their community conservation skills to help their communities through the pandemic crisis. COVID-19 confirms what we already know—there is great disparity in impact related to disasters like this, and marginalized and underserved populations are getting hit the hardest. Big Sur Land Trust (CA), Grand Traverse Conservancy (MI), and Summit Land Conservancy (UT) joined Lowcountry Land Trust in this discussion.

Other News

2019 Project Spotlight Series: With expansive Ashepoo river frontage, active and relic rice impoundments, historic structures that date back to the 18th-century, longleaf pine and wetland forests, and active agricultural fields, Dawn of Hope Plantation in Colleton County is a truly remarkable property that we are proud to help protect.

Dawn of Hope Plantation, 731 acres in Colleton County

Commentary from JITF: The Post and Courier published an editorial by John Zolgar, the chair of the Johns Island Task Force, titled, “Five key steps we should take to protect rural Johns Island,” in response to this article from the previous week. Let us know your thoughts.

U-Pick Options: The Lowcountry’s rural spirit is alive and flourishing at local farms, U-Picks, and farm stands. Check out this comprehensive list of U-Pick farms in the Southeast SC region. Get some much needed vitamin D and support our local farmers.

Citizen Science Opportunity: Springtime marks the return of monarch butterflies to the Southeast region, where they will molt and lay eggs before they continue their journey north. Be part of the conversation and report your monarch sightings on the citizen science portal, Journey North.

Donate today!

Join us for the first Picnic in Your Backyard with Lowcountry Land Trust!