We have come to the end of another week—a classic spring week of balmy weather offering an early taste of summer that ends with a last whisper of winter, a week of many Zoom meetings on the topic of “re-opening” business operations, a week of laughter, a week of heartache, and a week of generosity.
I am moved every day by stories of community—individuals helping their neighbors, healthcare heroes on the frontlines serving patients, teachers connecting with their students from a distance, to name a few. The Lowcountry is known for its grace and its grit. Coming together in times of crisis is not an unfamiliar phenomenon; it is baked into our way of life. On Tuesday, May 5th, you and your fellow Lowcountry neighbors came together and showed up—in a big way—for the nonprofit community, including Lowcountry Land Trust. You gave generously toward multiple causes that nonprofits are uniquely qualified to tackle.
I am incredibly grateful to all of you who supported land and water conservation in the Lowcountry on #GivingTuesdayNow. We are continuing our May Giving Challenge through the end of the month, so there is still time to participate! Many of you have contributed already, to total more than $10,000 so far toward our $25,000 May Giving Challenge. If you haven’t already given, will you help us reach our goal by May 31st?
President & CEO
Lowcountry Land Trust
Monday, May 4th: Our Conservation team hosted its first virtual LLT Board Conservation Committee meeting. The Committee approved work on new, emerging projects across our coast-wide geographic service area and made final recommendations for full Board of Trustees approval at the next meeting on May 21, 2020. The Conservation Committee, currently chaired by Josh Raglin, reviews all prospective and pending projects, and is the largest committee of the LLT Board.
Tuesday, May 5th: The world celebrated its first #GivingTuesdayNow, a new global day of giving and unity on May 5th, as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. On Tuesday, you—our incredible supporters—helped raise $9,920 for Lowcountry conservation in one day! Thank you!
During our Taco Tuesday-themed staff meeting, we had much to celebrate thanks to #GivingTuesdayNow! Staff celebrated both #GivingTuesdayNow and Cinco de Mayo with a morale-boosting happy hour and burritos. We know how to mix business with pleasure!
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Wednesday, May 6th: Staff attended the first virtual Johns Island Task Force meeting. See last week’s President’s Log for more details on the JITF. Attendance was high, with participation from Johns and Wadmalaw Island residents and Kiawah and Seabrook Island residents, as well as members of Charleston City Council and City Planning staff and NGO partners. The primary item of discussion was the Charleston Dutch Dialogues and its associated Final Report.
Thursday, May 7th: Together SC, South Carolina’s association of nonprofit organizations, held a CEO-to-CEO Zoom call to discuss how nonprofit organizations are thinking about reopening their operations, and what practices and best management strategies we should all be considering. Key takeaways from Thursday’s call, for me, include: i) Together SC is an incredible organization with the ability to reach across and support the diversity of nonprofit missions in our amazing state of South Carolina and ii) nonprofit organizations occupy a specialized niche that is always necessary, but acutely demanded during times of crisis. We at Lowcountry Land Trust are developing our own Business Continuity Plan that will be designed to care for our talented staff and permit the agility necessary to get our work done.
Friday, May 8th: I closed out the week by getting out into the ACE Basin by boat with some LLT constituents. Launching from Wadmalaw Island, we explored the North and South Edisto rivers and its magnificent tributaries. It was a chillier day than expected in May, but stunning nonetheless. I have the best job in the world—protecting irreplaceable land and waterways that will transcend time, generations, and, yes, even pandemics.
A stop along the Edisto River
2019 Project Spotlight Series: Each year at our Annual Spring Picnic, supporters gather on a protected property to celebrate conservation milestones and recognize the landowners who worked with Lowcountry Land Trust to make these protections possible. This year, we would be celebrating protecting an additional 3,402 acres in the Lowcountry. Since we can’t do this in person, we’re excited to bring these special places to you virtually. This May, we’ll be revisiting the seven properties the Land Trust was honored to help protect last year in our 2019 Project Spotlight series on our blog, The Ebb and The Flow. Check out our first post on Legacy Farms in Hampton County. Enjoy!
Legacy Farms, 367 acres in Hampton County
Fresh Options: Lowcountry Land Trust-protected working farms, including Bugby U-Pick, Ambrose Family Farms, and Rooting Down Farms, have always offered farm-fresh produce for Lowcountry residents. During the past few months, each has brought healthy options to our plates by means of CSA-delivery or u-pick activities on the farm. To see how you can get your hands on some fresh produce, visit their websites to learn more about their operations and what they have to offer.
Our friends at Bugby U-Pick have told us that since the start of strawberry season, their u-pick strawberry fields have been very popular with families, as it’s a family-friendly activity that gets everyone out of the house while still maintaining appropriate social distance. Bugby U-Pick expects to have tomatoes, sweet corn, and more produce available in the coming weeks.
A strawberry field at Bugby U-Pick, ripe for the picking
Additional Parks Reopening: As of May 8, additional Charleston County Parks, including Caw Caw Interpretive Center, James Island County Park, Johns Island County Park, Isle of Palms County Park, Palmetto Islands County Park, Mount Pleasant Pier, and Wannamaker County Park, are reopening, on a limited basis. These parks will be open for activities such as running, walking and biking on designated trails. Be sure to review social distancing guidelines before visiting.
Drive-In Movies: Beginning next weekend, The Bend will be offering weekend drive-in movie screenings. Take a step back in time to enjoy a socially distanced movie along the Ashley River.
May Giving: Help us raise $50,000 in the month of May to protect Lowcountry land and waterways! Thanks to the generosity of the Pathfinder Foundation, every dollar donated to Lowcountry Land Trust in the month of May will be DOUBLED—up to $25,000. That means you have the chance to stretch your gift twice as far to protect the greenspaces and waterways that are so vital to our health and wellbeing. Join the movement and help us make a difference. One Month. TWICE the Impact. Donate Today.
Picnic in Your Backyard: Join us for the first Picnic in Your Backyard with Lowcountry Land Trust! To take part in this virtual gathering, we ask that, anytime throughout the month of May, you pack a spread and take it outside. Pick any day, any time, to gather with your loved ones for a picnic in your backyard. If you do not have a backyard, no problem! Picnic outside, on your balcony, on your front porch, on a patch of green. The goal is to get outside and enjoy Spring in the Lowcountry. We can’t wait to see all of your ideas.