The Ebb & Flow BLOG

President’s Log: October 13, 2020

Dear Friends,

It’s October! As LLT staff member Bruce Binney recently noted, if you think of the land trust year like a football game, it’s time to hold a hand up in the air, flash four fingers at each other, and get fired up to get the job done. The fourth quarter of the calendar year is traditionally a busy time of accomplishment in our line of work.

The fourth quarter is when a football player would also drink some electrolytes. In the land trust movement, we have our own version of refreshment, mutual encouragement, and inspiration—the annual Land Trust Alliance (LTA) Rally. Typically more than 1,800 dedicated conservationists gather every fall at Rally to share expertise and hatch innovations in the continually evolving pursuit of protecting land and honoring the relationship people have with it.

Last week, we experienced one innovation to the LTA Rally itself—the conference was held entirely virtually, with over 3,700 people participating. Of course that means we missed some in-person benefits, like serendipitous meet-ups in the convention hall with a colleague who might possess some key piece of knowledge or experience. But true to this year of adaptation, we also gained some things. With no travel costs, and thanks to generous support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, an anonymous donor, and our board members, every single one of our staff were able to register and participate.

What we got from our participation spanned the full panoply of what it takes to successfully and creatively serve our communities. We workshopped on state-of-the-art issues relating to contract and tax law, real estate transactions, satellite and drone photography and mapping, voluntary carbon credits, finance and funding, and community building. We also took hard looks at how to fulfill the promise our land-based mission holds for bringing together people from every segment of our communities, and for serving as a means of reconciliation in our society.

Land trust work does come with some big perks. As you might suspect, we do get to venture out to some beautiful places and meet with a lot of interesting and passionate people. The work is also complex and challenging, requiring not only our own expertise, but also the discernment to tap into that of others. What keeps the engine going is our communities—communities of practice like we find at the Land Trust Alliance Rally, and communities of place, like we have with you, right here in the Lowcountry.

Ultimately, land conservation boils down to preserving the ability of life to express itself. That includes the life of the soils, waters, plants, and animals that collectively make up what we call “the land.” It also includes the life of people, who all want what the land has proven time and time again—that if stewarded well, the land can contribute to our health, happiness, livelihoods, and culture for many generations to come. Lowcountry Land Trust looks forward to reporting to you at the end of this fourth quarter the “score” of acres we’ve protected, and also the meaning of what we’ve won—both in service to and with the help of the Lowcountry community.


David Ray
Acting CEO & Chief Conservation Officer
Lowcountry Land Trust

Since all LLT staff—14 staff members and six Board members—attended LTA Rally last week, we’re switching up the format of this week’s President’s Log. We’ve asked LLT staff to share with you their thoughts on this year’s Rally experience. Here is some food for thought.

“My favorite session at Rally was Managing and Restoring Forests for Climate Resilience. I have been working on a GIS dataset for resilient land protection, so it was neat to see how the management practices of forests played a role in bolstering the resilience of a landscape. In this session we learned different strategies for creating productive forests that are biologically, structurally, and age diverse. This provides increased habitat and carbon sequestration while also ensuring there is always an economic opportunity to harvest some wood.” Carl Taylor, GIS & Conservation Planning Manager

“I gained a lot from hearing about the work three organizations in California are doing in their work in JEDI. Because you can’t have Equity, Diversity and Inclusion without Justice. We all have implicit bias and it’s important to learn what they are and acknowledge it.” Helen Rogers, Director of Operations

“Rally offers me the opportunity to hear from, and meet, some of the best land conservation professionals around the country and the world. I love learning! I specifically enjoy learning about new and innovative ways conservation is being achieved. One example is the Pooled Timber Income Fund by the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF). Essentially, landowners donate their property to NEFF and it allows them to receive an even stream of tax incentives and revenue (from timber management) over time.” Ashton Lamb, North Coast Project Manager

“For me, this rally experience has felt like an opportunity to further hone some of the tools that I have accumulated over the last few years and to continue filling in some of the gaps in my understanding.” Bruce Binney, Mid Coast Project Manager

“I found all three morning plenary sessions very inspiring. On day one, Andrew Bowman touched on how important it is to understand the history of our places and how it’s connected with structural racism in America; as well as the need to build a land conservation community that values and embraces diversity and works towards tolerance, inclusivity, and equity. The second day included the National Land Trust Excellence Award to The Land Trust of Tennessee for their work at the Glen Leven Farm connecting people to working farms and the value of food security. James Edward Mills talked about the importance of broadening the pool of people to take up the banner of conservation through engaging people of color and other minorities in the joys and freedom of the outdoors. On the final day, Nina Simon discussed an innovative approach for how to make conservation relevant to more people’s lives.” Nathan Moyer, Senior Stewardship Program Manager


Support LLT on AmazonSmile: Did you know that you can support Lowcountry Land Trust by shopping on AmazonSmile? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. Simply shop with AmazonSmile ON in the Amazon Shopping app and AmazonSmile will make a donation to LLT. Thank you!

[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]

This edition of the Lowcountry Land Trust President’s Log is presented with support from Anderson Insurance Associates. Thank you!