In honor of Women’s History Month, we are celebrating the women in our community who have taken a stand to protect the Lowcountry. We were delighted to speak with Lowcountry landowner, conservation easement donor, and sustainable forestry advocate, Pam Porter of Bailey Mill Plantation, to get her thoughts on why sustainable forestry and conservation are so important to her.
Pam holds a Masters of Healthcare Administration from Seton Hall University and a Masters of Industrial Psychology from Western MI University. She is currently on the Operating Committee of the American Forest Foundation, Women Forest Congress, Board of Port Royal Sound Foundation, SC Conservation Bank Board, and the SC Forestry Association Board. She is also working with others to develop a forestry app and is working with Clemson University to review the design of the log truck.
The land that Pam and her husband, Jim, own is located in Jasper County and includes two American Tree Farm Certified parcels. Additionally, the Porters have placed a portion of that property under a conservation easement held by Lowcountry Land Trust to ensure their land will forever remain forest land.
Q: Please tell us about your property.
A: Our land is Bailey Mill Plantation and is just under 3,000-acres. We chose the land for its high site-quality for southern pine with the best soils and climate for growing pine in the United States. We practice intensive silviculture, sustainable forestry, and quality wildlife habitat development that fits our conservation orientation and Lowcountry lifestyle. Reporting is done to SCDNR to assist the state in recording wildlife activity.
The primary objective on Bailey Mill Plantation is to apply the most advanced science-based silvicultural practices to create an educational, recreational, and highly productive forest environment. White-tailed deer, eastern wild turkey, dove, and bobwhite quail management for hunting is a close secondary objective. Great care is taken during a timber harvest to ensure that wildlife habitat is enhanced and not harmed while carrying out these objectives. This is accomplished by following the South Carolina Best Management Practices to perform all forest activities. Agricultural fields are utilized for diversity, aesthetics, and wildlife habitat. We had a farmer plant 70 acres of cotton this past year. The Porter family is devoted to being a model private forest landowner and both learning and helping others to learn about conserving the beautiful habitat and Lowcountry outdoor lifestyle.
Q: Why is conservation important to you?
A: Conservation is important to us because we need sustainable forestry. Healthy forests play a huge role in reducing climate change by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Also, wood is an incredibly important part of our society. So many things require wood fiber in one form or another. It takes about 300 truckloads of trees a day to feed a virgin paper mill and about 90-120 trucks a day to feed a sawmill. That is a lot of trees. Conservation protects the environment through the responsible use of natural resources. Preservation protects the environment from harmful human activities. An increase in people means a greater demand for water, food, lumber, and other resources that come from natural environments. We are very proud to be doing our part in practicing sustainable forestry.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a female landowner?
A: I am very proud to be a landowner. There is a major responsibility associated with ownership, whether you are a man or a woman. I feel a responsibility to demonstrate and teach others why sustainable forestry and conservation are so important. We host groups at Bailey Mill all the time. We have toured the Lowcountry Land Trust, Women Owning Woodlands, Audubon SC, and many others. We believe it is important to share what conservation and sustainable forestry are all about, and how beautiful it is out in the woods. When we toured the Women Owning Woodlands on March 7, 2020, before COVID quarantine, we had 45 women attend! They were all so interested and asked such great questions. That was a really fun tour! We enjoy every tour. We feel a sense of responsibility to help educate others about sustainable forestry and conservation.
Q: Why do you think it’s important that more women get involved in land conservation?
A: I think it is important for more women to get involved because women see things differently than men. They are creative, thoughtful, and can make a difference.
Q: What advice or resources would you suggest to other women who are interested in conservation and land protection?
A: There are many very good websites that describe forestry management practices that are working. American Forest Foundation is a wonderful resource with many excellent staff that can help and guide in the right direction. Our state Forestry Association has a wonderful website and also wonderful staff that can help guide. Emily Oakman is a great forester and appealing to younger folks. Guy Sabin is very knowledgeable on forestry and certification. Also, the SC Forestry Commission is a great resource. SC Conservation Bank, Lowcountry Land Trust, Long Leaf Alliance, Ducks Unlimited, Quality Deer Management Association, Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Forever, and Pheasants Forever are additional resources for those interested in conservation and land protection. Also, I personally would be happy to provide any guidance that I can share through our property. Call me, I would be happy to show you what we are doing on our land.