Lowcountry leaders work with community to advocate for more land conservation

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Lowcountry organizations are gathering to discuss land conservation issues with the community and advocate for change at the Fourth Biennial Lowcountry Land Conservation Symposium.
This event is hosted by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, an organization dedicated to land conservation and cultural and historical legacies. The theme for this year’s symposium is community-focused land conservation. This is all about engaging with and prioritizing the needs of the community and there will be a major focus on indigenous and non-traditional community conservation.
Several local leaders from land conservation organizations, tribal nations, economic development organizations and more will meet at the Gaillard Center to have conversations with community members about how conservation efforts can be advanced in the Lowcountry. Lowcountry Program Director for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Jason Crowley says that currently, there are around 1.4 million acres of permanently protected land in the Lowcountry area. Crowley said that he does not believe that changes to land conservation can be made without the help of the community.
“We’re going to have a really strong and colorful conversation about just a lot of different topics as it relates to some really current issues,” Crowley said when discussing the community’s role in this year’s symposium. “This is an incredible opportunity to bring folks together to share ideas, ask tough questions, be able to reflect on successful work in the past, but really think about the direction moving forward into the future.”
Each symposium has had a different theme. In 2022, the focus was inclusivity and resilience and several of those discussions led to this year’s focus. Crowley said that at the past symposia, discussions have led to policy changes like adding resilience as a primary component to the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation’s Land Conservation strategy, which eventually led to other organizations advocating for the state to create the South Carolina office of resilience.
“So, some really exciting policy work that has come out of that opportunity of bringing folks together to talk about these really relevant issues,” Crowley said.
Crowley said that this is what having these conversations is all about – advocating for change – and he looks forward to what is to come of this years event.
“We’re dealing with development pressure, climate change, and just massive forces that are impacting our landscape; having folks together and talking and sharing ideas is something I’m really excited to see,” he said.
The Fourth Lowcountry Land Conservation Symposium will take place at the Gaillard Center, located at 2 George Street, on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be parking available for $5 at the City of Charleston Garage adjacent to the Center. This year they are expecting the largest turnout they have seen yet. Around 250 community members have already signed up. Registration has reached its max capacity of people, but for those who missed registration and still want to be involved, the morning portion will be livestreamed, and you can access that by clicking here.
For more information on past symposia, you can click here.
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