Written by Kristin Loughlin, Development and Events Manager
On March 19th, the Conservation Coalition held its annual Conservation Lobby Day. Lobby Day is a wonderful opportunity for citizens to meet with their representatives face-to-face and ask them to support or vote against issues the conservation community is currently working on. As a member of the Coalition, SCWF staff were excited to be among the attendees for the annual event.
The day started out with an advocacy training at the Capital City Club on Main Street in Columbia. As someone who doesn’t do much hands-on work in the advocacy side of our mission, this training was absolutely vital. We heard from two representatives (Micah Caskey, Lexington and Tom Davis, Beaufort) who talked briefly about the most effective ways to speak to our House Representatives and Senators.
Afterwards, Rebecca Haynes (Conservation Voters of SC) took over to give us specific information on what we would be focusing on in the Lobby that day. Some of the issues being discussed were the opposing of off-shore drilling, dam safety, and plastic bag bans, among others, so we had plenty to pick from.
We left the training excited to get to the Lobby. Since the House convened at 12, we were able to talk to our Representatives first, then after lunch got to speak to our Senators. We were fortunate to have our Government Relations Manager, Trip King, there to give us a little extra help.
My favorite thing about Lobby Day is the level of preparedness it comes with. It can feel overwhelming to be around so many people, and personally, I was nervous to talk to people I don’t know, but the training we were given at the beginning along with knowing we had the help of lobbyists quelled my nerves. The feeling of being at the State House and listening to all the buzz is exciting and fascinating. The Conservation Coalition was even recognized by the House and Senate (separately) from the balcony, which was a really neat experience to be a part of.
We ended the day with Oysters and Chili at 701 Whaley, which gave us the opportunity to connect with our conservation partners, legislators, community leaders, and many others. It’s always a fun group at the Oyster Roast, and this year was no different.
Conservation Lobby Day takes place each March. It is open to the public and is completely free. The only requirement is that you be passionate about conservation and have a desire to make an impact. If you get there and are too nervous to talk to your reps and senators, that’s okay. But I think it’s safe to say that with the level of preparedness the Coalition arms you with, you won’t be as nervous or as timid as you think you might be.
Thanks again to the Conservation Coalition for putting on this awesome event!
This post was written by an “advocacy newbie,” so terminology and/or formatting may be off. Corrections are welcomed and can be sent to email@example.com. Thanks!