Conservation Award Winners
Conservation Award Winners
As a long-time educator with the S.C. Forestry Commission, Jerry Shrum has facilitated many opportunities for educators to gain the knowledge, scientific skills and desire to not only conserve our natural resources, but to teach others what they have learned. He has led programs and presentations ranging from elementary school visits to graduate level courses, teacher workshops, and presentations to business and industry, and mentored teachers through the National Project Learning Tree program. Jerry has also partnered with neighboring states to provide conservation education to their citizens. Though he has retired from the Forestry Commission, he maintains an office at the Harbison Environmental Education Center, where he has served as a consultant for more than 15 years. Jerry’s work has had a direct or indirect impact on thousands of South Carolinians and inspired many to become “conservation soldiers” like him. “Jerry has implemented teaching that involves a hands-on approach to learning, which has allowed him to be one of the most effective educational conservationists in the state and region,” said nominator Jody Childs.
As director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), John Frampton serves as the chief administrator for the state’s natural resources. He joined SCDNR in 1974 as an assistant district biologist. John has served in numerous roles with regional, national and international wildlife programs, and in 2010 was appointed to the National Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee by the Secretary of Commerce and appointed to the prestigious Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council by the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture. Along with representatives of Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy, he is credited with initiating the ACE Basin Project and continues to serve on the ACE Basin Task Force. He is credited with expanding the Focus Area concept throughout the state and handled the negotiations and purchase of over 180,000 acres of land for the department, including the Jocassee Gorges Project. His numerous honors and awards include the International Canvasback Award from the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee; the Clarence W. Watson Award from the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades’ (SHOT) Business Person of the Year Award; the Henry S. Mosby Award from the National Wild Turkey Federation; the Captain David Hart Award from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission; and the Seth Gordon Award from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Slater Marietta Elementary Science Club students have built and created a Carolina Fence/ Native Plant Garden at their school that is now a certified Wildlife Habitat. They have also led in the planting of shade trees throughout the playground area. Students have participated in the creation of a learning station within the school where they raise young trout from eggs and learn about water chemistry as well as the need for clean water sources. Through each of these projects, Science Club students have gained significant knowledge about the environment. This involvement has increased environmental education and literacy schoolwide and has provided teachers a platform to discuss and demonstrate how to address many environmental concerns. “From its inception, this group has made a positive impact on our school. Students can’t wait to be in the third grade for the chance to participate,” said nominator Lindsey Cole.
Interpretive ranger Timothy Lee’s outdoor “office” at the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area includes both Caesars Head State Park and Jones Gap State Park. His job is to help others learn about the natural history of South Carolina while also inventorying and monitoring the diverse and often rare flora and fauna of the region. For over 11 years, he has developed, marketed and presented outstanding educational programs, exhibits and materials for our state. He reaches 1,500 K-12 students annually through the “Discover Carolina” program and also provides educational experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, teachers and seniors. Tim is a very popular leader for South Carolina Master Naturalist programs. In addition, he serves as coordinator for the S.C. State Park Service, as an Educational Leadership Partner for the South Carolina Aquarium, as a volunteer for the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina, and as an instructor at the YMCA Camp Thunderbird Environmental Education Center.
Greenville County Council member Joe Dill has worked tirelessly, both as a councilman and through his service on environmental boards, to keep Upstate water resources clean. He served as a member of the Reedy River Steering Committee and the Saluda-Reedy Watershed Consortium Advisory Council. His proudest accomplishment has been to support the creation of storm water management divisions in the county. He helped to secure $2.2 million of grant funding from the Federal America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Stimulus Package for a project to rehabilitate the Slater Sanitary Sewer System, enabling upgrades to ensure that sewage waste is transported and treated effectively. He serves on the Greenville Parks and Recreation Committee and was instrumental in organizing a group of concerned citizens who developed the Swamp Rabbit Trail, based on the national Rails to Trails program. “Joe Dill is a dedicated environmentalist and as a Greenville County Council member, he has taken action to ensure the waters in the area stay clean,” said his nomination from the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District.
The Winyah Rivers Foundation’s Waccamaw RIVERKEEPER® program, led by Christine Ellis, manages the Waccamaw River Volunteer Monitoring project in partnership with Coastal Carolina University’s Waccamaw Watershed Academy, led by Dr. Susan Libes and Mr. Ken Hayes. This long-term project, begun five years ago, engages community volunteers in water quality monitoring on the Waccamaw River, advancing protection of water quality and important habitat in the Waccamaw Watershed. The project has expanded into an inter-state water monitoring project involving community volunteers in both South and North Carolina, and has been recognized by the local Stormwater Managers for its contributions to meeting state and federal requirements. Through its innovative approach, “this project has advanced the state of knowledge and raised community awareness of water quality in the Waccamaw River,” said nominator Reggie Daves.
When the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) recommended a stretch of the South Saluda for in-stream trout habitat improvements, a coalition of government agencies, nonprofit groups and private landowners went to court to ensure that natural rock structures called cross vanes could be created. Now, the river is running clearer, the ecology has improved, erosion along the river banks has decreased, and appropriate entry points have been established for the public and for trout stocking. The project was a joint effort of Partners for Trout, a coalition including the Foothills Resource and Conservation and Development Council, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, SCDNR, Trout Unlimited, Upstate Forever, the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District and other groups; Naturaland Trust, a Greenville-based land trust that works to protect South Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains; and conservationist Dianne Culbertson, who, with Naturaland Trust, owns the 3,000 feet of river-front property where the project was implemented. “The South Saluda Trout Habitat Project is an example of conservationists working together to preserve and restore an important natural resource,” said the nomination letter from the Greenville County Soil and Water District.
The Riverbanks Conservation Support Fund (CSF) was created to provide financial assistance for conservation oriented projects/programs that promote preservation of the Earth’s biodiversity. In addition to local/regional conservation efforts, the CSF has distributed over $330,000 to 118 conservation projects around the globe since its inception in 1996. Riverbanks also operates the BB&T Medical Clinic for Raptors & Endangered Species, which has provided care for more than 700 injured raptors. In fiscal year 2010-2011, Riverbanks initiated the Riverbanks Field Conservation Associates Program, an internal process through which staff members can apply to participate in field conservation projects. As a result of this program, three Riverbanks animal keepers and one educator were able to participate in a sea turtle conservation partnership with the WWF and the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Suriname in May 2011. “Through the CSF, Riverbanks has contributed significantly to the conservation of native flora and fauna,” said the group’s nomination letter.
Nicholas Wheeler, an eighth-grade student at the Heritage Academy in Hilton Head, has worked as a volunteer intern at the Coastal Discovery Museum since he was in fourth grade. He has spent countless hours performing a variety of tasks related to the conservation of local natural resources. In addition, Nicholas also created and organized a non-profit organization, “Kids Helping Kids Help the Environment” (KHKHE), whose mission is to instill a love of the environment and community service in elementary students. Through KHKHE, middle and high school students serve as mentors to elementary schools students. Together, these students complete service projects throughout the community. Learning opportunities have included beach clean-ups focused on educating students about the impacts of marine debris on wildlife and ways individuals can become active stewards of the environment. “Nicholas’ innovative approach towards involving youth in environmental stewardship activities is one that can be replicated by other organizations and/or dedicated leaders,” said nominator Amy Tressler.
Charleston native Charles Lane has dedicated much of his life to the stewardship of our state’s natural resources, particularly in the Lowcountry. As the managing member of commercial real estate firm Holcombe, Fair & Lane, he has led the sale of large tracts of land to conservation-minded buyers and the creation of numerous conservation easements. Immersed in the outdoor traditions of South Carolina since childhood, Charles’ love of the land is evidenced by the amount of time he has volunteered to conservation organizations. As chairman of The South Carolina Conservation Bank from 2002 to 2008, he led efforts to help protect nearly 150,000 acres of important historical, cultural and conservation properties across the state. In addition, he served as chairman of The ACE Basin Task Force, established to provide land protection in the ACE Basin river corridor that encompasses approximately 350,000 pristine acres.
As director of the Coastal Conservation League’s North Coast Office, Nancy Cave worked successfully to help keep I-73 away from the Waccamaw Wildlife Refuge. Nancy played a key role in limiting industrialized hog farming in the Pee Dee and led the state-wide task force that stopped Santee Cooper’s proposed coal-fired electric generation plant. She helped coordinate grassroots events to build support for climate legislation, chaired the Common Agenda’s statewide “Waste Warriors” issue team, and spent many hours helping citizens in Williamsburg and Marlboro counties fight mega-waste dump proposals. She lent her extensive grassroots organizing skills to the Chester County citizens fighting the Covanta mega-incinerator and has recently participated in meetings and hearings on the proposed Haile gold mine in Lancaster County. As a result of her landfill battles, Nancy is now leading the charge to pass the state’s first recycling initiative aimed at helping bars and restaurants to reduce their waste.
A contract biologist for the Department of Defense at Ft. Jackson, Joshua Arrants works to sustain and restore populations of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, American Kestrels, and numerous migratory songbird species. He has more than 10 years’ experience in the conservation field, working on air and water quality projects in addition to his work with endangered species. He has shared his passion for the outdoors with others, leading nature walks throughout the state, and has volunteered his time with organizations including Santee NWR, Carolina Sandhills NWR, Katawba Valley Land Trust, Francis Marion National Forest, and the SCWF. After completing his undergraduate degree in biological sciences at the University of South Carolina, he plans to pursue further education and become a full-time environmental educator at the college level. “Josh addresses the world’s environmental challenges with a holistic view… those who have this view will be the most successful agents of change for the future,” said SCWF Board Member, Austin Jenkins.
In addition to her job as a SC DNR biologist at Bayless Hatchery in Bonneau, Pamela Corwin is a graduate student in biology at The Citadel, conducting research on bird communities in abandoned Lowcountry ricefields. She also serves with the S.C. National Guard and volunteers with organizations including the Charleston Natural History Society, the Horses for Heroes Program and a homeless veteran’s shelter. An accomplished artist and photographer, she has donated her works to fundraising events for the SCWF, the Audubon Society, American Fisheries Society, Friends of Yellowstone, and other organizations. As a sergeant in the National Guard, she earned a Medal of Excellence for her accomplishments. Her future goals include becoming a certified wildlife biologist, hiking the Appalachian Trail and one day opening a gallery to showcase her art. “I find Pamela Corwin to be intelligent, hard-working, conscientious, extremely reliable and personable, and among the very best students I’ve seen enter the graduate Biology program at The Citadel,” said nominator Paul Nolan.
A political consultant with Strategy Direct in Columbia, Latta native Wil Brown previously served as marketing director for Campaign Systems and has worked on several campaigns in South Carolina, most recently for John Spratt. Since joining the SCWF as a donor and volunteer in 2001 and the SCWF board in 2007, he has been instrumental in planning the SCWF’s Wild Summer’s Night Auction, donating countless hours to ensure the success of this event. Wil has also volunteered for many other outreach events - everything from helping kids learn to fish at numerous National Hunting & Fishing Day events to selling lemonade and grilling hot dogs at Earth Fare fundraisers. Most recently, Wil assisted SCWF with the Rural Resource Coalition SC's regional meeting in Dillon, engaging members of his community in the agriculture, community development, conservation, forestry and tourism industries.