SCWF Executive Director, Ben Gregg, has announced his retirement from the SC Wildlife Federation effective February 1st. See below for official announcement directly from Ben.
Ben has dedicated his life to conservation and advocacy for the great outdoors. Thank you, Ben, for everything you’ve done for South Carolina in the 12 years that you have served as our Executive Director. We will miss you!
Letter from SCWF Executive Director Ben Gregg:
Dear SCWF Members, Supporters, Conservation Partners and Friends:
My twelve years at the helm of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation have been extremely rewarding thanks to our dedicated board, committed staff, generous members and amazing conservation partners. Last spring I shared with the Board’s executive committee that I wanted to plan for my retirement, and we have agreed on February 1 as my last day.
As it has been since our founding in 1931, the challenges for wildlife have continued to escalate, but I am confident that the organization is well-prepared for new leadership.
At SCWF, we are and will continue to be about three things:
There is outdoor education - for all ages! Citizen Science is now at the forefront of all our education endeavors as we build an army of trained volunteers in every county. Our Palmetto Pro Birder, Midlands Master Naturalist and Women’s Outdoor Retreat programs include quality training while also providing opportunities for fun and fellowship. We have around 500 enthusiasts involved annually, and most stay involved by returning for outings and participating in a range of citizen science and service projects.
Second but no less important is habitat protection and enhancement from backyards to major corporate land holdings. This task becomes more important every day as our farmlands, forests and open space are being bulldozed at a blistering pace. We also give recognition to neighborhoods and schools that are doing their vital part in protecting native habitat for wildlife.
And third is advocacy.
SCWF along with our conservation advocates have been victorious on a number of fronts over the past decade. With our partners, we have stopped the last proposed SC coal-powered plant from being built; forged an unprecedented coalition to keep oil and gas development from ruining our coastal beaches and salt marshes; passed legislation that authorizes the Conservation Bank as a permanent state agency and increased the footprint of healthy long leaf pine forests so critical for wildlife.
These are just some of the highlights, but as the saying goes, no conservation victory is forever.
The challenges ahead are immense. To list just a few:
Largest population increases in state history
Rapid commercial and residential pave-overs
Heavier flooding and more periods of drought
Loss of pollinators, the building blocks for healthy wildlife
More severe and long-lasting pollution threats like mercury and plastics
Vast reductions of wildlife numbers and increasing extinctions
Sadly, many elected officials in South Carolina continue to ignore a complex of conservation challenges that need immediate action.
On the other hand, time after time a majority of South Carolinians from every walk of life are behind us, and in a democracy, that is crucial.
I’m looking forward to staying in touch. You will never know what an honor it is to be part of such a thriving and absolutely critical effort. We do not prevail every time but almost without exception, our positions are proven right in the long run.
I am thankful to have had the opportunity to join a distinguished group of leaders who have served as advocates for wildlife over the Federation’s 88 year history. And I look forward to seeing you as we continue to advance the cause for our cherished wildlife in the coming years.
Our board also wanted me to let you know that Sara Green, Education Director will become interim director while an in-depth search for a new director follows.
Thanks so much,