On March 15, 2021, Kristin Williams and Kate Schaefer presented an overview of the Beaufort County Open Land Trust at the Greater Island Council of Hilton Head and Bluffton’s monthly general meeting of members.
About the Beaufort County Open Land Trust
The Beaufort County Open Land Trust protects significant ecological and cultural places that define the natural landscape while contributing to the health and spirit of the extraordinary Lowcountry region. It is South Carolina’s first and oldest land trust working to preserve open spaces, natural habitats and rural communities throughout the Southern Lowcountry.
About Kristin Williams
Kristin Williams assumed the role of Executive Director of the Beaufort County Open Land Trust in January 2018. Kristin brings with her 10 years of experience as the Executive Director of a conservation organization, Friends of the Environment located in Abaco, Bahamas. A native of the Bahamas, Kristin attended the College of Charleston.
About Kate Schaefer
Kate Schaefer joined the Beaufort County Open Land Trust as Director of Land Protection in December 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology from Clemson University and master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
The Open Land Trust of Beaufort County, a 501c3 was founded in 1971 and was the first land trust in SC.
146 properties totaling more than 25,000 acres are protected.
The Open Land Trust’s work is to monitor each of these a minimum of once/year which includes meeting with owners to ensure that they are following their agreements.
Examples and recent successes:
The Director of Land Protection is responsible for talking to landowners about protecting their land; the conversations include culture, family and the Beaufort way of life. She also works with the Beaufort County Rural and Critical Land Program. Land use = Land conservation + zoning + transportation
Lowcountry Conservation History:
In ten years, $13 million of outside money has come in to match local sources (part of our property tax)
Also, the Open Land Trust is very involved in the Ace Basin and is part of the Ace Basin task force at their quarterly meetings – protecting 200,000 acres