Sandhills Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership (SLPCP)
Sandhills Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership Promotes “Generational Education”
By Charles Babb, South Carolina Sandhills Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership
After seven successful years of establishing 17,000 acres of new longleaf habitat, the South Carolina Sandhills Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership (SLPCP) has embraced the idea of a “Generational Education” program to develop the future managers of the forests being established today. According to LIT Coordinator Charles Babb, “We all know that longleaf will outlive those of us here today. The majority of environmental benefits from the trees we are planting won’t be realized until the next generation or after, so it is critical that we begin teaching those future owners/managers the values and benefits of well-managed longleaf ecosystems now.” The goal is simple: to make forest management a part of the family heritage, handed down with property from generation to generation.
The SLPCP joined forces with landowners Bill and Kasey Lenz to host local school groups where students can be exposed to the thrill of watching bird dogs at work, learning about weather and prescribed fire, and seeing examples of how Native Americans utilized forests to gather foods, medicines, and other materials for life. Students will be invited back with parents for a more in-depth training on forest management. NRCS will sponsor the program through the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) Program. “We are thrilled to share the joy that we get from being in, and managing our woods,” said Bill Lenz. “If we can just spark an interest in a few young minds, who knows, maybe the next great conservationist will find their purpose right here.”
Image 1: Students learning about longleaf with Alyne Askins from Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Sue Griggs.