Index-Journal Covers USLT’s Annual Meeting

Index Journal, March 25, 2016

Upper Savannah Land Trust talks about environment with SCETV star

By Damian Dominguez

Toss the turf grass and add mystery to your yard — that’s the solution for protecting local wildlife that was heralded by Amanda McNulty, star of S.C. ETV’s “Making it Grow”at the annual Upper Savannah Land Trust (USLT) meeting Thursday night.

“As an individual, the choices we make at home can make a difference,” she said. “When we look at the most beautiful yards made by wealthy people, it’s almost all filled with introduced species.”

Though Rossie Corwon, Greenwood County engineer, announced the land trust has received 92 donated land easements and is protecting more than 36,000 acres of land, McNulty said creating habitable land for native insect and bird species is the main way to help the environment.

One million acres of land a year are transformed into residential properties, she said. Planting native flora, like Oak trees, can help support hundreds of caterpillars, which in turn can feed more songbirds. She also said eschewing grass in favor of more flowering plants can create a more intriguing lawn and add mystery to a house’s aesthetic.

Native bees often need a variety of native plants for nectar, and native bees are responsible for 80 percent of all pollination, she said. Something as simple as putting watermelon rinds out in the yard can provide the nutrients butterflies need to lay healthier eggs, breeding more pollinators.

Outside of McNulty’s advice to meeting attendees, USLT Executive Director Wallace Wood said the trust received donations of land easements from six groups spanning four counties last year. The trust ranks fifth among South Carolina land trusts for total number of protected acres, he said.

Trust Founder Peggy Adams presented the Peggy Adams Conservation Award to Emmett Davis, Jr., co-founder of local engineering firm Davis & Floyd. Davis was not in attendance.

“It was in 2009 that he decided to place conservation easements on about 10,000 acres,” she said. “He moved us from an average land trust… to one of the top five.”

The tracts of land he donated stand as a barrier to air and water flowing into the area from Atlanta and Greenville, she said.

“Sometimes I feel like we’re the lungs and kidneys of this area,” she said. “We filter it all out.”

This article, with photos, may also be viewed at the Index-Journal website: “Upper Savannah Land Trust talks about environment with SCETV star”.