Oysters take center stage at annual fundraiser

  • Monday, March 3, 2014

Photos Provided John Bittle, Mary Kenda?ll Bittle and Jimmy Jordan, residents of Conway, also enjoyed the Saturday afternoon festivities.


Saturday, February 22, dawned bright and beautiful for the annual Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT) Oyster Roast at Hobcaw Barony. Roughly 300 conservation-minded attendees from across the state enjoyed delicious oysters and Brunswick Stew catered by Ryan Hicks and live music by The Spots – who wowed the crowd with classic country playing instruments including bass guitars, fiddles, a mandolin and a violin.

Prior to the food and entertainment, many enjoyed tours of the property for a step into the past at Belle Baruch's home, Bellefield, the marvelously preserved slave village called Friendfield and some of the research facilities managed by USC and Clemson.

Johnny Weaver, a PDLT board member, said: “There could not have been a better place to have the event. The weather was perfect. Eating oysters and listening to music overlooking Winyah bay … it is simply an ideal venue.”

David Harper, Executive Director of PDLT, echoed Weaver's sentiments. “Everything Hobcaw and the Belle Baruch Foundation does and represents is closely aligned to our own mission.

This event allows people the opportunity to experience the connection between people and place.”

As land across the state becomes divided among family members, sold and segmented, large tracts are disappearing and desperately need to be protected for the future. The Pee Dee Land Trust is eager to explore and suggest viable options for those fortunate enough to own these tracts.

An important part of this year's event was presenting the William H. Chandler Award to Jennie Williamson Pezé.

A native of Darlington, South Carolina, she grew up on a family farm and was the first executive director of the Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT).

The William H. Chandler Stewardship Award, created by the board of directors in 2006, is the Trust's highest distinction and honors Chandler, a conservation-minded attorney from Hemingway.

Recipients are judged to have made extraordinary contributions to the stewardship of the natural, agricultural, and historical resources in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina.

The Pee Dee Land Trust's current chairman, Gordon McBride of Hartsville, presented the award to Mrs. Pezé. During the six years Pezé served as executive director, she stewarded the Trust through exponential growth; protected acreage increased from eighteen acres to more than 15,000 acres. Additionally, her tireless fundraising enabled the organization to quadruple its budget. Her own family's farm is permanently protected by the Black Creek Land Trust.

Several members of the Chandler family including the namesake's son, Nelson, were on hand for the award presentation.

Here is a short list of the organization's endeavors:

Working locally with farmers, foresters and outdoorsmen to protect land;

Promoting recreation on area waterways, including the Waccamaw River and Winyah Bay;

Participating in regional initiatives including the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival, Georgetown's Wooden Boat Show and area Farmers' Markets;

Sponsoring education to inform hunters about issues regarding quail, duck, turkey, deer hunting and,

Partnering with like-minded organizations that include Ducks Unlimited, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy.

If you would like more information, visit our www.peedeelandtrust.org or contact membership@peedeelandtrust.org. Phone calls are welcome at 843-667-3229843-667-3229. Call Send SMS Add to Skype You'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype

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