Robert Achenberg, Superintendent of Edisto Beach State Park, SC Department of Recreation and Tourism
As Superintendent of Edisto Beach State Park, Robert is responsible for the protection and management of the 1,255 acre state park, which is located in the ACE Basin.
Robert has lived in the Lowcountry for the past five years. He enjoys the ACE Basin for "the peace and serenity of the natural environment."
Joe Hamilton, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Joe Hamilton has been a citizen of the ACE Basin for the past 14 years. His involvement with the Lowcountry Initiative within Ducks Unlimited has helped to protect and enhance the area through the formation of conservation easements and by providing technical assistance to land owners and other organizations involved in land protection. Hamilton admires most about the ACE Basin the "natural integrity of the Basin and the involvement in traditional uses of the land."
"It is of paramount importance that the ideals of the ACE Basin Project are fostered in other areas of South Carolina and its neighboring states. Land conservation efforts in other Focus Areas with an emphasis on partnerships is the model for success in protecting our heritage for future generations."
Joseph Hamilton, Chairman of the ACE Basin Economic Forum
As Chairman of the ACE Basin Economic Forum for Education, Joseph Hamilton has helped to create an action agenda for compatible development, which will hopefully foster job creation and business development while protecting the area's cultural and natural assets.
Joseph was born and raised in Colleton County and currently resides in Green Pond with his wife Blanche and three children, Joseph St. Michael, Kimberly Michelle, and Jennifer Elizabeth. When asked what he likes best about the ACE Basin, Joseph responded, "I like best about the ACE Basin: I am a Christian and therefore believe that creator God is the architect of the universe, the human race, and the world. Sometimes when riding bicycle or driving one of our many rural roads, I can see the handiwork of creator God and I am truly blessed. I can see Him in the blue heron, the cattle egrets, or the black waters of the Edisto River. I can hear him in the croaking of the frogs, the hawk and the great eagle as they soar overhead. I can smell Him after a spring rain or see him in all his majesty after a storm. I hear Him when I sit on the screen porch at night. If we don't exercise care in the way we live in the ACE, then a part of my relationship with God would be destroyed."
Debra L. Hernandez, Assistant Director of Planning, SCDHEC's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
Debra has over 11 years of experience in coastal management and is currently Assistant Director of Planning at SCDHEC's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. Her work includes representing the agency on hazard mitigation and nonpoint source management issues at the state, regional, and federal level; managing watershed projects; organizing workshops and advising individuals and agencies on a wide variety of issues; and providing expert testimony on coastal processes, nonpoint source pollution, and related engineering and water quality issues. She is South Carolina representative to the Coastal States Organization, serving on the Executive Committee, the Hazards Committee, and as Chair of the Clean Water Committee.
Calvert W. Huffines, The Huffines Company
The Huffines Company was established by Calvert Huffines in 1987. His four firms have a variety of services in the appraisal, management, and brokerage area of plantation sales. His involvement in the ACE Basin effort stemmed from his love of the Lowcountry and his awareness of how unique and valuable the area is and how quickly it could be changed. His early discussions with Gaylord Donnelley, owner of a number of South Carolina Lowcountry plantations created a unique vehicle to protect the ACE Basin through a coalition between the public and private sector, an effort that had never been tried before. He helped to establish a task force composed of private landowners, the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department (now known as the Department of Natural Resources), the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nature Conservancy, and Ducks Unlimited. This task force has been very effective at the preservation of natural areas and has been duplicated in other areas of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.
The ACE Basin's "remarkable success provides not only interest to those of us in Beaufort, but perhaps a place for current discussion of land planning and conservation during times in which we are undergoing substantial change."
Ann Kirkley, Principal of Ann Kirkley & Associates, LLC
Ann Kirkley & Associates, LLC is a firm that specializes in economic development for the public sector, and business development in the private sector, providing research, strategic planning, and marketing services. Ann's firm has assisted several public and private groups working on behalf of the protection, management and economic development of the ACE Basin. The firm prepared a detailed conceptual plan for a proposed visitor center on Highway 17 on behalf of the SCDNR and The Nature Conservancy. It conducted a survey of nature-based tourism resources and opportunities in the Basin for the SCDNR and made a presentation thereon to the Chamber of Commerce and business community of Edisto Island.
Ann enjoys visiting the ACE Basin because it is "as much a state of mind as a physical place. Its unique natural and cultural features are significant not only for South Carolina, but for the entire East Coast of the US. As one of the last remaining, largely untouched estuarine environments, it is home to many natural habitats and 17 protected or endangered species; claims a history that reflects the formative years of the nation; and even today reflects the character and richness of the Gullah culture. The ACE Basin is a respite from over commercialization, intense development and artificiality -- it's a wonderful place to 'get away to' when you want to spend time alone and enjoy scenery that is more subtle than spectacular."
Gordon Locatis, Edisto Island Community Association
Gordon Locatis is past president and long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Edisto Island Community Association. He currently serves as an active member of the Board of Directors and delegate to the ACE Basin Citizens Advisory Committee. The Community Association has an active role in the ACE through involvement with the ACE Citizens Advisory Committee and strong interest in the educational aspects of the Basin and proposed education center.
Gordon and his wife Catherine have lived in the Lowcountry for the past 19 years and have raised their two children, Giles and Abigail, on Edisto Island. The family lives on 12 acres of woods, marsh and creek located in the ACE Basin. They enjoy exploring the ACE Basin on a regular basis with boat trips to Otter Island, kayaking the Edisto River, camping and birding. What Gordon likes best about the ACE Basin is "the fact that a diverse group of individuals and agencies have cooperated in preserving a large and vital marine ecosystem. It restores my soul to know that this initiative to preserve the natural wonders of the low country is working and will remain in place to the benefit of all things great and small."
Danner Neal, Executive Director of the Edisto Chamber of Commerce
As executive director of the Edisto Chamber of Commerce, Danner's role is to be the first source of information to new residents, business, and visitors. Edisto Chamber of Commerce assists new businesses and residents with relocation to Edisto Island and the Town of Edisto Beach. New residents are provided with information about the island and the town, including lists of lodging, restaurants, and recreational and cultural sites and activities.
Danner has lived in the ACE Basin for two years and enjoys the area most for its " beauty, and how residents and visitors appreciate the natural character of the area and understand the importance of maintaining and conserving the area."
Nancy Vinson, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League
For the past five years Nancy has worked with the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, an advocacy organization which promotes protection of the special natural resources of the ACE Basin. As Water Quality Program Director in the Conservation League, Nancy plays a strong role in environmental advocacy in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. She also serves on the ACE Basin Advisory Committee and represents the Conservation League.
What Nancy likes best about the ACE Basin is "the fact that a really significant, large natural ecosystem is being protected for posterity. That is so important given, South Carolina's rapid coastal development."
Priscilla H. Wendt, Environmental Quality Manager III, SCDNR MRD, Office of Environmental Management
Priscilla came to the Lowcountry as a benthic ecologist after completing her Masters of Arts in Marine Science at the College of William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Pt., VA. She now specializes in environmental contaminants and water quality issues at SCDNR MRD, Office of Environmental Management
Priscilla enjoys the ACE Basin for its "serene, unspoiled beauty, and its striking diversity of wildlife and habitats."