8 months ago

Land Protection

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Bestowed upon Clemson University in 2006, the longleaf-pine dominated forest known as Hardscramble represents one woman’s dream of fostering research and environmental education in the state of South Carolina, by way of her gift, for years to come.

The late Margaret “Peggy” Lloyd was a renowned and beloved philanthropist with a passion for science who spent a large portion of her life in Camden. She gifted Clemson University with this sizable, picturesque stretch of forested property in the hopes that it would be harvested, not for its wood, but for its ethereal beauty and educational potential.

For over 60 years, Margaret Lloyd owned and managed Hardscramble, refusing to allow large-scale harvesting or any other exploitative practices. Working with land managers, naturalists, ecologists, and a team of other professionals, Ms. Lloyd had management plans developed and maps made. She worked to co-create the land ethic that would guide activities on Hardscramble. Ms. Lloyd wanted Hardscramble to remain in a natural state for the purposes of ecological connection, with the only human use of the land being for education and research programs.

Of the 853 acres of Hardscramble, 753 acres are placed in a conservation easement held by the Congaree Land Trust that precludes commercial development, agriculture, or timber harvesting, among other activities.  

The purposes of the Hardscramble conservation easement are to ensure that the land will be retained forever in its natural, restored, or enhanced condition; to ensure that Hardscramble will be open and available  for educational, environmental, and scientific purposes; to ensure the preservation and restoration of native species and their habitats; and to prevent any use that would interfere with the conservation values of the conservation property. Because of these reasons, there is no unsupervised right of access to the general public. The remaining 100 acres may be proposed for limited “green architecture” development that demonstrates the best environmental development practices. 

Now, a group of committed representatives from Clemson University and other closely aligned affiliates are utilizing Ms. Lloyd’s hope as a primary motivating factor as they glean all that her gift has to offer. From forestry to social science to education, the team led by the Margaret H. Lloyd-SmartState Endowment Professor, Rob Baldwin, is taking advantage of the abundance of opportunities presented  by Hardscramble, and in the process, quickly making Ms. Lloyd’s dream a reality.

Dr. Robert Baldwin was appointed Margaret H. Lloyd-SmartState Chair in January of 2016. He is a Professor of Conservation Biology/GIS in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation at Clemson. Dr. Baldwin is tasked with managing Ms. Lloyd’s $2 million endowment as well as Hardscramble, the land so near to Mrs. Lloyd’s heart. With a binder full of maps, deeds, and legal documents, Dr. Baldwin was pressed with trying to figure out what to do with the land. Now, inspired by the mission and vision of the project, Dr. Baldwin is aiming to promote environmental education and research opportunities through the economic and educational advancements presented by the Lloyd Project. 

Since January of 2016, this academic team and others involved have been working to understand South Carolina ecology better, as well as the role that one empowered, passionate woman can have locally and globally through Hardscramble. As a launching pad, Hardscramble has been the vector to share Ms. Lloyd’s self-empowered vision of making connections with the natural world by “living in your knowing.”

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On the ground

Making up 62 acres of Hardscramble, longleaf pine stands are the heart and soul of Hardscramble. Hardscramble contains several sensitive habitats, numerous wildlife species, a variety of soil types, and habitat for special status species. Locally and regionally important, Hardscramble contains habitat and species that are being pressured from development elsewhere. 

As a refuge for longleaf pine, bald eagles, and ecosystem services for the COWASSEE Basin, Hardscramble is home to ecological uniqueness worth sharing and deserving of restoration and scientific research. There are seven sensitive habitats on Hardscramble and they include: the “floodplain forest” bordering the Wateree River; Camp Creek; five headwater streams; the Pocosin Forests dominated by evergreen shrubs such as red bay, fetterbush, gallberry and others, a canopy of sweetgum, swamp tupelo, yellow poplar, and red maple; a manmade pond that was created by a dam on Camp Creek; the River Bluff; and the Longleaf Pine-Scrub Oak Forest that contains a mature longleaf forest approximately 150 years old.

The Lloyd-SmartState Endowment is dedicated to spreading an environmental message of sustainability that will help the state expand its economy by protecting its vital green infrastructure.