The conservation of natural systems is critical to the survival of our species. In most places in the developed world, it is not an easy task. There are always those whose interests are served by changing the natural environment and who will object to efforts to prevent such a change. As a person who has been engaged in conservation and preservation of natural systems for many years, I can attest to the challenges. It is not work for the easily discouraged. But, for those who commit themselves to it, it can be one of the most magical and rewarding efforts.
The scope of conservation efforts can range from the very focused to the gigantic. The preservation of landmark trees on a small development parcel might involve the personal (tying oneself to a tree to prevent it being cut down) to the political (hours at local town council meetings arguing about minutia in ordinances) and to the legal (lawsuits against whoever).
Enormous Emotional Rewards
Frequently you lose, but sometimes you win, and when you do, the feelings are magical. In a similar way, the preservation of very large tracts of land or the defeat of damaging water diversions brings enormous emotional rewards.
Communicating “Why” Must Be a Passion
Doing this work demands patience and a deep commitment to the greater overall objective. Explaining the “why” of it to others can become a passion. People who have never experienced the quiet, the beauty, the mystery, and the peacefulness of the natural world or those who do not understand its importance to us all – and there are many – can be awakened to these marvels and to the benefits and joys of its successful conservation. However, it takes a passionate person to do that – and pictures will always help.
Being able to successfully convey the importance and the wonderfulness of conserving nature is a gift, and to the speaker, is a magical reward of its own.
Dean Moss is the former General Manager of the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority who has spent his entire professional career, and the focus of his active retirement, working with water and land conservation activities. He has served on numerous state-level boards and commissions.
Dean is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, and is given in recognition of the recipient’s lifetime achievements and service to the State of South Carolina. The honor was awarded by former Governor Nikki Haley in recognition of Moss’s leadership in statewide water resources issues.
In addition to being the Founder and Volunteer Executive Director of the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail, he is also actively involved in the Port Royal Sound Foundation as well as the Beaufort County Open Land Trust. Locally, he is passionate about connecting our neighborhoods, conserving unique water and nature preserves, cultural features, and historic sites for the enjoyment of all who live and come to the South Carolina Lowcountry.