From The Blog

The Kiawah Conservancy’s Unique Role in Our Community

The Kiawah Island Natural Habitat Conservancy, Inc., most often referred to as the Kiawah Conservancy, is visible to KICA members and island visitors every day. The conservancy’s mission is what its name suggests: to provide for the identification, preservation and appropriate management of the natural habitat needed to maintain healthy, balanced populations of plants and animals on the island. That said, there are a number of unique reasons why the conservancy is such an important part of Kiawah Island.

The conservancy is the only charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) organization on Kiawah Island whose mission directly benefits the island itself. The conservancy is eligible for tax-deductible donations,
and should donors wish to make monetary contributions, donations of land or include Kiawah in tax-exempt estate planning, the conservancy is the only option for those who would like to make such gifts while providing a direct benefit to Kiawah’s natural habitat.

• In addition to the conservancy’s ability to accept tax-deductible donations, its 501(c)(3) status allows it to participate in a wider variety of grant programs than other entities on Kiawah. Funding is provided through these programs by federal, state and local agencies, as well as private foundations.
• The conservancy is a land trust, and as such, has the ability to preserve land through fee-simple ownership or conservation easement agreements that protect undeveloped, natural properties in perpetuity.

• The conservancy’s expertise and assistance is possible because it is able to fund, conduct and widely-disseminate research on environmental influences across the island. In many cases, the conservancy works together with its partners to ensure the continued success of programs such as the bobcat, bird banding, and reptile and amphibian studies.
• The conservancy is the only organization on Kiawah whose sole focus is the health of the island’s flora and fauna. As such, the conservancy is a great resource for expertise and assistance in cases of environmental concern and habitat preservation and restoration.

The conservancy has received some significant recognition in recent years. In 2010 it received the South Carolina Secretary of State Angel Award for delivering over 80% of its revenues toward program goals while making good use of volunteer labor. In early 2012, the Conservancy was named by the South Carolina Aquarium as a recipient of their annual Environmental Stewardship Award for its commitment to preserving and protecting the natural habitat on Kiawah Island.

Now in its 15th year, the conservancy has preserved 22 properties totaling 329 acres – including 27 acres in conservation easements since 2010. It is proud to work in partnership with island entities such as the town and community association to insure that Kiawah remains the beautiful, pristine environment we all know and love. As the island’s build-out continues and additional areas are developed, the conservancy’s role as steward of the islands natural habitat, its emphasis on research and education, and its support for association members will continue to serve an ever-more critical role in this island community.

For more information on the Kiawah Conservancy, visit www. kiawahconservancy.org.