MWV announced today a $100,000 gift in support of the replacement of the 7,000-foot boardwalk at Audubon South Carolina’s Francis Beidler Forest in Harleyville. The donation marks the largest corporate gift to date toward the boardwalk reconstruction.
Francis Beidler Forest opened to the public in 1977 and since that time more than 350,000 visitors from around the world (including over 100,000 students) have experienced the cypress-tupelo forest
consisting of 45,000 acres of black water sloughs and lakes. The Forest was originally established to preserve a 1,800-acre, old-growth swamp forest, one of only two remaining in South Carolina. This undisturbed setting, plus the variety of animals that call it home, are only able to be experienced via the
boardwalk, which is what makes its restoration so vital.
The boardwalk has also directly contributed to the preservation of thousands of additional acres of the surrounding forest habitat. What began as approximately 3,400 acres of conserved forest has
increased to nearly 17,000 acres as a result of the appreciation of the value of this natural habitat that has taken place through visitors’ experiences along the boardwalk trail. The new boardwalk will be wider than the current boardwalk, making it fully ADA-compliant to improve accessibility for people with special needs. In addition, it will have a projected longevity of more than 50 years.
“We are so very grateful for this generous gift from MWV to the reconstruction of the boardwalk,” said Norman Brunswig, who has been the director of the Francis Beidler Forest Sanctuary for nearly 40 years. “Our corporate partners have made it possible for us to reach thousands of school children to teach them the importance of protecting natural habitat for the wild creatures that make their homes in it, and for residents and visitors who learn how much these places add to our quality of life. This $100,000 gift from MWV is our largest corporate gift to date for the Boardwalk, and we hope that it, along with Holcim Cement’s gift of $50,000, will inspire other South Carolina corporations to join them in this once-in-a-lifetime project.”
“Audubon and MWV have a long history of partnering to promote an understanding and appreciation of the Lowcountry’s natural treasures,” said Kenneth T. Seeger, president, MWV Community Development and Land Management. “The boardwalk is a vital link that connects our communities to the natural world of which they are a part.”
Audubon South Carolina launched the Boardwalk’s capital campaign in 2011 and has secured $931,000 of the estimated $1.7M needed for its completion. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013. Individuals interested in donating to the boardwalk’s replacement project, still in need of additional funding, may do so by visiting the website (https://secure3.convio.net/nasaud/site/Donation2?df_id=1881&1881.donation=form1&JServSessionIdr004=5tbd76e1p3.app305a)or by calling 843-462-2665.
The Audubon Center & Sanctuary at Francis Beidler Forest is located at 336 Sanctuary Road in Harleyville, South Carolina. The sanctuary is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost of entry is $8 for adults and $4 for children. Children ages 6 years and younger are admitted free.
MeadWestvaco Corporation (NYSE: MWV), provides packaging solutions to many of the world’s most-admired brands in the healthcare, beauty and personal care, food, beverage, tobacco and home and garden industries. The company's businesses also include Specialty Chemicals, and the Community
Development and Land Management Group, which sustainably manages the company’s land holdings to support its operations, and to provide for conservation, recreation and development opportunities. With 15,000 employees worldwide, MWV operates in 30 countries and serves customers in more than 100 nations. MWV manages all of its forestlands in accordance with internationally recognized forest certification standards, and has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for eight consecutive years. For more information, please visit www.mwv.com.
About Audubon South Carolina
Audubon South Carolina’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. The Audubon South Carolina organization operates two centers and sanctuaries within the state. To find out more about the organization, individuals should visit http://sc.audubon.org or can call 843-462-2160. Individuals interested in making donations to the organization can do so by visiting the website.
About the Audubon Center & Sanctuary at Francis Beidler Forest
The first, the Audubon Center & Sanctuary at Francis Beidler Forest, located in Harleyville, S.C., is situated within the Four Holes Swamp, a 45,000-acre matrix of black water sloughs and lakes, shallow bottomland hardwoods, and deep bald cypress and tupelo gum flats. Four Holes Swamp is also a major tributary of the Edisto River, which provides most of the fresh water to the Charleston area’s famous ACE basin. Beidler Forest was originally established to preserve 1,800 acres of old-growth swamp forest, one of only two such stands still left in the state. A visitor center, 1.75-mile boardwalk trail, and a canoe and
kayak trail for naturalist-guided paddling tours provide visitors the chance to explore deep within the swamp’s interior.
About the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary
The second, the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary, located in Jackson, S.C., is comprised of more than 3,000 acres of forests, fields, lakes, ponds and streams that support a wide variety of wildlife, including more than 200 species of birds. Visitors can enjoy a system of walking trails and special event programming through the year, and learn of the rich history of the property that features visits by Spanish and English explorers, an 18th century trading post and a Revolutionary War skirmish.
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