Since the previous report in September 2015 from the Board to the Friends, a number of exciting and positive developments have reinforced and enhanced our support of the Landing. Our members and dedicated supporters have made generous contributions. Mr. Frederick Baker donated $20,000 to be used for the Animal Forest; Dr. and Mrs. Richard Cole gave $1,950 to support the needs of the Animal Forest; Mr. Lorcan Lucey of Lucey Mortage Company gave $7,000 to support the 5K Race the Landing Series; Mrs. Barbara Rockefeller donated $500 in honor of Board member Sarah Stuhr; the Potpourri Garden Club gave $250 for plantings at the Landing; descendants of the Waring Family gave $600 for Christopher’s Garden; proceeds generated from the hundreds of participants in our 5k Race the Landing Series amounted to $22,600; and the growth in Friends memberships has increased our revenues as well. As a result of these generous and continuing contributions to the Friends on behalf of Charles Towne Landing Historic Park, the Board unanimously voted at its meeting on March 8, 2016 for the following: the $20,000 gift from Mr. Baker to be used for the construction of an improved puma containment area and for continuing food and care for all animals; the $1,950 gift from Mr. and Mrs. Cole for food, care and additional needs of the Animal Forest; for additional funds to repair and purchase new audio equipment for the audio tour guides; and for funds to replace aging fuel tanks for Park equipment and vehicles. In sum, on behalf of the Friends membership and the Board of Directors, Friends treasurer Derek Poston presented a check for $38,000 to Park Manager Rob Powell.
In other significant news, Board member Lisa Deaton reported that the 2016 New Year’s Day 5k Race the Landing event attracted 317 registered runners and walkers, of which 243 crossed the finish line. Following the race participants enjoyed a variety of soups as well as corn bread prepared and served by members of the Board; a number of Park volunteers were on hand to help out. Lisa noted that more than 30 runners already have registered for the next 5K Series, scheduled for May 5th, May 12th, June 2nd, June 9th, and July 14th. Jamie Westendorff will again provide the post-race dinners, and each will be tied to a specific theme.
The Garden Club of Charleston continues to provide valuable support to the Landing. Club members planted 12 encore azaleas at the Legare-Waring House; 250 daffodils were planted throughout the park; and members improved the soil and refreshed plantings around Christopher’s Garden. The Friends Board welcomed Fritz Goulding and Garden Club member Betty Floyd as new members of the Friends Board.
The Board unanimously approved a proposal by Hack Ezell, husband of Board Membership Chair Pat Ezell, for the Friends to sponsor a Runner’s Clinic at Founders Hall. It took place on February 29th and consisted of a series of five local experts who discussed topics ranging from exercise physiology, nutrition, biomechanics, care and prevention of injuries, to motivation and training regimens. Some 75 runners attended, and responded enthusiastically to the entire program. A similar clinic is tentatively planned for next year. Hack has been a tireless supporter of the Park, and has been closely involved in all of the Friends activities and programs. And at the last meeting of the Board in March, we unanimously elected Hack as our newest member. We look forward to his joining with recently elected members Betty Floyd and Fritz Goulding. Congratulations to all three!
Sarah Stuhr, Special Events chair, announced that Volunteer and Staff Appreciation Day, hosted by Park Manager Rob Powell and the Friends, will take place on Thursday, April 28th, at 6:00 pm, in Founders Hall. Ben Moise will prepare his frogmore stew for dinner, and a number of door prizes (solicited by Board members, and provided by area businesses) will be awarded. Approximately 60 to 70 staff and volunteers usually attend this function. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities throughout the Landing. Please contact Board member Caroline Thibault at cwthibault [at] yahoo.com for additional information. Pat Ezell, who maintains the Friends membership roster and handles all correspondence, noted that there currently 73 members of the Friends, which is an increase over last year.
Past president and Board member Rhoda Green announced an upcoming trip during the week of April 18-24, 2016, from Charleston to Barbados, sponsored by the Barbados & the Carolinas Foundation. Participants will visit historic chattel houses and many of the houses and buildings which were models for historic Charleston houses. Dr. Henry Fraser, an expert on the Barbados-Carolinas conection, and who has spoken at the Landing and downtown events, will be an on-site host and guide. For further details, please contact Rhoda Green at green357 [at] bellsouth.net.
Rob Powell, Park Manager, announced a number of additions and improvement at the Landing. New orientation maps have been added at nine new areas, and the Adventure has returned to the dock at Old Towne Creek after its annual haul-out. A second containment fence for the bobcat area, as well as fencing for the eagle habitat are in the planning stages. Rob expressed appreciation to the Friends for being the first corporate habitat sponsor, and for donating $5,000 for the Shore Birds Habitat. Additional sponsorships available for the Landings other animal habitats. Please contact Rob Powell at rpowell [at] scprt.com for more information about the Corporate Habitat Sponsorships. Rob reported that the Avenue of Oaks had been re-sodded for spring weddings, and that three weddings have been booked every week at the Legare-Waring House during the springtime. He said that beginning April 1st the Landing will remain open until 6:00 p, and that 3 movies will be shown: Back to the Future in May, Indiana Jones in June, and Star Wars in the fall. Specific times will be announced later. The annual Founders Day has been scheduled for Saturday, April 9th 2016. Admission is free for members of the Friends.
Thanks very much for your ongoing support, and all best wishes,
President, Board of Directors, Friends of Charles Towne Landing
Note: the next Friends Board Meeting will be on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, at 4:00 pm in the Visitors Center Conference Room. Please let me know at garynichols1 [at] bellsouth.net if you have any information or concerns you would like for the Board to take up.