GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Greenwood Woman Care – About the Environment”, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, February 13, 2024

GWC was blessed with 19 guests and 43 members attending our February 13th Quarterly Meeting, Greenwood Women Care – About the Environment, at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Rachel Strayer welcomed the enthusiastic group with a special recognition of guests and referenced our program on local land conservation efforts and sustainability, noting: “If we don’t take care of the planet, its climate, and ecosystems, we undermine how our societies function, worsen our lives and, perhaps most directly, harm our own well-being. Clearly, caring about the environment is in perfect alignment with our purpose as an organization!”

Rachel then introduced our host for this venue, the Reverend Caroline Dennis. GWC is proud to call Caroline a member, and she recently became the newest member of the Communications Committee. Caroline spoke of the beginnings of Westminster Presbyterian 42 years ago and of a special partnership between Westminster Presbyterian and The Toddler Learning Center. This alliance had its beginning at a GWC meeting when Teresa Goodman spoke of Community Initiatives’ need for space for this program and Caroline responded by offering facilities at Westminster Presbyterian!

Summer Booker, Chair of the Governance and Finance Committee and GWC Treasurer, gave a fascinating presentation that outlined the history and purpose of the GWC Endowment. Since GWC’s inception in 2018, $100 of every member’s annual membership contribution of $550 has been added to our GWC Endowment and invested and professionally managed with other endowed funds held by Greenwood County Community Foundation. The GWC Endowment is intended for the long-term sustainability of our organization. Currently, our Advisory Board has voted to allow this fund to continue to accumulate and grow.

Maureen Kilburn of the Programs and Education Committee introduced Kirby Elizabeth Self, Miss South Carolina USA and a student in Harvard Extension School’s Sustainability Master’s Degree Program. Kirby shared six guidelines for sustainability that we should be mindful of in our everyday life: considering our method of transportation, unplugging unused devices, avoiding single-use plastic containers, recycling, shopping at green businesses, and eating local by growing vegetables or shopping at farmers’ markets.

Laura Bachinski, Chair of the Programs and Education Committee, introduced Peggy Adams, founder of the Upper Savannah Land Trust (USLT) and a Charter Member of GWC, who spoke of the beginnings of the USLT, founded in 2000 with her husband, L.B. Adams. Peggy introduced Rossie Corwon, former Board Chair of USLT and a GWC Charter Member who spoke of her work on the board of USLT with Wade Harrison, USLT’s Executive Director. Wade spoke about conservation easements which help private landowners protect their waters and land. Greenwood County has 18 easements, managed by USLT that protect 17,936 acres of land  from unwanted development and ensure that the natural beauty of the land will be available for future generations.

Courtney Christensen and Margaret Conrad presented two children’s books donated in honor of our speakers to the Greenwood County Library. Kirby Elizabeth Self was honored with Because of an Acorn by  Lola Schaefer and Wade Harrison, Peggy Adams, and Rossie Corwon were honored with Slow Down; 50 Mindful Moments in Nature by  Rachel Williams.

Mary Woodiwiss, Chair of the GWC Advisory Board, thanked our speakers, our venue hosts, and our Social and Programs & Education Committees. She recognized our 23 new members (so far!) and also acknowledged “each one of you who have come to share in this  full, rich time together.”  Mary asked us to consider: “Who else would you like to see in the next room where we meet? Who are we missing? Consider how you can help spread the word.”  She encouraged members and guests to attend our Annual Celebration on Monday, March 18th, and to bring guests!

It was a lovely, enlightening, and educational meeting enjoyed by all!