COLUMBIA, S.C. (Nov. 18, 2021) — Alvin Taylor, former S.C. Department of Natural Resources director, was honored with a bronze plaque that will be a permanent fixture at the agency’s Columbia headquarters.
The bronze plaque of Taylor was unveiled November 18 by the S.C. Natural Resources Board at its board meeting held in the third-floor board room of the Rembert Dennis Building in Columbia’s Capitol Complex.
After a long and storied career spanning 42 years with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), including seven years leading the agency, Taylor retired in 2019. He left behind a legacy of lofty accomplishments after helping the agency recover from historically low budgets and agency down-sizing.
After retiring, Taylor was honored in 2019 with the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ C.W. Watson Award. It is the highest honor bestowed by the association and is presented to the career individual who has made the greatest contribution to wildlife or fish conservation during the previous year or years. The award is presented jointly by the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society, the Southeastern Section of the Wildlife Society and the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Among Taylor’s many accolades, the most impressive may be what the agency accomplished in the arena of youth outreach. Under his watch, the SCDNR built a youth shooting sports program, including clay target sports and archery, almost from the ground up. The program now reaches more than 44,000 students in schools and clubs across the state. Recently the clay target sports’ championship trail of skeet, trap and sporting clays established a Governor's Cup top prize to recognize the best in high school clay target sports. Besides mentoring in safety and conservation offered to participants, shooters have the opportunity to compete for more than $125,000 in college scholarship money through this program.
Taylor also worked to protect more land for the agency’s Wildlife Management Area and Heritage Preserve programs, totaling more than 1.1 million acres, that can be used by all the citizens of South Carolina, including hunters and anglers. During his tenure, the SCDNR took on the job of protecting the Wateree Heritage Preserve, made up of Cooks Mountain and the old Goodwill Plantation in Lower Richland County, as well as the Liberty Hill Wildlife Management Area on Lake Wateree. The agency worked with the National Wild Turkey Federation to build the Palmetto Shooting Complex, a world class sporting clay facility in Edgefield, followed by the Wateree Range, an eight-station sporting clays, rifle and pistol range alongside the Wateree River between Columbia and Sumter.
Besides working so hard for youth projects and protecting more than one million acres of public land, Taylor worked equally hard to provide leadership and increased funding for the many SCDNR teams, including biologists and technicians who toil to restore habitats and protect wildlife species native to the Palmetto State. In this role, Taylor notably led the South Carolina Quail Council as chairman of the steering committee in the agency’s renewed efforts to restore bobwhite quail in South Carolina in sustainable, huntable numbers. That effort already has produced success and offers much hope for the future of grassland birds in South Carolina.
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