Drew Lanham: The Color of the Land

Drew Lanham, Ph.D.
Professor, Forestry & Natural Resources 

We think of Aldo Leopold as the father of American Conservation of modern wildlife management. He said that conservation is a state of harmony between men and land and I like to think that this project, The Color of the Land, really speaks to that. 

Audubon and Toyota saw fit to fund us to try to understand how different people think about the land. So here in SC, we know that African Americans are certainly a significant component of our population and, that African Americans at one time, were significant landowners in terms of the rural land base; and so what we want to understand is how African Americans are looking at their rural land – particularly their forests and their farms. 

I’ll call a landowner up. I’ll see if they’re interested in the program – it’s no cost to them. Hopefully, we end up on their farm or in their forest talking about their stories, talking about what the land means to them, and how they manage the land. If they don’t have particular plans for managing the land, our goal is to give them some impetus for doing that so that they can development management plans, so that they can utilize their forests and their farms for their benefit, for the wildlife benefit and for the landscape’s benefit.