PDLT Presents William H. Chandler Award to Tim Dargan

Pictured Left to Right:  Keith Williamson (PDLT Immediate Past Chairman), Ann Rodgers Chandler, Tim Dargan (Award Recipient), Seth Cook (PDLT Director of Land Protection)

Midway through the Bountiful Brunch, held on November 6th, Lyles Cooper, PDLT Executive Director, thanked all 300 guests for attending and supporting the land trust’s mission to protect the past and preserve the future of the Pee Dee Watershed.  She asked Keith Williamson, PDLT Immediate Past Chairman, Ann Rodgers Chandler and Seth Cook, PDLT Director of Land Protection, to join her at the podium for an exciting announcement.  Cooper explained this year’s recipient of the William H. Chandler Stewardship Award, the land trust’s highest honor, was a surprise to the recipient, as the Board and staff feared he would humbly decline the honor. 

Seth Cook, PDLT Director of Land Protection, had the honor of sharing a brief overview of some of the many ways Tim Dargan has supported the land trust in almost every capacity imaginable.  Dargan served on the Board from 2014-2021 and is still a very active community member on the Land Protection Committee and Black Creek Committees.  He and his family have donated three conservation easements, along with a donation of fee property which was sold to a conservation buyer in 2018, and the proceeds were designated towards the Our Places Endowment campaign and the Scarborough Opportunity Fund.  Dargan helped bridge the gap of a few months between Land Protection Directors in 2013 in an effort to help keep projects moving forward and get the new Director (Cook) up to speed upon his arrival. 

Dargan constantly donates his time and talent whenever called upon and offers it generously.  He is on all staff’s speed dial and has truly been a revered mentor to all staff and dozens of Board Members.  He has introduced the concept of conservation easements to countless landowners, as well as serving on panels and speaking about his own experiences with conservation easements for PDLT landowner outreach events.  It is a very rare occasion for this individual, his wife, his sons and grandchildren- one or all not be in attendance for a Land Trust event.

Keith Williamson, Immediate Past Chairman of the PDLT Board of Directors, asked Tim Dargan to join he, Ann Rodgers Chandler and PDLT staff.  Williamson said “I can think of no one more deserving of this honor than my longtime friend, Tim Dargan.  On behalf of the PDLT Board of Directors, both past and present, thank YOU for your unwavering commitment to the land trust and instilling the passion and desire in others to protect the special places we love throughout the Pee Dee Watershed.” 

Tim Dargan was overwhelmed with emotion and joyfully addressed the gathering.  He said, “all involved did such a good job of keeping the Award a secret that I was caught completely unawares.”   Dargan thanked the Board and said he was humbled and honored to receive the Chandler Award.  “I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know Bill Chandler, but I am fully aware of the positive impact he had on our conservation community, and I feel privileged to have this connection to his family.”

Dargan went on to say, “Of course my involvement with PDLT begins with its mission, which is near and dear to me.  A bonus though, is that it's something I really enjoy.  I grew up in the Pee Dee, and have worked in it for over 45 years; so I know the landscape fairly well.  Also, I have always embraced the tax and property law issues involved in practicing forestry.  All of that comes together with conservation easements; they are a sweet spot in terms of my experience and interests.  Beyond that, PDLT is just a good organization with which to be involved in all respects.  I have told the people whom I have recruited to be on the Board, that it is the best Board I have ever been on; and I have heard other people say the same thing.  With all due respect to my Board colleagues though, the staff is even better.  PDLT strives for excellence in every respect, and has earned a well-deserved reputation as an exemplary land trust.” 

About the William H. Chandler Stewardship Award:

The William H. Chandler Stewardship Award was created in 2006 in memory of Bill Chandler by the Pee Dee Land Trust (PDLT) Board of Directors, which was led at the time by Ben Zeigler. Bill was the first PDLT Board member representing Williamsburg County and sadly passed away way too soon.  Bill exemplified in his life, work and witness the ideals of stewardship, conservation, and an awareness of the interconnectedness of people, their generations, and the land on which they live.  Bill’s joy in our land and the stories of its people enriched our individual and collective lives and was an inspiration to many to respectively treat the land in our watershed as a community, rather than a commodity.

The William H. Chandler Stewardship Award is the Pee Dee Land Trust’s highest honor and has only been awarded to 5 previous individuals over the last 16 years.  These individuals by the estimation of the Land Trust Board of Directors, have made extraordinary contributions to the stewardship of natural, agricultural or historical resources in the Pee Dee Watershed. The first award was given to Ann Rodgers Chandler, Bill’s wife in 2007. Followed by Mike McShane in 2010, Jay James in 2012, Jennie Williamson Peze’ in 2014, and Buzz Rogers in 2018.

The award is a life-size bronze relief of a longleaf pine cone, created by award-winning sculptor Alex Palkovich from Florence.  It is inscribed with the following verse from Psalm 24:  the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…,” and is mounted on a board planed by PDLT’s Board Member, Ed Haenni, from a local long leaf pine tree.

About the Bountiful Brunch benefiting Pee Dee Land Trust:

PDLT held the 10th annual Bountiful Brunch on Sunday, November 6 at the home of Cindy and LaFon LeGette in Latta.  The 300 attendees enjoyed a beautiful afternoon which included a five-course seated meal, expertly selected wines and wonderful fellowship.  All were invited to stroll through the property and barns filled with unique collectibles and antiques.  To see all of the photos from the event visit our website gallery here.


Photographs taken by Phillip Guyton of http://truelightphoto.com


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