A Walk on the Wild Side: Brad Harvey

With the current events taking place in the Gulf of Mexico right now, ever wondered just how much South Carolina’s natural resources impact our daily life in the “Palmetto State?”

Most folks never give much thought to natural resources outside of recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, boating or other outdoors endeavors but, the fact is, thousands rely on them just to make a living. 230,000 people to be exact!

A recent study by the University of SC’s Moore School of Business, titled “Underappreciated Assets: The Economic Impact of SC’s Natural Resources,” has provided more numbers than just that one to give us all something to think about when it comes to protecting what can’t be replaced.

Here’s a real “eye-opener.” The study documents that economic activities directly related to our natural resources (excluding agriculture) are responsible for $30 billion (Yep, that’s a “b.”) annually!

“While it is hard to put a value on all the ways natural resources contribute to South Carolina’s economic development, it can be clearly shown that they support thousands of jobs, millions in income, and a permanent base for economic development that should last forever,” said Dr. Douglas P. Woodward and Dr. Paulo Guimaraes, economists in the school’s Division of Research who conducted the study, in a Department of Natural Resources press release.

“This economic impact study identifies how critical natural resources are to our State’s economy and standard of living. It is incumbent on all of our citizens to realize the important part they can play in maintaining, protecting, and enhancing our forest, lakes and fields. The responsibility for good management lies not only with our various agencies and businesses but is even more dependent on the individual. This is where we live and these are the assets we should protect for the benefit of our present and future generations,” added Emmett I. Davis, chairman, South Carolina Natural Resources Society.

The report, a first for our state, shows the economic impact of various activities, such as hunting, fishing, boating, resource based tourism, forestry, boat manufacturing and commercial fishing, among others. The results are astonishing, showing that our natural world is an incredible force on sustained employment and the state’s overall economy.

Here’s a look at a few that caught my attention:

Those hitting the state’s most famous asset, the Grand Strand, account for $3.5 billion annually, supporting 81,000 jobs.

Fishing and hunting contribute $2.2 billion and add nearly 60,000 jobs.

Forestry brings $1 billion and 83,000 jobs to the table.

For me, the numbers are telling and provide a greater appreciation for the devastation that the gulf region is now forced to deal with.

A few personal thoughts

I’ll quickly tell you that I’m sickened by what the BP oil disaster has done down in the gulf coast region and can’t understand how we could ever get in this position to begin with. This is especially true when you consider that, apparently, BP had no contingency plan for solving the situation if ever there were a problem.

How much sense does that make? NASA never sent a man into space without considering a “worst case” scenario and how they could get out of it. Even in the near disaster of the Apollo 13 mission, the organization was able to pull off a miracle and save the lives of all involved. Solving this spill seems simple by comparison.

We now find ourselves in a situation that we’ll be paying for for decades to come and all because one of the largest corporations on the planet got too big for its britches. People are calling for boycotts of BP fuel purchases, which I understand, but that will directly affect thousands of independent stores which played no part in the events that have taken place. Is that fair to them? I think not.

I don’t sit here with any grand ideas to remedy the problem. Hey, I’m no engineer and I know it. I do think that any plan put into place by our government needs to include a large fund, paid into by all oil companies that take part in drilling in the United States, that will help to offset any future costs involved in protecting wildlife and our natural resources that simply can’t be replaced.

Parts of the gulf are now a literal “dead zone” and many of us will never live long enough to see it rebound. Imagine if that happened here and the aforementioned economic impact to this state just disappeared.

Without a doubt, we’ve been caught with our pants down on this one. We can’t let that happen again.

SC has solid showing at NASP nationals

Recently, 7,000 students from 20 states made the trek to Louisville, Ky. for the National Archery in the Schools Program’s National Tournament, held May 7 and 8. South Carolina took three teams and eight individual competitors to the nationals.

Ella Kokinda, a student at Bishop England High School in Charleston, took 13th place out of 742 female archers with a score that came up just eight points away from the overall national winner.

Erica Thomas of The Oaks Christian School in Summerville placed 21st out of 821 shooters in the middle school female bracket.

The South Carolina state tournament, a qualifier for the nationals, was held on March 26 and had 389 archers and 15 teams. Three moved on to Kentucky. Those were Blaney Elementary of Elgin, LaFrance Elementary in Pendleton and Springfield Middle of Fort Mill.

The eight individuals participating in the nationals were Kaitlyn Gibson of Georgetown Middle School, Kyle Brandon of Georgetown High, Cole Wingard and Vada Jennings of Waterloo Elementary, Savannah Futtrell from Burgess Elementary in Myrtle Beach, Crystal Owens and Erica Thomas from The Oaks Christian School of Summerville and Ella Kokinda from Charleston’s Bishop England.

A joint venture between state departments of education and departments of natural resources nationwide, the National Archery in Schools Program is supported by numerous archery equipment manufacturers and organizations.

The program promotes well roundedness through both student education and physical education and has been proclaimed to be somewhat of a “saving grace” for many children that would otherwise be traveling down the wrong path. It also serves as an introduction to the life-long sport of archery with a curriculum centered in the international style of target archery. The training begins in the physical education classes of those in grades four through 12.

Several archery equipment manufacturers and organizations are partners.

It would be great if, at some point, we could see all schools within Western York County taking part as well. Let’s face it, not every child is cut out for football, softball or other team sports. Archery is a great way for all kids to become active in a fun and exciting sport that will provide them with the opportunity to represent their school on a bigger stage.

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. Visit his website at www.bradharveyoutdoors.com or email brad@bradharveyoutdoors.com

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. Visit his website at www.bradharveyoutdoors.com or email brad@bradharveyoutdoors.com

June 24, 2010 | Enquirer-Herald (York, SC)Author: Brad Harvey | Page: 6A | Section: EnquirerHerald

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