On November 1, 2023, a Board of Directors Meeting was held at the Lofts on Townville, where committees announced updates. On November 2, 2023, members of South Carolina Nature Based Tourism Association (SCNBTA) gathered together for the Annual Meeting at South Cove County Park in Seneca, where updates were provided to all members.
The day kicked off with registration and a light breakfast sponsored by Lake Hartwell Country. Past President April Turner led welcomes and introductions.
Bryn Harmer, the Park Manager at Oconee State Park and Oconee Station State Historic Site, then gave a presentation about Oconee Station and the western frontier of South Carolina in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He brought several artifacts, including a copy of the original skeleton keys for the buildings at Oconee Station, pictured below.
After the presentation, the Annual Meeting was called to order.
Mary Ann Keisler, Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair shared our current budget, noting that additional deposits were anticipated for outstanding conference registrations and membership dues. Finalizations are being made for 2023 taxes and liability insurance.
April Turner shared Membership Committee updates. As of the annual meeting, we had received 52 renewals for individuals and organizations. Four organizations are in the onboarding process and we are awaiting payment from six members.
April also shared website updates, noting she and Lynn Fuhler with Flying Compass are looking for additional events to include on the website. Members can add events, blogs and specials through the member portal. April and Lynn can assist with accessing the member portal and adding content as needed.
Amanda Stroud announced Scholarship Committee updates, noting the $600 sponsorship by SCNBTA was received by the SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). The sponsorship will cover the costs of Camp Wildwood for three rising 10th-12th graders.
Charlotte Waters provided Social Media and Marketing Committee updates. There are currently four members assisting with social media content.
Mikaela Groomes provided Newsletter Committee updates, including September and October newsletter analytics and plans for the January newsletter. Content submissions for the next newsletter can be emailed or added to the website by April 5, 2024.
April provided Tradeshow Committee updates. SCNBTA historically attends two to three events each year. Paperwork has been submitted for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) – February 16-18, and Mary Ann is completing registration for the Palmetto Sportsman’s Classic – March 22-24. Volunteers are needed for both and sign-ups will be emailed through Sign-Up Genius. Members that participate can bring their own materials and self-promote while they man the booth. In 2023, we also attended the Bulls Bay Nature Festival, the 2024 festival is May 18. There is currently an ample number of business cards with QR codes and rack cards for upcoming trade shows. These are distributed to drive consumers to the SCNBTA website. We also have tablecloths and banners for events.
Upcoming workshops are currently being planned. Members can save the date for a spring workshop at Caw Caw Interpretive Center on May 2 and a fall workshop at Cypress Gardens on September 26. *Locations and Dates subject to change.
Members interested in joining a committee can reach out to the committee chair or by emailing Mikaela at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nominating Committee presented a slate for Executive Board Elections via email on September 29, 2023. No additional nominations were received from membership. The slate was approved as presented. The new executive board members will serve two-year terms beginning November 2, 2023. Meet our Board, here.
Prior to adjournment, April thanked the meeting sponsors for their contributions. Thank you to annual meeting sponsors Lake Hartwell County, City of Seneca, York County, SCDNR, and the South Carolina Association of Tourism Regions.
Lunch was provided by Presst Food and Wine and was sponsored by the City of Seneca.
After lunch, attendees shuttled to Devils Fork State Park where we met up with SCNBTA member Jocassee Lake Tours for a tour around Lake Jocassee. We learned about the history of the lake, a species of fern only found locally on the wall, viewed wildlife, enjoyed hot cocoa and cider, and explored waterfalls.
Thank you again to all of our sponsors and members for attending! We look forward to seeing you soon at our upcoming volunteer opportunities at SEWE and the Palmetto Sportsman’s Classic, and our spring workshop in May.