Colden R. Battey, Jr.


Colden has been a partner in the law firm of Harvey & Battey since 1963. In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Battey served as chairman of Beaufort County Council for 8 years; he is a past president of the Beaufort County Bar Association, past director of the South Carolina Bar Association and of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Battey is a director of the Nemours Wildlife Foundation and served as Chairman of the Foundation from 2008 to 2020.

Thomas Tayloe

Vice President

Originally from North Carolina, Thomas graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelors in Science in American History. Since moving to Beaufort in 2013, Thomas has worked at Kinghorn Insurance specializing in commercial insurance. He is married to his wonderful wife, Ainsley, and they have two sons, Berry and Archie. Thomas enjoys spending time with his family on the water, inshore fishing, hunting, and he is very involved with his church, First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort.

Alex Shuford

Alex loves the Lowcountry and has long had an interest in conservation. He is a retired Vice President with South State Bank and brings great experience in financial management, marketing and non-profit organization to the Trust. He currently serves on the Finance and Investment Committee of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and on the Board of Nemours Wildlife Foundation as Treasurer. He is also a past president of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association and a past member of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees. Alex has two grown sons whose families all enjoy the beautiful Lowcountry and coastal South Carolina.

Al Segars


Al recently retired from a long career at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and brings with him extensive knowledge of Lowcoutry ecosystems and wildlife. A veterinarian by trade, Al was the lead scientist of SCDNR on the In-Water Loggerhead Sea Turtle Project and was the Stewardship Coordinator for the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Vernita F. Dore

A native of Beaufort, Vernita has dedicated her life to serving others and her professional career to improving the quality of life in rural communities. Vernita is a retired Deputy Under Secretary of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she was responsible for overseeing Operations and Management, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Civil Rights, and forty-seven State directors across the nation. Ms. Dore earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has received additional professional development from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, the Federal Executive Institute, and USDA Graduate School. Ms. Dore is a fellow of the Diversity Leadership Institute at Furman University.

Edward Dukes

Edward is a lifelong resident of Beaufort and the owner and Broker-In-Charge of Lowcountry Real Estate. Edward stays active in the community and has served on a variety of civic and nonprofit boards including the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, Historic Review Board, The YMCA, Beaufort Academy, the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation, The Historic Beaufort Foundation, The Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail board and as served as President of the Beaufort County Board of Realtors twice. When not working, he does his best to get outside for boating, golf, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding or anything on the water.

Connie Horton

Connie was born and raised in the Lowcountry, she grew up in Ridgeland and spent all her summers on the Chechessee River – swimming, crabbing, fishing and boating. After graduating from the College of Charleston she returned home and worked as an advocate for children and families at both private non-profits and public schools in Beaufort and Jasper counties. She currently co-owns a seasonal greenery business, Blossoms. She severs on the steering committee for Keep Chelsea Rural and is the former co-chair and founding member of Keep Chechessee Rural Alliance. She also serves on the Jasper County Grahamville Cemetery Wreaths Across America Committee.

Bridget Norton

Bridget is a dedicated attorney and partner at the local law firm, Brown and Norton, LLC where she focuses on Family and Divorce law. Alongside her professional pursuits, Bridget is actively involved in her community, participating in various local initiatives including Riverview Charter School and Women’s United. Bridget, together with her husband Julian, resides on Lady’s Island with their two sons, Grant and Dylan.

Matt Phifer

Matt Phifer, a Beaufort native, grew up on St. Helena Island. His childhood was spent with adventures along the creeks, rivers, and woods of the ACE Basin and Port Royal Sound, fostering a profound appreciation for the outdoors that continues to shape his life today. A passionate outdoorsman, Matt is dedicated to protecting the sprawling landscapes of the Lowcountry.

After earning his degree from Presbyterian College, Matt returned to his roots in Beaufort and eventually founded Phifer Contracting Services. Matt and his wife Katie reside on Lady’s Island with their two children, Riley and George.

Al Stokes

Al retired from the SCDNR as Manager of the Waddell Maricultural Research and Development Center, where he spent more than 40 years developing spawning and production techniques for several commercial and recreationally important finfish and marine shrimp species. He is currently employed as a shrimp production consultant for Zeigler Bros Inc., an international aquaculture feeds company. Al is a member of the May River Watershed Action Plan Advisory Committee and a Deputy State Law Enforcement Officer. He is a volunteer for the Port Royal Sound Maritime Center and the SCDNR Victoria Bluff Heritage Trust Preserve and the Victoria Bluff Marine Reserve.

Beekman Webb

Beek was born and raised in Beaufort and has an in-depth knowledge of the land and its history. He has played a vital role in protecting some of OLT’s most prized properties such as The Green in the Old Point. Beek has been a member of the Open Land Trust Board of Directors for many years and has served as former President and as a member of the Land Committee. In addition to the Open Land Trust, Beek also serves as a member of the Rural and Critical Land Preservation Board for Council District 2.

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