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April 8, 2009

Florence attorney wins 2008 Environmental Awareness Award

Benjamin T. "Ben" Zeigler has been named winner of the 2008 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award. Mr. Zeigler is a shareholder of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., where he practices public finance law in the firm's Florence office.

In a ceremony Friday, March 27, Scott English, Governor Mark Sanford's Chief of Staff, announced the winner at the University of South Carolina’s West "Green" Quad in Columbia and recognized Zeigler for outstanding contributions toward the protection, conservation and improvement of South Carolina's natural resources.

In July 2008, Ben Zeigler completed two consecutive terms (2004-2008) as Chairman of the Board of the Pee Dee Land Trust.  During his tenure on the Board, Ben built unprecedented community support for natural resource protection throughout the Pee Dee region. "Ben’s civic work, particularly on behalf of the Pee Dee Land Trust, is an outstanding example of his dedication.  The cumulative impact of Ben’s many accomplishments is truly greater than the sum of its parts, and for that, all South Carolinians should be grateful," English said.

The Pee Dee Land Trust enables a land owner to voluntarily and permanently protect his or her land for its natural beauty and function, its agricultural productivity and/or its historical significance. The Trust can accept donations of land or donations of easements on privately owned land in order to protect it. The public benefits from protected land, even when public access is not granted, because of the value of scenic beauty, water and air quality, potential for local crop production, habitat for flora and fauna, and much more.

"As a direct result of Ben’s visionary leadership, the amount of land protected by the Land Trust increased from a mere 13 acres in 2005 to more than 10,000 acres in 2008," English added.

A native of Florence, Mr. Zeigler earned his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard University (1997), a Master of Philosophy degree from Oxford University (1994), and graduated magna cum laude from The University of the South (Sewanee) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992.  Mr. Zeigler also serves on the boards of Florence County Progress (Chairman, Relocation Task Force; Chairman, Membership Committee; Tourism Study Committee); Friends of Florence Stockade; Francis Marion University Foundation; Florence Center for the Arts; South Carolina Tourism Alliance; South Carolina Institute for Legal Investment (Steering Committee Chair); and moderator, Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network. He has also served on the Francis Marion Trail Commission (Chairman, 2005-2009), and the McLeod Health Community Board. A member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL), Mr. Zeigler is a member of the South Carolina Bar, the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on Lawyer Conduct (2005-2009), and the South Carolina Eminent Domain Study Committee.

The South Carolina General Assembly established the S.C. Environmental Awareness Award, now in its 17th year, during the 1992 legislative session to recognize outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation and improvement of South Carolina's natural resources.

Each year the public is invited to submit nominations that are then reviewed by an awards committee, which includes representatives from the state's environmental and natural resource agencies. In judging nominees, the committee considers excellence in innovation, leadership and accomplishments that influence positive changes affecting the natural environment.

Members of the awards committee represent the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, S.C. Forestry Commission and S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Previous winners include:

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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L to R - Henry Kodama - John Frampton - Ben Zeigler - Scott English

From L to R: Henry Kodama (SC Forestry Commission); John Frampton (SCDNR Agency Director); Ben Zeigler; Scott English (Gov's Chief of Staff)


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