Head of influential SC environmental group leaves


Laura Cantral

Laura Cantral

The director of one of South Carolina’s most influential conservation groups is leaving the organization, four years after replacing the group’s longtime founder and leader.

Laura Cantral, director of the Coastal Conservation League in Charleston, announced on Wednesday that she was stepping down for personal family reasons. She and her family will move to Atlanta in January 2022, according to a press release.

At the end of 2017, Cantral replaced group founder Dana Beach, who ended more than three decades as league director. Beach started the league in the late 1980s.

In a note to the league’s board of directors, Cantral said the group faced challenges during their tenure.

“It has been an honor to lead this incredible organization,” according to a press release quoting Cantral. “When I arrived at the end of 2017, I knew I was taking on a unique role: that of a leader, manager, strategist, advocate, fundraiser and steward all in one.

“I could not have imagined the challenges and opportunities we would face over the past four years, and I am grateful to a wonderful staff and a supportive Board of Directors who together made all of our work possible. . “

The board will launch a nationwide search for a new executive director in the coming weeks, according to the press release.

The statement praised Cantral’s work with the organization. The Coastal Conservation League advocates for the protection of the environment on the coast of South Carolina and at the State House in Colombia. It has a network of full-time workers, with offices in Charleston, Georgetown, Beaufort and Columbia.

Board chair Ceara Donnelley praised Cantral, saying the organization is financially strong.

“Working alongside Laura as she led the most dynamic and successful conservation organization in the Lowcountry has been a huge pleasure,” Donnelly said in the league press release. “As a result of his leadership and effort, the organization is financially and structurally sound, with an extraordinary staff who are ready to continue their essential work while the Board of Directors strives to identify their replacement. “

This story was originally published December 1, 2021 11:08 a.m.

Sammy Fretwell has covered the Environmental Rhythm for the State since 1995. He writes on a range of issues including wildlife, climate change, energy, state environmental policy, nuclear waste and the coastal development. He has won numerous awards, including Journalist of the Year from the SC Press Association in 2017. Fretwell is a University of South Carolina graduate who grew up in Anderson County. Contact him at 803 771 8537.
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