Conservation Voters of South Carolina Education Fund is dedicated to maximizing the participation of conservation-minded citizens in public policy decisions made at the state and local levels regarding South Carolina's environment and natural resources. Since 2004, Conservation Voters Education Fund has hosted the Conservation Common Agenda, now called the South Carolina Conservation Coalition. The Coalition uses a consensus approach to setting annual Legislative Priorities supported by more than 30 statewide conservation organizations representing over 40,000 members. Conservation Voters Education Fund publishes educational tools and hosts regional projects to better inform decision makers and the public about state and local environmental issues.

Key Programs:
Structure and Funding:
CVSCEF is a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan organization. Donations are tax-deductible. CVSCEF is governed by a volunteer board of directors.

Resource Sharing Agreement:
CVSCEF reimburses CVSC for services based on the proportion of time expended on behalf of CVSCEF's educational programs. (Legal contract for sharing personnel, equipment, and facilities)

Meet the CVSC Education Fund Board of Directors

Akin Watson, Irmo,Board Chair:Watson is a native of Saluda and is currently the President of AllCaregivers Inc. He is also on the board of SC Home Care and Hospice Association. Watson earned his B.S. in Mathematics & Computer Programming from UCLA and his MBA from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

Lara Winburn,Columbia,Secretary Treasurer:Winburn previously worked for Conservation Voters of South Carolina as Development Director and is currently the Development Coordinator for the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

Emma Ruth Brittain,Myrtle Beach: Brittain is an attorney in Myrtle Beach. Brittain earned her B.A. in History from Furman University and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina Law School

Lauren McClary,North Charleston: McClary is an attorney in North Charleston. McClary earned her B.S. from Vanderbilt University and her J.D. from the University of South Carolina Law School.

Harry Shealy, Ph.D, Aiken: President of the Aiken County Open Land Trust and Vice-Chair of the Hitchcock Foundation, Harry is a retired professor of Biology at University of South Carolina Aiken and former Chair of the CVSC Board of Directors.  

Meet the CVSC Staff

John TynanExecutive Director John Tynan Prior to joining CVSC, John oversaw the customer service, marketing, and government relations sections of Central Arkansas Water. He has also served as the Deputy Director of Upstate Forever and Commissioner of Public Works for the City of Greenville. John holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Furman University and a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University. He is also a 2010 Enviropreneur Fellow from the Property and Environment Research Center. Email John
Find out why John is a Conservation voter
Rebecca HaynesDeputy Director Rebecca Haynes Rebecca has over ten years of experience working on water policy in South Carolina with communities, utilities, and agencies, most recently at the SC Dept. of Health and Environmental Control and American Rivers.A University of Georgia graduate, Rebecca holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, a Certificate in Environmental Ethics, and a Master of Science in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development.She is also active in the community as Founding Chair and former Board Member of the NoMa Bark Park, Past President of the Earlewood Community Citizens Organization, and a devoted "big" with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Email Rebecca
Find out why Rebecca is a Conservation voter
Carolee WilliamsLand and Water Program Director Carolee Williams Carolee brings a career of knowledge working in the City of Charleston’s Planning Department on everything from annexation to long range planning to special projects including the International African American Museum to leading their sustainability initiatives. She was a co-writer in the City’s Sea Level Rise Strategy. In addition, Carolee has been a recommended candidate for the State’s Public Service Commission, running on a platform of transparency and support for renewable energies. Carolee has a BA degree in history from Wake Forest University and a MA in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. When not at work, Carolee enjoys seeing Charleston from a kayak or being at her 1840s log cabin in the Virginia mountains. Email Carolee
Find out why Carolee is a Conservation voter
Cassie RatliffMyrtle Beach Regional Field Director Cassie Ratfliff Born and raised in the great outdoors of Michigan, Cassie moved to South Carolina to be closer to the coast and to attend Coastal Carolina University, where she graduated with a degree in Environmental Sustainability and Journalism. Cassie joined Conservation Voters of South Carolina after running the marketing department for a solar energy company in Myrtle Beach. She is excited for the opportunity to get even more involved in preserving the beautiful South Carolina environment she has come to love. In her free time, Cassie can often be seen taking artsy photos, indulging in Shavasana, spending time with her fur babies, and (literally) hugging trees. Email Cassie
Tommy GardinerCommunications Director Tommy Gardiner Tommy is a South Carolina transplant who grew up between Texas and Colorado. He served 9 years in the Marine Corps and then earned a BA from USC Aiken in Philosophy of Journalism. Tommy came from a journalism career where he covered politics, utilities, commercial and defense nuclear issues, for both regional and national outlets. He also produced a full-length documentary about long-term health complications for defense nuclear workers. When not working at CVSC, Tommy serves as a volunteer leader for North Augusta Cub Scout Pack 7, volunteers with other SC Conservation Coalition organizations, enjoys time fishing, hiking and kayaking with his family, and discovering new disc golf courses. Email Tommy
Meredith CookDevelopment Director Meredith Headshot A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Meredith has over 10 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations across the state. After graduating from College of Charleston with a degree in Arts Management, Meredith served as the Director of Development at Gravatt Camp and Conference Center in Aiken and the Director of Major and Corporate Giving at Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. Meredith loves spending her time hiking and trying out South Carolina’s newest breweries. Email Meredith
Paul BlackMidlands Regional Field Director Paul Black A Pee Dee native, Paul has always treasured the natural beauty and wild places of South Carolina. He comes to Conservation Voters from South Carolina state government where he served in a variety of outreach roles as well as a statewide political campaign. Paul earned a BA in Political Science from the University of South Carolina and uses his knowledge and government experience to help fellow South Carolinians engage the systems in which we all live. In his free time Paul says he’s going to go to the gym but instead works on increasingly unnecessary DIY projects. Email Paul
Ben CardewUpstate Regional Field Director Ben Cardew Ben grew up in New Jersey, right across the Hudson River from New York City. He moved to South Carolina in 2014 to attend Furman University, where he graduated with a degree in Politics and International Affairs. Ben joined Conservation Voters of South Carolina in early 2019 after working on William Timmons’ campaign to represent South Carolina’s 4th US Congressional District and Walt Wilkins’ campaign for Solicitor of South Carolina’s 13th Judicial Circuit. Before joining the team as Upstate Field Director, Ben helped CVSC canvass for William Cogswell’s campaign for SC House District 110 in Charleston and Mount Pleasant. In his free time, Ben enjoys listening to podcasts or watching sports, hiking, and taking long drives throughout the Upstate. Email Ben
Rebecca Geigel Development Associate 10440973_10205849498144287_5492952792227809282_n Rebecca grew up in the wild, wonderful hills of West Virginia. She moved to Columbia to attend the University of South Carolina, where she graduated with a degree in Public Relations. She gained her development experience through internships with the Boy Scouts of America, Indian Waters Council and the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network. When she's not at work, Rebecca is probably planning her next trip, enjoying Columbia’s restaurant scene, or spending quality time with her closest friends. Email Rebecca