Clemson University alumni Johnny and Kristen Evans are gifting $1 million to help establish the Boone and Crockett Wildlife Conservation Program at Clemson University. Similar programs at several other prominent universities provide support for applied research that informs the education of the next generation of wildlife management professionals.
“Johnny has long been a leader in wildlife conservation – in South Carolina and nationally. His support for the Boone and Crockett Program at Clemson is tremendously important to our success. This generous gift is a wonderful investment in our students, who will be the future wildlife biologists, managers, scientists, and professionals across the country,” said Keith L. Belli, Dean of College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.
Johnny (’75) and Kristen’s (’73 and ’77) gift will help the Program establish an endowed professorship to lead efforts focused on wildlife conservation, land and habitat management, applied research, and education. The program includes student scholarships and fellowships, hands-on learning opportunities and youth wildlife and hunting programs. The program will also coordinate with Clemson Extension’s shooting sports program.
Founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt, the Boone and Crockett Club is North America’s oldest wildlife and habitat conservation organization.
“The Boone and Crockett Club has the same mission as Clemson: to educate and to ensure the future of wildlife conservation in North America,” said Greg Yarrow, professor of Wildlife Ecology in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation.
Graduates from Clemson’s program will focus particularly on helping and encouraging private landowners in South Carolina and the Southeast to manage their land effectively to promote the health and sustainability of wildlife populations.
Ninety-two percent of South Carolina land is owned by private landowners. Johnny Evans is a lifelong hunter from Cameron in Calhoun County and the Evans family counts itself among those landowners.
When Evans was a boy, he and his father used to hunt on private land but a change in ownership caused him to lose access to the land. While a college student at Clemson, he bought land in Calhoun County and began managing it for duck hunting. His success managing his land led to an invitation by then Gov. Mark Sanford to serve on the board of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, which he did for 10 years. In 2017, Evans was instrumental in founding the South Carolina Wildlife Partnership, which works with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to provide ethical hunting opportunities for the public on private lands.
Evans was a driving force behind the new Boone and Crockett program at Clemson. Evans said Clemson Cooperative Extension, with offices and agents in all 46 South Carolina counties, would be a linchpin for the future success of the Boone and Crockett Program.
“The Clemson University and Boone and Crockett Partnership is so special because of what they can do and the network they have. Clemson University already has a great wildlife department, but with the Boone and Crockett Club, I feel it can really make a difference in South Carolina and also on a national level,” Evans said.
After graduating from Clemson with a degree in construction science, Johnny Evans joined his father Clarence Felder Evans’s construction firm. Under his leadership, CF Evans Construction, headquartered in Orangeburg, has grown into a regional presence with senior living and multifamily construction projects throughout the Carolinas.
He lives in Lonestar, South Carolina, where he and Kristen can frequently be found entertaining their ten grandchildren.
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