A dozen students in Jane Settle’s classroom are furiously jotting notes on charts listing out plastic straws, bottles and bags. Their assignment: To research sources of marine pollution and brainstorm solutions to keep them out of local waters.
Jungle Jane, as her friends call her, moved to Charleston in 1977 to study marine science at the graduate level, quickly falling in love with the city. After teaching freshman biology at the College of Charleston, Jane accepted a position with the Department of Natural Resources and was responsible for monitoring coastal permits and water quality.
In the nineties, she found herself on the same side of the table at public meetings with a quirky, brilliant executive director, Dana Beach. “When I found out he was starting the Conservation League, I caught myself thinking, ‘Thank you, God,’ Jane said. “This is the organization coastal South Carolina needs.”
Today, Jane’s boundless optimism is unbridled by larger forces at work, such as politics, rapid development and her own personal health. About five years ago, she was debilitated by and later diagnosed with Charcot neuropathy. She lost her left leg below the knee and gained a prosthetic that she now calls ‘Peggy.’ Her prosthetic features imprinted fern leaves and allows her to continue paddle boarding near her home on Johns Island.
Now a sixth-grade science teacher, Jane keeps a news board updated for her students and engages them on current conservation topics. Later, her students will send post cards to Congress and participate in a beach sweep.
Jane is a proud supporter of the Conservation League’s work to address local issues like plastic pollution and drilling for oil and gas off our coast. Will you join Jane today?
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