David White was born and raised in Pickens County, SC, with a patch of woods and a creek behind his house to roam, explore, swing on grapevines and catch crawfish. On his path to Eagle Scout, he learned valuable skills, camped, backpacked, swam and canoed in the Carolina foothills/Blue Ridge and taught aquatic skills to scouts on Lake Keowee in 1974 - all of which lit the fire of his passion for wild places and the beauty and complexity of nature.
His first memory of ‘Jocassee’ as an 8-year-old was a visit to his Dad’s partner’s cabin (“Riverview House”) in the mid-1960s near the confluence of the Thompson and Whitewater Rivers. It was in the late 1970s/80s that he started exploring Lake Jocassee by canoe and then, in the mid 90’s and beyond, by sea kayak – he was forever taken by this clear, cold deep body of water and how the water allowed him to explore the diverse landscape! By that time, he had a degree in biology from Wofford College, a masters degree in plant ecology from UGA and was employed as an ecologist for the US Forest Service. His education/work experience led to a diverse career in ecology ranging from watershed studies, impacts of human and natural disturbance, fire ecology, characterizing old-growth forests, documenting impacts of historical land use and the study of rare plants. For the past 10 years as a contract ecologist, he has surveyed/mapped/managed rare plants, rare communities and invasive species from Oconee Co. to the SC coast. He will complete the Jocassee Wild Naturalist Program in late spring of 2021.
David and his wife Kerry McKenzie live, love, breathe and toil on a beautiful piece of forested land between Pickens and Pumpkintown along with 2 sweet dogs, a garden that boasts 400 head of garlic a year, a woodstove that demands a firewood ritual, hiking trails, beautiful timber rattlers, black snakes, racoons, owls, hawks, warblers, seldom-seen bobcats, coyotes, and occasional hungry bears. David has 2 wonderful adult sons in the Asheville area. He also has a passion for playing and sharing music and dance– playing the old-time Appalachian fiddle and banjo music that preceded bluegrass. As a pontoon and kayak guide, David loves to give folks the opportunity to experience the rare jewel that Lake Jocassee and its river gorges provide.