YORK, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – From Bird watching to winning the highest civilian honor in South Carolina, our latest CN2 Hometown Hero certainly has an impressive resume.
Dr. Bill Hilton Jr. has been recognized for his work in studying birds in York, and received the Order of the Palmetto after being nominated by South Carolina Senator Mike Fanning.
Hilton is a bird bander, which means he is authorized to catch and tag birds in order to better study and identify them.
In his 42 years of banding, Hilton has tagged more than 78,700 individual birds, including 128 different species, and says he specializes in the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Hilton says he never expected his life’s work would earn him the Order of the Palmetto award, but hopes the achievement will bring more attention to the nature he studies.
Hilton is a former teacher, and says he founded the Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History to continue teaching people on the importance of our natural environment.
“Everything is connected to everything else. That’s true not only in nature but elsewhere to, so we’re connected to nature even though we sometimes try to rule over nature,” Hilton said. “We need to live in concert with nature and Take care of it.”
Hilton was nominated for the Order of the Palmetto by South Carolina District 17 Senator Mike Fanning. Senator Fanning says he gave the nomination because he sees the importance in Hilton’s work.
“This teacher back in the 1970s took an entire class of students to testify before Congress about protecting the environment and has dedicated his entire life to teaching others and caring for the life God has made for us,” the Senator said.
Hilton says he plans to continue his work studying birds for as long as he can, and hopes to one day hit the milestone of banding 100,000 birds.