From The President:

Our Past Is Your Present

As we enter 2018, we bring to a close the Georgia Conservancy’s Golden Anniversary. Fifty years of history has offered us all a great deal to reflect upon. While reflection offers moments of nostalgia, reminders of great conservation successes and near misses, it also reminds me that good conservation is never accidental, nor is its impact limited to a single year or decade. Good, purposeful conservation anticipates, as best as possible, future challenges and needs for our natural resources and precious places.

In each of the past two autumns, Georgians have been reminded of why good conservation matters to people and nature alike. Because of strong leadership and foresight from the 60s and 70s, Georgia’s short coastline is largely unspoiled, and while this has benefited the biodiversity of this globally unique landscape, our citizens have benefited as well. In the cases of Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, our coastal residents and our coastal businesses benefited significantly from the ability of our functioning sand dunes and salt marsh to absorb the impacts and energy of these hurricanes. To be sure, there was damage and in some parts of the coast the damage was significant, as many communities are far from recovered. But, it is true to say that it could have been much worse.

So rather than reflect for the sake of nostalgia, we reflect so that we will learn from these past successes and failures. As our population and economy grow, we have to become even more thoughtful and committed to conservation. In this issue of Panorama, we highlight a transformative collaborative effort that seeks to forward both conservation and our economy through sustainable and dedicated funding for our open lands, parks and greenspace – the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act.

During the next 50 years, we will face new and evolving challenges. In many regards, the future will be similar to our past. Our population will grow significantly and so too will the economy, both of which depend on Nature and the resources that she provides. The footprint of our cities and towns will grow to accommodate the population and economic expansion, and our land, air and water will be even more precious to all life in this state, particularly in the face of more intense weather events and sea level rise that accompany our changing climate.

The lessons from our past remind us that the decisions that we make today impact our future and the future of generations to come. For our part, the Georgia Conservancy will remain steadfast in our efforts to deliver solutions that enable Georgia to be a place where people and the environment continue to thrive.

Thank you,

Robert Ramsay