From The President:
Our Past Is Your Present
Land conservation has been at the core of our work since our founding in 1967. Our founding resolution, presented and adopted at Sweetwater Creek in February of that year, read: “The purpose of the Georgia Conservancy shall be, either independently or in cooperation with government, to preserve or to aid in the preservation of areas of scenic, geologic, biologic, historic or recreational importance in Georgia in the public interest; to establish or aid in the establishment of nature reserves or other protected areas for scientific, educational, or aesthetic purposes…”
Those words describe our purpose today, just as they did nearly 50 years ago. Our methods may have evolved, either in reaction to new scientific findings and a changing political climate or through proactive and creative measures that forward our mission, but our core purpose as an organization remains – the preservation, conservation and protection of Georgia’s lands.
Our methods are key to protecting Georgia’s water, providing habitat for threatened and endangered species, and giving our citizens a beautiful place in which to recreate.
The land conservation methods that we proudly pursue include collaboration and engagement with our leaders at the State Capitol, community outreach that promotes sustainable growth planning, robust and exciting stewardship trips and service opportunities that expose thousands a year to both protected and highly threatened landscapes, and one-on-one meetings with private landowners to educate them on conservation options.
In our Summer 2016 issue of Panorama Magazine, we will discuss the various aspects of our work to conserve our state’s land, from our early grassroots efforts to protect Douglas County’s Sweetwater Creek in the late 1960s to our successful work in promoting conservation-minded legislation to our unique land conservation initiative, now in its sixth year.
With a nearly 50-year history of protecting and conserving our state’s land and water, we step into our second half century with the knowledge, partnerships and reputation to confidently advance conservation in Georgia. In our five decades, much has been accomplished in our mission to protect and conserve our state’s natural resources – but more work remains.
As you will read, our recent strategic plan has laid out a number of goals for land conservation. Whether we are meeting with a legislator in downtown Atlanta, touring a working forest with a landowner in Miller County, collaborating with our conservation partners in Savannah or exploring the Ogeechee River with a first-time paddler from Tyrone, we are working every day to achieve these goals.
You will conclude after reading Panorama that these goals for land conservation are ambitious, but so was the creation of Cumberland Island National Seashore, the establishment of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act, the protection of the Cohutta Wilderness and the conservation and restoration of more than 54,000 acres of ecologically-rich acres in just a five-year period. Our past is your present. What were once ambitious strategic goals (some may say pie-in- the-sky goals) are now tangible successes for our state’s natural resources. Our present