From The President:
Our Past Is Your Present
For one day in August 2017 it seemed like the entire nation descended upon a narrow strip of America from coast to coast to experience a once-in-a-generation opportunity. A total solar eclipse brought together millions of strangers to witness one of the planet’s greatest natural phenomena.
As I sat watching the jaw-dropping solar eclipse in my hometown of Toccoa, Georgia, it was a reminder of the beautiful power of the natural world to bring together people from all walks of life and from all political persuasions. Just a few weeks later, the entirety of our state’s 39 million acres was impacted by Hurricane Irma. Once again, I was inspired by the coming together of Georgians – this time to support their neighbors in need. Both of these natural events reaffirmed for me the important work that we are doing here at the Georgia Conservancy. It’s work that we’ve been doing every day for 50 years.
Since 1967, our goal has been to build a consensus around the pressing needs for conservation in our state. Like the amazing diversity of our geography, so too is our population. Our many differences, whether political, racial or religious, contribute to a dynamic Georgia, one with a vast variety of visions for our future. The conservation space is where we work to find a shared vision, one that doesn’t have to sacrifice our land and our water for progress, one that doesn’t pit the environment against the economy, and one that provides all Georgians with a healthy future. To do that, though, we must all come together to find a common path forward.
We know this because of our long and consistent engagement with leaders and citizens across this state in our effort to tackle Georgia’s conservation challenges. While our differences are many, we can all agree that every man, woman and child wants and deserves clean water, clean air and land – elements that are all essential to our livelihoods.
As you will see in our 2017 Impact Report, our programmatic work is focused on finding this common path forward. Through our Stewardship Trips program, we’ve led nearly 3,000 people into nature this year, from our barrier islands to the Cumberland Plateau, turning adventure seekers into advocates for our state’s most precious places. Our Advocacy efforts have led to bipartisan actions at the State Capitol to provide more stringent guidelines for any future petroleum pipeline construction, as well as providing leadership in the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Coalition. Our Sustainable Growth program is considered a go-to resource for communities across the state that are seeking a conservation-minded approach to economic growth. Through our Land Conservation Initiative, we have provided guidance and expertise to landowners across the state who are interested in seeing their land placed into permanent conservation. And on Georgia’s beautiful Atlantic Coast, our Savannah-based Coastal Office is hard at work finding solutions to this region’s unique conservation challenges, both on land and at sea.
This past year, and for the five decades before, the Georgia Conservancy has helped to push the conversation around conservation, bringing diverse voices and interests together for a common cause: conserving and protecting our shared natural resources. And, with your support, we will continue to champion our natural resources into the next decade and beyond, collaborating and engaging with fellow Georgians to meet the challenges of tomorrow.