2018 Common Ground Summit

The Wildlife Economy
Session Two - 11 AM - Athena B/C

Photo: Phuc DaO, The Georgia Conservancy

Photo: Phuc DaO, The Georgia Conservancy

Session Description and Noteworthy Project Aspects:
This panel of the leading Georgia wildlife advocates and experts will discuss a range of economic and management perspectives from across the landscape of the State. From the southwest Georgia quail hunting preserves to the mountain streams, some areas of our state have been able to take advantage of both game and non-game species for the benefit of the local economy. Maintaining a diversity of wildlife in our streams, forest and fields is good business that has a tie to the State’s long term quality of life.



Neil Fleckenstein, AICP - Red Hills Planning Coordinator for the Tall Timbers Land Conservancy. He is responsible for community planning activities and issue-based advocacy efforts to ensure the sustainability of the Red Hills region of north Florida and southwest Georgia. Neil has also served as a manager for a number of projects including the Red Hills and Albany Quail Hunting Lands Economic Impact Analysis projects, the Red Hills Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services project, and the Red Hills Cost of Community Services project.

Dan Forster - Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer of Archery Trade Association. Dan is a Double Dawg having graduated from the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources with both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees concentrating in wildlife biology.  He retired from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in October of 2016 after a 30-year career as a wildlife biologist, serving the last 12 years as the Director of the Wildlife Resources Division. Dan now serves as the Archery Trade Association’s Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer, where he works with state wildlife agencies and other partners to grow hunting and shooting sports participation and resource protection.

Jimmy Harris – Co-Owner of Unicoi Outfitters  Jimmy Harris grew up fishing and hunting in middle Georgia. A summer graduate internship in the North Georgia mountains during the early 1970s proved to be a life changing experience, and Harris never returned home to Jones County. In 1998, he joined Uncoi Outfitters, then a small fly-fishing shop near Helen, as a partner. Since that time, he’s worked to utilize Unicoi Outfitters to fulfill a lifelong desire to play an active role working with the U. S. Forest Service and Georgia Department of Natural Resources as a partner on numerous conservation projects. He’s been fortunate enough to dedicate his resources to supporting several local and regional groups such as Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Project Healing Waters, Trout Unlimited, Casting for Recovery and others, and has been blessed to see Unicoi Outfitters grow into a nationally recognized outfitter and guide service; recently receiving the designation of "Orvis Fly Shop of the Year” for 2018. Harris holds a B.S. in Forest Resources Management and M.Ed in Outdoor Education from the University of Georgia.



Mike Worley - President and CEO of the Georgia Wildlife Federation. He is a lifelong outdoors enthusiast.  Prior to joining GWF in 2015, Mike had a successful 32 year career at Georgia Power, where he held positions in environmental affairs, legislative affairs, region operations, and community and economic development. Additionally, Mike was “on loan” to Governor Sonny Perdue’s office during  2003 through 2005, working on Georgia’s  successful Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) initiative. Mike is a leader in the conservation community, serving as vice-chair of Georgia’s Prescribed Fire Council, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Coalition, the Georgia Water Council Leadership Team, the Ossabaw Main House Study Committee, and Georgia’s nationally leading effort on R3 (Recruit, Retain and Reactivate) Hunting and Shooting Sports team. Mike recently served on the Joint House and Senate Study Committee on Stream Buffers in Georgia and is serving on the Stakeholder Advisory Board of the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. On a national level, Mike serves as co-chair of the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Funding Caucus and brings significant expertise in fundraising, advocacy, and state and local government relations. He has a B.S. in Biology from the University of West Georgia and is a graduate of Emory’s Goizuetta Executive Program. Mike’s outdoor interests include waterfowl and upland hunting, clays, and fishing. 


If you have any questions regarding this panel, please email Georgia Conservancy Coastal Director Charles McMillan at cmcmillan@gaconservancy.org