On Monday, the Midtown-based Georgia Conservancy announced that former Georgia Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard, the organization's president
since 2009, will be stepping down at the end
of June. He will remain as a senior advisor and member of the advisory board.
Here is the letter from the Conservancy Chairman of the Board of Trustees, George Mori, making the announcement:
Dear Friends of the Georgia Conservancy,
As friends of the Georgia Conservancy, I wanted to share with you some news. Pierre Howard, our president since 2009, will step down at the end of the organization’s fiscal year on June 30. We are thrilled that Pierre will remain active with the Conservancy, though, as a senior advisor and member of our Advisory Board, with particular focus on helping to develop the Conservancy’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, continuing to expand its Land Conservation Initiative and easing the transition to a new president.
The Board of Trustees has already taken the first steps necessary to identify our next president and will engage a national search firm to help us in this process. We are committed to attracting a leader who can build on our momentum and keep the Conservancy at the forefront of efforts to protect and conserve the state’s natural resources. We expect to have the new president in place by July 1.
Speaking for anybody who cares about the land and water in Georgia, we are all indebted to Pierre. Throughout his career as a lawyer, public official and Conservancy president, Pierre has been a tireless advocate for environmental matters and conservation. His leadership of the Conservancy has been tremendously successful. Our next president will inherit an organization that is financially strong, staffed by top-quality professionals and respected as a firm but reasonable voice on water quality, land conservation and other environmental matters.
During Pierre’s five-year presidency, the Georgia Conservancy – already the oldest statewide conservation organization in the state – has accomplished great things through its advocacy work at the state capitol and its programming. Most recently, Pierre helped negotiate a legislative proposal to protect Jekyll Island’s fragile marshlands and limit overall development on the barrier island. The bill is currently in front of state legislators so that it can be enacted as state law.
In 2011, the organization introduced its Land Conservation Initiative to help private landowners conserve ecologically important areas around the state. As the first land conservation program in Georgia aimed at advising landowners on how to preserve private land in perpetuity, while benefiting from state and federal tax incentives, this effort has help permanently protect some 15,700 acres of diverse habitat since its launch.
We’ve had many successes with this program. For instance, in late 2013, with the help of Conservancy members and others, we protected Thompson Island on Ebenezer Creek, a tributary of the Savannah River. This gem of biological diversity is viewed as a seed tract that can help spur additional conservation along this Georgia Wild and Scenic waterway.
Our Sustainable Growth programming continues to be a critical part of our advocacy efforts. As our Blueprints community planning partnership with Georgia Tech reaches its 19th year, we have expanded into walkable and accessible communities as well as school siting issues. In fact, members of our staff have become nationally recognized experts on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s School Siting Guidelines and regularly share their “Old School, New School” curriculum with interested groups.
Meanwhile, our Stewardship Trips program, which organizes service days, outdoor adventure trips and special events, has exploded in popularity. The Georgia Conservancy currently organizes over 50 different stewardship activities each year, reaching every corner of the state and reconnecting people to the outdoors. Many of you have already seen our staff in action on one or more of those trips and events. If you haven’t, make plans to join us on one of these trips. I promise you will have a great time and learn something new about this incredible state of ours.
Please join me in extending our thanks to Pierre for everything that he’s done for this organization and congratulating him as he enters the next phase of his distinguished career.
George N. Mori
Chairman, Board of Trustees