Caring for Our People and the Mission: Conservation Continues in Georgia
By Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy
We’ve never experienced a time like this before. Together with the many other organizations around the world – and all Georgians – The Nature Conservancy is actively adapting to the ever-changing reality of COVID-19 response. Through the adversity we are all facing, the Conservancy is focused on caring for our people and our mission. The most important thing we can do right now is recognize that our collective safety and security and that of those we love are paramount and take the actions necessary to limit risk and exposure. We are practicing compassion for our fellow team members so we can navigate these uncharted waters with clear, honest communication and mutual respect.
Recognizing very serious public health concerns, the Conservancy has taken concerted measures to ensure the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and partners. We’ve closed our offices. Our dedicated team continues working together, remotely. We’ve canceled all conferences, meetings and other public events scheduled to take place this spring – including our beloved annual event, Wild for Georgia on April 24.
It is vital for the natural resources of Georgia that The Nature Conservancy stay committed to continuity of purpose in this unprecedented time. The spring weather provides a critical window for controlled burns, a conservation practice that improves the health of Georgia’s forests and reduces the likelihood of wildfires. Conservancy prescribed fire crews have quickly reassessed their plans based on the closure of the federal lands and federal programs with whom we partner and doubled down on fire operations for State and Conservancy-owned lands. These land stewardship teams, from North Georgia to the Chattahoochee Fall Line to the coastal plain are following social distancing protocols and fulfilling our conservation mission every day.
Although there is no reason to expect a traditional level of productivity, as the Conservancy land stewardship teams have demonstrated, there is every reason to expect full creativity when it comes to meeting the essential demands of our personal and professional lives. I am especially proud to see the way the foundation community has rallied to heed the call and support the many Georgians in need right now, and the way our peer organizations in the social services sector are demonstrating compassionate innovation in meeting those needs.
As with so many local businesses, nonprofit organizations have been hit incredibly hard by the sudden yet necessary economic downturn. These organizations will rely on the generosity of supporters who make unrestricted gifts to their missions to ensure they have the capacity necessary to meet growing demand in a time of great need. With the continued support of our donors and partners, I am confident The Nature Conservancy in Georgia will weather this storm with wisdom and grace.
Now, perhaps more than ever, I believe we need to stay in communication and open our hearts and minds to understanding how we can help each other and our communities. You can connect with The Nature Conservancy in Georgia through social media by visiting our Facebook page and our Instagram profile. There, you will find more stories to inspire and remind you of the restorative power of nature.
Spring has sprung. Flowers are blooming. Getting outdoors gives pause …it calms the mind, uplifts the spirit and conditions the body. Take some time to enjoy the beauty, complexity and resilience of nature by getting outdoors if you can safely do so, or by sharing some favorite nature images, tuning into a wildlife cam, or exploring virtual nature tours.
May we all remain safe and healthy…and emerge from this crisis stronger, better and brighter.