By Maria Saporta
Former Georgia Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard will be stepping down as president of the Georgia Conservancy at the end of June, the organization announced Monday.
Howard has led the Georgia Conservancy since 2009. He will remain as a senior advisor and as a member of the Advisory board with a focus on helping to develop the Georgia Conservancy’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, continuing to expand its Land Conservation Initiative and easing the transition to a new president, according to the press release.
The organization board of trustees is planning to engage a search firm to help identify candidates for a successor, and the goal is to have a new president in place by July 1, the start of the Conservancy’s new fiscal year. The search will include both internal and external candidates.
“We are extremely grateful to Pierre for all that he has achieved as our president,” said George Mori, board chairman of the Georgia Conservancy, in a statement. “Our financial health is strong, and our staff and programs are top quality. More importantly, our organization today remains highly respected across the state as a firm, but reasonable, voice on water quality and land conservation issues.”
Under Howard’s leadership, the Conservancy, the state’s oldest conservation organization, has helped protect the state’s land and water resources through both advocacy and programming, according to the release.
Most recently, Howard 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 helped permanently protect some 15,700 acres of diverse habitat since its launch.
Members of the Conservancy’s staff have become recognized national experts on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s School Siting Guidelines. The “Old School, New School” curriculum is part of the Conservancy’s Sustainable Growth programming, which is already well known for its 19-year Blueprints community planning partnership with Georgia Tech.
Meanwhile, the organization’s stewardship 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.
The Georgia Conservancy http://www.georgiaconservancy.org was founded in 1967 to protect Georgia’s natural resources for present and future generations by advocating sound environmental policies, advancing sustainable growth practices and facilitating common-ground solutions to environmental challenges.