November 13, 2019
MSP Partner and Georgia Conservancy Board of Trustees Member Virginia Harman and her daughter Kate were in attendance at the Atlanta History Center where President Jimmy Carter was honored as 2019 Distinguished Conservationist at 26th Annual ecoBenefête on November 7. The Distinguished Conservationist Award, bestowed at that Conservancy’s annual gala, ecoBenefête, recognized President Carter’s profound and lasting impact on the conservation and protection of Georgia’s natural resources.
As one of the Georgia Conservancy’s charter members in 1967, President Carter’s notable environmental legacy in Georgia and beyond merits celebration by all. From his role in preserving the Upper Flint River at Sprewell Bluff, to his establishment of the Georgia Heritage Trust, to his support of significant environmental policy changes and unwavering commitment to our natural resources, President Carter has left our lands and water for the better. President Carter’s childhood experience on his family farm in Georgia and early notions of stewardship contributed to a strong environmental ethic, which was expressed during his tenures as State Senator, Governor, and President of the United States. That environmental awareness and concern bore fruit in Georgia at Panola Mountain, at Sweetwater Creek, and at Sprewell Bluff, along the Chattahoochee River, in the wild and scenic waters of the Chattooga, and on Ossabaw Island.
“My thoughts on conservation are grounded in a lifelong love of the natural wonders of Georgia and our responsibility to pass on the land, water, and forests in a better condition than we inherited them,” wrote President Carter in his acceptance of the Distinguished Conservationist Award. “Growing up on a farm, I understood the protection of the earth was the individuals’ responsibility and that we must carefully manage and enhance nature rather than degrade it. I am proud to have had the opportunity to share these ideals with the Georgia Conservancy. Their leadership in environmental preservation, protection, and policy enactment was helpful to me as State Senator, Governor of Georgia, and then President of the United States.”
“Future generations of conservation leaders must remember that we are stewards of a precious gift, which is not an unpleasant duty but rather an exciting challenge,” wrote President Carter. “We must safeguard our land so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy freshwater, clean air, scenic mountains and coasts, fertile agricultural lands, and healthy save places to live and thrive.”
The 26th annual ecoBenefête was a singular opportunity to honor the legacy of President Carter and his extraordinary impact on Georgia, the Georgia Conservancy, and the environment.