IPJI Receives Award from the Center for a Sustainable Coast
Below is a press release from the Center for a Sustainable Coast describing the events that took place at a Dec. 6th gathering at which the Center’s 11th year of operation was celebrated. Much to our surprise and delight, the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island State Park was honored at the meeting, receiving the Center’s first annual Nick Williams Award for its work on Jekyll Island’s behalf. We would like to thank the Center, once again, for bestowing this honor upon the IPJI and for its years of outstanding work on Georgia’s coastal issues related to the region’s growth and environmental quality.
On the evening of December 6th a group of environmentally concerned coastal Georgians gathered at St. William’s Catholic Church on St. Simons Island to celebrate the Center’s 11th year of operation and to hear their guest speaker, Senator Jeff Chapman (3rd district, Georgia General Assembly), present remarks about the region’s challenges.
Among the participants were Savannah residents Jo Hickson and her husband Harry, and Roy Lynch, a political consultant who’s taken an interest in government accountability issues related to Jekyll Island. Also present were board supporter and advisor John Train and board members Jim Henry, Steve Willis, Pete Krull (accompanied by his wife Melissa Booth, a Center advisor), and Charlie Belin.
Center members & guests from Camden, Bryan, and McIntosh counties were also present, indicating broad representation from most of the coastal counties. Gordon Rogers, Satilla Riverkeeper and trusted advisor of the Center, was also in attendance.
In his remarks Senator Chapman praised the Center for its important work in making the public aware of the issues affecting the coast, why they are important, and what should be done about them. He said he shares the Center’s concern about the lack of accountability in state government and is working to remedy the problem.
The Senator made it clear that he’s relying on the Center and its members to help voice support for actions needed in Atlanta to improve fairness in decisions related to the use of public funds and natural resources.
At his request, an extended period of questions and answered followed the senator’s remarks. Several members of the audience thanked Senator Chapman and expressed their deep respect for his work on the public’s behalf.
Conversation between the podium and the audience was lively, spontaneous, and diverse – clearly demonstrating an encouraging degree of interest in, and awareness about, coastal environmental issues.
Steve Willis, the Center’s recently elected board president, presented the first annual Nick Williams Award to David & Mindy Egan, the champions of Jekyll Island State Park, who have been so effective as agents of change through their non-profit organization, the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island.
“The board and staff of the Center for a Sustainable Coast are proud to present the first annual Nick Williams Coastal Sustainability Award to David & Mindy Egan for their insightful commitment to protecting and promoting the public interest in stewardship of natural resources, preserving public access, and ensuring responsible use of Jekyll Island State Park.
We also recognize the importance of their role in creating and sustaining the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island, an influential and broadly supported non-profit organization representing the public interest in issues related to the conservation, preservation, and management of the Jekyll Island State Park.
In keeping with the Center’s mission and the principles of sustainability, we honor the recipients in the memory of Nick Williams, former board president and respected coastal Georgia conservationist.”
The Egans were truly appreciative of the Center’s recognition of their efforts. After receiving a standing ovation, both David & Mindy made comments from the podium. They reflected on their love for the island and how it led them, gradually at first, into becoming the voice for thousands of visitors who seek to ensure that Jekyll’s tranquility and natural beauty are retained.
In closing, Steve Willis made general comments about the Center’s work and why it should be supported, reminding the crowd that the Center remains the only non-profit organization that’s focused solely on Georgia’s coastal issues related to the region’s growth and environmental quality.
Further, he noted that the Center is uniquely collaborative in working with other groups while also being appropriately comprehensive in its approach to environmental issues that are so closely tied to the region’s economy and quality of life. He urged all those present to renew their support if they had previously donated and to become contributors if they had not.
Participants gathered for a reception immediately following, where old friends exchanged regards and new friends were made.