2016 Southern Company Partnership Meeting

Hosted by Southern Company, Georgia Power and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the 13th annual Stewardship Partners Meeting hosted more than 170 participants from April 12-14 in St. Simons Island, GA. Handouts and other information from the event are available below.

Presentations 

Local Community Overview: Altamaha River Corridor Landscape
Enjoy highlights of the Altamaha River and the surrounding landscape, which supports the largest concentration of rare species of any river in Georgia and is an important contributor to the state economy.

Alison McGee, Coastal Plain Project Director, The Nature Conservancy

Session 1: At-risk Species Conservation - A Path Forward
The Southeast is extraordinarily biodiverse, with more than 400 species at risk of  
federal listing unless appropriate actions are taken to sustain and recover populations  
and their habitats. This session will explore the status of this issue and perspectives on how best to engage private landowners in voluntary conservation. Speakers will discuss emerging, innovative strategies to meet both private landowner needs and support species recovery, with examples provided from the Southeast and other regions in the U.S.
 
Lessons Learned: Insights from a Former NRCS Chief

Dave White, Partner, 9b Group and Former Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service [Presentation unavailable]

Panel Discussion: Recent Innovations and Opportunities for Collaborative Progress

Moderator: Christopher Galik, Senior Policy Associate, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University

Panelists:
Mike Harris, At-Risk Species Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Ryan Orndorff, Deputy Program Director, Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration, U.S. Department of Defense
Jon Ambrose, Chief, Nongame Conservation, Georgia DNR
Scott Jones, CEO, Forest Landowners Association

Session 2: Georgia Coastal Bird Conservation: Advances in Recovery of Iconic Species Along the Atlantic Flyway
An update on the Atlantic Flyway Initiative and efforts to conserve these species along the Georgia coast. 

Moderator: Ian Davidson, Director, Bird Biology and Conservation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Panelists:
Tim Keyes, Coastal Bird Biologist, Georgia DNR
Walker Golder, Deputy State Director, Audubon North Carolina
Troy Wilson, Assistant Nongame Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Session 3: Where is Longleaf Pine? Setting the Stage for Effective Landscape-scale Conservation Planning Through Resource Mapping
How do we practice effective longleaf conservation and measure success if we don't know the location and quantity of existing longleaf or its current condition? This session will feature an innovative project to map longleaf pine, develop a standard set of longleaf condition classification guidelines and integrate this data into strategic conservation planning efforts.

Moderator: Kevin McIntyre, Education Coordinator, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center

Panelists:
Jason Drake, Botany and Watershed Program Manager, U.S. Forest Service
John Hogland, Biological Scientist, U.S. Forest Service

Brian Pelc, Restoration Project Manager, The Nature Conservancy

Presentation: Role of the Hunter, Fisherman and Outdoor Enthusiast in Conservation 
O’Neill Williams, host of O’Neill Outside, will share stories from his experience. His outdoor-based television series – now in its 35th season – airs on FOX Sports Sun, FOX Sports Southeast, Pursuit Channel, HuntTV, Destination America, Amazon Prime and My Outdoor TV to 171 million subscriber households weekly. Nationally syndicated "O’Neill Outside" radio broadcasts to 38 states via WSB Radio in Atlanta and is the No. 1 outdoor-based live radio talk show in the country. Remember, if you’re too busy to go fishing or hunting, you’re just too busy!

O'Neill Williams, Television and Radio Host and Producer, O'Neill Outside [Presentation unavailable]

Session 4a: Developing a Private Lands Strategy for Landscape-Scale Conservation Planning 
With approximately 87 percent of Southern forests in private ownership, incorporating private lands into conservation planning efforts is critical to strategically restoring longleaf on a landscape scale. This panel will examine best practices as well as ongoing and emerging efforts to integrate priority private lands into local implementation team conservation planning.

Moderator: Jay Jensen, Director, Southern Regional Office, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Panelists:
Joe Hopkins, President, Toledo Manufacturing Co.
Steve Jester, Executive Director, Partners for Conservation
Chris Erwin, Director, Southern Forest Conservation, American Forest Foundation
[Presentations unavailable]  

Session 4b: Taking the Next Step: Engaging Communities to Protect Beach-nesting Birds and Sea Turtles 
For conservation-dependent species, how do we build and sustain conservation efforts through stewardship initiatives and social marketing campaigns? This panel will discuss successful tactics from across the Gulf states for engaging communities in support of coastal wildlife species in the face of growing beach use and consequent human disturbance. 

Moderators: Charles Duncan, Shorebird Scientist; Ian Davidson, NFWF
Panelists:
Julie Wraithmell, Deputy Executive Director, Audubon Florida
Emily Jo "EJ" Williams, VP, Migratory Birds and Habitats, American Bird Conservancy
Suzi Fox, Director, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring

Session 5: Job Corps - Cultivating the Next Generation of Conservation Practitioners

Job Corps is a program of the U.S. Department of Labor providing young people who are classified as living below poverty level with job training and career placement. In 2014, The Nature Conservancy and Osceola National Forest, with support from a Longleaf Stewardship Fund grant, teamed up with the Jacksonville Job Corps Center to provide prescribed fire training and place qualified trainees on federal prescribed fire crews within Georgia and Florida. This session will highlight the success of this partnership, including the impact to longleaf restoration on and around the Osceola National Forest and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the perspective of a trainee who has advanced to serve as a crew leader in 2016.

Moderator: Jim Ozier, Senior Environmental Analyst, Environmental Affairs, Georgia Power

Panelists:
Troy Ettel, Director of Longleaf Pine Whole System, The Nature Conservancy
Ivan Green, District Ranger, Osceola National Forest
Luis Carrasco, Prescribed Fire Crew Member and Job Corps Liaison, The Nature Conservancy