Board member Mark Dickerson presenting the history and accomplishments of the past 20 years.
By Vered Kleinberger
The Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia (MCTGA) hosted its 6th Annual Spring Celebration this past Saturday, April 30. Members enjoyed a beautiful sunny day on the shores of Grandview Lake, feasted on delicious food and reconnected with friends and neighbors.
MCTGA is commemorating its 20th anniversary this year, so the Spring Celebration provided the perfect atmosphere for continuing the festivities. Board Chairman Roger Schultz welcomed the crowd of members and guests and thanked the Grandview community for their efforts in making the Celebration a success.
Longtime MCTGA member and current Board member Mark Dickerson presented the history and accomplishments of the past 20 years. The trust had humble beginnings....a group of residents who were concerned with preserving the beautiful places in our region began meeting and discussing available options. Burnt Mountain was in danger of being logged, which would have been unsightly, but would also negatively impact water quality and wildlife corridors. They were successful in conserving this property, which is now known as the Burnt Mountain Preserve. This led to the formation of the Oglethorpe Wilderness Land Trust, later to be renamed the Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia. To date, more than 2,000 acres have been preserved in North Georgia through the efforts of the dedicated Board and staff of MCTGA. For a comprehensive history of MCTGA, please see their most recent newsletter, available on their Web site, www.mctga.org.
MCTGA continues to preserve the natural resources and scenic beauty of North Georgia, and activities are expanding to include various community-based projects. MCTGA member Susan Wright detailed some of these recent activities pioneered by Executive Director Liz Cole, such as collaborating on the development of a community park and playground in Roper Park. Ms. Cole is also working with community members and leaders to develop a Greenprint of Pickens County. This is an inventory of places that should be preserved and protected, which then leads to a comprehensive management plan. So while land conservation is still the foremost priority of MCTGA, these next 20 years will also include community based initiatives to preserve the quality of life in the mountains and foothills of North Georgia.
Since 2006, MCTGA has worked to reduce the impact of their events. Through composting and recycling, the Spring Celebration was another example of these efforts. Members dined on plates made from sugar cane fibers and ate with vegetable-based cutlery (rather than plastic), all of which was composted with their food scraps. They drank from cups made of recycled plastic, which were then recycled, along with cans, bottles and paper. Almost 100 guests dined on delicious food prepared by Chef Kern’s of Cumming while listening to the relaxing melodies played by Cynthia and Vincent....and at the conclusion of the day’s festivities, there was no trash headed for the landfill. The 6th Annual MCTGA Spring Celebration was another zero-waste success!