North Georgia has faced big environmental challenges this fall. Even long-term residents of our state have trouble remembering a time when we went for an entire month without rain. The resulting water shortage and worse, the wildfires in the Blue Ridge, put severe stress on the vegetation.
With the holidays approaching, it’s worthwhile to think about giving back to the natural beauty of North Georgia. For example, there’s Dahlonega-based Georgia Forest Watch, whose mission is “to promote sustainable management of the 867,510 acres of Georgia’s national forests and to engage the public to promote their preservation for future generations.”
Rivers are under considerable stress as well during severe drought, which makes the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper an important part of our culture. Wildlife gets displaced by the forest fires, and by the difficulty of finding nourishment in the dried-up landscape. The Georgia Wildlife Federation is focused on that topic, “encouraging the intelligent management of the life-sustaining resources of our state including water, forests, plants and its dependent wildlife.”
Many organizations in Georgia are worthy of considering for a Christmas gift. Elachee Nature Science Center in Oakwood, Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, Trees Atlanta, Park Pride — these and many other groups are at the core of preserving our unique natural resources.
In order to support organizations dedicated to Georgia’s natural environment, it’s not necessary to write several dozen checks. EarthShare of Georgia (www.earthsharega.org) is a comprehensive giving venue that supports more than two dozen member groups, including the ones mentioned above, with minimal operating cost. Any gift made on the website is sure to reach the groups who make a healthy, clean Georgia environment their main priority.
“We are currently working on a system upgrade that lets donors specify exactly which organizations they want to support with their donations,” said executive director Madeline Reamy. “But in any case, every gift made through EarthShare of Georgia has an impact on the physical health of our state.”
Obvious to anyone in Hall County, Lake Lanier is showing its need for help. The water shortage is exposing parts of its bottom that have been collecting cans, bottles, tires and other trash for years. The Keep Hall Beautiful organization, mobilizing hundreds of volunteers at regular cleanup events, is but one example of the many ways in which EarthShare of Georgia helps restore and preserve the beauty of this region.