Turtles

The St. Simons beach at sunrise.

Those with a love for Georgia’s coast will have a chance once again this year to come together and learn how they can play a role in protecting it.

One Hundred Miles will offer its fifth annual Coastal Conservation in Action: Choosing to Lead conference in a virtual format through a series of webinars on Tuesday evenings from Feb. 2 through March 2.

The event invites coastal enthusiasts of all backgrounds to engage in in-depth discussions about conservation efforts and advocacy.

“Obviously we’re disappointed not to be able to meet everyone in person,” said Catherine Ridley, vice president of education and communications for One Hundred Miles. “There’s always some great energy in the room, but hopefully that’s going to translate online.”

She also hopes that the online format will make the event more accessible, as attendees can tune in from home or wherever is convenient.

Participants can attend as many lectures as they wish to, Ridley said, but she encouraged everyone to make time for all five as the slate of presenters this year is top notch.

“We have some of the most well known environmentalists in the country and conservation voices and folks who can really add a lot to our community dialogue,” she said.

Presenters this year include author Carl Safina, conservation activist Wendy Paulson, National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry, author and educator J. Drew Lanham, actor and writer Josiah Watts, author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, advocate and Sink or Swim founder Delaney Reynolds, Director of Georgia Conservation Voters Brionte’ McCorkle, journalist and author Jonathan Alter and environmental lawyer, advocate and NRDC co-founder Gus Speth.

Each presenter brings a unique perspective and important experience to the discussion, Ridley said.

Safina is a renowned writer who has covered everything from big whales to leatherback sea turtles and who studies the connections between humans and the natural world.

Reynolds is a youth activist who sued the federal government over climate change.

Skerry has traveled the world taking photos. He’s scuba dived with right whales and sea turtles, snorkeled with past presidents and spoken at the United Nations.

“His whole story is so inspiring to me, and this is one of those underlying themes of our conference — that everyone has a story to share and it doesn’t always have to look the way you would traditionally think of advocacy,” Ridley said. “But photography and storytelling and all of these avenues help us develop this love for this place.”

The conference’s major theme will be coming together to tackle the greatest challenges facing Georgia’s coast. Each week’s event will focus on a specific question: how do we save a species; how do we tell our story; how can we do better; how do we save our future; and how can we make a difference?

“When we were pulling together this slate of workshops over the five weeks, we thought back to what the most meaningful connections we had made at previous conferences were and what people seemed hungry to dive into,” Ridley said. “And of course we did a survey of past participants and our members to ask what people wanted to see and what the format would be.”

During the live sessions, audience members will be able to send in questions and comments through the chat feature. And along with the live sessions, One Hundred Miles plans to offer a series of short video vignettes that coincide with the conference’s objectives.

The workshop is free, and participants will have the option of making a donation to support One Hundred Miles’ education programs.

Registration can be completed online OneHundredMiles.org/Conference.

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