By Ben Carswell, JIA Director of Conservation
Partnership is essential to success in nature and in society. Without mutually beneficial relationships with pollinating insects and fungi, the vast and complex plant communities that green our world would never have come to be. The same can be said for the greening of Jekyll Island. Whether advancing wildlife conservation, ecosystem restoration, or sustainability, the phrase that became a global mantra in 2020, “we are all in this together”, remains vitally true.
Since 1999, the partnership between the Jekyll Island Foundation (JIF) and the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) has been a mutually beneficial relationship built around bringing to life projects that elevate conservation, preservation, and education goals within Jekyll Island State Park. This relationship produced the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, which catalyzed conservation efforts within the JIA that continue to bear fruit. Many other achievements, like the outdoor recreation, education, and wildlife enhancements at Horton Pond, which has become a favorite spot for families exploring Jekyll Island, and Mosaic, Jekyll Island Museum, which keeps Jekyll’s past alive and reminds us that nature connects us all to it, were made possible because of partnership, between JIF and JIA, and our many donors.
The roots of Jekyll Island’s partnership ecosystem extend outward as well, nourishing work that connects Jekyll Island with other institutions, whether public, private, or NGO, that are leading the way in our State. The possibilities for doing good on Jekyll Island are vastly expanded because of the care and collaboration extended by our colleagues at, among many others, Georgia Audubon, Georgia Power Company, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, and forward-thinking businesses like LNW Hospitality and Cherry Street Energy that look beyond profits to realize the power of their investments to bring about positive transformations.
The key to winning partnerships is broadening our imaginations to realize how much our interests can overlap and how much stronger our accomplishments are when we work together for the greater good. There is no better crucible for this than Jekyll Island, a place that brings people together and where the beauty of the natural world unfolds daily before our eyes – inspiring us to higher ideals.