Audubon International Sustainability Certification Effort

LANDINGS COMMUNITY TAKES ON AUDUBON INTERNATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY CERTIFICATION EFFORT

In the Spring of 2013, the leadership of fourteen groups at The Landings came together for the first time to present their various environmental initiatives to one another and to a visiting team from Audubon International, a not-for-profit environmental education organization, formed in 1987, dedicated to sustainable natural resource management.

The level of existing community involvement, with an estimated 1000 or more Landings residents involved, inspired further action. With agreement from The Landings Association and The Landings Club, the community would apply for Audubon International certification as a Sustainable Community. Skidaway Audubon, a group that has long worked with Audubon International on the certification for our golf courses, would coordinate this effort with TLA and TLC on behalf of the community and provide the initial funding.

As Shari Haldeman, General Manager/COO of The Landings Association stated,

“The Landings has all of the assets to be a leader in advancing sustainable living. The natural environment on the island is the single most significant attribute and amenity from which we all benefit on a daily basis. Sustainability is not only about our relationship with our natural environment and preservation of resources; it also integrates strong community and economic vitality throughout support systems to enhance quality of life for current and future generations of residents.”

Attaining certification as a sustainable community requires first assessing where the community is today across a number of areas that contribute to environmental, social and economic health. And, what follows in subsequent stages, is developing long-term plans that will take us where we want to be in the future.

The benefits of becoming certified will include recognition of The Landings as a leader and create marketing advantages when it comes to promoting the community.

“Attracting the resident of the future is more than offering a broad array of recreational opportunities. Our recreational amenities must work in harmony with our natural surroundings and provide a platform for physical, social and intellectual wellness. Current and future residents are seeking a lifestyle that is centered around sustainability in all areas of their lives,” said Steven Freund, Executive Director of The Landings Club.

Working under the guidance of Audubon International’s Community Sustainability certification program (auduboninternational.org/sustainable-communities-program), in which neighboring Hilton Head and Seabrook SC are also participating, a Community Sustainability Steering Committee was formed.

Members include Anne Lindsay from UGA Marex, Holly Holdsworth from the Skidaway Island State Park, George Sedberry from the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, staff members Matt Roher and Jamie Walton from The Landings Club, Sean Burgess from The Landings Association and Noel Ruppert from the Architectural Review Committee, as well as resident volunteers, Terry Breyman, Jessica DeLoach, Blake Caldwell, Sheila Grossman, Millie Pitts, Judy Weiner, Cathy Adler, Diane Thompson and Mal Welch.

This group has submitted a broad 76-page assessment of where our community is today to Audubon International. It provides background in 15 different areas, among them education, recreation and volunteerism, as well as environment, and will serve as the baseline for strategic planning across the three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental. The assessment document can be viewed by clicking here.

A community-wide survey was developed by the committee in partnership with executive leadership and oversight from Audubon International. The survey was emailed to residents in mid-May. Survey results will help guide the initiative as it moves ahead through subsequent stages toward certification, a process expected to take several years. One third of Landings households responded to the survey and results can be viewed by clicking here.

A roster of projects and partnerships will be rolling out. Several are just beginning to get underway, including the formation of an archaeology committee to study historic sites at The Landings and an interpretive signage initiative for those sites, and natural sites in the community as well.

If you have questions or would like to be involved, contact, Mal Welch, coordinator, at meredithwelch@gmail.com or 358-0713, or any member of the committee.

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