It’s Time to Lead
for our Coast!

Conference Tracks and Workshops:

Panels, Interactive Workshops, and More

2019 Conference Information Coming Soon! April 13-14, 2019 • Savannah International Trade and Conference Center

Want to get a taste of what to expect from Choosing to Lead? See below for an overview of last year’s conference.

Click here to read our 2018 Choosing to Lead Conference brochure for more information.

| Speakers | Field Trips | Accommodations | Sponsorships | Scholarships


Stay within one focused track, or pick and choose the workshops that interest you most. Either way, you’ll leave Saturday armed with new knowledge, skills, and the motivation to make a difference for the coast you love. This year’s conference tracks include:

Leadership for our Coast: Join advocacy leaders from the renowned Midwest Academy as we learn skills and strategies to make our voices heard and advocate for issues at the local and state levels.

Our Wild Coast: From shorebirds and sea turtles to salt marshes and sand dunes, Georgia’s coast supports an incredible diversity of life. Discover how you can make a difference for our coast’s wildlife and wild places, right in your own backyard.

Creating an Environmental Ethic for our Coast: Our conservation community thrives when it includes a broad tent of advocates, uses effective conservation messaging, and reaches all ages and stages of learners. Through these hands-on workshops, you’ll learn the skills needed to be an effective steward of the natural world.

The Coastal Way of Life: Our coast connects us all. With themes ranging from spirituality to fostering our connection to the land and sea, we’ll not only learn how we can make conservation a way of life, but how our 100 miles shapes and fuels our everyday lives.

The Big Picture: Coastal Issues Roundtable: Learn more about the pressing issues facing Georgia’s 100-mile coast and how groups with different backgrounds and interests are working together to find solutions.


Getting Started as a Coastal Advocate: If you are new to organizing, this workshop will focus on the fundamentals of how you can make a difference in your community. Jackie Kendall and the Midwest Academy will provide an introduction to organizing and the principles of direct action organizing. You’ll learn practical tips on how to choose an issue and get started, and discover the tools you need to put your projects into action. Workshop Leader: Jackie Kendall, Midwest Academy

Finding Your Voice:
 Now that you have the basics of advocacy down, learn how to develop and use your own personal story to build relationships, recruit others, and put a human face on public policy problems. In this workshop, we’ll practice techniques to help you better use your story in your work, navigate power dynamics, and other messaging tools. Workshop Leader: Jackie Kendall, Midwest Academy

Strategy Development: Learn how to develop winning issue campaigns for your organization or personal action project. Using the Midwest Academy Strategy Chart, this workshop focuses on the nuts and bolts of developing strategic campaigns. Discover proven techniques for creating winning strategies that you’ll come back to again and again. Workshop Leader: Jackie Kendall, Midwest Academy


Planting for Native Wildlife: Learn how to take steps to increase the wildlife value of your backyard landscape! Through this interactive workshop, you’ll discover how to create a safe haven for local wildlife species through selection of native plants and reducing potential hazards. We’ll discuss techniques to provide cover as protection from predators, ensure year-round food through careful selection of native plants, and cultivate nectar plants for pollinators throughout the year. Workshop Leader: Eamonn Leonard, Coastal Wildscapes

Saving Lives, Stronger Connection, More Action: Stewardship and citizen science projects are an important component to solving the challenges that wildlife face on our coasts. Through hands-on engagement and personal interaction, volunteer-based activities can build a base of committed supporters, who might be more likely to take action beyond volunteering. This workshop highlights two successful case studies from the Delaware Bay that focus on clear and direct strategies for people to take action: reTURN the Favor, a  horseshoe crab rescue program in New Jersey, and New Jersey’s beach stewardship program. Participants will discuss critical local wildlife threats and identify potential stewardship or citizen science programs to support wildlife conservation in coastal Georgia. Workshop Leader: Laura Chamberlin, Community Engagement Coordinator for WHSRN Executive Office — Manomet

Coastal Wildlife, Coastal Challenges: Rising seas will impact coastal fisheries, jobs, recreation, and population distribution.  In this interactive workshop, you will learn how the diversity of creatures and humans within Georgia’s coastal environment may respond to sea level rise. Experience a unique discussion using place-based mindfulness and scientific data as you consider Georgia’s estuarine species and its location in the Gullah Geechee Corridor. Workshop Leader: Dr. Dionne Hoskins-Brown, NOAA Fishery Biologist and Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commissioner


The Language of Conservation: How can we most effectively share the story of our coast to bring new advocates to our cause? In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn how to use everyday communication, storytelling, and other messaging tools to increase interest in coastal conservation, broaden the tent of what it means to be an environmental advocate, and empower everyday citizens to take action. Workshop Leader: Chris Dixon, Author, Journalist, and Film Researcher

Leave No Trace for Georgia’s Coast: By practicing Leave No Trace, we can preserve and protect our natural world and the places where we live, work, and play. During this engaging workshop, you’ll learn tips & tricks to minimize your impacts when you’re in the great outdoors, the best methods to interact with wildlife responsibly, strategies for fostering a sense of environmental stewardship in your children, how to practice Leave No Trace when camping, biking, fishing, and recreating in coastal Georgia, and quick tips to use and share Leave No Trace at home, at work, and in your community. Workshop Leaders: Amanda Jameson and Junaid Dawud, The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers

The Next Generation: Join representatives from Greening Forward, a youth-driven, youth-led, and youth-imagined environmental organization, as they discuss real world examples of students and young professionals working to make their communities a better place. Through personal stories, case studies, and a practical toolkit for putting student projects in to action, this workshop will empower emerging leaders to shape the world they want to see. If you’re a student, young professional, or an educator working with the next generation of conservation stewards, you won’t want to miss this hands-on workshop. Workshop Leaders: Ryan Szvetecz and Cary Lynne Thigpen, Greening Forward


Digging Around Our Roots – Discovering Your Spiritual Autobiography: Constant change tells us that we must keep moving: status quo is bad, and roots tie us down. But as naturalists, we know that roots provide nutrition in good times and stability when storms threaten. When our roots intertwine, we can hold our work together against the erosion of political and personal pressures. How can the roots of your advocacy be tended to help you grow? In this interactive workshop, we’ll dig around with tools of life mapping and spiritual autobiography, and use the power of your own memories to nurture your ongoing work. Workshop Leader: Rev. Mary Beene, M.Div, M.P.A., a spiritual director, coach, speaker and retreat leader with Openings: Let the Spirit In

The Seven Ages of Water: Dive deeper into the neuroscience of conservation with keynote speaker Dr. Wallace ‘J’ Nichols. This hands-on workshop will explore the cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual benefits of healthy waterways and oceans via each of the seven ages of our lives – from birth through death. You’ll transform your approach to conservation by leading with the heart and a ‘blue mind.’ Workshop Leader: Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, The Blue Mind Foundation

Going Local: Being a conservationist starts with a deep love and understanding of the places you’re working to protect. Join CheFarmer Matthew Raiford as he explores the history of coastal crops and seafood and shares tips for growing and utilizing locally-sourced foods in your diet. You’ll leave this workshop with a better understanding of our connection to our coastal lands and conservation efforts, and techniques for incorporating an environmental ethic at the dinner table. Workshop Leader: Matthew Raiford, Gilliard Farms and The Farmer and The Larder


Adapting to Climate Change – Voices from Across America: In this workshop, join Doug Parsons as he discusses the field of climate change adaptation by sharing stories from the many adaptation experts that have joined him on his podcast America Adapts.  Doug – joined by One Hundred Miles’ Alice Keyes and Sapelo Island Manager Fred Hay – will then work with workshop participants to identify the greatest climate threats to Georgia’s coast and develop adaptation solutions to these problems. Moderated by Doug Parsons, Host of America Adapts: The Climate Change Podcast

The Business Case for the Environment – Balancing Diverse Interests: Georgia’s coast is subjected to multiple competing interests, and we face difficult decisions about how best to use and manage finite resources. Often, that decision-making is presented as a simple choice, such as tourist dollars vs. quality of life or industrial development vs. protecting water quality. But issues are always more complex than they appear, and all parties have multiple concerns and varied stakeholders to satisfy. Panelists representing forestry, coastal resource management, mining, and other industries will provide insight into how decisions are made in their organizations and how they work to balance coastal issues. Participants will gain insight into decision-making and how they can engage in and influence that important process. Moderated by Jim Renner, Manager of Environmental Stewardship at Southern Ionics

Faith and the Environment: Despite elements supporting environmental stewardship in many faith traditions, it is often disregarded in the regular practice of faith. In recent years, however, religious leaders around the world have worked hard to emphasize the un-politicized, ecological responsibilities of each faith. Many believe that by joining forces, environmental and religious organizations have an opportunity to build the next great social movement of our time. Join moderator Leeann Culbreath of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and a multi-faith panel as they discuss the role faith and spirituality play in the conservation movement and how religious congregations are fostering meaningful change in addressing environmental challenges. Moderated by Leeann Culbreath, GIPL