Christine McCauley’s Passion
By: Dick Hodgett's
Christine McCauley has two passions in life and brings those daily to our local Madison-Morgan Conservancy. Christine is the new Executive Director and its first full time employee. This 10–year old mostly volunteer group has done much to educate Morgan County regarding the preservation of land. It can show that more than 1000 acres have been permanently set aside in Morgan County with an easement that prevents further development. Another 131,887 acres have been set aside for 10 year periods. In both cases land owners receive tax benefits for preserving the land. It is obvious that her first passion is the preservation of “old land”.
Chris brings an extensive educational and professional background to the job. She has been executive director of the Chattahoochee Hill Country Conservancy, and held a similar position with the Inter-faith Aids network. She has done both undergraduate and post graduate work in conservation and historic preservation. Most of her adult life has been spent in the work of the conservancy.
Many of us are exposed to the Conservancy with the Green Print Rambler, where citizens are invited to tour Morgan County and see what has been set aside, areas that need protection, and how the quality of our life is impacted by land use. And, they always point out the historic buildings and how they were part of our relationship with the land: her second passion happens to be “old buildings.” This fits with her educational experience.
The Conservancy spends a great deal of time with the county in developing the Comprehensive Planning Guide. They are also working with the Pasture to Plate groups that encourage local farming enterprises that sell locally grown food to restaurants, institutions, and the general public.
What Christine brings to her position is the background to seek foundation grants, and stimulate Conservancy membership. The McCauley family has been involved with the group since its inception a decade ago. Her Mom: Mary McCauley was a founding board member. Bob McCauley delights in noting that so many of Chris’s finest traits resemble her mom’s personality.And, if you know Mary McCauley that is high praise.
If you look out to the next decade, if we are to preserve our quality of life, how we use our land, how we protect our water supply, and how we develop will be critical issues.
The Conservancy may be a player in how that is determined.
Christine has the challenge to find foundation support for these efforts, and she has a track record that suggests if it can be done, she will find a way to bring both more financial and public participation to the Conservancy. The challenge to this and any similar advocacy group is making the transition from “educator” to “position advocacy.” In the later one has to take positions and perhaps step on toes or take strong positions such as with the land-fill and the pollution our agriculture sector creates.
That type of direction requires someone who is sure of themselves, and the actions of their organization.
Those are big challenges, and Christine McCauley has the impressive background and self assurance to pull this off in the months ahead.