Hillrie Quin, Jr., and Jerry McCollum
The Conservation Fund and Georgia Wildlife Federation
Atlanta and Madison, Georgia

Hillrie Quin, Jr., and Jerry McCollum have spearheaded a wetlands and river preservation movement in Georgia through their joint work on the statewide River Care 2000 program, the Alcovy River Greenway, and the Ebenezer Creek/Savannah River Greenway projects. McCollum is President of the Georgia Wildlife Federation, the largest conservation organization in the state. He also heads the River Care 2000 task force for the governor, a statewide initiative to protect Georgia’s 70,000 miles of rivers and associated wetlands, and he chairs the Governor’s Council on Environmental Education in Georgia. In 1993, McCollum began a campaign to save the Alcovy River, east of Atlanta, which runs through ancient tupelo gum swamps. Recognizing the immediate threat of industrial and residential development and wastewater treatment plant discharges to the river, McCollum organized volunteers, industry, and river landowners to develop a greenway along the Alcovy. Through McCollum’s outreach efforts and Quin’s acquisition expertise, conservation easements were obtained, and more than 200 acres of pristine swamps and river corridor were acquired.

In 1994, Quin, the Georgia Greenways Coordinator for The Conservation Fund, rallied volunteers and landowners living along Ebenezer Creek in eastern Georgia to protect the waterway. The creek, which winds through 1,000-year-old cypress and tupelo stands, became the target of a landowner lawsuit when a municipal discharger was accused of degrading the creek’s water quality. Quin organized local landowners into a nonprofit entity and recruited state and local officials and other state conservation organizations to participate in the greenway initiative. Through Quin’s efforts, the lawsuit was avoided and the municipality has voluntarily begun to improve its discharges. In a state facing increasing wetland development, Quin and McCollum have generated tremendous support for conservation through volunteer recruitment, program initiatives, and passage of state conservation legislation.

— Sara Nicholas, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation