Media Contacts: Dave Paule
GreenLaw will honor Georgia Environmentalists Nan and Britt Pendergrast with the Environmental Heroes Award at its annual Environmental Heroes Celebration on Thursday, October 6, 2016. The event will be held at Nelson Mullins at 201 17th Street in Atlantic Station, on the top floor with stunning views of downtown. GreenLaw is a 501(c)3 public interest, environmental law firm providing free high-quality legal and technical assistance to environmental and community organizations throughout Georgia.
Mr. Pendergrast has served in the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as the Program Manager of then-Governor Jimmy Carter's Georgia Heritage Trust Program which preserved many of our well-known wild lands and historic sites. Mrs. Pendergrast is a botanist and environmental writer. Together they have shared stories and photographs of two hundred and fifty native flowers of the Georgia Piedmont in their book Neighborhood Naturalist. Their lifetime of dedication to preserving some of Georgia’s most beautiful lands will serve and inspire generations of Georgians yet to come.
“The story of the Pendergrasts’ life and work is simply inspirational,” said GreenLaw’s new executive director, David M. Paule. “Their dedication over 76 years of marriage to preserving, educating and advocating for Georgia’s beautiful lands is more than a model of good environmentalism. It’s a model for a passionate life.”
As a youth in Druid Hills, Mr. Pendergrast grew up within walking distance of Lulwater Creek. Many hours were spent with wildlife, both aquatic and terrestrial. Later, while in the Boy Scouts, he credits his Scout Master, a man who loved the outdoors, for cultivating his passion for nature.
Similarly, Mrs. Pendergrast also discovered her love of nature as a child, focusing her attention particularly on flowers. “Flowers always seemed miraculous to me so that I savored them, not only for their beauty, but also for their predictability,” she said. “Britt, whom I met when I was fourteen, and married five years later, seventy six years ago, always shared my woods-wandering excursions.”
After a first career in industry, Mr. Pendergrast’s “second career” was with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as the Program Manager of Governor Jimmy Carter's Georgia Heritage Trust Program. Under his leadership, the Program acquired and protected significant properties from the mountains to the seashore, including Ossabaw Island, Wormslow Plantation, imperiled lands along Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, and the Cumberland Plateau's Pigeon Mountain. Later he worked with the State’s environmental protection agency serving as liaison to advance the cause of environmental compliance. In retirement, he continues his passion for land preservation, serving for ten years on the Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy. Working with Nan, he was a strong advocate for and participant in the City of Atlanta’s early adoption of a recycling program to divert waste from landfills and provide reuse of what was once discarded waste.
“Of the greatest importance in my environmental development was my marriage to Nan, a real flower lover,” Mr. Pendergrast observed. “She taught me color photography and used my photos to illustrate her writings and presentations. Recognizing the value of organization, we joined and offered financial support to such entities as The Nature Conservancy, Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Georgia Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Trees Atlanta, Natural Resources Defense Council, Conservation Fund, Greenpeace, and the Audubon Society.”
“From the environment to civil rights, the Pendergrasts are models of what positive social activism looks like,” said retired Trees Atlanta Executive Director Marcia Bansley, who will present the Environmental Heroes award to the Pendergrasts. “Nan is a very articulate botanist who played a key role in helping me save Jones Bridge Park on the Chattahoochee when I was with Friends of the River. She did a flower & plant species inventory and found some rare species that added to our argument to save the land and influenced the Nature Conservancy to hold the land while we found money to purchase it for the state.”
Also being honored this year at the Environmental Heroes Celebration are Clinical Professor of Law Mindy Goldstein of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic who will receive the Ogden Doremus Award for Environmental Excellence; and legendary Georgia attorney Bobby Lee Cook, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“This year’s honorees have helped Georgia’s environment by promoting clean air, clean water and the beauty of Georgia’s land,” said Paule. “I am personally very proud, and more than a little intimidated, to be honoring such an impressive slate at my first Environmental Heroes Celebration.”
About the Environmental Heroes Award
GreenLaw’s Environmental Heroes Award recognizes the vital contributions of citizen-advocates for the improvement and protection of Georgia’s environment, wilderness and waterways. While Georgia has a substantial body of environmental law, protection and enforcement often fall to caring individuals dedicated to making a difference.
About the Environmental Heroes Celebration
The Environmental Heroes Celebration is one of the environmental community’s premiere events. It recognizes members of our community who have shaped Georgia’s future through environmental activism, conservation and legal advocacy. The event includes heavy appetizers, cocktails, music, networking, a brief honoree award ceremony and a thank you gift.
The Celebration will be held on on Thursday, October 6, 2016, from 6:00 Pm to 8:30 PM at Nelson Mullins at 201 17th Street in Atlantic Station, on the top floor with stunning views of downtown.
Sponsorships and tickets for the event may be purchased at www.greenlaw.org. Tickets are $150 for individuals and $250 for couples.
Note to press: High resolution images are available upon request.
As a 501(c)(3) law firm, GreenLaw advocates to preserve Georgia’s unique natural places and enforces compliance with environmental law through the court system. GreenLaw was founded in 1992 by attorneys, law professors, and judges committed to providing community groups in Georgia with the legal and technical tools needed to protect their environment and public health. For more information, please visit www.greenlaw.org.