Bald Head Island Conservancy

Reflecting on the Third Annual Johnston Coastal Sustainability Symposium

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By Chris Shank, Executive Director

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On April 9, we hosted our 3rd Annual Johnston Coastal Sustainability Symposium.  The Symposium was easily the best so far, with sold-out crowds at both the morning session at BHA’s Generator Society Hall and the dinner conversation at the BHI Club with author David Gessner. This year’s theme was BHI 2063 and included talks that both looked back at the last 40 years of change on BHI and looked forward into our island’s next 40 years.  The Symposium theme was chosen to match the theme of David’s most recent book, A Traveler’s Guide to the End of the World, which explores what may happen to a few of our country’s most beautiful natural spaces in 2063 when his daughter reaches his current age.  You can watch the presentations and/or look at the slides for each talk on the Johnston Symposium webpage. These videos are definitely worth your time, including Beth Darrow’s discussion about BHIC’s 40-year legacy and the talk by our Graduate Fellow in Coastal Sustainability Kimmy Hansen (UNC), who provided strong impetus for land preservation awareness. A person giving a presentation to a group of people Description automatically generated For the dinner conversation at the BHI Club, David Gessner delivered a fantastic story about his passion for observing and writing about our most precious natural spaces—he is a natural storyteller with a knack for providing a serious discussion in a manner that engages rather than enrages (well, maybe just a little).  A new and especially exciting facet of our Symposium activities this year was a wonderful youth sustainability discussion session where our invited speakers A group of people standing together Description automatically generatedinteracted with students from Cary Academy and two undergrads from Emory University (including Pat and Dick Johnston’s granddaughter Emery).  We are continuing this multigenerational conversation about what sustainability means and looks like across generations, including an idea for a Youth Coastal Sustainability Symposium towards the end of 2024—stay tuned!  Thanks to everyone who attended and, of course, to Pat and Dick Johnston, who continue to inspire the Conservancy’s Sustainability efforts!

Third Annual Johnston Symposium Webpage 


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