Across North Georgia, the Red Cross continues to work with local EMAs and community partners to reduce the impact of dangerous winter weather affecting our state and much of the eastern U.S.  Red Cross volunteers have activated shelters and are conducting disaster assessments in several Georgia counties. We share a concern for the safety of those threatened by the extreme cold and those without power in their homes.

For the latest Red Cross shelter information, visit:

 Georgia’s Red Cross urges everyone to take precautions to reduce the risk of home fires and the potentially damaging effects of frigid temperatures on people, pets, water pipes and more.  For essential cold weather safety tips, visit:

 Despite the severe weather conditions, the Red Cross volunteers continues to respond to home and apartment fires statewide and has provided food, shelter and other necessities for 715 families (2,300 people) since January 1st.

 How You Can Help

The ongoing winter weather has caused the cancellation of about 160 blood drives this month in multiple states resulting in 5,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Please consider making an appointment to donate blood or platelets when it is safe to do so at or by calling 1-800-RED Cross. 

 You can also help people affected by disasters like winter storms and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS.  Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.”


About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Piedmont teacher conference to examine creative instruction

Educators and education students in northeast Georgia are invited to attend a one-day conference Saturday, March 14, at Piedmont College in Demorest that will focus on timely issues and trends in education.

The Piedmont Educator Renewal Conference (PERC) is titled “Creative Instruction in the Age of Accountability,” and will allow educators to share information on innovative and effective practices and recent research in education, said Dr. Don Gnecco, Dean of the Piedmont College School of Education.

“This is our third annual PERC event, and it has proven to be a good way for educators in the area to exchange information about best preactices,” Gnecco said. Sessions will be conducted by Piedmont faculty and recent graduates from the college’s master’s, specialist, and doctoral programs. Additionally, Dr. Betty Siegel, President Emerita of Kennesaw State University and a member of the Piedmont College Board of Trustees, will address participants.

The cost of the conference is $40 for teachers and $10 for students. Education students can use attendance at the conference as field experience. Conference registration includes lunch and snacks. Conference registration begins at 8 a.m. in the Swanson Center. The day will conclude at approximately 3:30 p.m. For more information, including how to register, contact Dr. Donna Andrews at or visit


Gov. Nathan Deal recognized three corporate forest landowners today for their stewardship and land management practices benefiting Georgia’s wildlife.

CatchMark Timber Trust, Plum Creek and Georgia Power were honored by Gov. Deal as 2014 partners in the Forestry for Wildlife Partnership, a program administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

Forestry for Wildlife Partnership is a voluntary program that promotes sustainable forest and wildlife conservation in corporate forestry practices. Partners select and tailor guidelines to improve management for reforestation, harvesting techniques, recreation, sensitive sites and outreach.

Representatives were recognized in a brief ceremony Wednesday at the State Capitol including DNR Commissioner Mark Williams, Deputy Commissioner Walter Rabon, Wildlife Resources Division Director Dan Forster and others.

Forster noted that with more than 90 percent of Georgia forestland in private ownership, successful wildlife management requires conservation leadership in the state’s private and corporate sector. The 2014 partners had a positive impact for wildlife on 1,054,299 acres.

“As Forestry for Wildlife partners, CatchMark Timber Trust, Plum Creek and Georgia Power have gone beyond industry standards to manage the forest lands they own for the benefit of Georgia’s wildlife,” Gov. Deal said. “It is clear these companies are committed to growing and sustaining our forests, and I am grateful for their significant contributions.”

The current partners have long been part of the conservation program: Georgia Power since it started in 1999, Plum Creek since 2004 and CatchMark Timber Trust, previously as Wells Timberland, since 2011.

The Wildlife Resources Division recognized the three as Forestry for Wildlife Partners for:

  • Preparing wildlife conservation plans that detail natural resource inventories and outline management strategies that combine forest and wildlife aspects.
  • Providing internal training opportunities for employees on how to blend forestland management with wildlife-friendly practices for multiple natural resource benefits.
  • Incorporating wildlife management into land-use planning and timber management practices.
  • Providing valuable data for Wildlife Resources Division research projects.
  • Providing public recreational opportunities on corporate forestlands.
  • Participating in partnerships with conservation organizations.
  • Managing riparian forests for wildlife use and water quality protection.

Habitat abundance and natural quality are the foundation for wildlife. Georgia has more than 24 million acres of forestland. Of that, corporate forest landowners manage about 12 percent.

The efforts of Forestry for Wildlife partners have benefited endangered red-cockaded woodpecker habitats, bald eagle and swallow-tailed kite nesting, wetlands critical to protected reptiles and amphibians, and rare remnant Coosa Valley and Black Belt prairie habitats containing endangered plants. The partnerships also provide the public with many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, including hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing.

Some examples of partners’ work in fiscal year 2014 include:

  • Plum Creek joined with DNR and others to explore opportunities to maintain and enhance habitat for gopher tortoises, a candidate for federal listing. The company also worked with The Nature Conservancy to manage Coosa Valley prairies in northwest Georgia, a system including rare plants such as endangered whorled sunflower, and with DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section to restore montane longleaf pine habitat on Pine Mountain in middle Georgia.
  • Georgia Power continued a prescribed fire program that applies restorative fires to more than 5,000 acres of fire-dependent habitats a year, and took part in DNR’s Safe Harbor program for red-cockaded woodpeckers. Along with eight other partners, the company also signed a Candidate Conservation Agreement to protect Georgia aster and its ecosystem, an agreement cited in the decision not to add the wildflower to the Endangered Species list.
  • CatchMark Timber Trust continued to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect habitat for endangered fringed campion on company lands in Talbot County. The company also thinned and burned pine plantations to allow native understory plants to grow and benefit wildlife; monitored and treated invasive species on company lands; and, sponsored an Outdoors Without Limits hunt, providing recreation opportunities for people with physical or mental disabilities.

All of the conservation enhancement components and reporting procedures are compatible with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc., a voluntary approach in the forest industry to maintain high environmental standards on lands managed by corporate landowners.