Bell to Lead Elachee’s Next Season

Sarah Bell to Succeed Andrea Timpone as the Next Elachee Nature Science Center President and Chief Executive Officer

February 8, 2021 (Gainesville, Ga.) – Elachee Nature Science Center will entrust Sarah Bell to lead the organization into its next season. Bell will succeed Andrea Timpone as Elachee’s President and Chief Executive Officer. The Elachee Board of Trustees and Staff will welcome Bell to her new role on May 1, 2021. Sarah Bell to Succeed Andrea Timpone as the Next Elachee Nature Science Center President and Chief Executive Officer

“I am honored to have been selected to lead this great organization,” says Sarah Bell. “This community has afforded me so many opportunities and I’m excited to use the skills I have learned while also returning to my first love – science education.”

This Gainesville resident has served the Gainesville City School System for 29 years, most recently as Deputy Superintendent. Bell adds, “Being part of Elachee feels like things are coming ‘full circle’ for me. Everything that I believed as a teacher about the importance of hands-on, outdoor learning is represented in Elachee’s core values.”

The Elachee organization officially launched a national search last fall in anticipation of Timpone’s pending retirement in early April 2021, that will conclude her epic 35 years of service. However, the actual planning and preparation to find an individual uniquely suited to serve as Elachee’s next leader started a year earlier.

“The selection process began in the fall of 2019 with a Search Committee of 10 individuals chosen from current and former Elachee Trustees and Elachee staff,” explains Search Committee Chair Mike Whitmire, who himself is a former Elachee Trustee Chair and served nearly 20 years on Elachee’s Board of Trustees. “After conducting interviews with the most qualified of the dozens of applicants from around the country, the committee was extremely confident in recommending two highly qualified individuals to the Elachee board for their selection of the organization’s next President and CEO.”

“Elachee simply wouldn’t be what it is today without the many years of Andrea’s strong and effective leadership,” says John Girardeau, Elachee Trustee Emeritus.

He and others placed great trust in Elachee’s Board of Trustees to identify and secure the best candidate to guide the Elachee organization into its next season. Timpone has led Elachee Nature Science Center to become the respected regional resource it is today. Under her leadership, the Elachee organization is financially strong, and operates a diverse and balanced business structure that promotes environmental understanding through education and conservation. This south Hall County asset is the only SACS/Cognia-accredited nature center in the southeastern United States.

Elachee Board of Trustees’ Chair Emily Bagwell shares, “Sarah Bell’s years of work in the K-12 educational system, her knowledge of the community and love of nature make her highly qualified to lead Elachee, as our organization is focused on providing environmental education and developing an appreciation of nature for all ages.”

“I am looking forward to continuing and building upon the tremendous legacy that this organization has embraced for over four decades,” comments Bell. “Andrea, and Peter Gordon who recently retired from Elachee, leave big shoes to fill, but the team, including the Board of Trustees and Staff, has planned so well for this transition. I am excited about learning and know that I will be in good hands because of the wonderful people associated with Elachee.”

Bell calls Gainesville home. This long-time resident graduated from Gainesville High School. She earned post-secondary degrees from The University of Georgia, Piedmont College and The University of North Georgia. Bell is active in United Way of Hall County and serves on the Gainesville/Hall County Alliance for Literacy Board of Directors. Married to Robert Bell, with the Abernathy Cochran Group of the Norton Agency, the couple has three children Stewart, Mary Nelson and Harris.

About Elachee Nature Science Center

Elachee Nature Science Center promotes environmental understanding through education and conservation. The organization’s vision is to instill an appreciation, understanding and concern for the natural world by fostering an interest in personal commitment to preserving our natural resources and the environment for future generations to enjoy.

Elachee is nestled in the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, one of Georgia’s largest protected green spaces. For the past 42 years, Elachee has been building environmental literacy for Georgians of every age. Both a nature center and a recreational destination, Elachee makes it possible for children, families and nature lovers to get outdoors to connect with the Natural World.

Elachee is busy year-round, welcoming visitors to delight in quality nature experiences. These range from PreK-12 environmental education programs and field trips, Camp Elachee summer day camps, seasonal nature encounters and lifelong learning programs, to enjoying interpretive exhibits and hiking along a pristine 8-mile trail system. The campus is also home to Elachee Nature Academy, a state-licensed and accredited private school offering nature-based Preschool to 3rd Grade programs, managed and operated by Elachee Nature Science Center.

Elachee leases and manages the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, a unit of the Chicopee Woods Area Park. In addition to its management responsibilities, Elachee is the Trustee in a conservation easement for 1,956 acres of Chicopee Woods Area Park. As such, Elachee is charged with ensuring that Chicopee Woods’ park land is maintained in perpetuity. Here Elachee collaborates with community partners and volunteers to build, maintain and ensure a sustainable legacy. This conservation stewardship work restores and protects the health of the forest, its streams and habitats, along with ongoing maintenance of the Nature Preserve’s extensive hiking trail system.

Elachee is a privately owned and operated 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Elachee relies on earned income and tax-deductible donations, planned gifts, grants, an annual sponsorship program and the annual Flights of Fancy Benefit and Auction to fund operations. The organization has a proven record of sound fiscal management, the name and brand recognition to attract individual, foundation and corporate contributions, and a diverse revenue stream ensuring the success of the organization in the non-profit sector. Visit to learn more.

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