Elachee’s Next Season

Elachee Nature Science Center announces President and CEO Andrea O. Timpone’s planned retirement and the seating of a search and selection committee to secure her successor.

November 11, 2020 (Gainesville, Ga.) – The Board of Trustees at Elachee Nature Science Center formally announces the organization’s long-time President and CEO, Andrea O. Timpone, will be retiring in March 2021. This Board has seated a search and selection committee, led by Mike Whitmire and comprised of highly respected individuals in our community who each have current or past leadership ties with the Nature Center.

This committee launched a national search on November 2, 2020 for an individual uniquely qualified to serve as Elachee’s next President and Chief Executive Officer (click here to see the position specifications or visit https://www.elachee.org/jobs/). Anticipating keen interest from a highly qualified regional and national candidate pool, the application review will begin December 1, 2020 and the process will continue until the position is filled.

“Those who know Andrea and her staff are very confident that Elachee is well prepared to move forward into a new and exciting future,” comments Jock Hornor, Elachee Trustee Emeritus. “Elachee is a strong and vibrant operation due to her vision, dedication and hard work.”

Andrea O. Timpone is set to retire from Elachee Nature Science Center in March 2021. A national search is underway to select the Nature Center's next President and CEO.As President and CEO, Andrea has devoted 35 years leading 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. Elachee is an urban woodland refuge, outdoor classroom and exhibit center designed to involve, engage and educate. As the only SACS/Cognia-accredited nature center in the southeastern United States, Elachee leads the way in teaching school children and nature lovers. Tens of thousands of individuals discover, learn and play here each year.

Andrea’s zeal for environmental conservation and science-related nature education took flight in the early 1980s. She became Elachee’s first paid employee in 1985. A trail-blazer for environmental education and conservation in Georgia, Andrea has played a key role in numerous initiatives that today maintain one of Georgia’s largest protected green spaces, the 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve and boundaries of the Chicopee Woods Area Park Conservation Easement, in south Hall County, Ga. An avid hiker, Andrea and others personally carved out the 8-mile hiking trail system in Chicopee Woods that is open daily for the public.

“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. “I have great trust in our Board to identify and secure the best candidate to guide the Elachee organization into its next season. Andrea will be missed. We wish her happiness as she enters this new time in her life.”

Andrea’s vision, combined with other visionary leaders tied to both the creation of Elachee and the Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission, has impacted hundreds of thousands of Georgians for nearly four decades. She has garnered significant professional success in leading the Elachee organization, in addition to being a contributing leader in numerous civic organizations and professional associations. 

In August 2020, the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) recognized Andrea as recipient of the 2020 Nature Center Leadership Award. This prestigious national honor pays tribute to her exceptional commitment and contributions to the nature center profession as a whole and her invaluable leadership at Elachee. She received the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Rock Howard Conservation Award, in 2008, for her leadership in environmental education and for preserving natural resources. As well, Andrea was recognized by Georgia District Key Club International/Kiwanis Club of Gainesville as the John C. Thompson Outstanding Kiwanis Advisor for 2011-2012.

Andrea’s many affiliations and leadership roles throughout her career include EarthShare of Georgia, the Association of Nature Center Administrators (of which she was a founding member), the Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission, Friends of the Mountain, Inc. (co-founder, Rabun County, Ga.), Keep Hall Beautiful, Vision 2030 GREENSPACE Committee, Kiwanis Club of Gainesville, Junior League of Gainesville/Hall County, Girl Scouts of Northeast Georgia and the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Advisory Board.

Elachee Board of Trustees’ Chair, Emily Bagwell shares, “The Board of Trustees knows that Andrea’s years of unwavering commitment and expertise have prepared Elachee well for the future. We are excited about making this transition and in securing Andrea’s successor.”

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. For the past 41 years, Elachee has been building environmental literacy for Georgians of every age. Both a nature center and recreational destination, Elachee makes it possible for children, families and nature lovers to get outdoors to connect with the natural world. ELACHEE HISTORY

Elachee is busy year-round, welcoming over 70,000 annual 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 and Kindergarten-1st 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 for future generations to enjoy. 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 spring 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 www.elachee.org to learn more.

ADDITIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE