FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Announcing Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy Hightower Award
ROSWELL, GA, February 9, 2023 – The Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC), the primary philanthropic partner and official Friends Group of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA), announces the creation of the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy Hightower Award. The award will be given to those whose efforts and dedication have had a lasting and positive impact on the CRNRA and its community. This award is named in honor of Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Park Ranger Jerry Hightower, who is also the first recipient.
Ranger Hightower’s relationship with the CRNRA predates its creation. He grew up exploring the creeks and woods that would one day comprise the park. Hightower’s twin passions are conserving natural lands and educating about environmental stewardship. When he returned from the VietNam War, he worked to protect the Chattahoochee River which led to President Carter signing the bill that created the CRNRA in 1978. Ranger Jerry became one of the first employees of the new national park.
As a park ranger at CRNRA, Ranger Hightower believes that the future of the environment lies in young people who love the natural world, and he has developed and presented a number of educational programs and events that have affected not only countless students and young people but also adults. He was the first coordinator of the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center where school groups and other young people have come to learn about the ecosystem of the river. He also leads the CNPC’s Discovery Days at Sibley Pond in which underserved youth come to the park, get on the water and learn about the ecology of the pond firsthand. Many of CNPC’s members have also enjoyed his nature hikes and wildlife presentations including his popular Owl Prowls. Perhaps most importantly, he has traveled the Southeast for decades educating the educators in order to expand the message, helping to found the Environmental Education Alliance and working with Project WET (Water Education Today) and Project WILD (wildlife-based conservation).
Ranger Hightowner has already received significant awards: Captain Planet Superhero for the Earth Award; Atlanta Magazine Heroes of the Hooch; Environmental Education Alliance (EEA) Eugene Odum Lifetime Service Award; and the Sandy Springs Conservancy Greenspace Champion Award. We at CNPC salute Ranger Hightower for his career of dedicated service to the park, to environmental education and to future generations of Georgians. We are overjoyed to name this award, honoring those who make the CRNRA the jewel of Atlanta parks, after Ranger Hightower.
CNPC will be presenting Ranger Hightower with the Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy Hightower Award at CNPC’s benefit, Party for the Park, on March 21, 2023. The benefit is hosted by Sweetwater Brewing Company from 6-9 p.m. To register or learn more, go to www.ChattahoocheeParks.org/Events.
About Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy: Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC) is the official friends group and primary philanthropic partner forthe Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a series of fifteen park units along 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta. Our mission is to build a community of support for the CRNRA and promote stewardship of its natural and cultural resources. CNPC is celebrating its tenth year supporting the CRNRA.
About Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area: The CRNRA makes up 20% of the metro Atlanta area’s public greenspace and is an accessible source of recreation and education, boasting diverse natural resources and historical significance. The park’s 7,000+ acres is made up of 15 units along 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River, designated the first National Water Trail in 2012, and runs through Cobb, Fulton, Forsyth, and Gwinnett counties.