You might have heard that SIPOA earned the prestigious designation of “Audubon International Certified Sustainable Community” last November. We were the first private community in South Carolina to receive the award, and one of only six communities in the world. Audubon International will conduct a recognition ceremony on March 15, 2018 to honor Seabrook Island’s commitment to creating a sustainable future through our development and implementation of sustainable management practices. Heather Paton, SIPOA Executive Director, will represent Seabrook Island at the ceremony (to be held in Okatie, SC).
The Certified Sustainable Community award is the result of hard work since 2011 by many Seabrook volunteers and SIPOA staff who documented our accomplishments and plans in seventeen different focus areas that are relevant to Audubon’s three “Pillars of Sustainability”: Healthy Local Environment, Economic Vitality, and Quality of Life.
The first phase of work was a community assessment where we established a baseline for the focus areas (e.g., Environment, Infrastructure, Governance, Land Use, Resource Use, and Communications) and earned Audubon’s Green Community Award. In the second phase, we conducted focus groups and community meetings to gather property owner input, and then did a lot of analysis to establish comprehensive goals, outcome indicators, timelines, and measurable objectives for our work in each of the focus areas. The result of that work, our Long-Term Sustainability Plan, was submitted to Audubon in August 2017.
In a third phase of work, we documented status of each of the items in our Long-Term Sustainability Plan. SIPOA had either completed or had ongoing efforts for over 50% of the plan’s goals, leading to Audubon’s awarding us “Certified Sustainable Community” status.