Seabrook Island Joins Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program

Seabrook Island, SC – The private island community of Seabrook recently became the first private sector community in South Carolina to join Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program. 

The Sustainable Communities Program serves as a framework to merge economic and social considerations with the protection and enhancement of a community’s environmental characteristics. Audubon International serves as a catalyst for citizen-driven planning and community actions. Our programs facilitate partnerships with governmental agencies, businesses, academic institutions, and other organizations that provide local support and assistance to reach the goals envisioned in the community. Working in this way, Seabrook Island will create a long-term plan to address growth and environmental protection. 

“Every community faces challenges, and over time, all communities undergo change. At the same time, there are aspects of life and assets in each community that make it a great place to live,” said Sustainable Communities Program Manager, Suzi Van Etten. “The Sustainable Communities Program helps communities tackle those challenges and plan for change in a way that fosters a vibrant local economy while maintaining a healthy environment and high quality of life. This is the concept of sustainability, which Audubon International views as the foundation for quality communities of today and tomorrow. We want to harness the best of what Seabrook is today, and plan for the best of what Seabrook can be tomorrow.” 

“Seabrookers have always considered Seabrook Island to be their little piece of paradise,” said Jim Bannwart, a member of the Property Owners Association Board of Directors. He added that residents want to maintain the environment and life style currently enjoyed by all in the community and want to enhance the island as build-out continues. The community has undertaken a variety of programs over the years that reflect the concepts of sustainable practices including recycling, bike paths, and turtle patrols, to name a few, but has not undertaken sustainability in a comprehensive way. “We are hopeful that the Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program will provide the methodology and principles to guide the island as it works to provide a healthy local environment, a high quality of life for its residents, and economic vitality,” Bannwart added. 

Seabrook Island, located less than thirty minutes from Charleston, SC, has a vibrant community of more than 2,500 property owners who determine the community’s priorities. One of the property owners’ agreed upon priorities is the undisturbed natural beauty. From active conservation and preservation committees to unique architectural review standards, Seabrook Island’s 2,200 acres stands as a reminder of the natural beauty of the South Carolina coastline. Edged by expansive, quiet beaches and pristine dunes along the South Carolina coast, Seabrook is home to a spectacular range of wildlife and a thriving ecosystem. In addition to the natural landscape, residents and guests can also enjoy two championship golf courses, a tennis center, horseback riding, award-winning dining, a fitness center, shopping, a deep-water marina, and many other world-class amenities. 

By joining and participating in the Sustainable Communities Program, Seabrook will join several other private communities’ members as a private sector member of the program. There are three stages in the multi-year certification process, during which Seabrook will complete an assessment, define a long-term community vision, choose sustainability indicators as a mechanism for fostering action and measuring success, and implement its plan. The plan covers fifteen focus areas, and members work with Audubon International to choose timelines and measurable goals. After completing a vision plan and reporting progress on chosen goals, members of Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program are eligible for certification and designation as an Audubon International Sustainable Community, which recognizes dedication to the process of becoming a sustainable community.

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