Blue Heron Nature Preserve founder Nancy Jones is retiring as the organization’s executive director at the end of 2016 and Kevin McCauley, the Projects and Operations Director, will take the helm.

“Simply put, there would be no Blue Heron without Nancy,” said BHNP Board President Jay Levin in a press release. “She has applied her vision, passion, creativity and tireless enthusiasm to expand Blue Heron from its original seven acres to its present footprint, establish a highly regarded and successful education program, and extend the Preserve’s focus into research and advocacy across a variety of urban environmental causes.”

BHNP formed in 2000 when Jones joined forces with the North Buckhead Civic Association to preserve seven acres of floodplain, according to the release. Working with the community, developers and the city of Atlanta over the past 10 years, BHNP has acquired additional parcels of land to reach its current 30-acre footprint.

Its operations also include a headquarters facility from which the organization operates a variety of successful educational programs, arts exhibitions and children’s camps.

McCauley, who has served as Project and Operations Director at Blue Heron since 2014 and previously served the organization as a board member and volunteer for many years, steps into the executive director position following a 30-year career in information technology, most recently, at Home Depot.

He is a longtime North Buckhead resident and has been a volunteer leader for numerous environmental and community organizations. His work at Blue Heron has included establishing the first community garden in Buckhead, playing an instrumental role in acquiring additional property for the Preserve and managing restoration and capital improvement work to expand our mission and reach into the community.

“Though Nancy’s legacy cannot be overstated, the board feels very fortunate it can look forward to a seamless transition of leadership with Kevin,” Levin said.

McCauley will be leading BHNP through its next phase of growth and development based on the recent completion of the organization’s first strategic planning process by the staff and board. The resulting plan outlines and prioritizes key goals for BHNP to work toward over the next three years.

The Blue Heron Nature Preserve is a 30-acre 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Buckhead. The Preserve was founded in 2000 with aims to create “a personal experience with nature through a regional model of conservation, education, research and connectivity.” Blue Heron serves as an urban refuge for native plants and animals. Learn more at bhnp.org.