Small and bald: What a difference a decade makes!

RS has been in business since 1998 but our first mitigation bank, Bear Creek, was not planted until October, 2001. Very soon afterward Mrs. Howard became pregnant with our first child, our lovely daughter Georgia Gilmer Howard. Georgia is now eleven and going to Daniels Middle School in the fall.

I share this background because on our way to the beach this Easter we made a family pilgrimage to the Bear Creek Wetland Mitigation Bank — which straddles Highway 70 between Raleigh and the coast. The kids have become increasingly interested in mitigation and we get a kick out of visiting Bear Creek and the adjacent Sleepy Creek.

I took the opportunity to snap a photo of Georgia beneath the closing canopy of bottomland hardwoods planted the year before her birth. Below you can see that photo — and another one taken not long after she was born — where I am hoisting the child above the glory of the newly-watered-and-planted former cornfield and swamp-to-be.

I have also included a photo of her beautiful mom Pam holding baby “G.” Note in the background to the left of small bald Georgia is a small bald cypress — which becomes a mighty knee’ed swamp monster in the modern photo.

These photos demonstrate to me in their own special way that we are in this for the long haul, care for our banks long after regulatory “close-outs,” and take deep pride in the miraculous process of environmental restoration. As our colleagues and regulators join in Denver this week for the NMBC I hope everyone is taking similar pride is the obvious fruits of our long labors.

Perhaps I’ll post another one of her little brother Henry Howard at Sleepy Creek, both planted — 2005.

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