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Paul Bolster Receives Award for Saving the Georgia Coast

By Melanie Regnier

Ormewood Park resident and former Georgia state legislator Paul Bolster is getting some well-deserved recognition for his book Saving the Georgia Coast: A Political History of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act. He will receive the 2021 Phillip D. Reed Environmental Writing Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center on March 25, during this year’s Virginia Festival of the Book.

In Saving the Georgia Coast, published by the University of Georgia Press, Bolster explores how a coalition of local residents, wealthy landowners, hunters, fishermen, garden club members, journalists, politicians, and others came together more than 50 years ago to defend Georgia’s coastal marshlands. He examines the political climate and maneuvering that ultimately led to the passage of the 1970 Coastal Marshlands Protection Act, a law that remains the most comprehensive protection of marshlands along the Atlantic seaboard.

Bolster also looks at policy issues affecting the Georgia coast today, such as development pressures, rising sea levels, and other impacts of climate change. Saving the Georgia Coast offers lessons for lawmakers on how to protect Georgia’s fragile coastline today.

A freelance writer and historian, Bolster holds a doctorate in history from the University of Georgia and a law degree from Georgia State. He taught American history at Clark Atlanta University for 14 years and has worked as a lobbyist for the Georgia Hospital Association and the American Hospital Association. A tireless advocate for affordable housing, he ran a Health Care for the Homeless program in Atlanta and served for three years on Governor Nathan Deal’s Council on Criminal Justice Reform.

The Reed Environmental Writing Awards at the Virginia Festival of the Book will take place as a virtual ceremony via Zoom at 2:00pm on March 25. To attend, register online at

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