And the Audience Roared

I reflected on the meaningfulness of the Ray of Hope Prize, and I praised the teams for their extraordinary efforts and dedication. And then I ushered in a moment that had been 22 months in the making: I invited the teams out on the stage.

I was nervous this past Saturday morning. I’ve been nervous plenty of times before, but this time felt different. The moment was bigger, and the crowd was larger. Closing my eyes, I could feel two armies of butterflies battling inside me. One wielded fear and uncertainty, while the other championed excitement and optimism. Neither would give ground as the minutes ticked by.

I sat in the green room of the Marin Center in San Rafael, California. People milled around me, but I did my best to remain aloof as I reflected upon the remarks I would soon give. To my left sat the seven finalist teams in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. I should have been chatting with them, offering smiles and gratitude before we would be escorted backstage, but I couldn’t muster it. The butterfly armies wouldn’t let me.

I smiled as I thought of the months of hard work these young biomimics had put into their innovations. This was their moment, and they deserved to be on that stage. Then I bit the inside of my lip as the worry settled in again. What if the moment rang hollow and these teams left disappointed?

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Soil restoration innovation wins $100,000 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge "Ray of Hope Prize"

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Team members of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) joined the Georgia Department of Transportation, The Ray, Georgia Conservancy and the Chattahoochee Nature Center to install a 7,000-square foot pollinator garden at the Georgia Visitor Information Center along Interstate 85 in West Point. Team members transplanted more than 2,000 pollinator plants in all.

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Kia employees volunteer for next phase of The Ray on Interstate 85 in West Point

A group effort of a number of prominent Georgia entities will not only benefit a popular state welcome center, but will also highlight a travel corridor poised to become the world’s most sustainable highway. The Georgia Conservancy, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT), The Ray and the Chattahoochee Nature Center will all use shovels and work gloves on September 17 to install a 7,000-square foot pollinator garden at the Georgia Visitor Information Center (VIC) on Interstate 85 in West Point. The pollinator garden will be the first installed at any Georgia DOT facility.

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