As seen in the Walton Sun

CBA celebrates 20 and receives gifts

By Deborah Wheeler
Updated June 22, 2016 at 2:36 PM

George Barnes speaks to CBA on June 20.

George Barnes speaks to CBA on June 20.

Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance celebrated 20 years this week, and received a great gift.

CBA is now a beneficiary of the sale of local 30A Coastal Dune wines, say the wines' co-owners George Barnes and Charles Modica.

"One thing my parents always told me was to give back," said Modica. "Before we signed the LLC for the wine, we agreed to give back to the community through sales. And with the 30A Coastal Dune Wine label, we felt we should see that kids get as much education as they can about these dunes and conservation of them."

How much will be donated will depend on how much wine is sold.

"As long as business is growing, we will donate," said Modica. "I think it's important."

Barnes agreed.

"Charlie and I have been a part of the community a long time and want to give back," said Barnes. "We are both outdoorsmen and fishermen and we wanted to do something close to home. Growing up in New Orleans, I was surrounded by levies. Here, the dunes are our levies. And, without vegetation to hold the dunes in place we will wash away in a storm."

CBA Director Alison McDowell said Barnes approached them about the possibility of donating and after talking, they decided the perfect fit would be CBA's Dunes in Schools program.

"In South Walton, there are 15 officially named Coastal Dune Lakes that are globally rare," she said. "We have a focus group that is entirely grant and donor dependent we take sea oats into middle school classrooms and the students then go out and plant them around dunes. Their donation will help fund this program. We are grateful for a community of stewards."

The celebration was June 20 at Nick's in Freeport.