Compass Media focus on conservation
GMF partner uses sea turtle to communicate mission
April 2011- Gulf of Mexico Foundation Board of Directors member J. Gary Ellis is
the CEO of
Compass Media, Inc., in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
A lifelong resident of the Gulf coast, he believes in preserving resources and promoting that concept.
People often ask
the folks at Compass Media why they chose a sea turtle to represent their company. “Sea turtles are master navigators,” says Ellis. Their instincts allow hatchlings to navigate across
the sand to the water, and adult females to migrate across thousands of miles to
return to the exact beach they were born on to lay their eggs. “It’s like a
built-in compass,” he says. Likewise, Compass Media's business is helping
clients navigate their way through the currents of challenging waters of tourism
But the sea turtle represents a much bigger picture of Compass Media's
philosophy and practices and is iconic of the company's passion for sustainable
business and tourism.
For many years, Compass Media has encouraged sustainable business and tourism
practice, and has
participated in a variety of green initiatives in partnership
with clients, companies and tourists in the region.
In 2002, Compass Media was instrumental in the planning and execution of the
Summit on Sustainable Tourism, an event that educated and informed industry
partners on best practices in sustainable tourism. In fact, Compass Media was
delighted to receive The 2003 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Alabama
Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Alabama Gulf Coast Chamber of
Commerce as a result of the summit's success.
Ellis has also served for eight years on the
Board of Directors of the Gulf of
Mexico Foundation. Compass Media is the sole voice of tourism at
foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1990 representing fisheries, business,
industry, tourism, agriculture and environmental conservation.
“When those little hatchlings come out of the sand, we guard
them from crabs, birds and other predators until they can make it into the water”
- J. Gary Ellis
In addition, Compass Media has for more than 20 years provided pro bono services
and promotional pieces to Alabama Coastal Cleanup, an annual half-day
event in which community and business members head to the beach for a massive
cleaning effort. Over the decades, more than 58,000 volunteers have
removed 1,120,000 pounds of trash from 3,500 miles of shoreline to keep
Compass works to save the endangered sea
turtles, too, by being a sponsor of the 'Share the Beach' sea turtle
protection program. Each year, from May through October, Compass Media
associates, along with hundreds of other volunteers including both residents and
visitors from all over the United States, help locate and mark sea turtle
nesting sites and then work around the clock in shifts to watch the nests as
hatch-time approaches. “When those little hatchlings come out of the sand, we
guard them from crabs, birds and other predators until they can make it into
the water,” says Ellis. Over a five-year period, about 17,000 hatchlings safely entered into the Gulf of Mexico,
according to Share the Beach.
"We are proud of our community, our businesses who conscientiously strive toward
sustainable tourism business, our citizens who help preserve and sustain the
beauty of the region, and our tourists who are devoted to leaving nothing more
than footprints behind on our sugar sands," said Ellis. "Sustainability is and
always will be a work in progress, and we are proud to be a part of those
efforts here in Coastal Alabama."
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