Twenty Under Forty: Jacobs serves as outreach coordinator for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper

Published 1:28 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Henry Jacobs, 27, can often be found at the office space rented by the nonprofit he works for during the day, taking part in conference calls or carrying out any number of routine responsibilities entrusted to him. However, there is an element to Jacobs’ profession unlike most others.

When not in the office, Jacobs can generally be found on West Point Lake, leading educational programs for classes from local schools or coordinating the organization’s efforts during special events. He enjoys what he does, and is quick to point this out.

“I love what I do for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper,” Jacobs said. “Essentially, we are trying to make everybody aware of where their water comes from and to know the value of clean water. We want people not to take it for granted. That is the easiest thing to go and talk about.”

Jacobs’ full job title is something of a mouthful. He is the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Regional Outreach Coordinator serving the Middle Chattahoochee region. Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization that saw its inception in 1994 as a response to poor water and sewage realities in Atlanta, opened an outpost office in LaGrange in 2011. Jacobs has been working for the organization full time since 2013. He credits his younger days on the water and in nature for giving him a baseline of comfort in the outdoors, making his current job suitable.

“I grew up canoeing, kayaking, doing some sailing,” Jacobs said. “That gave me the chance to grow up and be comfortable outside. I appreciate that so much more now.”

Jacobs could well be the face of a LaGrange marketing campaign for young adults. Not a local, he hails from outside of the metropolitan Atlanta area. His path led to LaGrange via the baseball diamond, as he suited up for the LaGrange College Panthers for four years prior to making the decision to begin his career in LaGrange, a decision the city hopes to see more young professionals make in time.

“Meeting people here in the community, making the connections I did is what kept me here after college,” Jacobs said. “Those connections and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper are, in large part, what kept me here.”

Jacobs had the opportunity to work for the organization that would later become his full-time employer during his undergraduate days. Through an internship with the company, he worked closely with his predecessor Jill Sistino while in school. It was Sistino who recommended Jacobs take her position when she moved on to pursue other opportunities.  Now, as the outreach coordinator for the area, Jacobs and seven other instructors help lead sessions on the West Point Floating Classroom, which is a custom-built 42-foot boat named Miss Sally that sees students as often as four days per week during the school year.”

“It’s cool to think about how this office started as a one-person shop and has grown into what it is now,” Jacobs said, making note of the slew of volunteers who ensure the floating classroom remains a reality.

-Story by Baker Ellis, photos by Daniel Evans