Meet our Naturalists

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Little St. Simons Island prides itself on providing guests with unique and absorbing experiences in the company of our experienced and gifted naturalist staff.

Naturalists offer daily interpretive tours to teach our visitors about the ecology of barrier islands and the plants and animals that can be found in this diverse environment. Guests are engaged through lively discussions and hands-on interactions that create memories and lessons lasting well beyond the vacation experience.

  • Eric Cohen

Eric Cohen
Eric is a Georgia native who developed a passion for the outdoors during his adventures throughout the state’s diverse ecoregions. He received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries from the University of Georgia. Eric participated as a field technician to research blue catfish in Lake Oconee, and also helped lead a UGA summer class that collected and studied native fishes, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians. He joined the naturalist team in January 2014. Eric enjoys spending his free time camping, biking, fishing, hunting, kayaking, and hiking.

  • Laura Early

Laura Early
Laura joined the naturalist team in March 2012. While completing her B.S. in Biology at Clemson University, she participated in fieldwork along the South Carolina coast and the Florida Keys, and a summer working with the sea turtle program at Cumberland Island. Laura has worked with University of Florida's Wildlife Ecology team as an instructor for Clemson's Youth Learning Institute and with the Sanibel Sea School.

  • Willy

Willy Hazelhurst
Willy was born and raised in Macon, Georgia and received his B.S. degree in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia. For over a decade, Willy has led sea kayak excursions along the waters of Georgia's coast. And, since 2000, he has worked with the National Outdoor Leadership School, leading expeditions to exciting nature locations around the globe. Willy's greatest passion is any kind of outdoor exploration or adventure.

  • Stacia

Stacia Hendricks
Stacia is renowned in her field and became the Naturalist Supervisor for Little St. Simons Island in September 2008. Prior to arriving to lead the Island naturalist staff, Stacia was the naturalist for Sea Island Company for eleven years and prior to that was the naturalist for Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island for seventeen years. Stacia says that teaching others, especially children, about the natural world is her greatest joy.

  • Mike Muthersbaugh

Mike Muthersbaugh
Mike grew up in Troy, New York, hiking, fishing and canoeing in the Adirondack Mountains. After completing his B.S. in Biology at Gordon College (MA) in December 2012, Mike worked on a variety of research projects for songbird, bat and small mammal studies. During his summer breaks, Mike also enjoyed working as a children's camp counselor. Mike joined the Island's naturalist team in April 2013. When he's not out guiding guests, Mike pursues his passions of surf fishing, kayaking and trail running.

  • Rachael Thompson

Rachael Thompson
Originally from Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, Rachael joined the Naturalist team in May 2014.  While earning her B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island, she had the opportunity to study overseas at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. Her experiences include working with Diamondback Terrapin conservation, organizing data from marine mammal sightings along the Northwest Atlantic, and educating young minds through the Georgia 4-H outdoor education program. Inspiring people about the outdoors is truly where her passion lies.  "We will not fight to save what we do not love." -Stephen Jay Gould.