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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
Cassandra developed her love of the outdoors as a child, spending most of her time catching frogs and playing in the forests and creeks around her parents’ home in Fayette county Georgia. This love of the outdoors would inspire her to obtain a B.S. from the University of Georgia with a major in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and a second in Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism. During her time at the University of Georgia Cassandra also worked on projects along the Georgia coast including one targeting the social behaviors of the resident bottlenose dolphin populations. Additionally she has spent time working with other species including endangered Wood Bison in Southern Alaska and Louisiana water thrush in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cassandra is very enthusiastic about environmental education and has spent her summers during college teaching courses on herpetology and marine biology. When she’s not working she loves to go birding and hiking.