Meet our Naturalists

  • Nat Staff 061015

The Little St. Simons Island Naturalists offer a host of daily interpretive excursions to immerse our guests in the ecology of Georgia’s barrier islands and the plants and wildlife that can be found in this diverse environment. Lively discussions and hands-on experiences will craft memories lasting well beyond the vacation experience. Whether Bird watching, hiking through the diversity of island habitats, kayaking the tidal waters, bicycling the island’s roads, fishing the surf or tidal waters, our gifted Naturalists will lead you through memorable and enriching experiences to savor for years to come.

  • 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 his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries from the University of Georgia. Eric worked as a field technician researching blue catfish in Lake Oconee, and 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.

  • Kirby Farrell

Kirby Farrell
Kirby grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, backpacking, fishing, kayaking and camping in the foot hills of the Appalachian Mountains. His passion for the outdoors brought him to the North Carolina coast, where he studied Parks and Recreation Management, at The University of North Carolina Wilmington. While attending UNCW, he focused his studies in coastal management and barrier island ecology. As an American Canoeing Association certified kayak guide, and first mate on the beach catamaran M/V Shamrock, he taught environmental education to North Carolina school groups and visiting families. Kirby joined the Naturalist Team January 2015. When he is not out exploring the island with our guest, he spends his time birding, fishing, hiking, kayaking, surfing, and sailing.

  • Willy

Willy Hazlehurst
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 in coastal Georgia and has worked with the National Outdoor Leadership School, leading expeditions to exciting paddling destinations around the globe. He joined the Naturalist team in 2010 and serves as the Naturalist Supervisor. Willy's greatest passion is exploring remote natural areas where he can paddle, fish or hike. Other passions Willy pursues are surfing, bicycling, cooking and carpentry.

  • Stacia

Stacia Hendricks
Stacia joined Little St. Simons Island and the Naturalist team as the Naturalist Manager in September 2008. Prior to arriving to lead the 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 fourteen years. After growing up in twelve states and abroad, she relishes every season she is privileged to experience on the Georgia coast. Her other passions include gardening, beekeeping and working in her clay studio.

  • sara rodgers

Sara Rodgers
Originally from coastal South Carolina, Sara has spent much of her life in the mountains of Young Harris, Georgia. Growing up in these beautiful, scenic areas has inspired her love for nature from a young age. She received a B.S. in Biology from Young Harris College and is currently working on a M.S. in Environmental Science from Miami University. Her experiences include working with the Belize Raptor Research Institute studying Neotropical birds of prey, and teaching Environmental Education with Georgia 4-H. Sara joined the Naturalist team in June 2015. She likes to spend her free time exploring the outdoors while hiking, kayaking, birding, and fishing.

  • Cassandra

Cassandra Waldrop
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 inspired her to obtain her 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 worked with other species including endangered Wood Bison in Southern Alaska and the Louisiana Waterthrush 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.