October 1, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions for the Naturalists
Posted by: Nate Ramey
Here on Little Saint Simons the naturalists get asked a lot of questions, which is great because that’s our job! With all the questions we get we do tend to get some overlap from time to time. It seems most of what people like to ask us has to do with living on the island, and how we got here professionally speaking. So, for this month’s blog I thought I would answer some of the most frequently asked questions I get from guests. So here they are.
- What’s your specialty?
- This is always a funny question for the naturalists and one we don’t always know how to answer. We like to think as a naturalist, that we know a little bit about a lot. That is really what separates a naturalist from a scientist, so we try not to pigeonhole our self into any one topic. We tend to look at an ecosystem as big picture rather than the minute details. I think the question people are trying to ask is what’s your favorite aspect of the island, and for me it will always be the ocean. I grew up in southern Ohio where the biggest body of water was the Ohio river, so for me the ocean has always been an exotic fascinating destination with weird and wonderful creatures.
- Did you grow up in Georgia?
- No, that’s not a Southern accent you hear from me, its Appalachian. I am originally from a small rural town in southeastern Ohio.
- What was your major?
- B.S. in Natural Sciences with Life Science concentration and AYA Education
- Where did you go to school?
- I attended Shawnee State University in southern Ohio near my hometown and graduated in May 2013.
- How did you find this job?
- The naturalist position is often posted on a few different job boards online. I happened to see it on the Texas A&M Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Science job board. A great resource for jobs for someone in the biology/ecology field.
- Where were you before you moved here?
- On another island, surprisingly. I worked for The Ohio State University on South Bass Island, about 3 miles offshore in Lake Erie.
- How long have you lived in Georgia?
- I have been with the Lodge since October 2015, so right at 4 years.
- Do you live on the island?
- I do live on the island along with 15 other staff, so roughly half of our staff live on LSSI.
- Do you share staff housing?
- No, we have our own individual apartments. They consist of a living area with a kitchenet, a bedroom with a queen bed, and a bathroom with shower.
- Do you ever get off the island?
- Absolutely, we all have our days off and with the boats running about every day we tend to find the time on one of our days off to run to town for errands, etc.
- How do you enjoy your free time?
- On the island it depends on the season. In the Summer I tend to enjoy the beach the most, as I love surf fishing. In the Spring and Fall the birding is spectacular on the island and I have since become a birder in my spare time. Finally, in the winter I love to hike and fish as the cooler weather agrees with me much more this time of year, haha. Outside of the island I really love snorkeling in the Florida Keys and anywhere else I can find clear water. Back home in Ohio I greatly enjoy hiking, hunting, and fishing.
- What’s your favorite time of year on the island?
- Winter is absolutely my favorite time on the island. The biggest reason is the cooler weather. Being from Ohio, a cold winter day in Georgia tends to feel like an early spring day to me. I love being able to hike and explore the island without breaking a sweat and being chased by insects, haha. I’m also a bit of a collector and some of the best beachcombing finds turn up in the wintertime on the beach.
- What’s the coolest thing you’ve found on the beach?
- My prize possession is a Florida Horse Conch shell that is over 1 ½ ft long.
- What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen on the island?
- Watching a mother sea turtle lay her eggs on the beach in the middle of the night is up there for one of my all-time favorite moments. Another time was when 5 Florida manatees showed up around my kayak in the marsh and I got to watch them feed on the marsh grass as I floated along.
- What do you like best about the island?
- I think the 7 miles of undeveloped beach habitat is my favorite part. The fact that I can go out on the beach and not see one single condominium or hotel is a true blessing. Also, the fact that I share it with less than 50 people at any time, haha.
- Is there anything about the island you don’t like?
- The heat. Late summer tends to be my least favorite time on the island. I just don’t enjoy hot weather. Luckily, the beach is still a great place to hang out then.