Marine Debris Cleanup

February 2nd - 5th, 2020

Little St. Simons Island’s many treasures include our seven-mile stretch of undeveloped beach and thousands of acres of marsh. More than just a beautiful landscape, these are prime habitats for a variety of species of wildlife. Although mostly pristine, it is not uncommon to find manmade debris on our island.

Because of the connectedness of the seas, marine debris is a widespread issue facing the world’s oceans and coastal ecosystems.  Last year alone, we removed over two thousand pounds of debris from our beaches and marshes. In cooperation with the Ocean Conservancy and Rivers Alive of Georgia, we have not only been cleaning up our beach, but documenting every piece of marine debris that we remove. This information is submitted to a database of debris collected from beaches around the world. By documenting the debris we collect, we are contributing to a debris profile of our oceans.  In addition to removing potential hazards to wildlife, this data helps us create more effective solutions.

Continuing with this effort, we would like to invite you to participate in a comprehensive sweep of our beaches. With your help, we can cover a greater distance making a more significant impact on the beach.  To show our gratitude for your participation, we’re offering a discounted package rate.  Arrive on Sunday 12/08/19 or 02/02/20 and participate in the cleanup on Monday 12/09/19 or 02/03/20.

Marine debris has been documented affecting at least 267 species worldwide. This includes 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species.

Entanglement and ingestion of plastic are two of the main dangers that debris poses to wildlife, and unfortunately we have seen examples of both pretty close to home. A couple years ago, a pygmy sperm whale stranded on Jekyll Island, and the necropsy revealed two large pieces of black plastic sheeting in its gut. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center has also admitted several patients suffering wounds from entanglement, and found small pieces of plastic and strands of monofilament in the digestive tracts of their patients. 

Now is a critical time for debris removal. Beginning in the spring, our beach becomes feeding and nesting grounds for several species of birds including red knots, Wilson’s plovers, and American oystercatchers. We’ll also see female sea turtles feeding in the coastal waters and nesting on our beaches. In order to minimize disturbance of wildlife, marine debris cleanup is best preformed during the winter.

We would like anyone interested in learning more about marine debris issues and solutions to take advantage of this special event.  In addition to everything you expect from a stay on Little St. Simons Island, there will be an evening “Trash Talk” presentation, discussions, and a chance to make a difference for wildlife. On the second day of your stay, we will spend a few hours on the beach surveying and removing debris.  While the workload will be light, it will have a great impact.

 

THREE-NIGHT ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: $1,199**  (Special Offer: Save an additional $200 when booked by 6/1/19)

~Arrive December 8th and depart December 11th, 2019

THREE-NIGHT ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: $1,199**  

~Arrive February 2nd and depart February 5th, 2020 

 

Package rates includes lodging, three meals daily prepared by our chefs, soft drinks, all Island activities including guided Naturalist excursions and use of recreation gear as well as boat transfers to and from the island. 


**All rates are for double occupancy in The Hunting Lodge, River Lodge, Cedar House or Helen House. The Tom House and Michael Cottage rates are higher.  An additional adult in the same room is $200 per night and children under 12 are $100 per night. An 18% service charge plus applicable taxes will be added to the above rates. 

Availability is limited, so call 888-733-5774 between 9:00am and 5:00pm ET daily or click "Book Now" at the top of this page for availability and reservations.

 


Photography Workshop

January 10th -12th, 2020

Come join local photographer Ben Galland for this two day workshop and capture the beauty of Little St. Simons Island's landscapes and wildlife through photography.

The workshop is limited to eight participants who will have the opportunity to join Ben on excursions around the island to photograph exquisite shots like these shown here that Ben took on a recent visit.  Participants of all skill levels will receive guidance and instruction while photographing the spectacular island views including the marsh, maritime forest, beach, birds and wildlife.  In addition, there will be photography discussions and processing tutorials. 

 

Friday:

·        Meet and Greet

·        Discuss weekend and review itinerary

·        Afternoon excursion

Saturday:

·        Pre-Breakfast excursion

·        Morning excursion

·        Afternoon excursion and/or optional processing tutorial

·        Post-dinner discussion with show-n-tell and/or night photography

Sunday:

·        Pre-Breakfast excursion

·        Departure after breakfast

Participants may also take part in any of our daily naturalist-led activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, birding and truck based tours.

 

Two-night package:  $1,320** for January 10-12, 2020.

-Arrive on Friday and depart on Sunday.

Package rates include lodging, three meals daily prepared by our chefs, soft drinks, beer and wine with dinner, all Island activities including guided Naturalist excursions and use of recreation gear as well as boat transfers to and from the island.

**All rates are for double occupancy in The Hunting Lodge, River Lodge, Cedar House or Helen House. The Tom House and Michael Cottage rates are higher.  An additional adult in the same room is $200 per night and children under 12 are $100 per night. An 18% service charge plus applicable taxes will be added to the above rates. 

Availability is limited, so call 888-733-5774 between 9:00am and 5:00pm ET daily or click "Book Now" at the top of this page for availability and reservations.

Ben Galland

Professional Photographer

A native of St. Simons Island, Benjamin Galland grew up photographing the pristine and unparalleled beauty of the Golden Isles. After graduating from Berry College with a degree in visual arts, Galland moved back home to the Isles and co-founded h2o creative group, an advertising and marketing firm in Brunswick, Georgia. As the agency’s in-house photographer, Galland has spent the past 15 years honing his skills in a variety of techniques and genres. He has also had three books published by the University of Georgia Press: Island Time: An Illustrated History of St. Simons Island, GA (2013), Island Passages: An Illustrated History of Jekyll Island, GA (2016) and Sapelo: People and Place on a Georgia Sea Island (Spring 2017). Galland is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys kayaking, fly-fishing, biking and exploring. He loves spending time with his wife, 8-year-old son, and baby daughter.


Spring Birding Days

April 30th - May 8th, 2020

Celebrate the spring migration on Little St. Simons Island! Guest ornithologists join our staff naturalists on excursions highlighting the abundance of species that flock here during this special time. 

EIGHT-NIGHT ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: $5,630**

~Arrive April 30th and depart May 8th.

FOUR-NIGHT ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: $2,790**

~Arrive May 4th and depart May 8th. 

FOUR-NIGHT WEEKENDER ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: $2,990**

~Arrive April 30th and depart May 4th.

 Package rates include lodging, three meals daily prepared by our chefs, soft drinks, all Island activities including guided Naturalist excursions and use of recreation gear as well as boat transfers to and from the island.

**All rates are for double occupancy in The Hunting Lodge, River Lodge, Cedar House or Helen House. The Tom House and Michael Cottage rates are higher.  An additional adult in the same room is $200 per night and children under 12 are $100 per night. An 18% service charge plus applicable taxes will be added to the above rates. 

Availability is limited, so call 888-733-5774 between 9:00am and 5:00pm ET daily or click "Book Now" at the top of this page for availability and reservations.

Possible Sightings Include:

  • black-crowned night heron
  • reddish egret
  • Caspian tern
  • royal tern
  • long-billed curlew
  • piping plover
  • black-bellied plover
  • glossy ibis
  • marbled godwit
  • black-necked stilt
  • American oystercatcher
  • Northern harrier
  • red knot
  • American bittern
  • marsh wren
  • great black-backed gull
  • nighthawk
  • osprey
  • brown thrasher
  • ruby throated hummingbird
  • yellow warbler
  • American redstart
  • Eastern kingbird
  • blue-winged teal
  • bald eagle
  • anhinga
  • and many, many more!

    Photo by Ian Davies

Guest Ornithologist Scott Weidensaul

Scott Weidensaul 

Author and researcher Scott Weidensaul has written more than two dozen books, including his widely acclaimed "Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds" which was a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize. 

His latest book is the "Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean," which was published in 2015. In 2012 he published "The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery and Endurance in Early America" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), which tells the ambitious story of the earliest contacts between Natives and Europeans along the Eastern seaboard - two and half centuries of conflict and coexistence that forever shaped what would become America. 

Other recent titles include "Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the Continent's Natural Soul" (North Point 2005), and "Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding" (Harcourt 2007) which traces 400 years of ornithological history. 

Weidensaul's writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including Audubon (for which he is a contributing editor), Bird Watcher's Digest and National Wildlife, among many others. He lectures widely on conservation and nature, and directs the ornithological programs for National Audubon's famed Hog Island Center on the coast of Maine. 

In addition to writing about wildlife, Weidensaul is an active field researcher whose work focuses on bird migration. He is a co-director of Project Owlnet, a collaborative effort among nearly 125 banding and research stations across North America studying owl migration, and for nearly 20 years he has directed a major effort to study the movements of northern saw-whet owls, one of the smallest and least-understood raptors in North America. 

Weidensaul co-founded Project SNOWstorm, which uses cutting-edge tracking technology to study the winter ecology of snowy owls, and is a founder of the Critical Connections project, which is tracking the migration of birds that breed on National Park lands in Alaska. He is also part of a continental effort to understand the rapid evolution, by several species of western hummingbirds, of a new migratory route and wintering range in the East.


Shark Days

July 10 - 13, 2020

This event is a deep dive into the world of shark biology and the role of sharks in our coastal and marine ecosystems!

Join shark biologists and Little St. Simons Island naturalists on adventures and activities that give you and your family hands-on experience with real research.

You and/or your future marine biologist will have the opportunity to take and record data, handle and tag sharks, and learn from professionals. This is a truly unique opportunity to engage in current field biology, giving you a new perspective, and giving young aspiring biologists invaluable experience for their future endeavors. Plus... everything else the pristine Little St. Simons has to offer is included!

Many shark species rely on coastal waters for the nutrition and protection they provide as nursery habitat. Georgia’s coast has been consistently studied for its role as nursery ground since the late 1990s, yet there is still much to uncover so that we can better understand and protect these creatures.

Recent observations on Little St. Simons Island have led researchers to believe that our waters around the island might serve as nursery habitat for the Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris). If proven, this would represent a new location known to the science of lemon shark reproductive biology. Former naturalist Andrew Lyons took this as a challenge and is conducting his thesis research on illuminating this idea.

Joined by his advisors, Dr. Bryan Franks, Dr. Eric Reyier, and aiding researcher Bonnie Ahr, Andrew will return to gather more data this summer in adding to his work.

You’ll be joining this  team on their mission in the field and in an informal lecture setting during this 3-night event, while enjoying the endless natural beauty of Little St. Simons Island.

 

Activities:

  • Field work with researchers: observe and assist working researchers at your leisure
  • Fishing: for local fish (if sharks are caught, you can assist in tagging and data gathering by researchers)
  • Presentations and activities after dinner
  • Naturalist-led adventures (ie. Kayaking, safari excursions, hiking, birding, history excursions) 

 

Three-night All-inclusive package: $1,880**

~Arrive July 10th and depart July 13th

 

Package rates includes lodging, three meals daily prepared by our chefs, soft drinks, all Island activities including guided Naturalist excursions and use of recreation gear as well as boat transfers to and from the island. 


**All rates are for double occupancy in The Hunting Lodge, River Lodge, Cedar House or Helen House. The Tom House and Michael Cottage rates are higher.  An additional adult in the same room is $200 per night and children under 12 are $100 per night. An 18% service charge plus applicable taxes will be added to the above rates. 

Availability is limited, so call 888-733-5774 between 9:00am and 5:00pm ET daily or click "Book Now" at the top of this page for availability and reservations.

 


Fall Birding Days

September 25th - October 2nd, 2020

Celebrate the fall migration on Little St. Simons Island! Guest ornithologists join our staff naturalists on excursions highlighting the abundance of species that flock here during this special time. 

 

SEVEN-NIGHT ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: $5,120**

~Arrive September 25th and depart October 2nd

FOUR-NIGHT ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: $2,990**

~Arrive September 25th and depart September 29th 

THREE-NIGHT ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: $2,130**

~Arrive September 29th and depart October 2nd

 Package rates include lodging, three meals daily prepared by our chefs, soft drinks, all Island activities including guided Naturalist excursions and use of recreation gear as well as boat transfers to and from the island.

**All rates are for double occupancy in The Hunting Lodge, River Lodge, Cedar House or Helen House. The Tom House and Michael Cottage rates are higher.  An additional adult in the same room is $200 per night and children under 12 are $100 per night. An 18% service charge plus applicable taxes will be added to the above rates. 

Availability is limited, so call 888-733-5774 between 9:00am and 5:00pm ET daily or click "Book Now" at the top of this page for availability and reservations.

Guest Ornithologists

 

Richard Hall

September 25th - September 29th

Richard grew up in England, and according to his parents, started birding before he could walk. His lifelong passion for birds led him to pursue ecological research, and since joining the faculty at the University of Georgia in 2009, he has worked on understanding drivers of wildlife infectious diseases and how animal migrations respond to environmental change. Richard is a former president of the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society, and currently serves on the Georgia Ornithological Society’s Checklists and Records Committee. Richard visits the Georgia coast regularly with student groups and for Christmas Bird Counts; he has fallen in love with Georgia’s pristine barrier islands, and is excited to share their untamed beauty and incredible birdlife with you.

 

Adam Betuel

September 29th - October 2nd

Adam Betuel was introduced to the world of birds and birding at the age of 16 and has never looked back. Shortly after he began his studies at Ohio State University, where he earned a degree in Zoology, Adam was lucky enough to take a position at the university’s museum of biological diversity. While there, Adam met graduate students who introduced him to the exciting world of field ornithology. Adam went on to conduct avian research on marsh birds in Florida, Purple Martins in North Carolina, Eastern Bluebirds in Ohio, and spent a summer in Paraguay cataloguing the country’s bird diversity. After a few years of field research, Adam spent five years studying the White-throated Sparrow in Upstate New York and Indiana while a graduate student at Indiana State University.

After leaving ISU, Adam became the first conservation director for Atlanta Audubon. In this role, he manages multiple conservation programs, including bird banding projects and Project Safe Flight Atlanta, which focuses on the issue of bird-building collisions. Adam also teaches workshops, oversees multiple citizen science programs, leads birding tours domestically and internationally, and dedicates time to many other projects designed to make Atlanta a place where birds and people thrive.

In addition to his role as conservation director for Atlanta Audubon, Adam is the president/guide for Teal Birding Tours. Teal Birding offers intimate and personalized birding tours across the globe for bird and nature enthusiasts of all skill levels. He specifically aims to offer tours that excite and engage residents of the Southeastern United States.

Adam has been published multiple times in scientific journals and featured on various media outlets. He is an admitted sparrow lover and eBird fanatic and is very interested in full-life cycle conservation and breeding behavior. Adam has long had an interest in the birds of the Neotropics and currently serves on the board for Para La Tierra, a conservation and environmental education organization in Paraguay.