Educating citizens across Georgia’s coast

Naturalist 101:

Master your coastal Georgia knowledge 

We’re thrilled to launch our 2nd annual Naturalist 101 series of workshops. These hands-on education programs are designed to help coastal residents and enthusiasts increase their encyclopedia of knowledge about Georgia’s coastal habitats and wildlife. Throughout the ten-month series, participants will increase their understanding of local issues and find opportunities to take action to protect our 100-mile coast. Browse our programs below and explore the coast with us!

Our 2018 programs include:

March – Marsh Madness! • April – Birds of a Feather Migrate Together • May – Going Native • June – The Truth about Sea Level Rise • July – Loggerhead Lines: Conserving Georgia’s Sea Turtle • August – Our Underwater World: Gray’s Reef • September – The Tiny World of the Dragonfly  October – Batty for Bats  November – Hooray for Herps!  December – The Right Whale to Save


March – Marsh Madness!

Marsh Madness Lecture w/ Jan MacKinnon
Thursday, March 15 • 7pm
OHM Brunswick Office
1312 Newcastle Street, Brunswick, GA 31520
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

Don’t miss Jan MacKinnon’s, biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Coastal Division, lecture on all things related to Georgia’s signature landscape, the salt marsh. She’ll highlight the importance of the salt marsh’s every twist and turn as well as her own research projects including, the balance between economic development and protecting this precious coastal zone for the future of our communities.

Marsh Madness Paddle Field Trip w/ SouthEast Adventure 
Saturday, March 17 • 1:30pm-3:30pm
Village Creek Landing Dock 
526 S. Harrington Road, SSI, GA 31522
$40 members | $50 non-members

Grab your friends and family and join us for a low-tide paddle through our coast’s scenic “Marshes of Glynn.” Stretch your sea legs on kayaks or standup paddle boards. Your choice! Leaving from SouthEast Adventure Outfitter’s (SEA) Village Creek Landing dock, we’ll explore the lovely intricacies of St. Simons’ salt marsh while keeping an eye out for surfacing resident bottlenose dolphins, manatees, and other native species. SEA’s co-owner, Cindy Dennard, will enhance our marsh madness paddle trip with her master naturalist knowledge of Georgia’s coast.


April – Birds of a Feather Migrate Together

Migratory Bird Lecture w/ Tim Keyes
Thursday, April 12 • 7pm
OHM Brunswick Office
1312 Newcastle Street, Brunswick, GA 31520
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

As we kick off Georgia’s shorebird season in April, it’s all about sharing the coast with our migratory two-legged friends. Tim Keyes, biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife Division, will give an interactive presentation on his work to protect migratory shorebirds  in coastal Georgia.

Migratory Bird Field Trip 
Saturday, April 14 • 10am-12pm
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
5000 Wildlife Drive, Townsend, GA 31331
$25 members | $35 non-members

Sharpen your birding knowledge through a naturalist birding walk at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Kimberly Hayes, Refuge Manager with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, will lead our walking tour. We’ll make a long stop at Woody Pond, one of the refuge’s most memorable highlights, to observe hundreds of floating islands woodstork and egret colonies. Be on the lookout – they’re most than just birds at Harris Neck – try spotting alligators, dragonflies, snakes, and the refuge’s fresh water turtles!


May – The Truth about Sea Level Rise

Sea Level Rise Lecture w/ Dr. Clark Alexander
Thursday, May 3 • 7pm
OHM Savannah Office
2424 Drayton Street Unit B, Savannah, GA 31401
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

Dr. Clark Alexander, director and professor at UGA’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography,  will break down the concepts of climate change and sea level rise in Georgia.

Blackbeard Island Barrier Island Dynamics Field Trip
Sunday, May 6 • 9am-3pm
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
5000 Wildlife Drive, Townsend, GA 31331
$50 members | $60 non-members

Georgia’s barrier island are treasures, they’re resilient, and they’re manipulated by our choices. If our climate changes, our favorite places might not be there or might not be the same as we remember, but our islands will be resilient. Join us for a guided full-day excursion to Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge with coastal expert, Kimberly Hayes, Refuge Manager with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We’ll cruise the island on four-wheels and explore areas that are experiencing natural changes from tides, salt, wind, storms, and even animal burrows.


June – Loggerhead – Lines: Conservation of Georgia’s Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle Lecture w/ Kris Williams
Thursday, June 7 • 7pm
OHM Savannah Office
2424 Drayton Street Unit B, Savannah, GA 31401
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

Meet Kris Williams, Project Director with the Carretta Research Project (CRP), and listen to a turtle-y awesome lecture on all things sea turtles. Learn about the CRP, a non-profit that has been protecting loggerhead sea turtles that nest on Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia since 1973. CRP’s tagging program on Wassaw Island remains one of the longest running tagging programs in the United States. Learn how you can get involved in sea turtle conservation efforts on Wassaw and across the coast! 

Sea Turtle Night Walk w/ the SSI Sea Turtle Project
Saturday, June 9 • 9pm-11pm
Coast Guard Public Beach Access
1st Street, SSI, GA 31522
$20 members | $25 non-members

Who lives on our beaches after the sun goes down? What parts of our eyes help us see at night? How do other animals see, hear, and find their way in the dark? Join Catherine Ridley, SSI Sea Turtle Project Director and OHM’s VP of Communications and Education, as we discover these and other nocturnal secrets. In the heat of Georgia’s sea turtle nesting season, keep your eyes peeled for sea turtle tracks! If we’re lucky, we might spot a nesting sea turtle or hatchlings emerging from their nests. Learn how a sea turtle hatchling must make it’s way past our coast’s favorite night visitor, the ghost crab. Can you spot them?Through hands-on activities geared toward families and participants of all ages, you won’t forget this beach hike in the dark!


July – Going Native

Backyard Habitat Lecture w/ Eammon Leonard
Thursday, July 12 • 7pm
OHM Brunswick Office
1312 Newcastle Street, Brunswick, GA 31520
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

Do you dare to go native? Learn all about coastal Georgia’s native flora and the ways you can transform your own backyard into a haven for native plants and animals. Eammon Leonard, Coastal WildScapes Board Chair and native plant expert, will give an engaging talk on the importance of native coastal habitats. 

Going Native Nature Walk  w/ Coastal WildScapes
Saturday, July 21 • 10am-12pm
Cay Creek Wetlands Nature Interpretive Center
189 Charlie Butler Road, Midway, GA 31320
$20 members | $25 non-members

Enjoy a peaceful stroll on an elevated boardwalk through the wetlands while being able to see the transition into a salt water marsh. Look closely and you will notice the differences in the plant and animal life as it changes from fresh water to brackish waters. With Eammon Leonard as our expert guide, he’ll point out coastal Georgia’s most beautiful native plants and some of the invasive species that are negatively affecting these coastal habitats. Be ready to act by pulling a few invasive plants from the area!


August – Our Underwater World

Gray’s Reef Lecture w/ Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Thursday, August 9 • 7pm
OHM Savannah Office
2424 Drayton Street Unit B, Savannah, GA 31401
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

Take a virtual dive into Gray’s Reef, Georgia’s only National Marine Sanctuary, just 14 miles of Sapelo Island (one of Georgia’s 14 barrier islands). Learn about the different  habitats of the reef and the wildlife who depend on their protection. You’ll quickly discover that Gray’s Reef is unlike most other coral reefs!

Rivers-to-Reef Field Trip  w/ Bull River Cruises
Saturday, August 11 • 1:30pm-4:30pm
Hogan’s Marina, 36 Wilmington Island Road, Savannah, GA 31410
$50 members | $60 non-members

Improve your understanding of our influence on watersheds and the subsequent impacts to our water resources. Learn hands-on how we impact our water systems and how our choices on land impacts Gray’s Reef and other offshore habitats. Cathy Sakas, Education Coordinator with the Gray’s Reef Foundation and Mike Neal, owner of Bull River Cruises, will empower each participant with background information, tools, activities and materials and all-important first-hand field experiences. During our cruise, keep your eyes peeled for surfacing bottlenose dolphin and other native wildlife. We’ll have the chance to pull up a trawl from the river floor to see what live critters we can find! Light drink and snacks provided.


September – The Small Beautiful World of the Dragonfly

Dragonfly Lecture w/ Giff Beaton
Date TBD
OHM Savannah Office
2424 Drayton Street Unit B, Savannah, GA 31401
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

Learn how identify these beautiful insects, their life cycles, where and how to find them, and tips about how to get the best photographs with avid birder, naturalist, and author, Giff Beaton.

Dragonfly Field Trip w/ Giff Beaton
Date TBD
Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Nature Museum
681 Fort Argyle Rd, Savannah, GA 31419
$20 members | $25 non-members

Explore a coastal Georgia dragonfly freshwater hotspot. Can you identify the different types of dragonflies? How many different kinds and colors did you see? Join us as we discover the tiny world of the dragonfly.


October – Batty for Bats!

Batty for Bats Lecture w/ Trina Morris
Wednesday, October 10 • 7pm
OHM Brunswick Office
1312 Newcastle Street, Brunswick, GA 31520
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

You’ll never think of bats the same! Join us for a bat-tastic lecture with Dr. Trina Morris, biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division. Trina will make you fall in love with the coastal Georgia’s bats – commonly misperceived as creepy crawly pests – that are deserving of our attention and protection. A live coastal Georgia bat species will be available for hand-on learning! 

Bat Field Trip w/ Trina Morris
Thursday, October 11 • 6pm
East Beach Causeway, SSI, GA 31522
$20 members | $25 non-members

Join bat expert, Trina Morris, for a walking bat field trip as the sun sets below the horizon. We’ll learn more details of bat biology, behavior, and local conservation efforts, while searching for wild bats feeding on dusk’s flying insects. If we’re lucky, we might catch a wild bat or two to observe up close! Once darkness hits, there is still so much to see – understand the secret life of bats through Trina’s ThermalTracker device which provides 2-d video tracking of bat flying motions.


November – Hooray for Herps!

Hooray for Herps Lecture w/ Chris Jenkins
Thursday, November 8 • 7pm
OHM Brunswick Office
1312 Newcastle Street, Brunswick, GA 31520
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

Chris Jenkins, CEO of the Orianne Society, will make you go wild forsnakes, turtles, frogs, and other native reptiles and amphibians, and discover why they’re so important to our coast. Plus, you’ll get to see animals up close!

Okefenokee Field Trip w/ Okefenokee Adventures
Saturday, October 10 • 9:30am-1pm
4159 Suwannee Canal Road, Folkston, GA 31537
$40 members | $50 non-members

Tour the Okefenokee, North America’s largest blackwater swamp, by boat! We’ll mosey  along the historic Suwannee Canal through a tangled forest of bay, cypress, pine and shrubs, then out into the open expanse of Chesser Prairie. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Rangers will share their knowledge of the swamp’s cultural and natural history, tell interesting swamp stories and identify plants and wildlife along the way. Look out for egrets, herons, ibis, sandhill cranes, red-shouldered hawks, and American alligators, as well as otters in the winter and wood storks.


December – The Right Whale to Save

Marine Mammals Lecture w/ Clay George
Thursday, December 13 • 7pm
OHM Brunswick Office
1312 Newcastle Street, Brunswick, GA 31520
FREE and open to the public, but reservations required!

Clay George, wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife Division will give a fascinating talk on all things marine mammals. Georgia is home to many native species including, bottlenose dolphin, the endangered manatee and North Atlantic right whale. Learn about Clay’s conservation efforts to protect some of these more vulnerable species and the ways we can protect them with simple choices like what goes on our fork! 

Dolphin Eco-Tour w/ Jekyll Dolphin Tours
Saturday, December 15 • 11am-1pm
Jekyll Island Wharf
371 Riverview Dr, Jekyll Island, GA 31527
$50 members | $60 non-members

Travel the scenic waterways of beautiful Jekyll Island to observe the Georgia’s resident bottlenose dolphins feeding, playing, or simply cruising through their natural habitat. We’ll learn their social behavior, feeding habits, and much more! Light drink and snacks provided.


Thank you to our Naturalist 101 2018 partners (need to add)