Educating citizens across Georgia’s coast

Naturalist 101:

Master your coastal Georgia knowledge 

Our education programs are designed to help coastal residents and enthusiasts build an encyclopedia of knowledge about Georgia’s coastal habitats and wildlife. Through our hands-on Naturalist 101 series, participants will increase their understanding of local conservation issues and find opportunities to take action to protect our 100-mile coast. Browse our programs and explore the coast with us!

2018 Schedule:

March – Marsh Madness: Life in the Salt Marsh • April – Birds of a Feather  • May – Understanding Sea Level Rise and What it Means for Georgia’s Coast • June -Logger-Headlines: Conserving Georgia’s Sea Turtles • July – Going Native: Backyard Habitats & Native Plants • August – Our Underwater World: Gray’s Reef • September – The Tiny World of Dragonflies and Damselflies  October – Batty for Bats  November – Hooray for Herps!  December – The Right Whale to Save

June – Logger-Headlines: Conservation of Georgia’s Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle Lecture w/ Kris Williams
Tuesday, June 19 • 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 nonprofit 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. You’ll walk away with new knowledge about sea turtle natural history and conservation efforts on Wassaw and across our coast!

Sea Turtle Night Walk w/ the SSI Sea Turtle Project
Friday, June 22 • 8:30 pm
Coast Guard Public Beach Access
1st Street, SSI, GA 31522
$15 members | $20 non-members | $8 Kids 12 and under

Who comes out 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 loggerhead sea turtle tracks! If we’re lucky, we might spot a nesting sea turtle laying her eggs in the sand. We’ll explore the nesting beach after dark and talk about Georgia’s sea turtles’ natural history and our turtle monitoring program. Through hands-on activities geared toward families and participants of all ages, you won’t soon forget this after-hours beach night hike!

July – Going Native: Backyard Habitats and Native Plants

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

Some of the most amazing wildlife and wild places can be found right here, in our very own backyards! 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. Eamonn Leonard, Coastal WildScapes Board Chair and native plant expert, will lead us in an engaging talk on the importance of native coastal habitats. You’ll walk away with a greater appreciation for these locally-grown plants, and tips for how to help conserve them for the benefit of local wildlife.

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 | $30 non-members

Enjoy a peaceful stroll on an elevated boardwalk through the wetlands while witnessing the transition into a saltwater marsh. Look closely and you will notice the differences in the plant and animal life as it changes from fresh to brackish waters. With Coastal WildScapes’ Eamonn Leonard as our expert guide, we’ll investigate 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 off Sapelo Island (one of Georgia’s 14 barrier islands). Learn about the different  habitats of the reef and the wildlife who depend on it for their protection. You’ll quickly discover that Gray’s Reef is unlike most other coral reefs – a treasure along our coast that deserves our pride and protection.

Watershed to the Sea Coastal Ecology Tour 
Saturday, August 11 • 1:30pm-4:30pm
Hogan’s Marina, 36 Wilmington Island Road, Savannah, GA 31410
$45 members | $55 non-members | $35 Kids 12 and under

Get up-close-and-personal with our coastal watershed as we explore 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 equip each participant with background information, tools, activities and materials and all-important hands-on 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, but bring your own water bottle and sunscreen.

September – The Tiny World of Dragonflies and Damselflies

Dragonflies, Damselflies, and Other Aquatic Insects 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!

Check out the tiny-but-mighty world of some of our coast’s most fascinating residents. 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 and Damselflies Field Trip w/ Giff Beaton
Date TBD
Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Nature Museum
681 Fort Argyle Rd, Savannah, GA 31419
$20 members | $30 non-members

Explore a coastal Georgia dragonfly freshwater hotspot! Join us as we discover the tiny world of the dragonfly and damselfly. Along the way, we’ll learn about their natural world, how they give back to the ecosystem, and what they tell us about the waterways and world around us.

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!

Join us for a bat-tastic lecture with Dr. Trina Morris, biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division. Trina will help you fall in love with the coastal Georgia’s bats – commonly misunderstood as creepy crawly pests – that deserve our attention and protection. You’ll learn about their essential role in our coastal ecosystem, current threats to their survival, and what we can do to help. A live coastal Georgia bat species will be available for hand-on learning!

The Secret Life of Bats Field Trip w/ Trina Morris
Thursday, October 11 • 6pm
East Beach Causeway, SSI, GA 31522 (Exact Meeting Spot TBD)
$20 members | $30 non-members | $10 Kids 12 and under

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—join us to uncover the secret life of bats through Trina’s ThermalTracker device, which provides 2-D video tracking of bat flying motions. Don’t miss this pre-Halloween adventure for the whole family!

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 help us go wild for snakes, turtles, frogs, and other native reptiles and amphibians. Together, we’ll uncover the scaly and slimy world of herps and discover why they’re so important to our coastal ecosystem. Plus, you’ll get to see and touch these amazing animals up close!

Okefenokee Field Trip w/ Okefenokee Adventures
Saturday, November 10 • 9:30am-1pm
4159 Suwannee Canal Road, Folkston, GA 31537
$35 members | $45 non-members | $25 Kids 12 and under

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. Apply your new knowledge of reptiles and amphibians as we keep our eyes peeled for snakes and American alligators with naturalists and biologist from the Orianne Society. We’ll also check out native wildlife such as egrets, herons, ibis, sandhill cranes, red-shouldered hawks, and much more! Light snacks provided, but please bring your own lunch, bug spray and sunscreen.

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 the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. As we enter right whale calving season, we’ll focus on the plight of our state marine mammal, how human activities puts their future at risk, and current research and monitoring projects. Learn about Clay’s conservation efforts to protect some of these more vulnerable species and the ways we can protect them with simple everyday choices.

Dolphin Boat Tour Field Trip
Date and Time TBD