Dear Friends,

When the American marine biologist and environmentalist Rachel Carson published her best-selling book Silent Spring in 1962, to say it unleashed a storm is an understatement. Knowing that nothing in nature exists alone, she documented powerfully and eloquently the destruction of entire ecosystems that came from the use of DDT and other chemical pesticides. "We spray our elms and the following springs are silent of robin song," Carson wrote, "not because we sprayed the robins directly but because the poison traveled, step by step, through the now familiar elm leaf-earthworm-robin cycle."

It was Carson's research and writing that jump-started an international conservation movement and inspired millions to begin listening for -- and preventing -- such silence. Since the first day of spring AND International Women's Day were both in March, it seems fitting that our "staff pick" for this month's reading is Silent Spring and Rachel Carson's other works.

March so often feels like the calendar's transition month, with a broad arc of temperatures, emotions, celebrations, losses, gains, and plant and animal activity. This year was no exception, with our moving back and forth between highs and lows -- from the International Day of Happiness on the 20th, to the sad news of the passing of friends and longtime Land Trust supporters throughout the month.
But after our long, global winter of discontent and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 virus, light is ahead. The first buds of the season have appeared. New, tender foliage has faithfully followed those blooms. Gardeners are spreading compost in their flower and vegetable beds, and they're falling asleep with seed catalogues in hand. With two feet of snow still on the ground, our daughter, son-in-law, and friends cleaned out the Colorado hoop house and have already started sowing seeds for salad greens. As Rachel Carson wrote, "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."

The darkness is lifting. Dawn is coming. And the repeated refrains of nature carry promises of making us whole.
Emily Ellison
Executive Director
Meticulously researched and beautifully written and designed
interpretive signage
will soon be installed along Polly's Trail at Guale Preserve.
Coastal naturalist Christa F. Hayes used observations from William Bartram's 18th Century explorations of the British colonies in North America as a unifying theme for the signs. As she drafted content, Christa made certain that each sign contains fascinating
and often little-known facts about St. Simons and its diverse flora and fauna. The signs that visitors will see when they walk, hike, or bike along Polly's Trail will be encompassed by Christa's opening words:

"The interpretation of trails at Guale Preserve is enriched with quotes by William Bartram from his stay on St. Simons Island (1773 - 1774) and other places in Georgia and Florida. Before the advent of photography, scientific explorations were conducted by people gifted as artists as well as naturalists. The writings and illustrations of William Bartram, along with the works of other early naturalists, reveal some of what we have lost, but also illuminate the rich biodiversity that remains in our care.
Their legacy helps us identify goals for natural community restoration today."

Christa's collaborator on Guale's interpretive signage is Megan Kuntze,
executive director of MK Management & Co.,
a firm specializing in strategy and creative design.
John Neiner was the design genius on the project, and
maps, paintings, photography, and input came from multiple sources, including our partners at DNR.

Be on the lookout for more information on the installation
of this series of educational signs that was made possible by
generous donors and a grant from the Terry Thomas Foundation
and that includes so many of the famous botanist/ornithologist's observations
from his Bartram's Travels.

In the meantime, if you've never hiked Polly's Trail, we hope you'll do so soon
or view our short Virtual Visits below for an introduction to the trail!
View all Virtual Visits HERE.
Stewards of the Georgia Coast, an informal affinity group supporting the growing community of donors with a passion for coastal conservation in Georgia, was founded in 2014 by Cody Laird and the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation, Wendy Paulson and the Bobolink Foundation, and Roy Richards, Jr. Their work includes publishing electronic newsletters about pressing issues for coastal conservation and philanthropy and organizing learning sessions and activities. One of their most informative projects was publishing a Directory of all conservation-focused organizations serving the Georgia coast. A link to the Directory can be found HERE.
Another source of invaluable environmental data about the Golden Isles comes from the
Georgia Coast Collaborative ("GCC"), a group of nonprofit organizations (of which SSLT is a member) that looks carefully at how our individual and collective choices impact regional resources. Group members partnered with one another to develop a Coastal Resource Assets Barometer ("CRAB") that provides a dashboard of the scientific data gathered on our coast and the actions we can all take to enhance quality of life and conserve our finest environmental assets, including thriving landscapes and waterfronts.
Earlier this month (on the 8th), the world celebrated International Women's Day - a global day honoring the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. We want to give a special shoutout to women around the world who work diligently to positively impact the planet's lands, waters, and skies. Whether this is done through professional work, volunteer time, or a passion to capture the beauty of protected places through a camera lens, paint brush, or thoughtful words, we thank you!
A few of those women we want to thank, and who are closest to home, begin with our board chair, Susan Shipman, and board members Nancy Dorn, Mary Jenrette, Deb Luginbuhl, and Frances McCrary. These women use their invaluable talents, expertise, experiences, and love of St. Simons to help guide the present day work of the Land Trust and to make sure that we are planning well for the future. They are our friends and leaders, and our gratitude for them and to them is without measure.
Susan Shipman, Nancy Dorn,
Frances McCrary, and Deb Luginbuhl
Another towering naturalist of the Georgia coast is Eleanor “Sandy” Torrey West, who died this year on January 17 (her birthday) at the age of 108. Known as the "matriarch of Ossabaw Island," Mrs. West fell in love with coastal Georgia as a child in the 1920's, when her parents purchased Ossabaw. More than fifty years later, in 1978, she and her family sold the island to the state of Georgia, establishing it as Georgia’s first heritage preserve and mandating that its 26,000 unspoiled acres of forest, wetlands, and beaches in Chatham County be used only for “natural, scientific and cultural study, research and education, and environmentally sound preservation, conservation and management of the island’s ecosystem.”
Mrs. West retained exclusive lifetime use and management of the home that her parents had built on Ossabaw between 1924 and 1926, as well as 23 acres surrounding the Torrey West House. At her death, the parcel became part of the Ossabaw Island Heritage Preserve, as mandated by the 1978 sale agreement, and is now under the management of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Ossabaw Island Foundation.

But for the nearly 100 years between the time a young Sandy Torrey set foot on the island until her death this past January, she was an extraordinary champion for conservation and for protecting habitat and wilderness areas in coastal Georgia.
To learn more about Eleanor "Sandy" Torrey West, please click HERE.
And to learn more about International Women's Day, please click HERE.
Thanks once again to Sam Portis at Poseidon Consulting & Renovations for designing, building, and installing the New Stables Corner Library under the grove of magnificent live oaks at the corner of Frederica and Sea Island Roads. 

This is the second of what we hope will be several “branch libraries” in the SSLT Little Lending Library “system” on St. Simons. The LLL’s are being made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, and the stables library was created pro bono by Sam, one of our wonderful Pennies for Preservation partners. Be on the lookout for removal of the dilapidated fencing around the property and the addition of seating and other amenities that will be coming soon near the New Stables Corner Library.
March has been an exceptionally busy month for Land Trust Volunteers. This includes graciously welcoming visitors to Cannon’s Point Preserve on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday each week, assisting with trail maintenance, planting trees, and participating in a couple of “thank you” hikes at Guale Preserve.  
Guale Preserve waterfront Clean-Up Day, pictured left to right:
Ganten Kirby, Mike Lynch, Jack Brodhag, Jackie Magnant, Donna Lynch, and Karen Hufnagel
On the 16th of the month, there was a major clean-up project at the Guale Preserve waterfront (pictured above) where volunteers and staff moved a mountain of wood chips and picked up downed limbs and clippings.  

Earlier in the month, there were other clean-up projects at the Land Trust’s Glynn Haven and Simonton properties. Those who helped haul off a truck load of debris included Land Trust Ambassador & Volunteer Ganten Kirby, along with Claudia Mullis, Kevin Quinn, and members of the SSLT staff.

Christa Hayes, the naturalist who researched and wrote content for the interpretive signage that will be installed along Polly’s Trail at Guale Preserve (see article above), led two Volunteer Appreciation Hikes for limited numbers of socially-distanced participants on March 24.
Glynn Haven property clean-up
It was a rare opportunity to learn from someone in the field who has such extensive knowledge about coastal ecosystems. Participants also received a "sneak peek" about information that will be in the Guale interpretive signs and learned about a variety of plant species found in the numerous habitats at the Preserve, including a native carnivorous plant, Drosera capillaris, also known as pink sundew. Below are photos of Christa and some of those who took advantage of these educational, fact-filled walk-and-talks as a way to thank our volunteers
To become a member of the dedicated team of SSLT Volunteers,
please sign up HERE or email Marty Moody at
Photo by Raleigh Kitchen, Sea Island Road
A recent article in Our Daily Planet, entitled "Bald Eagle Numbers Soar Thanks to Endangered Species Act," provided heartening information on the return of a species that was once close to extinction. According to a report published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the bald eagle population in the lower U.S. has quadrupled in size since 2009.

In the late 1960's, the number of breeding pairs had been reduced to less than 500. Today, the number of pairs has grown to more than 70,000, including the couple at the left photographed on St. Simons and pairs often seen nesting on Jekyll and other Georgia barrier islands.
The article goes on to say that bald eagles were among the earliest birds protected by the Endangered Species Act and were delisted in 2007. "It’s a success story for the federal legislation, which currently protects about 100 U.S. bird species. But while the bald eagle’s comeback should be celebrated, it’s an outlier in terms of bird health nation-wide. Scientists estimate that North America has lost about 3 billion birds in the past 50 years, more than a quarter of the continent’s population." 
Butterfly Event at Little St. Simons Island -- This 3-day event will merge art and science to highlight the work of early Georgia naturalist and artist John Abbot. Participants will learn about coastal Georgia butterflies and their habitats while being out in the field with Christa Hayes -- the naturalist, artist, writer and founder of Butterflies of the Atlantic Flyway Alliance (BAFA) who has been mentioned several times in this newsletter. Kate Tweedy, Ecological Coordinator at Little St. Simons Island, will lead a class on drawing butterflies in the field. Dates are May 12-14. To learn more about Drawn From Nature: Illuminating John Abbot's Butterflies, please click HERE.
SILENT SPRING by Rachel Carson, the American marine biologist and conservationist, has been heralded as launching the international environmental movement. Her sea trilogy, that included Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us (National Book Award), and The Edge of the Sea, illuminated all aspects of ocean life.

Many thanks to local attorney and SSLT supporter Linda Muir for suggesting Carson's books as a "staff pick" for the Land Trust and for including these thoughts: "The voice of one woman, Rachel Carson, through her book 'Silent Spring' in 1962, awakened the world to the significance of the environment, all that is in nature, and the connection of all living things. Sparking the environmental movement, she spoke the truth about the deadly chemical DDT, and people the world over responded. Her words still resonate today as we think about other environmental hazards: petrochemicals, deforestation, plastics and climate change, to name a few. She alerted all residents of the Earth."

Thank you Linda, and thank you Rachel Carson! More information about Rachel's life and work can be found HERE. All her books are still in print and can be found at independent bookstores like St. Simons' G.J. Ford Bookshop, online, or at your local library.
New Program Partner
This month we were proud to welcome our newest Pennies for Preservation partner Dulce Dough Bakery, a boutique donut shop.

Owner Ryanne Carrier’s donuts are handmade from brioche dough, a recipe she worked on for years to perfect. Everything at the shop is made from scratch, even the jellies, glazes, and pastry creams. From the maple bacon, vanilla glazed, and cinnamon donuts to the sticky buns and quiche, you will be coming back for more.

Thank you Ryanne, the Dulce Dough Bakery crew, and patrons for helping protect 70 acres at Oatland North.
1% Wednesday
The Land Trust's seventh Pennies for Preservation 1% Wednesday Industry Grouping highlighted our dedicated restaurant partners who offer lunch.

Learn more about each locally owned business and ways to support them by clicking here. 

Read more about the individual businesses by clicking on the links directly below.
Let's Keep it Local!

Please remember to continue supporting our Golden Isles businesses
and the Land Trust's dedicated Pennies for Preservation partners.
Pennies for Preservation businesses raise funds to preserve and protect St. Simons Island.
Participating businesses raise contributions by either:

1) Collecting a voluntary 1% or specific dollar amount donation from their
customers' receipts/invoices.
2) Donating 1% of their companies' proceeds or services.
Thank you to all participating Pennies for Preservation businesses,
their teams, and their patrons!
April 4: Easter Sunday -- PLEASE NOTE: Cannon's Point Preserve is closed for the holiday on Sunday, but will be open to the public on Saturday, April 3 and will reopen on Monday, April 5.

April 5 - 9: Glynn County Schools Spring Break (Have fun, stay safe, and be sure to visit SSLT properties!)

April 22: International Earth Day

May 12 - 14: Drawn From Nature 3-Day Event at Little St. Simons Island
And, as always, thank YOU for your continued support!