Dear Friends,

Near the end of last year, two of our members, Tony and Lavada Baker, dropped by the Land Trust's office and shared a book they had recently read and thought we would love it as much as they. Tony can often be found sitting on the bench beside our Little Lending Library looking through one of the books someone has dropped off or, more commonly, reading something of his own. The book they brought to us, The Overstory, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Richard Powers, is our Staff Pick for this month's Book Nook. Tony is such a voracious reader, and such a stunning writer himself, that we knew the book would be a good one.
Tony Baker reading at the Land Trust's Little Lending Library
Photo by Terry Dickson/The Brunswick News
But The Overstory was evocative and beautiful in ways we couldn't have imagined. As Geraldine Brooks wrote, it's one of those novels that "change the way you see." Since reading The Overstory, I can no longer walk among our island's majestic live oaks seeing them in the same ways I did before.

After the wild ride that was 2020, most of us look at very few things with the same nonchalance that we did pre-pandemic. Relationships, priorities, nature have all taken on new meaning. And after creating the 20 in 20 Spotlights during last year's 20th anniversary of the Land Trust, we have a deeper and more profound appreciation for the many people who helped to found and sustain this organization for two decades.

More than anything, last year's challenges provided a renewed understanding of just HOW important it is to provide greenspace, trails, and protected wilderness areas for a community's wellbeing. We realized more than ever that "in perpetuity" is more than a pat phrase but carries the weight of making certain we save these sacred places for today's children and the generations of children still to come.
Children enjoying the outdoors on St. Simons Island
Below is a quick overview of some of the work completed last year and examples of how an increased commitment to community grew from our Let's Keep it Local initiative in 2020 to this year's first-ever Land Trust RESTAURANT WEEK. You'll find additional information on other projects that resulted from these past months of recalibrating goals and expectations and seeing our challenges and blessings in different ways.

Here's to a new and better tomorrow and to a renewed dedication to building together a culture of conservation on St. Simons.

As always, thank you for your partnership and support.
Emily Ellison
Executive Director
The Land Trust's 20 in 20 Spotlights were created to celebrate the organization's
20th anniversary in 2020 and to showcase a sampling of the many generous individuals, families, organizations, and businesses that have played significant roles in land conservation for the past two decades.

Interviewing these folks and researching the 20-year history of the Land Trust was fascinating and enlightening. The only downside of creating the spotlights was realizing how MANY people have supported the efforts of SSLT in such selfless and meaningful ways and how many would be left out of the 20-spot series.

Our goal is to continue meeting and learning from the hundreds of talented supporters who have worked so hard for the Land Trust and who continue to partner with us in land protection and preservation in the Golden Isles.

Please click images below to read each Spotlight.
View Founder Spotlight interviews HERE.
The Land Trust is proud to announce
Jack Kilgore was its
2020 Dorothy Gilbert Award winner!

The Dorothy Gilbert Award is named for the late conservationist and philanthropist Dorothy Gilbert, who made a gift of a 40-acre marsh-front property to the Land Trust in 2006, now known as the John Gilbert Nature Trail on Frederica Road. The annual award is made by the staff and board to honor an individual or business that has contributed significantly to the mission of the Land Trust.

Congratulations, Jack! Thank you for all you do in support of land preservation on St. Simons.
The Land Trust's first-ever Photography Contest was a success! Over 50 photographs were submitted by many St. Simons locals and visitors. We loved seeing why protected properties and their inhabitants mean so much to you and how their beauty inspired you during a difficult year.

The contest's Grand Prize Winner is this stunning turkey tail fungi photo taken by Dale Wheeler at Harrington Park on St. Simons. View all contest winners HERE.

"Ever since my husband and I retired six years ago, from Massachusetts to Brunswick Georgia, we have been blessed beyond measure by the wildlife and landscape that surrounds us! From the rich history of St. Simons to the endless marshes, beaches, birds and the breathtaking, glorious sunsets, I am presented daily with endless photographic opportunities! I decided to participate in the contest for an opportunity to share the beauty of God's creation with others! Thank you again for choosing one of my photos for the Grand Prize!"

--Dale Wheeler, Photography Contest Grand Prize Winner
Last week, the Glynn County community came together to support 40+ local restaurants during what is normally one of the slowest weeks of the year for the restaurant industry. THANK YOU for choosing to dine-in, take-out, and order gift cards from the many business who have fed and nurtured this community for so long.

Thank you also to all participating restaurants - you kept us fully fed and satisfied!

Barbara Jean's • Bennie’s Red Barn • Blue Bay Mexican Grill • Bubba Garcia's •
Café Frederica • Catch 228 Oyster Bar & Grill • Certified Burgers and Beverage •
Chick-Fil-A—St. Simons Island • Chile Peppers Island Cantina • Coastal Kitchen • Del Sur • Delaney’s Bistro & Bar • Demere Grill • Dulce Dough Donuts & Bakery •
Echo Restaurant at The King & Prince Beach & Golf Resort • Ember Farm to Fire •
E'terie Bar & Grill at Embassy Suites • Frederica House • Frosty's Griddle and Shake • Georgia Sea Grill • Gnat's Landing • Halyards • Hildy's Pizza •
Iguanas Seafood Restaurant • Indigo Coastal Shanty • La Plancha • The Local Brew • Longhorn Steakhouse • Mellow Mushroom • Mr. Shuck’s Seafood •
My Happy Place Nutrition • Nazzaro's Italian Cuisine • Palmer's Village Café •
Pizza Inn—Brunswick • Porch • The Reserve Steak House at The Westin •
The Rooftop at Ocean Lodge • Sal's Neighborhood Pizzeria • Sandy Bottom Bagels •
Sea Salt Healthy Kitchen • Southern Soul Barbeque •
Tipsy McSway's Neighborhood Bar & Grill • Wee Pub North
As of January 1, Cannon's Point Preserve is once again OPEN during its normal hours of operation - Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 9am-3pm.

We are grateful to all of our hard-working docents who help us keep the Preserve running smoothly and available for the public to enjoy every weekend. If you haven't been to the Preserve recently, we hope that you and your families will make a point to visit this 608 acres of protected, undeveloped property soon.
SSLT Volunteers and CPP Docents go above and beyond on a regular basis. Listed below are the 2020 TOP VOLUNTEERS, who together donated a total of 378 hours of volunteer time to the Land Trust in 2020. Congratulations to each and all.

  • Richard Burgner - Volunteer of the Year
  • Marti Jeffers
  • Marcie Kerstetter
  • Dave Kerstetter
  • Pat Lynch
  • Chris Bone

Again, congratulations to these six invaluable docents and THANK YOU to all volunteers for their generous gifts of time and talents and for being such steadfast partners in land conservation on St. Simons Island!

Sign up to be a volunteer HERE
or email Marty Moody at
If you've never hiked the beautiful walking trail along the marsh at Cannon's Point Preserve, view our short Virtual Visit below for a sneak peek!
View all CPP Virtual Visits HERE.
Photo: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NOAA permit
The beginning of the North Atlantic Right Whale calving season is giving marine biologists a lot of hope! According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 65 North Atlantic right whales have been sighted from North Carolina to Florida so far this winter, including 14 newborn calves. The latest additions to the population are the calves of first-time mothers who were 19 years old and 14 years old. In addition to the newborns, the remaining right whales sighted include males and females that range in age from one year to greater than 47 years old (adults, juveniles, and yearlings).
This month's Land Trust "Staff Pick" is
The Overstory by Richard Powers.

The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned paean to nature.

From the roots of plants to their crowns and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel "unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables" about a hidden, fascinating, inventive world that resides alongside the one most of us normally see.

Michael Pollen describes the novel as "Something genuinely new, in the way it decenters the human as the source of all meaning and value. Here, it is the trees."
Please remember that our local businesses continue to need our support.

Let's Keep it Local!
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 dollar amount donation from their customers' receipts/invoices, 2) donating 1% of their companies proceeds or, 3) providing in-kind services to the Land Trust.
The Land Trust's fifth 1% Wednesday Industry Grouping
highlighted our dedicated media partners. Learn more about each local business and ways to support them by clicking here. Read more about the individual businesses by clicking on the links directly below.
Be sure to also follow our #OnePercentWednesday posts on social media!

Thank you to all participating Pennies for Preservation businesses,
their teams, and their patrons!
January 30: DNR 33rd Annual Weekend for Wildlife - Virtual

February 6: Donation Beach Yoga Class Benefiting St. Simons Land Trust

February 15: President's Day - SSLT Office Closed

March: Be on the lookout for a new and educational Land Trust project this month!
Thank you for your continued support!