Dear Friends,

Currently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, there is a special exhibit of Georgia O'Keefe's pencil drawings and other rarely seen works on paper -- pastels, watercolors, charcoal renderings. The exhibit is called "To See Takes Time," a favorite expression of the artist who worked so intently to convey what she saw as the "wideness and wonder of the world."

That wideness and wonder is always much on my mind, and I often ask myself if the world has become less wide than narrow? Has it lost all its wonder?

Not really. Not when you sit under a moonless sky like we did this month, the weather so fine, and so many families gathered in the back yard at the Land Trust to watch a movie together. Not in a month like April that is filled with so many community happenings, like DNR's Coastfest, our Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, bird walks at Cannon's Point Preserve, a book signing with the remarkable island natives and award-winning writer-photographer team Jingle Davis and Ben Galland. Being in the presence of these and others lets me know that the water is still wide and the wonders of the earth are as bottomless as the sea.

So do the words read every day during April in celebration of National Poetry Month. Few words have meant more than those of our friend and former Georgia Poet Laureate David Bottoms, who died last month. David was an avid outdoorsman, a devoted father, husband, son, friend, teacher, a brilliant writer and internationally lauded poet. Like Georgia O'Keefe, he knew that "to see takes time." But, oh, could he see.

To remind us that the world is indeed vast and filled with endless wonders, this is for David. For children lying on blankets under the stars. For our volunteers, and retiring board members. For all those devoted to keeping the earth verdant, vibrant, clean, safe, and everlasting.
Emily Ellison
Executive Director
The Land Trust's long-awaited Movie Night Under the Oaks took place this month on April 14. It was so wonderful to see the backyard filled with children and families from around the Golden Isles. Nearly 100 attendees enjoyed grilled hotdogs, popcorn, Fuse frozen custard, and an exciting nature display from Sea Island before settling in to watch Disney's classic, The Jungle Book.

Thanks to all who attended, to the Ambassadors and Volunteers who worked the event, and to our Sponsors for making the event possible!

Be on the lookout for future Movie Night event information.
Photos by Sam Ghioto Studio
Please join us in thanking Jay Buchert, Bill Jones, Tom Regan, and Scott Steilen for their dedicated service on the Land Trust's Board of Directors. These four community leaders have been committed to land conservation and nonprofit excellence while serving on the Board. We are sincerely grateful for their investments of time, expertise, and resources and their partnership in helping to preserve and protect St. Simons Island. We're also pleased Bill Jones agreed to serve as Director Emeritus alongside Frances McCrary and Ben Slade.

See a full list of the Board of Directors HERE.

The Land Trust recently hosted the third-grade class from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School at Cannon's Point Preserve. The students had the opportunity to hike the southern area of the Preserve, discuss the food web, paint a watercolor scene, and learn about the living shoreline.

Thank you to task force members, Brooke Vallaster (Education Task Force) and Jan Mackinnon (Conservation Task Force) and partner/class parent, Jill Andrews (GA DNR CRD) for coordinating and leading the field trip. We are all appreciative of the numerous partners who came out to help educate the students on our important coastal ecosystems.

The increased bird migration that occurs in spring leads to numerous bird walks taking place along Georgia's coast. Yesterday's Warbler Walk at Cannon's Point Preserve occurred on National Audubon Day and was led by our partners at Coastal Georgia Audubon.

During the walk, attendees observed coastal species and learned about why their conservation, and that of their habitats, is important. In total, 30 species and 66 individuals were recorded including painted buntings, summer tanagers, and a yellow-throated vireo.

Don't miss our upcoming World Migratory Bird Day Walk, Saturday, May 13, at Guale Preserve with Coastal Georgia Audubon from 8-10AM. Reservations are not required.

For full updated lists of bird species seen at Cannon's Point Preserve,
please visit the eBird hotspot website HERE.

Dr. Tarsa, a professor from the College of Coastal Georgia, joined staff from the Land Trust and from Georgia Water & Environmental Services (GWES) to lead students in a wetland delineation field lab at Guale Preserve. Students surveyed a site at the Preserve for three types of indicators that are used to delineate wetlands - soil profile, hydrology, and vegetation. Students took soil samples, ran transects, and surveyed plants in the area. This was the first opportunity these students had to combine and apply firsthand all the skills they learned throughout the semester.

We are so thankful for our partnership with the College of Coastal Georgia and thrilled that Land Trust properties continue to be used as platforms for education.
Junior Ambassadors adding native plants to the backyard garden

In early April, many of the Land Trust's Junior Ambassadors came together to add more than 15 new native plants to the office backyard garden. This planting was one of the final steps in their year-long project to certify the backyard as a Wildlife Sanctuary through Georgia Audubon.

We greatly appreciate these students for their hard work and for their passion to protect St. Simons!
Fir tussock moth caterpillar
Cardinal jumping spider
Land Trust properties are filled with beautiful and, occasionally, out-of-this-world plants and wildlife. This month, our docent volunteer and board member Bob Sattelmeyer found a fir tussock moth caterpillar at Cannon's Point Preserve. At one of our Oatland Properties, staff member Rebecca Cushing came across a female flowering inkberry plant and a seemingly velvet cardinal jumping spider.

If you find interesting plants or wildlife while visiting Land Trust properties, share your photos with us! Photos can be emailed to Raleigh Kitchen at
Vince Forgione (left) and Finn Hanlon (right), from Troop 248 on St. Simons Island, have both utilized Land Trust properties to help complete final requirements to receive their Eagle Scout ranking. Both young men built and installed Leopold benches, with the help of fellow troop members, along highly trafficked Land Trust trails. Vince's benches can be found along John Gilbert Nature Trail and Finn's benches can be found along the newly cut Ancient Dune Trail at Guale Preserve.

Vince and fellow troop members were featured in The Brunswick News for their Eagle Scout rankings. Congratulations to Vince and all local Eagle Scouts on their outstanding achievements!

Read more from TBN HERE.
This month we celebrated National Volunteer Week, seven days devoted to thanking and celebrating the volunteers whose hard work and dedication help organizations all over the world accomplish their goals and missions.

The Land Trust could not fulfill its mission without so many people pitching in, lending helping hands, sharing invaluable knowledge and expertise, and creating a can-do, optimistic atmosphere in which we work together. We are truly grateful for the significant role each volunteer plays in the Land Trust's efforts to conserve natural resources, wildlife, and habitats, to preserve historic and culturally significant properties, and to enhance quality of life on St. Simons.

View our Volunteer Week eblast HERE.
The Coastal Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources hosted 6,000 visitors at its community-loved CoastFest event at Mary Ross Waterfront Park on Earth Day, April 22. The Land Trust was thrilled to have a booth at the event where staff members and volunteers offered families a chance to learn about SSLT's mission and encouraged children to participate in creating a mural featuring some of their favorite land and water-dwelling animals.

We are very appreciative to our partners at the GaDNR for putting on this great event and to our volunteers for helping us share the Land Trust with a wider audience.
Photo by Ben Galland
Do you want to experience the wonder of Little St. Simons Island? Our partners at LSSI have generously offered a Day Trip for two people as an incentive to our supporters to renew their Land Trust memberships.

All who become a new member or renew their membership before midnight on Sunday, April 30, will be entered into a drawing to win a Day Trip to Little St. Simons Island for two.

The lucky winner will be chosen next Monday, May 1.
VALUE: $400
DETAILS: A Day Trip for Two
WHEN: Certificate expires June 27, 2024
WHERE: Little St. Simons Island
TRAVEL: Day trip excursions leave from the Hampton River Marina on the north end of St. Simons Island at 10:30 AM and return by 4:00 PM. LSSI is a 15-minute boat ride from St. Simons.

Learn more about Little St. Simons Island HERE.

Join us in welcoming our newest Pennies for Preservation partner, Sam Ghioto Studio!

A native of St. Simons Island, Sam Ghioto is a visual storyteller and content creator. He takes raw moments and creates beautiful lasting memories for his clients. Whether photo or video, collaborating with others and taking their ideas to the next level is one of his deepest pleasures. Sam also has a passion for travel and adventure, and that is conveyed in much of his work.

Sam Ghioto Studio specializes in portrait, landscape, aerial, sport, and lifestyle photography, including weddings, events, and commercial.

We were so pleased to have Sam photograph our recent Movie Night Under the Oaks event and we are delighted for his partnership. Thank you, Sam, for helping preserve St. Simons!
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.
Belle Reiss,
Guale Preserve
Brenda Mikec & Friends,
Fiery Gizzard Trail, TN
Suzy Dmetruk,
Kennedy Space Center
From Guale Preserve to Kennedy Space Center, Land Trust hats went on some fun adventures this month! We are grateful to our members and supporters who share their experiences with us. Keep them coming!
We are excited to share the addition of two NEW Land Trust hats! For those who prefer the "trucker" style, or who simply enjoy a little more breathability, these new hats are for you!

You can purchase SSLT hats via our online store below or by stopping by our office at 1810 Frederica Road. Happy shopping!
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources recently released the 2022 Coastal Georgia Ecosystem Report Card which highlights the current health and condition of the region's ecosystem.

This year’s report scored a “B,” or moderately good health. The report card assesses various aspects of the coastal environment, including water quality, habitat condition, and the overall health of key species. The report is based on data collected by DNR biologists and technicians over the past year, and provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the ecosystem.

View the full report card HERE.
Now through June 21: Great American Cleanup

April 22 - April 30: National Park Week

April 29: Living Shoreline Expo at Cannon’s Point Preserve.

May 11: DNR's Build Your Own Rain Barrel Workshop, DNR Headquarters, Brunswick

May 13: World Migratory Bird Day Walk at Guale Preserve with Coastal Georgia Audubon, 8-10AM. No reservation required.

January 20, 2024: St. Simons Land Trust's annual OYSTER ROAST, Gascoigne Bluff Park, SSI