The beauty and charm of St. Simons Island are undeniable. But like other barrier islands, St. Simons also serves extremely important roles in maintaining a healthy environment and protecting the biodiversity of Coastal Georgia.
All 14 of Georgia’s barrier islands act as buffers against storm surge, provide habitat for many endangered, threatened, and protected species, improve water quality, and minimize erosion. However, although barrier islands such as St. Simons are effective at absorbing the brunt of tropical storms and rising sea levels, they also contain fragile ecosystems that are constantly changing. Yet for the past four to five thousand years, Georgia’s barrier islands have remained stable enough to develop magnificent maritime forests. The live oaks, pines, palms, and other native plants that comprise these forests add to the islands’ efficacy at resisting wind and wave energy while also providing a temperature-regulated home for a multitude of plant and animal species.
Presently, Georgia has the least disturbed coastline of the eastern United States and some of the greatest biodiversity in the world. But increased high-density development threatens rare and fragile ecosystems and important habitat. That is one of reasons the St. Simons Land Trust is dedicated to protecting and preserving our island home through strategic acquisitions and conservation of land.
We are equally dedicated to learning from our environmental partners and sharing knowledge with others. This includes working with colleges, universities, and researchers, providing public access to our properties, encouraging field trips and partnerships with local schools, and providing educational activities and tools such as the ones you’ll find below.
The Passport to Preservation is an educational tool for elementary school-aged children who live on and visit the Georgia coast. Join us on a fun journey across St. Simons Island to learn why it is so important to preserve and protect the forests, marshlands, and streams where this barrier island’s plants and animals make their homes.
The Land Trust’s Outdoor Classroom initiative is meant to be an interactive learning experience for families. We hope parents can deepen the learning experiences of their elementary school-aged children while the kids are just having fun. The worksheets and explorations are designed to stimulate conversations among family members and to encourage children to think naturally in terms of textures, shapes, colors, sounds, sizes, and smells. These worksheets can be used either onsite at local Land Trust properties or the scavenger hunts can accompany the organization’s “Virtual Visits” series on YouTube.
The Land Trust’s Cannon’s Point Preserve property is full of opportunities to learn and is an ideal location for a field trip for students of all ages. If you would like to schedule a field trip at the Preserve, please click below.