Walking up to 1 mile split up by field trips throughout the day. Walking over sand and uneven terrain as well as on paved surfaces. Driving approximately 10 miles total for the day; time spent on the bus may be around 1 hour.
We’ll start our day off right with a hearty and nutritious breakfast buffet at the hotel conference center that includes a wide range of assorted breakfast items with juice, coffee, tea and water.
Our history of St. Simons Island will begin when we board our motor coach with an expert-led field trip. We will visit Fort Frederica where we'll walk among the ancient live oaks while listening to fascinating historical tales using our listening devices. St. Simons Island is the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles and was originally developed by the slave-owning colonial English into plantations of cotton and other cash crops. Out of the widespread West African slave population in the southeast region of what is now the United States grew the distinctive Gullah and Geechee cultures. Since the turn of the 20th century, however, the island transformed into more of a resort community with a significant seasonal population. Fort Frederica, established in 1736 by James Oglethorpe, was made to defend Georgia’s southern border from the Floridian Spanish. We will also make a stop at the historic St. Simons Lighthouse for an expert-led field trip. While here, we’ll explore the historic St. Simons Lighthouse campus which includes the Lighthouse, the Keeper's Dwelling Museum, the oil house and Victorian Gazebo.
At a popular island restaurant on the island, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.
After lunch, our expert naturalist will lead us on an exciting beach and marsh walk with accompanying commentary focused on the interplay between these two distinct ecosystems. As we wander about on the hard-packed marsh floor during low tide, we will not risk any disturbance of the environment as we explore the area and observe its resident wildlife. Continuing on to the beach, we’ll scout for critters and clues to their presence with the help of our naturalist. On our way back to the hotel, we will drive through the tiny seaside village noting historical and modern landmarks. As we pass, we’ll also learn about the iconic avenue of oaks and more. This trip is tide dependent and may switch places with the morning history field trip depending on the tides. Both field trips will take place this day.
At the hotel, we’ll gather for a lecture given by a local expert that will focus on sea turtles, their unique biological characteristics, and the efforts being made by organizations to preserve their population. These include, for instance, devices employed by the shrimping industry to avoid trapping these animals as bycatch. Known to be present in almost every ocean in the world, these speedy swimmers glide through the water on large flippers encased in smooth scaly skin and a hard shell to defend themselves from predators.