Apr
17

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Teams With Teachers For Citizen Science Course

The researchers and staff at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center see the impacts of marine debris on a near daily basis. Plastic bags, fishing gear and other pieces of trash tossed into the ocean cause major problems for marine wildlife, and all too often, patients at the Center are victims of this littering.

“Balloons, fishing hooks, plastic grocery bags, all these things end up in our waterways and then ends up harming the animals that call these waters home,” said Katie Higgins, Education Coordinator for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. “We work continually to make the general public more aware of their impacts on marine animals.”

One method of the educational campaign is through a partnership between the Center and University of Georgia, using the Marine Debris Tracker. An app for cell phones, the Marine Debris Tracker is a social media tool that allows individuals to track litter both near waterways and on dry land. Once debris is tracked, it is then analyzed to help research gather data and understand what litter is most popular where. Groups that collect debris through the app can likewise earn points, which push the group to a higher ranking.

The app and larger NOAA grant funded, Georgia Sea Turtle Center-Marine Debris Initiative was launched as a partnership between the University of Georgia, NOAA and Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative.  Jeannie Miller Martin, the AmeriCorps and Volunteer Coordinator at the Sea Turtle Center, got the center involved in the initiative last year.

“The first year of the program was an enormous success, with volunteers and guests donating more than 460 hours to cleaning Jekyll beaches, resulting in the removal and logging of some 6,500 pieces of litter,” Miller Martin said. “Additionally, the classroom portion of the grant, provided no cost marine debris programming to over 900 Glynn County students at seven different elementary schools.”

Now, the Center is taking their involvement with the Initiative one step further, by introducing the idea to teachers through the Atlantic Armstrong State University, in Savannah. Dr. Pat Norris-Parsons, a Jekyll Island resident and professor at the University, is working with the staff at the Center through a sea turtle special topics course, and they have included participation in the Marine Debris Initiative. During the course, teachers are offered the opportunity to learn more about and download the tracker app during a volunteer beach clean-up, and can then take the tracker back to their classrooms to introduce the topic to their students.  A goal of the program is for participants to be able to write grants enabling them to bring their students to the GSTC.

When the course completes its second session this month, it will have been attended by about 40 teachers from across five counties in Southeast Georgia.

“The purpose is to teach students and teachers how they impact the environment. This course opens up a whole new dialogue, where people can not only learn about the ocean world, but also develop a new outlook on conservation,” said Higgins. “When teachers go through this course, the message gets passed along to their classroom to reinforce these lessons. It’s amazing how this hands-on activity of the app changes perspectives.”

About the Georgia Sea Turtle Center: Established in 2007 on Jekyll Island and operated by the Jekyll Island Authority, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center was developed as an institution devoted to the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles and preservation of the delicate balance of the oceanic ecosystem. Through sea turtle rehabilitation, research and educational programs, Georgia Sea Turtle Center staff work to increase awareness of habitat and wildlife conservation challenges, promote responsibility for ecosystem health and empower individuals to act locally, regionally, and globally to protect the environment. For information, visit www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org.

About the Marine Debris Tracker: The Marine Debris Tracker app is a joint partnership of the NOAA Marine Debris Division and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative, located within the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia. A primary goal of SEA-MDI is to use innovative technologies and unique expertise to add culturally relevant outreach tools and information to the current NOAA Marine Debris Division. Marine Debris Tracker is the first product of this initiative, and was developed with the goal of spreading awareness of marine debris, as well as to serve as a simple tool for marine debris data collection. Find out more about the Marine Debris Initiative at www.marinedebris.engr.uga.edu.

Apr
16

Jekyll Island Authority Board Approves Hotel Lease, Other Business During Monthly Meeting

April 15, 2013— Members of the Jekyll Island Authority Board expressed enthusiasm regarding continued progress toward revitalization when they met for the monthly board meeting Monday. During the morning meeting, Board Chair Richard Royal said he was excited to see plans for new hotels and the retail village becoming a reality, despite some minor challenges along the way.

The board approved a land lease to Georgia Coast Holdings, LLC., for a new Holiday Inn Resort. The new resort will be constructed on the current site of the Oceanside Inn & Suites, which is tentatively set to close this fall. The $16 million project is expected to take 10 months to complete, with the Oceanside Inn & Suites to reopen as the 155-room Holiday Inn Resort in late spring 2014.

The full-service, 200-room Westin Jekyll Island is still on schedule to open by August 2014. When the Westin breaks ground, it will be only the second full-service hotel to get underway in the State of Georgia in more than five years. It will be the first outside of metro Atlanta, and the first in a resort location. Shortly after construction begins on the Westin hotel, the new retail village near the hotel and adjacent Jekyll Island Convention Center will get underway. Construction is scheduled to start in June. Construction of a new Hyatt Place hotel is also expected to begin sometime this year. Together, the new Westin, Hyatt Place, retail village, village green event area and Great Dunes Park space comprise the new Jekyll Island Beach Village which surrounds the new Jekyll Island Convention Center.

Additionally, the new, $12 million Children and Youth Conference Center is being planned to replace the aging Jekyll Island 4-H Center. The new facility will accommodate 4-H’s coastal ecology programs and also provide a facility for expanded programs oriented toward youth development, recreation and education.

 “I am extremely enthusiastic about everything we see happening on the island,” Chair Royal said. “This is a process we are taking step by step. In our very near future, we will see this dream of revitalization become a reality.”

Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority, updated the board about the island’s ongoing operation success. The Guest Information Center gift shop has experienced record-breaking success so far this year, seeing a 37 percent increase in sales this year over last year. Additionally, the newly remodeled gift shop at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center has seen a spike in sales recently. On April 4, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center gift shop staff saw more than $7,550 in sales, which surpassed the prior sales record of $4,699 seen in April 2011.

Hooks also reported that the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is continuing to grow its reach across the country, thanks an article published this past weekend in American Profile magazine. The article, which focused on the ongoing research and work conducted at the rehabilitation center, had a reach of more than 10 million households nationwide.

“Our future is bright,” Hooks said. “We are steadily seeing our revitalization plans continue in a forward-moving direction and it’s encouraging to see not only our guests take notice, but to also have it shown on a national scale such as with the American Profile article. With new hotels and retail options coming on board, with the continued success of the Jekyll Island Convention Center, and with the overall enthusiasm for progress felt on the island, it is easy to see that good things are happening.”

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About the Jekyll Island Authority Board: Through an act of state legislature, the Jekyll Island Authority was created to oversee the conservation and development of the island, which is a self-funded state park. Members of the Jekyll Island Authority Board constitute the policy-making body of the Jekyll Island Authority, and are not compensated for their services.

The Board consists of the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and eight residents of the state, two of whom reside in the coastal area. Currently, the Jekyll Island Authority Board is made up of: Richard Royal, chairman; Mark Williams, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Robert Krueger, vice chairman; Michael Hodges, secretary; Sybil Lynn; Laura Lanier; Stephen Croy; Buddy DeLoach; and Dr. Al Ike.

For more information about the Jekyll Island Authority, visit jekyllislandauthority.org. For more information about Jekyll Island, visit jekyllisland.com.

Apr
16

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Honors One Family’s Struggle

Recently, staff at the Jekyll Island Authority’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center heard a touching story about a little boy, Silas Edenfield, from Lyons, Ga., who is battling terminal liver cancer. Silas has a passion for life and a love for sea turtles, which certainly translated to, and has since inspired, the staff at the Center.

Silas is as much a fan of sea turtles as all of the researchers and faculty at the Center. Every time 4-year-old Silas goes to have his rounds chemotherapy, he requests the “sea turtle room” at the hospital. And at home, his bedroom is filled with sea turtle stuffed animals.

The staff at the Center was moved by his story as well as his love of sea turtles, and is working to share that passion with guests. In honor of this brave boy fighting a terminal disease, the staff has named a new loggerhead patient after him. On April 27, Silas the sea turtle will be released from the Center’s care and will enter back into the wild, during the Tybee Turtle Trot on Tybee Island.

The public is invited to join the Center as they not only release the newly healed patient back to the ocean, but also celebrate the valiant spirit Silas shows through this battle in his very young life.

Here, we share Silas’ battle.

In November 2011, Jessica Edenfield noticed that her son Silas’ belly seemed to be a little bigger than normal. After rounds of doctor visits, the family was told nothing was wrong with the little boy and it must just be a growth spurt.

But something was still not right. Several months after the doctor’s visits, in February 2012, Silas started complaining that he was having trouble breathing. The family went back to the doctors and worked to find a answer. After having a CT scan and other diagnostic testing, the doctors confirmed Silas had a hepatoblastoma, a type of liver cancer. With the diagnosis made, Silas underwent seven rounds of chemotherapy, and had his tumor removed along with 60 percent of his liver.

In March of this year, Silas and his family were met with yet another challenge. The tiny tumor that was on Silas’ portal vein had quadrupled in size since his last scan a month prior. In addition, there were several more tumors forming near his liver and the cancer had spread with about ten nodules on his lungs. “No curative treatment,” were the words Archie and Jessica Edenfield heard next from the doctors.

The Edenfields had two options: try nothing, in which case Silas may have 2 to 6 months to live; or continue looking for alternative treatments that may buy Silas 6 months, a year, or maybe more.  Currently, the Edenfields are spending as much time with their family as possible and are asking individuals touched by Silas’ story to pray for him and the family.

“For us on Jekyll Island and at the Sea Turtle Center, we have been moved by this tragic disease that is effecting Silas and his family,” said Anna Hall, communications specialist for the Jekyll Island Authority. “While we cannot cure Silas or lift this burden from his family, we can celebrate their brave spirit in this hard fight, and honor him with this very special gift, a loggerhead sea turtle released back to its ocean home. It is our hope that this gift can provide him with hope.”

For more information about Silas and ways you can help please visit www.facebook.com/prayingforsilas and www.caringbridge.org/visit/silasedenfield.

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About the Georgia Sea Turtle Center: Established in 2007 on Jekyll Island and operated by the Jekyll Island Authority, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center was developed as an institution devoted to the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles and preservation of the delicate balance of the oceanic ecosystem. Through sea turtle rehabilitation, research and educational programs, Georgia Sea Turtle Center staff work to increase awareness of habitat and wildlife conservation challenges, promote responsibility for ecosystem health and empower individuals to act locally, regionally, and globally to protect the environment. For information, visit www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org.

 

Apr
15

Georgia Sea Turtle Center Featured in American Profile Magazine

Meet Four Real-Life Guardians of the Sea: Four environmental heroes protecting our oceans

By Marta W. Aldrich
American Profile
April, 2013

Teeming with life and covering nearly 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, the
ocean is one of the planet’s greatest natural resources. Because the ocean
is so vast, however, humans aren’t always stellar stewards of the immense
body of water, often taking its benefits and bounty for granted. Here are four
Americans working to protect the ocean and its creatures for future
generations.

Treating injured sea turtles

Veterinarian Terry Norton, 52, wades into the Atlantic Ocean on the Georgia
coast and raises his arms in jubilation as one of his patients, a rehabilitated
sea turtle named Gracias, swims back into the salty sea as if he’d never left.

As director of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, Ga., Norton
has treated hundreds of sick and injured sea turtles such as Gracias, a
boat-strike victim who arrived at the center in 2011 with a torn lung and a
missing tail section. Before rehabilitation, the young Kemps Ridley turtle was
unable to eat or dive below the water’s surface.

“This is the finale to the whole process,” says Norton, reflecting on Gracias’
ocean release last spring. “Rehabilitating some of these animals can take
more than a year, but releasing them only takes a few minutes. It’s very
satisfying.”

More than a decade ago, Norton noticed an uptick in sick, stranded or
debilitated sea turtles while working for the Wildlife Conservation Society on
nearby St. Catherine’s Island. The coastal region had no facility to treat or
rehabilitate the creatures, however. Partnering with the Jekyll Island
Authority, he transformed an abandoned coal-fired power plant into an
internationally recognized marine hospital, research and educational center.

Since opening in 2007, the hospital has treated more than 300 sea turtles,
mostly loggerheads that can grow to 350 pounds. About 60 percent of the
turtles are returned to sea.

“We spend a lot of time cleaning wounds,” says Norton, who applies
medicinal honey to gashes, tears and holes caused by everything from
fishing hooks to boat propellers. Other turtles get entangled in fishing nets or
lines, mistake plastic pollution for food, or suffer from disease.

“That these creatures still exist is amazing. They’re basically dinosaurs and
they’re hanging in there, but they’re having a hard time—mostly because of
people,” says Norton, surrounded on the beach by onlookers cheering
Gracias’ release. “It’s gratifying to see people excited to see turtles return to
the wild.”

Restoring a coral reef

Lifelong scuba diver Ken Nedimyer was 17 when he first explored the barrier
reefs off the Florida Keys, home to forests of coral for as far as he could
see.

“I was blown away,” recalls Nedimyer, now 57. “It was everything I ever
dreamed about—and more.”

For decades, Nedimyer earned his living diving for lobster and tropical fish in
the Florida Keys, which lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of
Mexico. In the late 1970s, however, he noticed that his underwater paradise
was vanishing.

“The coral was dying and its light brown colors were turning into white
skeletons. The sea algae began growing like wildfire, covering and killing
much of what was left of the coral. I starting asking myself, ‘What’s
happening here?’”

What happened, he says, was a “perfect storm” of temperature extremes,
hurricanes, a decline in sea urchins that had kept algae under control, and
increased human activity along one of the world’s highest-trafficked coral
reefs.

In 2007, Nedimyer founded the Coral Restoration Foundation, a nonprofit
organization rooted in his daughter Kelly’s 4-H project. The father and
daughter had experimented together to grow and transplant coral in
partnership with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Kelly’s project
won second place in Florida—and became her father’s passion.

Today, the Key Largo, Fla.-based foundation operates eight underwater
coral nurseries and has transplanted 4,500 hand-size staghorn corals and
30 elkhorn corals on the reef. This year, Nedimyer expects to plant 10,000
more.

“Corals are like the trees of the coral reef forest,” Nedimyer explains about
the stationary marine organisms. “They provide a habitat for fish and other
sea critters and a barrier to protect our shorelines, and they are a huge
asset to tourism and recreation. It’s an important part of our ecosystem.”

Paddling for ocean protection

A mother of two young children and with a love for the ocean nurtured by her
own parents, Margo Pellegrino was an “armchair conservationist” until her
father died of a heart attack in 2004.

“It made me realize that life is short. You can’t wait to act,” says Pellegrino,
45, of Medford Lake, N.J.

So in 2007 at age 40, she embarked on an 11-week, 2,000-mile ocean
journey from Miami, Fla., to Camden, Maine, in a one-person outrigger
canoe—stopping in each state to meet with environmentalists and
journalists. Her rallying cry: “The ocean is our world’s biggest asset and
we’ve got to wake up and protect it,” says Pellegrino, who urged people to
become active with local environmental groups.

Today, Pellegrino has made five expeditions, paddling about 5,000 miles
along most of America’s coastline. Along the way, she has met commercial
and recreational fishermen, boaters, tugboat captains and surfers. She’s
paddled through polluted water, seen dead sea turtles entangled in fishing
nets, and picked up lots of floating plastic along the way.

“My dad thought the ocean is big and you can do a lot to it and there will
always be more,” she says. “But toward the end of his life, we began to
realize there are limits. We can push things to the brink of no return.”
Pelligrino believes it’s not too late, however, to limit fishing and coastal
development and to address other practices that threaten the ocean.

“Nature can heal itself,” says the mother of Billy, 11, and Julia, 8. “The
wonderful thing is that, if you leave nature alone, eventually things come
back.”

Fighting plastic pollution

Navigating his ocean research ship Aguita through a seldom-traveled
expanse of the Pacific Ocean in 1997, Capt. Charles Moore kept noticing
floating plastic.

“There’d be a small battle cap, then I’d see a bottle, and then a plastic
shard,” recalls Moore, 65, founder of the Algalita Marine Research
Foundation, based in Long Beach, Calif.

“Here I am in the most remote part of the ocean—as far from land as you
can get—and I can’t even come out on deck without seeing plastic in the
ocean. I started to wonder if someone had left a trail of crumbs to help me
find my way home.”

Moore soon realized the “plastic soup” was more than a coincidence.
Working with other scientists and researchers, he began to study the
phenomenon and is credited with discovering the Great Pacific Garbage
Patch—the world’s largest mass of floating trash, which is larger than the
largest landfill.

“It’s kind of a convergence zone, where clockwise currents in the North
Pacific compress and circulate trash in a gentle maelstrom. It’s like a toilet
that never flushes,” he explains.

Moore’s research shocked the scientific community and launched a
movement of environmental coalitions fighting plastic pollution.

“Plastic doesn’t go away,” he says. “It just keeps bobbing around out there
and ends up in the convergence zone. You can find millions of small pieces
per square kilometer.”

Moore points out that ocean animals cannot discern between food and
plastic. “Thirty-five percent of fish we’ve caught have plastic in their
stomachs,” says Moore, adding that such pollutants make their way into
supermarkets, too. “Without a doubt, we are consuming plastics and the
compounds in plastics with our seafood.”
Since ships at sea produce only 20 percent of ocean refuse, Moore says
land-based businesses and consumers must change their production,
consumption and waste patterns.

“We’re experiencing the unintended consequences of our technology, but it’s time for technology to grow up,” says Moore, author of Plastic Ocean. “If we stop putting plastic in the ocean, the ocean will eventually spit it out and clean itself.”

Apr
15

Operation Plover Patrol A Success

Jekyll Island resident Lydia Thompson has a deep love for nature, with her eyes specifically focused on birds. The birding advocate recently reported to The Brunswick News that her initiative to save declining populations of Wilson’s Plovers has been a success in its first two years. Read on to learn more:

Plover Populations Monitored 

By Michael Hall

The Brunswick News

April 15, 2013

When Lydia Thompson noticed the number of nesting Wilson’s Plovers declining in the dunes along the beach on Jekyll Island, her curiosity was piqued.

After a little research, the secretary of the Coastal Georgia Audubon Society discovered the small, shore nesting bird that visits the Golden Isles each spring needed help in a big way.

The tiny nests plovers make in sand are easily overlooked and often unintentionally disturbed by humans. They are also subject to predators, Thompson said.

She read about a town in California that started a plover patrol to find out what was threatening the birds, and decided to do the same on Jekyll Island.

Now in its second year, Operation Plover Patrol appears to be working.

Thompson and Jekyll Island Conservation Director Ben Carswell have roped off a small portion of the dunes near the St. Andrews Beach access to block a prime nesting area from disturbances, with the hope the plovers will take a liking to it. At the same time, Thompson is coordinating a group of volunteers to watch the area in two-hour stints and take note of what threats the birds face.

Thompson said birdwatchers confirmed three successful nests in the dunes on the south end of Jekyll

Island last year.

This year, just weeks into the program, four possible success stories are under way.

Humans are perhaps the most serious threat to the plovers’ nesting area.

“I noticed a lot of people who go down there are unaware the birds even live there,” Thompson said.

The roped area, known to volunteers as the play pen, is also being watched closely to see how changes in the beach and the tides might affect plover nesting areas, Thompson said.

Carswell said plovers, a migratory species, face threats everywhere, not just in the Golden Isles.

Estimates put the total population of Wilson’s Plovers internationally at about 12,000.

“With so few (areas of quality habitat) left, it is important to protect what we still have, so places like Jekyll, Little St. Simons and Cumberland islands are critical,” Carswell said.

Complicating matters is the time of year plovers nest, said Tim Keyes, biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

“They are vulnerable to a lot and their timing is perfectly wrong with human beach-goers,” Keyes said.

Plovers nest from early April to June, prime-time for human beach activity, he said.

Data collected by the plover patrol, combined with research being done by graduate students from the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern University, will help identify what threatens the birds. Knowing that might help to increase plover numbers.

“It is generating a lot of good information for us, management-wise,” Keyes said.

Apr
11

Jekyll Proves a Treasure For Brides

Looking for a perfect wedding venue? According to MagnetStreet Wedding, brides should look no further then Jekyll Island! Read on to find out why:

Local Treasures: Your own city or county can offer amazing (and amazingly affordable) wedding sites.

By Patricia Kelly
for MagnetStreet Weddings
In “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy learned that her heart’s desire lay no farther from home than her own backyard. Today, couples are finding the same to be true of their
perfect wedding venue!

From art centers and city halls to beaches and botanical gardens, local spaces are an invaluable resource for couples looking to exchange vows without having to venture far.

Island Magic 

In 1886, a group of millionaires—?including the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Pulitzers—?purchased Jekyll Island, Georgia, and made it their exclusive winter vacation retreat. For more than half a century, it remained the private playground of America’s leading families, who called themselves the Jekyll Island Club.

Today, the island is a self-funded state park—and a wedding hotspot for couples with budgets large and small.

“People from all over the South come here for their weddings,” says Anna Hall, Communications Specialist at the Jekyll Island Authority. The free-and-easy spirit of the island’s wealthy heyday is alive and well as wedding parties clad in their finery take a ride around the island on the historic trolleys, and couples often rent vintage cars to make their getaway.

The historic Faith Chapel, built in 1904, is a romantic, Gothic Revival setting, perfect for moderate budgets, while the Jekyll Island Club Hotel brings the Gilded Age back to life in its ballroom and other, more intimate spaces. The new beachfront Convention Center is Hall’s favorite venue, with its hardwood floors, pine ceilings, and huge windows that showcase the sun setting over the ocean. “You can have your beach wedding, without the sand and the wind,” she says with a laugh.

Of course, brides and grooms who want to get married on the beach are not deterred by Mother Nature. Hall reports that the most popular wedding venues are Jekyll Island’s beaches, particularly Driftwood Beach on the island’s north end, where immense, gnarled tree roots create beautiful sculptures on the sand and picturesque backdrops for wedding photos.

“The colors of the bridesmaids’ dresses really stand out against the white sand and the gray driftwood,” says Hall. “And brides will wade into the ocean, play in the sand, climb up into the roots, and hang from branches—which makes for some great pictures!”

Hall says that she and the Jekyll Island Authority can find a spot for on the island to fit any couple’s dream—and budget.

“My favorite question from brides is ‘How much does it cost to get married on Driftwood Beach?’ because I get to answer, ‘It’s free!’”

Star Quality

Couples who marry at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, Illinois, are truly the stars of their own once-in-a-lifetime performance.

The Genesee was built in 1927—?a luxurious movie palace and theater of Spanish Renaissance design. Sixty years later, the coming of the modern movie cineplex contributed to its decline, and it closed its doors in 1989. After 20 years of standing vacant, the Genesee was purchased by the City of Waukegan, and more than 120 city volunteers restored it to its former glory.

“A lot of our brides say they just don’t see themselves in a traditional venue,” says Special Events Manager Fay Ander. “Some grew up doing theater, and this is their dream location. But we also get many couples who just love the fact that we can do anything they want here.”

Smaller weddings often take place in the Grand Lobby, where the bride sweeps down the original marble staircase to join her groom beneath the glittering, 18-foot Baccarat crystal chandelier. The reception area is on the second floor, where guests also have access to the rooftop patio on top of the marquee.

Couples who choose the Stage Wedding package have full use of the theater’s sound, lighting, and rigging systems, as well as the design staff. Brides and grooms stand on the 4,600-square-foot stage, before a black or burgundy curtain, and exchange their vows as their guests look on from the best seats in the house. Cocktails are served in the Grand Lobby, after which the guests are ushered back into the theater to watch the couple’s romantic video on the silver screen. Once the applause dies down, the screen lifts to reveal the glittering reception on stage.

“It is a production!” says Ander with a laugh. “But we can also do more casual weddings, right down to disposable plates and linens. You know, downtown Chicago has theaters with amazing, beautiful architecture and the old-world feeling, but we have the same thing—for less than half the price.”

Picture Perfect

Built by the city of Tempe, Arizona, in 2007, the striking Tempe Center for the Arts is the perfect wedding spot for lovers of art, architecture, sunshine, and style. “Our greatest special feature is our beautiful infinity-edge reflecting pool,” says Kathleen Dooner, TCA’s production coordinator. Couples say their vows in the magnificent lobby, standing before floor-to-ceiling windows and a breathtaking view of the pool’s 300-foot waterfall cascading to Tempe Town Lake, with the Papago and Camelback Mountains rising in the distance.

Start by exploring your local visitors bureau website.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, bridal couples take advantage of Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism site.

“We’re a great resource because we have a database full of great wedding locations—and we’re a free service as well,” says Trevor Curtis, Destination Sales/Service Specialist. Curtis connects couples with a wide range of venues, including many beautifully restored historic properties that capture the flavor of Virginia’s past.

“A lot of people think of this area as very urban, but we have all of these parks and historic homes and estates—hidden gems that make you feel like you’re in the country when you’re only 15 minutes away from downtown Washington, D.C.,” Curtis says. “And they’re a lot more cost-effective than a hotel ballroom because they’re city- or county-owned.”

Contact your city or county park district.
Three Rivers Park District in Hennepin County, Minnesota, offers a variety of indoor and outdoor sites—from ski chalets and farms to lakeside pavilions and gardens.

Grand old cities like Chicago have a wealth of beautiful—and often historic—properties to choose from. Check out the Chicago Park District’s website, and you’ll be amazed at the variety: grand ballrooms at the South Shore Cultural Center; the lush Garfield Park Conservator; the quaint Promontory Park building (site of the 1933-34 World’s Fair); the Humboldt Park Field House and Boat House; and many more. You can even make a splash at the iconic Buckingham Fountain—saying “I do” between shimmering Lake Michigan and the vibrant Chicago skyline.

Discover the city that has your dream venue.
From buzzing capitols to quaint suburbs, each city has its charms—?and secret gems for wedding venues. You can get married at the historic Union Station in Kansas City, tie the knot in Vanderbilt Hall at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, or take advantage of the wedding package at San Francisco’s spectacular City Hall. The city of Savanah, Georgia, has even created a website exclusively dedicated to local venues for brides and grooms.

And don’t forget—small towns can be beautiful, too. For example, the town of St. Peters, Missouri—population 53,000—rents a charming gazebo in its City Centre Park for less than $200.

Depending on their taste and wedding size, couples can also choose from a variety of other sites: the rooftop terrace with views of downtown Tempe and Phoenix; the 200-seat studio theater; an outdoor sculpture garden; and the indoor art gallery.

“We’re more affordable than most spaces, and you can do everything right here: rehearsal dinner, ceremony, cocktails and reception,” says Mary Fowler, TCA’s management assistant. “We’ve had elegant weddings, casual weddings, artsy weddings—from $5,000 wedding cakes to tiny little Ding Dong cupcakes! There are so many different looks and feels within the Center—it works for every style and financial situation.”

Can’t Beat City Hall

If you think of city hall weddings as quick nuptials before a sleepy judge in a stuffy room, think again. “Couples come in, look up at the ceiling, and just say ‘Wow,’” says Tracey McLaughlin, Event Coordinator at the Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse. “Our brides and grooms are definitely looking for that wow factor.”

A National Historic Landmark, the Minneapolis City Hall building was constructed from 1887 to 1906. Its grand Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, five-story Rotunda, stained glass windows, and sweeping marble staircase make it the perfect site for an elegant wedding.

“All brides come down the staircase,” says McLaughlin. “It’s quite the entrance! Photographers love the building because of the wonderful details: the stained glass windows, the marble, the beautiful ironwork, and the vintage elevators.”

Couples say their vows at the foot of the grand marble staircase, directly in front of the Father of Waters statue—a grand old gentleman who represents the Mississippi River. “People either love him or hate him,” says McLaughlin with a laugh. “They think of him as a beautiful piece of art—or a big thing in the way! He has been decorated with flowers … and worn a top hat … and a bowtie. Once the room is filled with tables and guests, he just becomes a fun conversation piece.”

McLaughlin says that City Hall is especially affordable because it requires no decorations other than centerpieces for the tables. “The carved marble and architecture is so beautiful—decorations can actually take away from the space,” she says. “It’s a completely unique venue … there isn’t anything else like it in the Twin Cities.”

Apr
11

Jekyll Island Proves To Be A Wedding Treasure!

Looking for a perfect wedding venue? According to MagnetStreet Wedding, brides should look no further then Jekyll Island! Read on to find out why:

Local Treasures: Your own city or county can offer amazing (and amazingly affordable) wedding sites.

By Patricia Kelly
for MagnetStreet Weddings
In “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy learned that her heart’s desire lay no farther from home than her own backyard. Today, couples are finding the same to be true of their
perfect wedding venue!

From art centers and city halls to beaches and botanical gardens, local spaces are an invaluable resource for couples looking to exchange vows without having to venture far.

Island Magic 

In 1886, a group of millionaires—?including the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Pulitzers—?purchased Jekyll Island, Georgia, and made it their exclusive winter vacation retreat. For more than half a century, it remained the private playground of America’s leading families, who called themselves the Jekyll Island Club.

Today, the island is a self-funded state park—and a wedding hotspot for couples with budgets large and small.

“People from all over the South come here for their weddings,” says Anna Hall, Communications Specialist at the Jekyll Island Authority. The free-and-easy spirit of the island’s wealthy heyday is alive and well as wedding parties clad in their finery take a ride around the island on the historic trolleys, and couples often rent vintage cars to make their getaway.

The historic Faith Chapel, built in 1904, is a romantic, Gothic Revival setting, perfect for moderate budgets, while the Jekyll Island Club Hotel brings the Gilded Age back to life in its ballroom and other, more intimate spaces. The new beachfront Convention Center is Hall’s favorite venue, with its hardwood floors, pine ceilings, and huge windows that showcase the sun setting over the ocean. “You can have your beach wedding, without the sand and the wind,” she says with a laugh.

Of course, brides and grooms who want to get married on the beach are not deterred by Mother Nature. Hall reports that the most popular wedding venues are Jekyll Island’s beaches, particularly Driftwood Beach on the island’s north end, where immense, gnarled tree roots create beautiful sculptures on the sand and picturesque backdrops for wedding photos.

“The colors of the bridesmaids’ dresses really stand out against the white sand and the gray driftwood,” says Hall. “And brides will wade into the ocean, play in the sand, climb up into the roots, and hang from branches—which makes for some great pictures!”

Hall says that she and the Jekyll Island Authority can find a spot for on the island to fit any couple’s dream—and budget.

“My favorite question from brides is ‘How much does it cost to get married on Driftwood Beach?’ because I get to answer, ‘It’s free!’”

Star Quality

Couples who marry at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, Illinois, are truly the stars of their own once-in-a-lifetime performance.

The Genesee was built in 1927—?a luxurious movie palace and theater of Spanish Renaissance design. Sixty years later, the coming of the modern movie cineplex contributed to its decline, and it closed its doors in 1989. After 20 years of standing vacant, the Genesee was purchased by the City of Waukegan, and more than 120 city volunteers restored it to its former glory.

“A lot of our brides say they just don’t see themselves in a traditional venue,” says Special Events Manager Fay Ander. “Some grew up doing theater, and this is their dream location. But we also get many couples who just love the fact that we can do anything they want here.”

Smaller weddings often take place in the Grand Lobby, where the bride sweeps down the original marble staircase to join her groom beneath the glittering, 18-foot Baccarat crystal chandelier. The reception area is on the second floor, where guests also have access to the rooftop patio on top of the marquee.

Couples who choose the Stage Wedding package have full use of the theater’s sound, lighting, and rigging systems, as well as the design staff. Brides and grooms stand on the 4,600-square-foot stage, before a black or burgundy curtain, and exchange their vows as their guests look on from the best seats in the house. Cocktails are served in the Grand Lobby, after which the guests are ushered back into the theater to watch the couple’s romantic video on the silver screen. Once the applause dies down, the screen lifts to reveal the glittering reception on stage.

“It is a production!” says Ander with a laugh. “But we can also do more casual weddings, right down to disposable plates and linens. You know, downtown Chicago has theaters with amazing, beautiful architecture and the old-world feeling, but we have the same thing—for less than half the price.”

Picture Perfect

Built by the city of Tempe, Arizona, in 2007, the striking Tempe Center for the Arts is the perfect wedding spot for lovers of art, architecture, sunshine, and style. “Our greatest special feature is our beautiful infinity-edge reflecting pool,” says Kathleen Dooner, TCA’s production coordinator. Couples say their vows in the magnificent lobby, standing before floor-to-ceiling windows and a breathtaking view of the pool’s 300-foot waterfall cascading to Tempe Town Lake, with the Papago and Camelback Mountains rising in the distance.

Start by exploring your local visitors bureau website.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, bridal couples take advantage of Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism site.

“We’re a great resource because we have a database full of great wedding locations—and we’re a free service as well,” says Trevor Curtis, Destination Sales/Service Specialist. Curtis connects couples with a wide range of venues, including many beautifully restored historic properties that capture the flavor of Virginia’s past.

“A lot of people think of this area as very urban, but we have all of these parks and historic homes and estates—hidden gems that make you feel like you’re in the country when you’re only 15 minutes away from downtown Washington, D.C.,” Curtis says. “And they’re a lot more cost-effective than a hotel ballroom because they’re city- or county-owned.”

Contact your city or county park district.
Three Rivers Park District in Hennepin County, Minnesota, offers a variety of indoor and outdoor sites—from ski chalets and farms to lakeside pavilions and gardens.

Grand old cities like Chicago have a wealth of beautiful—and often historic—properties to choose from. Check out the Chicago Park District’s website, and you’ll be amazed at the variety: grand ballrooms at the South Shore Cultural Center; the lush Garfield Park Conservator; the quaint Promontory Park building (site of the 1933-34 World’s Fair); the Humboldt Park Field House and Boat House; and many more. You can even make a splash at the iconic Buckingham Fountain—saying “I do” between shimmering Lake Michigan and the vibrant Chicago skyline.

Discover the city that has your dream venue.
From buzzing capitols to quaint suburbs, each city has its charms—?and secret gems for wedding venues. You can get married at the historic Union Station in Kansas City, tie the knot in Vanderbilt Hall at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, or take advantage of the wedding package at San Francisco’s spectacular City Hall. The city of Savanah, Georgia, has even created a website exclusively dedicated to local venues for brides and grooms.

And don’t forget—small towns can be beautiful, too. For example, the town of St. Peters, Missouri—population 53,000—rents a charming gazebo in its City Centre Park for less than $200.

Depending on their taste and wedding size, couples can also choose from a variety of other sites: the rooftop terrace with views of downtown Tempe and Phoenix; the 200-seat studio theater; an outdoor sculpture garden; and the indoor art gallery.

“We’re more affordable than most spaces, and you can do everything right here: rehearsal dinner, ceremony, cocktails and reception,” says Mary Fowler, TCA’s management assistant. “We’ve had elegant weddings, casual weddings, artsy weddings—from $5,000 wedding cakes to tiny little Ding Dong cupcakes! There are so many different looks and feels within the Center—it works for every style and financial situation.”

Can’t Beat City Hall

If you think of city hall weddings as quick nuptials before a sleepy judge in a stuffy room, think again. “Couples come in, look up at the ceiling, and just say ‘Wow,’” says Tracey McLaughlin, Event Coordinator at the Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse. “Our brides and grooms are definitely looking for that wow factor.”

A National Historic Landmark, the Minneapolis City Hall building was constructed from 1887 to 1906. Its grand Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, five-story Rotunda, stained glass windows, and sweeping marble staircase make it the perfect site for an elegant wedding.

“All brides come down the staircase,” says McLaughlin. “It’s quite the entrance! Photographers love the building because of the wonderful details: the stained glass windows, the marble, the beautiful ironwork, and the vintage elevators.”

Couples say their vows at the foot of the grand marble staircase, directly in front of the Father of Waters statue—a grand old gentleman who represents the Mississippi River. “People either love him or hate him,” says McLaughlin with a laugh. “They think of him as a beautiful piece of art—or a big thing in the way! He has been decorated with flowers … and worn a top hat … and a bowtie. Once the room is filled with tables and guests, he just becomes a fun conversation piece.”

McLaughlin says that City Hall is especially affordable because it requires no decorations other than centerpieces for the tables. “The carved marble and architecture is so beautiful—decorations can actually take away from the space,” she says. “It’s a completely unique venue … there isn’t anything else like it in the Twin Cities.”

Apr
11

Take Advantage Of These Great Last Minute Hotel Deals

Spring is in full swing on Jekyll Island, and we have hotel deals blooming just as brightly as our flowers! Enjoy this serene seaside season and book a quick island getaway with these great last minute hotel specials.

Beachview Club Hotel

721 North Beachview Drive

912.635.2256

www.beachviewclub.com

This beachfront hotel on Jekyll Island features 38 luxury rooms and suites. Most of our rooms have an ocean view with an efficiency kitchen. All the suites are oceanfront with private patios, with most featuring a full-sized kitchen. At this hotel, guests will note that special attention has been paid to give a warm, welcoming and casual beach stay.

* Special *

 $119 per night for a king or double efficiency guest room

Oceanfront rooms with private balconies or patios are also available for an additional price, depending on room type. This rate special is available now through May 23, 2013, and is offered for Sunday through Thursday stays only. Call 912.635.2256 to book your getaway. Be sure to mention the “Spring Special” when booking your reservation.

Days Inn & Suites

60 South Beachview Drive

1.888.635.3003

www.daysinnjekyll.com

Jekyll Island’s Days Inn & Suites is an award-winning oceanfront hotel that offers tastefully decorated guest rooms and one-bedroom oceanside suites. Each suite is complete with a kitchenette, patio area or private balcony. Hotel amenities include a complimentary continental breakfast, free wireless internet, two pools- one heated in the winter- as well as a hot tub, kiddie pool, picnic and grilling areas, and bike rentals.

* Special *

Island-side guest rooms starting at $79.13

Oceanside guest rooms starting at $99.13

Oceanside one-bedroom suites starting at $149.13

 All room rate specials include a complimentary deluxe continental breakfast. Due to limited availability, these room rate specials are only available April 21 to 24, and 28 to 30, 2013; and May 1, 5 to 9, 12 to 14, 22 to 23, and 28 to 30, 2013. This offer is not available with any other discount or special. Call 1.888.635.3003 or 912.635.9800 to book your getaway. Be sure to mention the “Spring Special” when booking your stay.

Hampton Inn & Suites

200 South Beachview Drive

912.635.3733

www.jekyllislandhamptoninn.com

As Jekyll Island’s newest hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites has everything you need for a relaxing, modern beach vacation. Our location offers a private, moss-draped boardwalk to a quiet beach, a heated outdoor swimming pool, a whirlpool and a snack bar. Hampton Inn suites are spacious and serene, with many available with a sitting area and balcony.

* Special *

Guest rooms starting at $139 per night

Guests staying two nights or more will be offered a discounted room rate starting at $139 per night. Some restrictions may apply and this offer is based on availability. Call 912.635.3733 to book your stay!

Jekyll Island Club Hotel

371 Riverview Drive

877.713.7955

www.jekyllclub.com

Once an exclusive retreat for America’s most elite families, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel is now a National Historic Landmark and an affordable vacation resort. Enjoy turn-of-the-century charm with modern conveniences and an ideal location in the center of the Jekyll Island Historic District.

* Special *

20 percent off in April & May

This special Spring rate is available Sunday through Thursday, from now until May 23, 2013. Some restrictions may apply. This discount is based on availability and does not include room tax or resort fees. Be sure to ask for the “Spring Getaway” when making reservations. Call 877.713.7955 or visit www.jekyllclub.com to book your getaway.

Oceanside Inn & Suites

711 North Beachview Drive

912.635.2211

www.oceansideinnandsuites.com

Guests seeking affordable accommodations will be right at home at the Oceanside Inn & Suites, located directly on Jekyll Island’s oceanfront. The hotel restaurant, The SandBar & Grill, features a well-stocked menu, seven flat screen HDTVs, pool tables and games.

* Special *

April upgrade & breakfast special

Guests can enjoy a complimentary room upgrade and free breakfast at The SandBar & Grill during the month of April. This offer is valid April 14 to 30, 2013. This offer is not valid for groups or existing reseverations. Be sure to ask for the “April Upgrade Special” when booking reservations. Call 912.635.2211 to take advantage of this deal.

Quality Inn & Suites

Quality Inn & Suites

700 North Beachview Drive

912.635.2202

www.jekyllislandquality.com

Conveniently situated in the middle of the island, the Quality Inn & Suites offers ideal accommodations for families, golfers and vacationers. Our pet-friendly hotel is perfect for any kind of getaway, be it a week-long family vacation or a short weekend stay for you and a loved one. We offer an outdoor pool, putting green, bike rentals, laundry facilities and continental breakfast each morning.

* Special *

Spring blowout special: Weekday rates starting at $77

Guests can enjoy great spring specials with weekday rates starting at $77 per night. The spring blowout special is valid now through May 23, 2013.  Be sure to ask for the “Spring Blowout Special.” This offer is based on availablity and is not valid with any other discounts, specials or on existing reservations and group rates. Call 912.635.2202 or visit www.qualityinn.com to take advantage of this offer.

Villas by the Sea

1175 North Beachview Drive

800.841.6262

www.VillasbytheSeaResort.com

Situated on 17 acres of lush natural foliage, Villas by the Sea is Jekyll Island’s premier beachfront resort. We offer 160 villas, with amenities including an oceanfront beach pavilion, heated pool, free wireless internet, Driftwood Bistro and Bar, Click Café, fitness center and prime ocean views.

* Special *

Stay for two nights, get the third for $25

With this special, guests pay regular price for two nights and receive a third night stay for only $25. This special is valid for Sunday to Thursday night stays May 1 to 23, 2013 and August 4 to 15, 2013. Included in this deal are complimentary passes to the Emerald Princess Casino Cruise (21 years old and older), as well as an 18-hole round of golf with cart for only $40 per person. This offer is only valid for advanced purchases, is not valid with any other discount or for existing reservations or groups, and is non-refundable. Be sure to ask for the “25th Celebration Special” when booking your stay. Call 1.800.841.6262 to book you getaway.

Apr
11

Cocktails & Conversation Event Jumpstarts the Southern C Summit

Kick off the Southern C Summit in style! Join summit sponsors Jekyll Island Authority and Southern Living for the Cocktails & Conversations celebration to jumpstart the three-day Southern C Summit conference, being held Wednesday May 1 to 3.

For the Wednesday evening of chatting and sipping, the masterminds behind the Jekyll Island Club Hotel kitchen have teamed with the creative powers of the Southern Living test kitchen to present a stunning night of sensational cocktails with gourmet delicacies that will set the mood for a glamorous three days of learning, laughing and living it up (Southern) island style.

Award-winning chef Abigail Hutchinson of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel has mapped out a menu of great detail, including hot and cold dishes both plated and passed, all set to pair perfectly with Southern Living’s selection of drinks.

The Dogwood Cocktail, a refreshing, grapefruit-tinted punch with hints of floral, will be served alongside a cold, passed dish of mango crab salad on crostinis, as well as a hot lime-grilled chicken flatbread with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.  Over in the Mexican Sangria corner, a cocktail that’s a sassy mix of fruit flavors, Hutchinson has planned to serve a cool, grilled steak and guacamole tostada, as well as warm chile and cheese flauatas. For the Blackberry Syrup sipper, a sweet, summery concoction, the chef has paired a peach shrimp with smoked bacon cheese in a choux puff, and a dark chocolate and almond truffle. And, of course, the staple Jekyll Island dish- shrimp and grits- will be served throughout the evening.

The summit kick-off evening likewise will feature a Question & Answer session with some of Southern media’s most influential women. Attending the event will be three Southern Living editors: Erin Shaw Street, senior editor of Travel & Integrated Content; Jessica Thuston, executive editor of Homes, Gardens & Style; and Stephanie Granada, associate editor of Travel & Living. These three women will be on hand to chat and mingle, as well as provide advice and insight into the world of Southern Living and its wide, captive audience.

Aside from drinking, dining and networking, event attendees will also be treated to photo opportunities thanks to the Pixel Pop set-up. This photo booth of folly provides clever accessories and attire for guests to snap a pic of their friends to create lasting memories of this whimsical evening event.

“The Southern C Summit is not your typical, traditional conference,” said Cheri Leavy, co-founder of The Southern Coterie and the associated summit. “There will be plenty of time for educational experiences and networking, but we’re also going to celebrate the South and its emergence into both social and mainstream media. This is three days to showcase the newest trends in this business, as well as enjoy the company of liked-minded Southern writers and creators. It’s simply going to be a blast, and we’re confident all attendees will walk away with a new, more advanced outlook on their work.”

The Cocktails & Conversations event will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, at the historic Morgan Center in the Jekyll Island National Historic Landmark District. The eventful evening will be produced as a collaboration between The Southern Coterie, Southern Living, the Jekyll Island Authority and the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. Entrance is included with the summit registration packet.

Attendance for the inaugural summit is limited and registration is $375. To register, visit www.thesoutherncsummit.com.  Please note, for every ticket sold, a $10 donation will be made to Southern Foodways Alliance or Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

For a list of marketing mavens and social media authorities who will dig into the South’s online landscape, please visit here.

About The Southern Coterie

Founded by Cheri Harden Leavy and Whitney Wise Long, The Southern Coterie is the social network of the South, an online community where Southerners and all those who love the South can connect, congregate and converse about the things that matter most.  The Southern Coterie celebrates the traditions and heritage of the South as well as the modern trends and new ideas which create the current Southern landscape.

The Southern Coterie provides a place to learn, ask questions and share experiences.  Leavy and Long launched The Southern Coterie in July 2012, out of their love and zest for any and everything Southern.  To contact the founders or the network’s “C-Team” of contributors, send an email to thesouthernc@gmail.com.

About Jekyll Island

Located in the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is rich in history, but celebrated as a place of retreat, sanctuary and balance that has attracted guests for more than 125 years.  On the island, guests can enjoy 10 miles of beach, more than 2o miles of bicycle trails, four golf courses, a history museum, Georgia Sea Turtle Center, tennis center, Summer Waves water park, wildlife viewing platforms and many other cultural and eco-tourism opportunities.

In 2012, the island celebrated the completion the Jekyll Island Convention Center, the only oceanfront convention center in the Southeast. With more than 78,000 square feet of meeting space, this charmingly designed facility makes full use of sustainable conservation, modern technology and alternate energy tactics.  Visit www.jekyllisland.com or call 877.4.JEKYLL for more information.

Apr
10

Shell-E-Brate Earth Day with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center

The Jekyll Island Authority, along with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, will give Earth Day their signature twist with the fifth annual Shell-E-Brate Earth Day event this April! An island nature festival held each year since 2008, the Earth Day fanfare features an array of family-friendly activities to help educate about the ecosystem and environment in which we live.

Being held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 13 on the front lawn of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the eco-minded event features a variety of recycled-material crafts, green-themed exhibits and environmentally-based vendors to provide a unique experience for guests.

During the event, visitors can test their sorting skills at the Recycle Toss, partake in a honey tasting, and try their hand at candle-making or painting a mini-masterpiece at the Styrofoam Plate Press. Extra curious guests can dig into an edible treat of mud, dirt and worms at Aeration Station, or speak with experts about the in as and outs of sea turtle care.

The friendly staff and volunteers from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center will be on hand to answer any questions about the delicate balance of our planet and oceans. Children and adult both will have a blast during this day set to encourage discovery, wonder and eco-education!

Shell-A-Brate Earth Day will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 13 at the Georgia Seat Turtle Center. Admission to the festival is free, and admission to the Center is $7 for adults, $5 for children and free for children under 3 years of age. For more information visit www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org or call 912-635-4076.

About the Georgia Sea Turtle Center: Established in 2007 on Jekyll Island and operated by the Jekyll Island Authority, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center was developed as an institution devoted to the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles and preservation of the delicate balance of the oceanic ecosystem. Through sea turtle rehabilitation, research and education programs, Georgia Sea Turtle Center Executive Director Dr. Terry Norton and his staff work to increase awareness of habitat and wildlife conservation challenges, promote responsibility for ecosystem health and empower individuals to act locally, regionally, and globally to protect the environment.

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