Georgia Sea Turtle Unveils Two New Exhibits on Monday April 28th

You are invited! Join us for a very special event unveiling two awesome new exhibits at The Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Ceremony to take place Monday, April 28th at 3:30 pm at The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Museum and Garden. For more information please contact The Jekyll Island Foundation. Their email address is: foundation@jekyllisland.com




Next “Wild Side” Lecture Is On May 8th.

The Jekyll Island Authority is proud to announce the upcoming event in a series of lectures presented by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center designed to engage the public on wildlife and conservation issues. A highly visual and engaging series of talks includes evening presentations, three of which will spotlight the Center’s professional staff as they share their insights into prevailing wildlife themes of the day. On May 8, a twist in the series will be a talk on the archaeological discovery of a Spanish mission that occurred on St. Catherines Island in the 1500s presented by archaeologist David Thomas of the American Museum of Natural History. Dave will present a captivating tale about the nostalgia and romance that has long surrounded the Franciscan and Jesuit missions in America. Mainstream American history has constructed and perpetuated an idealized, romanticized version of the Spanish mission where reconstructed archaeological sites sometimes resemble Hollywood stage sets, yet he will draw upon the  archaeological evidence giving a more historically-appropriate perspective on America’s mission heritage.



Marriott Hotels Approved for Jekyll Island

The Jekyll Island Authority Board of Directors approved a hotel development proposal presented by Trammell Crow Company which will bring three hotels and up to 535 new hotel rooms to the island. The project will take place on the site of the former Buccaneer Beach Resort and Georgia Coast Inn. The former hotels, both built in the 1960’s were demolished more than six years ago. Trammell Crow Company acquired the land leases and has been waiting for improved market conditions to begin development plans.Trammell Crow will work with McKibbon Hotel Group, Inc. out of Gainesville, Georgia and Lindsay Pope Brayfield Clifford & Associates, Inc. out of Lawrenceville, Georgia on the project. The proposal calls for the construction of a 210-room Courtyard® by Marriott and 150-room SpringHill® Suites to be side-by-side and overlooking the beautiful Jekyll Island beach. A future 175-room full-service hotel was also approved for the 15.47 acre site. The first two hotels are planned to open June 2016, but could potentially open as early as late 2015. The full service hotel is planned to open in 2017.Each hotel must comply with the Jekyll Island Design Guidelines and can be no more than four-stories tall. Arborists have inspected the site and have marked all important trees which must be preserved. Building and parking lot design will have minimal impact on the significant live oak canopy.The new projects mark a significant milestone in the revitalization of Jekyll Island. The addition of the 535 potential hotel rooms will bring back hotel inventory to the level in 2002 with approximately 1500 units.  Of that, nearly 1000 rooms will be new and associated with major, nationally-recognized hotel chains. Available hotel inventory is a critical factor in attracting conventions to the island to utilize the new oceanside Jekyll Island Convention Center.After its meeting, Jekyll Island Authority board members toured construction progress of the new Westin Jekyll Island and the new Holiday Inn Resort – both scheduled to open this year.“We are pleased that revitalization has picked up momentum,” stated Richard Royal, chairman of the Jekyll Island Authority. “Trammell Crow has brought together an excellent team and we have the highest confidence for a quality project for the benefit of all Georgians.”


Apex will be released this weekend!

Apex is a sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle that stranded on Little Cumberland Island on July 26, 2013. When Apex stranded, it was obvious why. He/she had been attacked by a large shark. Sharks are an apex predator of the oceans (hence the turtles name) and are one of very few natural predators of sea turtles. Turtles defend themselves by trying to swim away, biting back, or using their shell to deflect bites. When Apex stranded he/she was missing most of his/her left front flipper, and had bite wounds to the right front flipper, the carapace (top shell) and the bridge (the part of the shell that connects the top and bottom shells). After a variety of treatments from honey to bone cement, Apex is finally ready for release. Sea turtles are tough animals, and can survive just fine missing part of a flipper (they can even survive with only 3 or 2 flippers!) so we aren’t worried about Apex having any problems in the wild. Apex will be released as part of the Tybee Sea Turtle Project’s annual 5k Turtle Trot! Release will be after the race and award ceremony. Approximately 9:45 am.





By Andrea Marroquin

Tiffany window copy

In March of 1921, a Tiffany stained glass window was installed in Jekyll Island’s Faith Chapel, portraying the theme, “David Set Singers Before the Lord.”

The window was created in memory of Jekyll Island Club President Frederick Gilbert Bourne, head of the Singer Sewing Machine Company.  The title playfully refers to Bourne’s love of singing in the church choir as well as his great success in life.

This masterpiece was created by the Ecclesiastical department of Tiffany Studios.  It proudly bears the signature of “Louis C. Tiffany N.J.” in the lower right-hand corner.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of Tiffany & Co. founder Charles Lewis Tiffany, was an internationally acclaimed artist from the late 1800s.  He said his life-long goal was the “pursuit of beauty.”  Tiffany was a painter and interior designer who became most famous for creating what he called “paintings in glass.”  He formed the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company in 1879.  The work created at this studio revolutionized the art glass world.

Hand-crafted of Favrile glass, Jekyll Island’s Tiffany window was described by the New York Times as a “vivid composit

ion of rich tones.”  Favrile glass, a Tiffany hallmark, is a swirling, opalescent art glass.  Colors are embedded into the glass, not painted on the surface, lending a glowing, iridescent finish.

JandDImages JI Apr 2010 8002

The upper window depicts Exodus 15: The Song of Moses, when God saved the Children of Israel from the Egyptians at the Red Sea.  The lower window depicts 1 Kings 1 28-32: David pronouncing Solomon will succeed him, an important event in Jesus’ ancestry.  The work as a whole reveals, “the magical talent of Tiffany’s artisans to convey the glory of God.”

Tiffany Studios produced approximately 25,000 windows in America between 1883 and 1931.  Faith Chapel’s radiant Tiffany window is considered “among the most vibrant Tiffany’s ever made.”

Historic Faith Chapel is open for viewing from 2-4 pm daily, free of charge but subject to availability, as the Chapel also serves as a popular event space for weddings.  The Tiffany window makes a lovely backdrop for late afternoon ceremonies.

For information about the availability of Faith Chapel for your special event, please contact Museum Specialist Clint Joiner, 912-635-4403.


Oglethorpe University hosts an elite field for the annual Jekyll Island Collegiate Invitational Golf Tournament

by Robbie Burns, rburns@jekyllisland.com

Jekyll Island, the nearest faraway place, is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, natural beauty and fabulous golf.  The next chapter in its rich golf history will be written March 14-16 with the annual Jekyll Island Collegiate Invitational, America’s largest college golf tournament.Oglethorpe_DSCN0167-1-_870x490

A total of 54 Division III golf teams, 30 men and 24 women, from 15 states will descend upon the Jekyll Island Golf Club and offer golf fans in the Golden Isles an opportunity to watch some of the nation’s best perform.

“The Jekyll Island Collegiate Invitational is among the most sought-after events of the year for teams to play in,” said Oglethorpe University head golf coach Jim Owen, whose school serves as the tournament host.  “For small college golf, this is the number one strength-of-field and the deepest individual talent pool offered.”

The men, who will compete on the Pine Lakes course, will feature seven of the nation’s top 10 teams including #3 Claremont Mudd-Scripts (CA), #5 St. John Fisher (NY), #6 LaGrange (GA), #7 Oglethorpe University (GA), #8 Illinois-Wesleyan, #9 LaVerne (CA) and #10 Hampden-Sydney (VA).   According to Golfstat.com, 22 of the 30 men’s teams competing are ranked in the Top 55.

The women’s side is equally as strong.  Top-ranked Methodist University (NC), #6 Texas-Tyler, #7 Mary Hardin-Baylor (TX), #8 Rhodes College (TN) and #10 Olivet (MI) lead the way.  Eighteen total teams ranked inside the Top 50 will battle Jekyll Island’s Indian Mound course.

Individually, the women’s side boasts 30 of the 50 best players in America.

2009_10_20_DGE_OU_Golf_M_3249_story“For those who love golf and for young boys and girls who aspire to play collegiately,” Owen said, “this is a great opportunity to experience the high level of competition and major tournament atmosphere that Division III collegiate golf offers.”

Owen said the tournament is a timely precursor and measuring stick for each school competing.

“The Jekyll Island Collegiate Invitational occurs one month before the conference and two months before the national tournament,” he said.  “It happens at a perfect time in the schedule because schools are jockeying for position in the rankings.  If you finish in the top 10 at Jekyll, you probably solidify your spot at nationals.”

Adding to the overall atmosphere will be a PGA Tour sized electronic scoreboard and live, up-to-date scoring allowing golf fans on-site and around the world to follow the event in real time.

“We appreciate the Jekyll Island Authority and corporate sponsors Bubba Burgers and Coca-Cola for making it possible to bring live scoring to the forefront of college golf,” said Owen.  “This puts us on the front page of GolfStat.com along with major college programs like UGA and Georgia Tech.”

Owen says he could not have a better partner in Jekyll Island to make all of this happen.

“Jekyll Island offers our participants extreme Southern hospitality,” Owen exclaimed.  “We could not do this without the staff at the golf club, led by Rob Ellis and Johnny Paulk.  From the moment we arrive, they roll out the red carpet for us. They make all the teams feel more welcomed here than anywhere else in the country.”

Spectators are welcome and admission is free. Live scores will be available online at GolfStat.com.


Johnny Paulk – Jekyll Island’s Golf Ambassador Celebrates 50 years as a PGA Professional

Southern Charm and Warm Personality leave mark on Jekyll Island.

by Robbie Burns, rburns@jekyllisland.com

Johnny Paulk is a modern-day Rhett Butler.

Daily clad in classic golf attire, and two-tone shoes, he is immediately known by his welcoming, Georgia drawl.  IMG_2214

“Johnny is a true Southern gentleman,” Georgia PGA Executive Director, Michael Paull, said.  “He is the consummate pro and always goes out of his way to make you feel special.”

The Valdosta, Georgia native has been doing that as Georgia PGA professional for an amazing 50 years.

One month before The Beatles made their 1964 American television debut, live on the Ed Sullivan Show, Paulk made his entrance as a PGA professional, minus the screaming teenage girls.

“When I started,” Paulk said, “I never thought I’d go this far.  I worked for Mr. Harold Sargent, former PGA president, at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta and took advantage of it.  It’s all about work ethic.”

He worked from “sun up to sun down” never asking what time he could leave work or “how many vacation days” he would get each year.  The opportunity to even play a round was as rare as a day off.

“We could only play on Sunday mornings,” Paulk recalled.  “Now, I’m a good Catholic boy, so I would go to Mass first.  While there, I would recruit some boys to go play with me.  After finishing, I gave lessons the rest of the day.”

The majority of his 18,000 plus days as a PGA pro have been served on Jekyll Island.

“In 1967, the state of Georgia asked Mr. Sargent to find someone to come to Jekyll Island and take over for Mr. Bean, who was retiring,” said Paulk, who honeymooned on Jekyll with his wife, Virginia.  “At first, I wasn’t that interested.  I was talking with other clubs, but I decided to look into it further.”

Jekyll Island is blessed the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame member did.

“When you think of Jekyll Island,” said Doug Hollandsworth, Founder/CEO of The Georgia Golf Trail, “you think of great golf and Johnny Paulk.”

IMG_4949During his tenure, Jekyll’s golfing landscape has significantly evolved.  The current clubhouse was built, and Indian Mound, the island’s third and final course was added in 1975.  The original pro shop is now inhabited by McCormick’s Grill and the “cart barn” is now the current pro shop.

In the words of Jones Hooks, Jekyll Island’s executive director, Paulk “is Jekyll’s ultimate ambassador” and has “supported every conceivable golf tournament from the Georgia National Guard to US Kids Golf World Championship.”  The Georgia PGA President’s Award winner is also the creator of the highly successful Georgia-Florida Golf Classic, which enters its 35th consecutive year in 2014.

“Johnny delivers a measure of comfort at Jekyll Island,” said Mike Waldron, LPGA Manager of Rules and Competition.  “When you arrive and see him, you know you are going to get consistency in service from everyone involved there. He always treats the next customer like the last one, as if he’s the most important.”

In 1979, his former East Lake boss invited him to be the announcer on the ninth hole at The Masters.  He stayed there for 20 years until taking over for close friend Leo Beckmann on the famed 18th.

Rhett Butler in a red coat is not hard to miss, though.  His friendly charm has endeared him to fans and players alike.

“I like seeing Johnny out there every time I finish a round,” former PGA champion and close friend Davis Love III remarked.  “It’s a great tradition the Masters has, and he does a great job.”

The Albany High School product has been showered, for his great work, with a host of honors that includes the Governor’s Faithful Service Award, Georgia PGA Public Merchandiser of the Year three times, Spalding Professional of the Year and twice the Georgia PGA Eastern Chapter’s Professional of the Year.

In 2011, Paulk received the Calvin Lee Murphy Award from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association.  Fittingly, it is given to a recipient “with a strong commitment to promote, preserve and strengthen the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association with activities that foster positive influences on both coaches and athletes in Georgia.”

In 2009, Johnny was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.

Jekyll Island’s current director of golf can attest to Paulk’s personal impact.

“Johnny gave me my first opportunity in the golf business,” Rob Ellis said.  “I wasn’t sure if it was the career path for me, but he gave me a chance and now I have the distinct honor to continue his legacy on Jekyll Island.”

“When people think of Jekyll Island golf, there is no way to not mention Johnny Paulk.  He laid the groundwork to everything that we are building on today.  He epitomizes what it means to be a gentleman of the game and everything the PGA of America stands for.”


Jekyll Island Authority Announces Lecture Series Presented by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Public invited to discover “On the Wild Side” in an engaging series of evening presentations.

terry and michelle with turtle (2)JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga., Feb. 12, 2014 – The Jekyll Island Authority is proud to announce an exciting new program presented by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center designed to engage the public on wildlife and conservation issues. A highly visual and engaging series of talks includes four evening presentations, three of which will spotlight the Center’s professional staff as they share their insights into prevailing wildlife themes of the day.

The kick-off event will be Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm, and include a 30-minute reception featuring exhibits and displays followed by a 1 hour presentation entitled Wild Adventures from a Wildlife and Zoo Veterinarian by Dr. Terry Norton. Dr. Norton is the Veterinarian, Director and Founder of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a department of the Jekyll Island Authority. The audience will be lead on a journey through the fascinating career of a zoo and wildlife veterinarian.  Dr. Norton has worked with a wide array of wildlife ranging from small frogs to elephants and giraffe, providing medical and surgical care in a number of different facilities and environments. Brief talks will be given by individuals influenced by Dr. Norton, including stories told by Center staff specialists Michelle Kaylor, Katie Higgins, Jeannie Miller and Dr. Kimberly Andrews.

Sheryl Staaden, a professional zoo keeper from the Jacksonville Zoo will have a table display with information on using behavioral training in zoo animals. The display will highlight information on their recent success of performing artificial insemination on jaguars at the zoo. Gerald Douberly, a farrier from Savannah, Georgia will have information on his trade and his horseshoe artwork. Gerald was the consulting farrier for St. Catherines Island where he trimmed the zebra hooves for many years. Staff from St. Catherines Island will have a table displaying lemur behavior, medical care, and conservation and common immobilizing equipment such as dart guns and darts that have been used on some of the captive animals that have been housed on St. Catherines over the years. Other Georgia Sea Turtle Center staff will have a table on wound care in turtles and wildlife telemetry.

Future events in the lecture series will continue the theme of interesting and interactive presentations. On April 3 Dr. Kimberly Andrews will present Forty Years of Nesting Turtles on Jekyll Island. On May 8 David Thomas of the American Museum of Natural History will give a talk on the archaeological discovery of a Spanish mission from the 1500s on St. Catherines Island. This inaugural lecture series will close on August 26 with several Georgia Sea Turtle Center staff presenting Conservation in Motion: The Story of the Diamondback Terrapin.  Led by Michelle Kaylor, Dr. Norton and Dr. Andrews, the talk will focus on the protection of the diamondback terrapin through roadside management planning which reduces terrapin mortality on Georgia’s causeways and elsewhere.

The public is invited and encouraged to join these conservation professionals and hear their fascinating stories working on wildlife and missions influencing Georgia’s natural resources. All ticket proceeds benefit the on-going work at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Individual lectures ticket prices will be $10, $5 for students. There will be a cash bar at the events and all presentations will be at the Jekyll Island Convention Center from 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

The 2014 “Wild Side” Lecture Series presented by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center:

Event times and dates are subject to change. For more information call the Jekyll Island Authority, Georgia Sea Turtle Center at (912) 635-4043, or e-mail lhunt@jekyllisland.com or visit www.jekyllisland.com.

Photo via Flickr user TexasEagle - http://www.flickr.com/photos/texaseagle/

Wood Ducks on Jekyll Island


Photo via Flickr user Larry Mead – http://www.flickr.com/photos/34323709@N07/

[Feature photo via Flickr user TexasEagle - http://www.flickr.com/photos/texaseagle/]

Article by Yank Moore, Conservation Technician

Jekyll Island Authority

Wood ducks are often considered one of the most stunning waterfowl that inhabits our coastal waters. They are a medium sized perching duck, with the males showing an ornate chestnut and green iridescent pattern on nearly every feather. The females are not quite as colorful, having a light to dark brown body with white patches around the eye and on the throat. They can often be found in wooded swamps, shallow lakes, and even our local marshes. These birds can be seen year round in Georgia with a spike in numbers during the winter months when northern populations migrate south to avoid the cold weather.

WoodDuckNestBoxWood ducks have been hunted throughout modern history for their taste and beauty. They were traded throughout Europe in the late 1800s, where they were being used to boost the ornamental hat market. In the early 1900s, the American populations of wood ducks were nearly extinct throughout their entire range. This along with the destruction of other migratory populations ultimately led to the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1916 and the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Since then wood duck populations have grown slowly, with the help of conservationists and natural resource managers, to what we encounter today.

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Photo via Flickr user Kevin Cole – http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevcole/

Wood ducks are naturally cavity nesters that rely on other animals or nature to hollow out a hole in a dead or dying tree near water before they can move in to nest. Since these birds have such specific requirements for nesting, conservationists have helped this beautiful species make a comeback by building nesting boxes.

Here on Jekyll Island our conservation staff recently built and installed three wood duck boxes made of natural western cedar. We’ve placed these boxes around the island and they can be seen by anyone with a since of adventure and a pair of binoculars. The first is on the west side of Horton Pond across from Villas by the Sea. Also at this location, you can expect to find hooded mergansers and pied-billed grebes. The second location is tucked away in a pond on Indian Mounds hole 14, a location that we hope will contribute to our efforts to gain Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary certification for the course. The third and final location was chosen for an educational opportunity as much as a conservation effort and can be found on the nature trail across Beachview Road from the 4H center in a willow-dominated freshwater slough. All of these locations provide suitable nesting habitat for wood ducks while offering an educational and aesthetic component to the overall natural feel of Jekyll Island.


Jekyll Island Green Screen Film Event Focuses on Earth in the Balance

Second annual event features two film screenings and a cocktail reception

with presentations by coastal Georgia researchers.

 The second annual Jekyll Island Green Screen, presented by the acclaimed EcoFocus Film Festival, will feature two thought-provoking films about Earth’s beauty and fragile existence.

untitledThe March 1 double-feature event at the Jekyll Island Convention Center is free and open to the public.

This year, “Wings of Life” and “Into the Gyre” will be shown, beginning at 3:00 p.m. Between the two films, the audience will enjoy a reception that includes presentations by researchers working on Jekyll Island and throughout the Georgia coast.Into the Gyre Poster

“Successful implementation of the Jekyll Island Conservation Plan relies on an engaged and informed public,” stated Ben Carswell, Director of Conservation for the Jekyll Island Authority. “The Green Screen event provides a unique opportunity for the public to learn about globally important conservation issues and interact with the local research and conservation community in a casual, friendly and fun setting.”

Wings of Life,” narrated by Meryl Streep, opens the Green Screen program with elements of intrigue, drama and mesmerizing beauty. Through astounding cinematography, the film depicts the intimate relationship between pollinators and plants that is essential to life on Earth.

Into the Gyre” tracks the five-week expedition by a team of scientists investigating plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Ocean and studying its effects on marine ecosystems. The film has been screened at numerous international film festivals and was awarded the Best Picture prize from the 2012 Scinema Festival of Science Film in Australia.

Following the viewing of “Into the Gyre,” a panel of experts will discuss the film and answer questions.

This event is made possible through the generous support and engagement of Georgia Sea Grant, EcoFocus Film Festival, Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve – Coastal Training Program, the Jekyll Island Authority, One Hundred Miles, the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative, Surfrider Foundation – Atlanta Chapter, and Keep Brunswick – Golden Isles Beautiful.

The EcoFocus Film Festival, held annually in Athens, Ga., presents films that reveal the planet’s beauty and the environmental challenges facing current and future generations, as well as the inspirational stories of people working to protect the environment and its inhabitants. The mission of EcoFocus is to inform and inspire audiences about environmental issues through film.

March 1 Schedule of Events

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Wings of Life film screening

4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: Cocktail reception and coastal research showcase

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Into the Gyre film screening and discussion

Location: Jekyll Island Convention Center, 75 North Beachview Drive, Jekyll Island, GA 31527

To learn more about the second annual Jekyll Island Green Screen, visit www.jekyllisland.com/ai1ec_event/ecofocus-film-festival-presents-the-jekyll-island-green-screen/?instance_id=126 or email Ben Carswell at bcarswell@jekyllisland.com.

From Our Blog


Georgia Sea Turtle Unveils Two New Exhibits on Monday April 28th

You are invited! Join us for a very special event unveiling two awesome new exhibits at The Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Ceremony to take place Monday, April 28th at 3:30 pm at The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Museum and Garden. For more information please contact The Jekyll Island Foundation. Their email address [...]


Next “Wild Side” Lecture Is On May 8th.

The Jekyll Island Authority is proud to announce the upcoming event in a series of lectures presented by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center designed to engage the public on wildlife and conservation issues. A highly visual and engaging series of talks includes evening presentations, three of which will spotlight the Center’s professional staff as they [...]

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What better way to educate yourself on the beauty and opportunities for fun on Jekyll Island than from one of our knowledgeable staff members. Read Their Insights