Wildlife on Skidaway Island

On March 28, the FRIENDS OF SKIDAWAY AUDUBON sponsored an interesting evening discussing the wildlife that inhabits our island.  Sean Burgess, the Environmental Manager for TLA, was our presenter, and no one knows this island or its four-legged inhabitants better than Sean! He may even have surprised us with introducing some species that we were not even aware  existed among us. We learned the importance of maintaining and enhancing  the natural landscape that provides a home for all these critters.  Sean also reminded us of the do’s and don’ts of living harmoniously with our wildlife neighbors.

Sean has been a part of our community for fifteen years and loves being able to  be part of managing the living assets within The Landings. He worked alongside many of our committees and volunteers in the effort to have Skidaway Island designated as the First Certified Sustainable Community in Georgia. You can find Sean trekking around the island releasing Whiterock bass into some of our lagoons with CCA,  cutting trails into the western marsh to aid in Diamondback Terrapin releases or responding to calls from residents who have concerns about alligators, bats, fox, raccoons – you name it – Sean will know how to help!  He does it all!

Sean Burgess is one of the major resources of this community! 


Earth Day at Picnic in the Park

On a very windy  Earth Day, approximately 50 people showed up on April 20 to partake in Picnic in the Park at Landings Harbor.  

Victory Gardens was there with the makings for seed balls.  A dozen or so children and adults got their hands dirty and made seed balls while others simply collected the balls for their gardens. .  

For those of you who want to make their own seed balls Victory Gardens has provided us with a link to a very good tutorial.  You can find it at https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/children/making-seed-balls.htm.  The seed mixed used was acquired from Hancock Seed. You can find the exact mix at  https://hancockseed.com/products/bird-butterfly-wildflower-seed-mix?variant=6174383538208&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIjZj7kKTf4QIVgp-fCh0NiwnZEAQYASABEgICnvD_BwE

Victory Gardens also came with many 4 Inch pots of pollinator plants for sale.  Most of the inventory was sold.

Biodegradable pet waste bags were given out so that even the four legged family members could be part of Earth Day.

Scott Helmreich was there with the Skidaway Audubon to give residents a demonstration and information on composting.

All in all a good but windy Earth day


An Evening with our Skidaway Island Citizen Scientists

Recognizing the works of our Island Citizen Scientists: Russ Wigh, Pat Wolters, and Fitz Clarke

How do we define a ‘citizen scientist’? The dictionary defines it as: a member of the general public who collects and analyzes data relating to the natural world, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists. Within our community, we are fortunate to have several residents who meet this definition. On June 26th at 6:30 PM in the Lutheran Church, please come join the Friends of Skidaway Audubon to honor three outstanding residents who devote their time, expertise and energy to preserve, educate and enhance our natural world!

RUSS WIGH has been a birder since 1979 and after retirement and a subsequent move to The Landings in 2001 became consumed by his love of birds. During trips to Costa Rica and visits to remote areas of Arizona he became fascinated by hummingbirds. Consistent winter visitors to his feeders and regular reports of hummingbirds within The Landings triggered an effort in 2016 and 2017 to learn just how widespread wintering birds are in Chatham County. The results of his surveys are to be published in the Georgia Ornithological Society Journal, The Oriole. Russ’s current interests include high-speed bird photography with multiple flash units, particularly for hummingbirds! Russ has taught business courses at SCAD for seven years and most recently, courses in digital photography for Georgia Southern University’s Continuing Education Program. He has donated his time and shared his love of nature with many organizations on the island through his presentations on birds and noise pollution.


PAT WOLTERS began volunteering at Tri State Bird Rescue & Research in Newark, Delaware. Tri State is currently the largest bird treatment and rehab center on the East Coast. She was ‘trained by doing’ and wore many hats during her 14 years with the organization. Pat was a member of the oil spill team, served as Release Chair, Bird Banding Chair and was part of an Outreach program that took a red-tailed hawk named Katea to local schools and retirement homes. Pat’s work was recognized by the ‘2000 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award’ presented by the Governor of Delaware. Pat and her husband, Art, moved to The Landings in 2001 and found a way to continue her passion for rehabbing birds. Her meeting with Nicole, who is manager of Birds Unlimited, and fed orphaned birds while waiting on customers, inspired her to found Orphan Bird Care in 2002. Pat passed the written examination given by Georgia Department of Natural Resources and is also permitted for migratory species by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Orphaned Bird Care is now in its 18th year!!

FITZ CLARK moved to The Landings in 2003 and immediately became involved with a group of residents who shared his passion for “Bringing Nature Home”. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Sparrow field and Pollinator Berm. He partnered with other naturalists like Pat Wolters, Russ Wigh, Dot Bambach, Beth Roth and Sean Burgess, TLA’s environmental Coordinator, just to name a few to explore all that nature has to offer on our island. Following a presentation by Doug Tallamy here at Plantation a few years ago, the message was received – plant host plants and butterflies will come! The Pollinator Berm has created in 2010 and has now grown to 152 yards of beauty, pollinators, insects, bees, butterflies, dragon and damsel flies and lots of birds! Fitz spends his time photographing and documenting his sightings at the Berm. To know Fitz is to listen in awe as he names species, geneses, scientific labels and common names of thousands of plants and pollinators. Partnering with Scott Helmreich, his work is now receiving worldwide attention through the iNaturalist app, which Scott will describe during the presentation.

This community is so very fortunate to have neighbors who dedicate their time, knowledge and abilities to enrich the natural environment on our island.

Also, at this Friends of Skidaway Audubon event, we will have brief presentations and information of interest including:

Scott Helmreich will introduce us to iNaturalist.org. An app that everyone of us can use to help create a record of our local, regional, national and… the earth’s biodiversity. 

Join us on August 23rd and 24th for the National Pollinator Count – please watch for further details for plans and participation.

Skidaway Audubon is promoting a new project – The Monarch Butterfly Trail – learn how you can participate and support this national program to turn the tide of this declining species.

As a result of last month’s presentation by David Mizejewski from the National Wildlife Federation, Skidaway Audubon and TLA would like to have our entire community recognized as a NWF Certified Wildlife Sanctuary – become an integral part of this endeavor!




On November 7 th , Friends of Skidaway Audubon invited Maria Vaughan from CORCOMPOST to inform us of the benefits of composting as well as how to have a successful compost project in your backyard. CORCOMPOST is Savannah’s newest food waste alternative, providing a more environmental approach to waste management. Currently, they do not offer residential service but do provide weekly service for restaurants, schools and businesses.   For more information about CORCOMPOST visit https://www.corcompost.com

Our food waste and other organic materials are the fuel for teeming life - microorganisms break down the materials into a rich substance called compost. The dictionary definition of compost is ‘decayed organic material used as a plant fertilizer’. …but it is so much more! Every year, U.S. landfills receive 167 million tons of garbage – 50% of typical municipal garbage set out for collection is compostable. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization states that annually 75 billion tons of soil of arable land is lost to erosion, water logging and salination. The U.S. alone is losing soil 18 times more rapidly then it is forming it.

*To Reduce Reuse Recycle
*To conserve water
*Reduce greenhouse gases
*Aid in soil erosion and the health of the soil
*Decrease the need for chemicals.