Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mother Nature Network comes to Jekyll

Pine Lakes Golf Course is a beautiful course with Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks as well as Pine Warbler, Brown-headed Nuthatches and Eastern Bluebirds. The lake at 11 & 12 is often loaded with egrets, spoonbills, ibis and Anhinga.

Yesterday, Jekyll Island Authority asked me to escort Matt Hickman of Mother Nature Network around Jekyll. I met him for lunch at McCormick's Grill. Before he arrived, I sat in on a meeting with John Neidhardt, the Golf Course Superintendent & Judy Winiecki. They have been working together along with Christa Frangiamore on certifying Pine Lake Golf Course as an International Audubon Certified. It is a long process but it sounds like they about have it completed.

This is Judy, she thought she was out of the picture. She is working hard with John on the certification so she needs a nod.
Matt arrived and we were off on a Pine Lake Golf Cart Nature Tour. It was a quiet time of day but we still saw a few birds and animals.
Here is Matt listening to John tell him about one of my favorite spots on Pine Lakes. It is a natural wetland with cypress and maple trees. I enjoyed hearing John's prospective.
Matt and I had a little time so we went up for a quick look at Driftwood Beach. Sanderlings were running on the beach but the trees were the focus. They are a photographer's dream.
Our last stop was one I was looking forward too. Captain Phillip invited us to go along on an eco-tour with 20 excited 5th graders from the Jekyll Island 4-h Center. School groups from all over Georgia come to this center to learn about our coast. There is nothing better than to see bright young faces all lite up with smiles and excited about learning. Honestly, they did not know they were learning. On the way, we went under the Jekyll bridge, Captain Philip introduced us to the committee of Brown Pelicans and Double Crested Cormorants. The pelicans are in their winter best. Through the bridge and right next to the marina a dolphin thrilled the group. It was kind of late for dolphins so it was a real find.

The reason for the tour was to pull a net and let the kids (of all ages) see what is in the water of the Jekyll River. The kids were given their jobs. While we waited we saw a Wood Stork feeding. What a sight! I was watching shorebirds as well. Then it was time to pull up the net. Two lines were formed on either side of the rope. When they pulled on the rope one side would yell "heave" then the other side would yell ho. The kids could not wait to do their job. The excitement grew. They laughed, pulled and yelled. The haul of stuff was great. There were 2 kinds of crabs and lots of small fish. Everyone got to look and touch and learn. At the end I am sure that there were a few budding biologists in that group. What a great way to learn! The nets and Jekyll River


dAwN said...

Sounds like a wonderful day! I now have to check out this Mother Nature Network..havent heard of it before
Stay warm! Happy Birding!

Lydia said...

Hi Dawn, I had not heard of them either. It was fun introducing him to Jekyll but also hearing about the newest ideas in LEED buildings. Jekyll is going to have a New Convention Center in a couple of years. It will be LEED approved! Yea!