Dear Friends,

Recently I read that cataclysmic change often comes slowly. Then suddenly.

Less than a month ago, many of us had never used the term "social distancing" or heard of an N95 mask. In mid-March, we were still trying to decide whether or not the Land Trust should postpone its annual Live Oak Society Reception on March 20. And then within hours, the decision was obvious: of course we shouldn't host an event with 350 people in a packed ballroom. The Corona virus, while impacting so much of the rest of the world for many weeks, moved into our reality slowly. Then suddenly. And for some, irrevocably.

There have been times in the last week when, hiking on Land Trust properties, the only sounds I've heard are my own footfalls and bird calls. It is a surreal experience to be out in nature, where everything seems as always -- the same sun and sky overhead, the familiar smells of pine and marsh, the fetterbush (pictured above) blooming as it always does this time of year -- and yet know that so much has changed.

All of us at the Land Trust (whether we're working remotely at dining room tables, out on porches or balconies, or on a trail at Cannon's Point Preserve) are more passionate than ever about this organization's mission of protecting and preserving St. Simons. We are thankful that as long as there is no "shelter in place" order, our neighbors, friends, and visitors are able to hike and bike on Land Trust properties. We are grateful beyond measure that this community has partnered with us in conserving land for the past twenty years and has helped protect more than 1,000 acres on thirty properties.

We are also thinking about those who are being impacted far more negatively than we: those who have been sickened by the virus or lost loved ones; those who are on the front lines of providing health care; those whose jobs may be eliminated or hours reduced; those managers and business owners who have had to make heartrending decisions; those hometown heroes who lost their home to fire this morning; and those who are elderly and alone.

But as Gabriel García Márquez wrote in Love in the Time of Cholera ,
"the heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good,
and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past."

In this e-newsletter, we wanted to share some of the things that are helping our team endure the burden of this pandemic. Whether it's exploring Land Trust properties virtually with our Membership Manager Raleigh Kitchen as she videotapes trails and vistas on her daily walks, or whether it's out at Cannon's Point Preserve where our dedicated volunteers and staff members Stephanie Knox and Marty Moody are still holding down the fort, we hope you'll be comforted and calmed by the natural beauty of St. Simons as much as we are.

The tide always comes back in -- often slowly. Then suddenly. Until it does, thank you and be well.

Emily Ellison
SSLT Executive Director
For those of you who are unable to travel to St. Simons
or enjoy Land Trust properties at this time,
and for those who may be on the coast but are unable to get outside,
we want to provide you with a virtual visit.

Click the video below to experience part of
Polly's Trail inside Guale Preserve.
And watch the remainder of our "Visit" series on YouTube.
And be on the lookout for other virtual visits that we'll be sending on a regular basis.
CPP docents practicing social distancing while inside the Georgia-Pacific Education Pavilion.
Even during a pandemic, the Land Trust's incredible team of volunteers continue to show their love of protected places by helping to keep properties like Cannon's Point Preserve open to Golden Isles' residents and visitors.

The Land Trust is grateful that at this time of social distancing, combined with people’s desire to be outdoors, we have been able to keep our properties available for passive recreation including hiking, biking, birding, and exploring.

"I am so happy that the Land Trust is keeping Cannon's Point Preserve open . . . It's just vitally important to our physical and mental health."
- -Margaret Lane, CPP Volunteer
Currently, all Land Trust properties are operating as usual. However, we have initiated new health and safety protocols to insure the well-being of our volunteers, staff, and guests. You can find those HERE .
We love seeing photos of visitors enjoying the great outdoors.
Whenever you're on a Land Trust property, be sure to let us know
and share with us details of your adventures.

Email photos to
or tag us on social media @stsimonslandtrust .
Special members of the Callaway and Baker families
hiking and biking along Polly's Trail at Guale Preserve.
Earlier this month, the Land Trust and researchers from Purdue University (PU) and New Mexico State University (NMSU) implemented Phase 5 of Cannon's Point Preserve's ongoing maritime forest restoration project by planting over 700 live oak saplings in a research site on the northern end of the CPP peninsula. This site had been previously clear-cut due to a past southern pine beetle outbreak.

The saplings needed for this phase of the research project were grown from acorns collected by teams from NMSU, PU, and Fort Frederica National Monument (FFNM). The acorn collection sites were all on St. Simons Island and included those dropped from 300-year-old live oaks at Cannon's Point Preserve and Fort Frederica. The saplings were then grown in nurseries at NMSU and carefully transported this month to St. Simons for planting.

Researchers will monitor soil conditions, vegetative competition, and performance of planted oaks across several growing seasons. As with the previous phases of the project at CPP, we expect that the results of this research will provide information directly relevant to the application of maritime forest restoration along the southeastern Atlantic Coast. 

THANK YOU to the many partners who assisted with the implementation of Phase 5 of this important scientific research at Cannon’s Point Preserve:
  • Purdue University
  • New Mexico State University
  • Fort Frederica National Monument
  • St. Simons Land Trust's Volunteers
  • Jekyll Island Authority
  • College of Coastal Georgia Students
  • Pearson’s Lawn Maintenance
  • Forest View Tree Service

For more information regarding the ongoing reforestation research project at CPP, please visit our website .
During this "season of uncertainty," many of our St. Simons Island businesses
and their staffs are being dramatically impacted
and need the community's support more than ever.
Please remember to join us in supporting those close to home.
Let's keep it local!

Here are some of the ways we can support our neighbors:
Order local meals through take-out or delivery.
Purchase gift cards from local merchants.
Shop local businesses online.
Check in on and thank our local businesses and
service providers whenever possible.

Below are some of our  1% for St. Simons Partners
 who we hope you will join us in supporting.
Thank you to all participating businesses, their staffs, and their patrons!
Wonderful 1% Wednesdays!

Every Wednesday, the Land Trust is proud to feature
and show extra special support to one of our 1% Partners.
We encourage our community, supporters, volunteers, board, and staff
to show appreciation by supporting these businesses.
As suggested above, currently you can order take-out meals,
purchase gift cards, place an order online, or pick up the phone
and ask how our hometown entrepreneurs are doing.

Here are the March 1% Wednesday preservation partners:
Be sure to follow our upcoming #OnePercentWednesday posts on social media!
Although many of our 20th Anniversary events and celebrations
have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns,
we are still celebrating twenty years of land conservation
and still working to show our deepest gratitude to this community and
to our great sponsors and partners throughout this important 20th year!