Dear Friends,

As we neared the end of April -- International Earth Month -- we at the Land Trust began to reflect more than ever on the state of the planet during a pandemic. And as the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day came and went, we wondered how we would have celebrated had we not been in the eye of a global storm. We wondered how the earth would look (including our small piece of it) in another fifty years when the 100th Anniversary of Earth Day would be circled on someone's calendar. We asked ourselves to imagine planting a Time Capsule that would be opened on that landmark occasion in fifty years and what we would want the message inside the bottle to say.

My message would be addressed to our daughter, who would be eighty-two years old in 2070. While part of what she would find in the time capsule might be an apology, especially if our current generations had not done right by the planet and bequeathed her an environmental mess, she would also unscroll a message of hope and assurance.
I would remind her that during the pandemic of 2020, within a narrow window of time, planes, trains, cars, and ships slowed almost to a halt and bicycle shops sold out of inventory. During those months, when most humans went into a kind of hibernation, the Earth began to heal. Skies in New Delhi and Los Angeles turned blue. Waters wetting the skirts of Venice were suddenly clear, and rivers flowed fresh rather than fetid for the first time in decades. People paid attention to the changes of spring as if they were watching time-lapsed photography -- the leaves on fig trees seeming to go from paper-thin green discs the size of teaspoons to almost overnight expanding to the size of saucers and then dinner plates.

I might include one of those fig leaves with my message in the proverbial bottle, along with found feathers from our favorite birds, especially the roseate spoonbill, and acorns and nuts and cones. I would remind our daughter that during those weeks and months of the pandemic we took care of one another, waved and smiled at people we didn't even know, left $20 tips to struggling cooks and waiters who brought take-out dinners to our cars, banded together to feed the unemployed and homeless, embraced kindness and courtesy in ways we hadn't done in years. We learned to do more with less during that time. Our appreciation for nearly everything increased, especially for family and friends and life. Even those who had lost so much, like our hero and native son Davis Love III, whose home burned to the ground in the early morning hours not long after the Ides of March, said that his cup of gratitude was filled to overflowing.
My message to our daughter would say that I hoped she had continued to hike and garden and bike, that she had retained her awe of deserts and mountains and seas, Appalachian streams and the Rio Grande. I would write that I hoped she had shared her knowledge of plants and herbs with others, that over the decades she had kept nurturing nature and protecting land so that, as DNR Commissioner Mark Williams says below, her generations and those after her would be able to " wet a line, hike a trail, and watch a marsh bird" far into the future.
Green Heron
Commissioner Williams is one of several local and national leaders we asked to weigh in on Earth Month while living during the time of corona. Below are some of their responses, as well as staff updates on SSLT projects, a grateful tip of the hat to our volunteers and partners, and information on other activities that took place in April and that we're planning for in the coming months.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support and generosity. Stay safe and well! And Happy Earth Month to you and yours.

Emily Ellison
SSLT Executive Director
Recently we asked experts in the fields of conservation, education, and government
to comment on celebrating Earth Month in the midst of a pandemic.
With some, we asked them to imagine how Earth Day might look
on its 100th anniversary fifty years from now
 and about their hopes for the planet’s future .
Here is what they had to say .
“This April has brought the 50 th celebration of Earth Day and the return of Earth Month . These serve as great reminders to turn outward to take in the abundance of natural resources we live among in this great state and the importance of conserving and managing those resources for future generations to enjoy. Let us remain vigilant in our passion for Georgia’s natural and historical resources so that our state continues to not just be the best place to live, work, and raise a family, but the best place to wet a line, hike a trail, and watch a marsh bird. We are fortunate to have partners like the St. Simons Land Trust to join us in the pursuit of protecting our land and water, flora and fauna, from Brasstown Bald to Saint Simons Island.”
-- Commissioner Mark Williams
Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GaDNR)
To the Students of 2070:

“As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, our world was in the midst of a pandemic that shook many communities, families, and individuals. Now, 50 years later on the 100th anniversary, I hope students everywhere see the “staying power” of positivity, strength, and goodness that came out of that global health crisis . We found that we can learn in different ways, that we are more creative than we ever imagined, that we can come together in meaningful ways even when asked to stand 6 feet apart, that we can solve problems with science and art, and that we can change the world for the better when we try. What more have we learned that you can add to this list as we look to the 150th anniversary of Earth Day in 2120?”    
-- Dr. Michelle Johnston , President
College of Coastal Georgia  
"The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to bring grief and lessons for our future. To protect our economy we must protect our health. Earth Month reminds us that our environment has a profound impact on our health and our economy now and will so increasingly in the future. Cooperation across party lines and across borders to protect both our health and our environment is imperative for moral reasons but also for our economic future. You don’t have to be altruistic to hug a tree.”
-- Senator Sam Nunn
U.S. Senator from Georgia, 1972-1997
Founder and Co-Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
"I wish we could have arrived at this silver lining a different way but I think that f or the first time in many decades humans are realizing just how important nature is to our very being . As Americans have been asked to stay home we've seen parks, trails, beaches, and other outdoor spaces become so used that many have had to be shut down. Perhaps we can all come out of this with a deeper commitment to conservation now that we've been reminded of the importance of the outdoors to our mental and physical health."

When asked about what her message in the bottle would be to those reading it in 50 years, Miro said: "I'd want to send a message that describes the environmental challenges our society faces and why they compel us to act. This month, in reading accounts from leaders who were young activists at the first Earth Day in 1970, it put into perspective that generations before us fought similar challenges. We are not alone in our fight, we have the wisdom and lessons learned from those who came before us to inspire and guide us.
-- Miro Korenha, Co-Founder
Our Daily Planet
Although many of us have been asked to spend more time inside our homes than outdoors during this beautiful Earth Month, the moments we've been in nature (whether in-person or virtually) have reminded us why preserving Earth's natural resources is so important.

Protected land increases wildlife habitat,
assists in filtering our waters,
provides spaces for families to learn and play,
and ensures a multitude of tress for hugging.
And hugging trees, as you've seen,
just makes us happy .

The Land Trust is truly grateful, now more than ever, for the continued support of our members, volunteers, partners, and sponsors during this global crisis. Your positive feedback, uplifting comments, and generous renewals have humbled us and inspired us to do more.

We hope you are able to end this month with a walk, a run, a bike ride, a birding expedition, or a photography outing along the open trails and greenspaces on Land Trust properties. But if you are unable to enjoy in-person visits at this time, we hope you will take a minute (or thirty!) to let your head and heart relax via our Virtual Visits.

The Land Trust's YouTube channel now has nearly 60 videos showcasing the beauty and fun that can be found on six different protected properties from Cannon's Point Preserve to the John Gilbert Nature Trail.

Click the video above to experience one of our first 360* Virtual Visits
of Janet's Trail inside
Guale Preserve.

Watch the remainder of our
Virtual Visits on YouTube.

Read our feature in
The Brunswick News HERE.
Guale Preserve is the newest
Land Trust property to be included in our Outdoor Classroom initiative.

Be sure to download your copy TODAY and help your child explore Polly's Trail and Janet's Trail
in search of flowers, spider webs, trail signs and more!

Share your adventures with us on social media @stsimonslandtrust or via email at
May - Feeding Firebox 5K. Golden Isles Track Club's Virtual 5K benefiting Firebox Initiative. Learn more and register HERE.

June 6 - National Trails Day
On the night of Saturday, April 25th, Georgia's coast was graced with the first loggerhead sea turtle nest of its roughly 6-month nesting season. Cumberland Island and the National Park Service's Wildlife Biologist, Doug Hoffman, claim the bragging rights for discovering this first clutch of eggs.

A fairly early beginning to the season, this news has sparked a "game on" attitude for all who are part of the Georgia Sea Turtle Cooperative. But more than anything, this sacred nest and all of its roughly 100 eggs are one more reminder that nature hasn't stopped. We might find ourselves amid a global crisis, but these instinctive creatures will continue to do what they've done for millennia - produce the next generation of large-headed, jellyfish-loving ocean-dwellers who will continue to inspire us with their will to survive.

Photo by Doug Hoffman. Learn more HERE.
Did you know there is estimated to be more than 3 million species of fungi and that they make up roughly a quarter of the earth's biomass? Mushrooms, what we typically find above ground, are the spore-bearing fruiting bodies of fungi.

Last week, we touched on the importance of trees in limiting greenhouse gases, but those trees would not exist without fungi. While fungi work just as hard as other plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, these sometimes forgotten organisms are also able to store it in the ground, locking twice as much carbon below the Earth's surface as above it. And although these hard-working fungi have taken a hit from an increase in nitrogen levels in certain soils, they continue their important work. And for that, we are grateful.

Read more from our partners at Our Daily Planet.
The Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GaDNR)
released its annual "Report Card" and coastal Georgia scored well!
Learn more HERE.

View the latest GaDNR E-newsletter, Georgia Wild, HERE.
Last week we celebrated National Volunteer Week, seven days dedicated to showing support for the incredible work done by volunteers all over the nation. The Land Trust's 150+ volunteers do so much for the organization including educating visitors at Cannon's Point Preserve, planning and executing the annual Oyster Roast, assisting with stewardship on all properties, helping with administrative office work, and so much more.
"These are indeed challenging times and everyone’s hard work, vision and steadfast commitment to saving and protecting St. Simons for future generations means so much. Thank you for all you are doing. We will get through this and once again be able to gather, celebrate and immerse ourselves in the magic of the SSLT properties."
-- CPP Docent and Event Volunteer Birdie Gates
"We will be back!!!"
-- CPP Docent and Event Volunteer Marti Jeffers
Although our generous Cannon's Point Preserve docents have been "on hold" during the state's shelter-in-place order, we (and they!) look forward to the reopening of the Preserve when they will again be an integral part of the SSLT team that educates St. Simons' locals and visitors about the Preserve's ecological and historical assets and the importance of protecting the entire island.

“Our Volunteers help make the world a better place
with their time and efforts. Regardless of what capacity they volunteer in - events, administrative, conservation or education - their support is invaluable to the success of the Land Trust.
Their spirits are inspiring and their commitment unwavering,
and we can never thank them enough.”
--Volunteer Coordinator Marty Moody
To become a Land Trust Volunteer, please click HERE .
During this "season of uncertainty," many of our St. Simons Island businesses
and their teams 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!
1% Wednesday

Join us every Wednesday as we show extra support to these local
preservation partners. Below are the April 1% Wednesday features and links to read more about these incredible companies.

Be sure to also follow our upcoming #OnePercentWednesday posts on social media!
Front Porch Portraits Document Home Life in the Time of Coronavirus
During this unprecedented time, photographers all over the nation are turning to their clients' porches to safely capture family moments. Even when sheltering-in-place and practicing social distancing, our 1% partner, Chris Moncus Photography, is participating in this national project and can capture your family's "porch-raits" - all without leaving the comfort of your home!
Learn more HERE.
Thank you to all participating businesses, their teams, and their patrons!
We are excited to share that the St. Simons Land Trust has been selected to be a part of the Community Bag Program, which is designed to make it easy for customers to contribute to their local community while supporting the environment.

For the month of May, each time a $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at Winn-Dixie (located at 220 Retreat Village, St. Simons Island, GA), $1 will be donated to the St. Simons Land Trust. We are truly grateful to be the Winn-Dixie nonprofit recipient for the month of May!

To learn more about this program, please click HERE.
Let's strive to ensure that on the 100th anniversary of Earth Day , our descendants will find not only optimistic messages in the bottle but also evidence that the pandemic of 2020 taught us many lessons and that, when we came out on the other side of that global crisis, we had renewed passion and purpose to protect and preserve Planet Earth.
From the entire Land Trust Team,
Thank you for your partnership and support!
To  become a Land Trust member,
 or to  renew your membership , please  click here.   

To  become a Land Trust Volunteer , please  click here .