Dear Friends,

A celebration centered around oysters seems the perfect way to begin a new decade and to mark the the Land Trust's 20th Anniversary . On properties across the island -- especially those along waterways and near marshlands -- there is physical evidence that humans have been enjoying oysters here for thousands of years . Those early indigenous people tossed their empty shells onto heaps now known as middens, not realizing that over millennia their prehistoric dumping grounds would create the perfect soil conditions for rare plants that exist in few places outside of Georgia's barrier islands.

It was the humble oyster shell that was mixed with sand and water in the 18th and 19th centuries to create tabby , the construction material used in plantation-era buildings, particularly slave quarters. Both middens and tabby ruins are archaeological features that are carefully protected, monitored, and maintained on Land Trust properties.

In addition, at Cannon's Point Preserve, oyster shells have been used to create living shorelines , where new colonies of oysters have developed over the past few years and are protecting the riverbanks and defending uplands from damaging storm surge.

At this year's Land Trust Oyster Roast, more than 3,000 pounds of oysters were consumed. Having learned from the habits of our ancestors, not one shell went into a garbage dumpster. Instead, the discarded shells will be recycled for conservation needs across the coastline, where they will release calcium carbonate into the soil and once again create ideal conditions for shoreline habitat. The cycle continues. And as it does, we get to enjoy one of life's sweet culinary pleasures.

To all those who partner with us every day in efforts to conserve the island's land, and to all those who attended and worked at the 20th Annual Oyster Roast, we thank you -- especially people such as Charlie Williams and his staff from Crabdaddy's , who steamed the oysters; Steve Schoettle and his crew at Sea Island Forge , who did the roasting; Mike Malone and his team from Malone Electric , who strung the miles and miles of lights among the branches of countless live oaks; and an army of dedicated volunteers and vendors who worked tirelessly to make the 2020 Oyster Roast the most successful in the Land Trust's history. It was a perfect evening, with the perfect culinary focus, and the perfect way to begin a new decade and launch the celebration of twenty years of community collaboration. On behalf of the Land Trust team, I thank you all.

Emily Ellison
SSLT Executive Director
Photo by Chris Moncus Photography
20th Annual Oyster Roast
Photo by Chris Moncus Photography
What a way to kick off our 20th anniversary!

We could not have asked for a more beautiful evening at Gascoigne Bluff Park on Saturday, January 18, 2020. Under the glistening lights (provided once again by  Malone Electric ) that were woven among the branches of Gascoigne's ancient live oaks, guests enjoyed more steamed and roasted oysters than ever before. They also made the rounds to booths of food and drink and a buffet piled high with delicacies from local restaurants. From She-Crab soup to Bananas Foster, guests dined on the finest regional cuisine, filled their reusable Land Trust cups with chilled beer, wine, water, and soft drinks, and danced to the sounds of saxophone and vocals from community-loved musician: Michael Hulett.
It Was a Red-Hot Green Roast!
With no Styrofoam, less plastic cutlery, the addition of beer kegs instead of bottles,
and the addition of reusable cups, our waste diversion rate was nearly 70% .
And once again, all discarded oyster shells were sent to
Honey Creek Episcopal Center to assist in their living shoreline project.

(Reusable Items+Recyclables+Oyster Shells) - Trash = 4,310 lbs

This means we were able to keep more than TWO TONS of waste out of the landfill!

A special thanks to the Oyster Roast GREEN TEAM Volunteers
for their efforts in helping to create a greener event.
See photos from the event and read more HERE .
Thank you to all our Volunteers and Sponsors
for making this event unforgettable!

20th Anniversary
20th Anniversary Spotlights
As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations,
the Land Trust will soon kick off a year-long series of spotlighting
a sampling of the people and organizations that have been generous partners
in land conservation for two decades.
We will also regularly highlight some of properties
that this community has come together to preserve over the past twenty years.

Be on the lookout for these upcoming spotlights!
1% for St. Simons
By shopping local, you have the opportunity to help
save iconic and ecologically valuable land .
By supporting these businesses, your voluntary 1% contribution
will enhance the island's north-end wilderness corridor
and help protect spaces for all to enjoy and connect with nature.

To learn more about the 1% Program or to become a partner, click HERE .
Please Save These Dates!
February 5 : Green Scene of Coastal Georgia's Green Drinks featuring the St. Simons Land Trust. Certified Burgers and Beverage. 5:30 - 7:00 PM.

February 8 : Green Screen Environmental Film Festival. Ritz Theater. 2:00 - 5:30 PM. Learn more HERE .

February 21 : Georgia Arbor Day

February 29 : African-American History Festival. Fort Frederica National Monument. Learn more HERE .

March 20, 2020 : Live Oak Society Reception.

January 16, 2021 : 21st annual Oyster Roast
Photo by Chris Moncus Photography