2017 Adventures

Please browse the following selection of trips.

Reservations are first come, first served—so sign up soon!

Adventure Excursions

Can involve strenuous activity.

Road-bound Excursions

More than an hour on the road.

Water-bound Excursions

More than an hour on the water.

Indoor Excursions

At least half of the time is spent indoors.

Child-friendly Excursions

Most suitable for younger children.

Friday

January 27, 2017

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Walking with Wildlife

9:30 a.m.–noon • Spaces available: 6

Walking with Wildlife

Altamaha Wildlife Management Area is one of Georgia’s most species-rich WMAs, and Butler Island is a WMA focal point for wildlife viewing. Once an antebellum tidewater rice plantation and now a nationally recognized Important Bird Area, Butler features a Ducks Unlimited MARSH impoundment, observation towers and acres of flooded fields that draw ducks, white ibis, wood storks, bald eagles and scores of songbird and shorebird species in winter. DNR’s Will Ricks and others will lead a walk through this wildlife wonderland. Keep your eyes open and camera ready for marsh rabbits, deer, turtles and–if the morning is warm–alligators!

Walks at Butler Refuge can be muddy. Boots or other appropriate footwear is advised.

Wild past, promising future

The Way St. Simons Was

12:30–3:30 p.m. • Spaces available: 5

There’s a wild side to St. Simons Island … and it’s growing. Glimpse this island’s past and learn how the St. Simons Land Trust and DNR are conserving it for the future as you tour Cannon’s Point Preserve and part of Musgrove Plantation. A conservation easement DNR recently acquired at Musgrove has high-priority habitats such as coastal hammocks, plus a captivating history. The same holds true for Cannon’s Point. You’ll visit St. Simons’ last intact maritime forest, ancient shell middens and projects to restore native plants in a “living shoreline,” combat a fungus killing redbays and conduct pioneering research into the region’s iconic live oaks.

New

Wildlife Photography Workshop

12:30–3:30 p.m. • Spaces available: 0

Whether you’re new to nature photography or have a few (thousand) images under your belt, we can help you improve in this fascinating pursuit. You’ll work with respected wildlife photographers in the classroom and in the field, learning how to capture high-impact photos of animals, plants, landscapes and even insects, in your backyard and in settings as stunning as the Georgia coast.

Guests should bring their own camera.

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Beginning Birding

1:00–3:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 8

Bird-watching is big. More than a fifth of Americans 16 and older are birders, and birding is one of the continent’s fastest-growing hobbies. But if you want to learn what all the fuss is about and weren’t sure where to start, let DNR ornithologists introduce you to the amazing world of birds. We’ll cover the basics and hit the outdoors for expert instruction as you try new skills, identify species and begin building a life list. Young and old will enjoy this adventure. No binoculars? No problem. Let us know when you register and we’ll provide a pair for the day.

Learn skills here that you can use on a Saturday trip, such as Birds for Life.

Busting Cloister Clays

1:00–3:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 7

The Sea Island Shooting School is considered one of the best in the nation. And with good reason. Two skeet fields, a trap field and Five Stand offer a competitive range of shooting options and fun. The Shooting School’s staff features three NSCA-certified instructors and one NSSA-certified instructor. Expert or novice, this always-popular session will sharpen your shooting.

Shooting glasses or sunglasses, plus a hat, are recommended. Novices are welcomed.

Amazing life below the surface

From Sand to Salt Marsh

1:00–3:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 12

You’ve been to the beach, you’ve seen salt marshes. But have you ever understood how critical, complex and chock full of life these ecosystems are? On this walk led by DNR biologists and naturalist Georgia Graves, you’ll uncover a diversity of life you might have never noticed–yet one that influences coastal residents and economies. Dig deep to learn about amphipods and lugworms, shrimp and clams. Then climb the food chain to discover the critical role that beaches and salt marshes play in the lives of other animals, from sea turtles to shorebirds.

Saturday

January 28, 2017

Adventure by kayak

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Paddle the Altamaha

7:15 a.m.–2:45 p.m. • Spaces available: 6

The mighty Altamaha River drains the second largest watershed on the East Coast. The river’s main stem, formed at the confluence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers, is undammed and free-flowing, creating a relatively intact and healthy ecosystem that is home to more than 100 rare and endangered species. Join Georgia Conservancy President Robert Ramsay, DNR staff and SouthEast Adventures for an exclusive tour by kayak of the lower Altamaha. This is a stunningly beautiful paddle through forest and marsh!

This trip requires strenuous activity and is weather-dependent. Kayaks, paddles, PFDs and instruction are included.

Returning for 2017

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Adventure on Blackbeard NWR

7:15 a.m.–3:30 p.m. • Spaces available: 0

Named for 18th century pirate Edwin Teach, the infamous Blackbeard, this remote island and National Wildlife Refuge is a treasure of wildlife and history. After a 17-mile boat ride, board UTVs with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and DNR staff to explore gnarled maritime forests, sweeping dune habitats and pristine beaches. You’ll also tour structures that speak to the island’s past as the largest federal marine quarantine station on the south Atlantic coast. Nor will we ignore the lore about Blackbeard and his buried treasure!

More rugged than most, this adventure includes a long boat trip, requires strenuous activity and is weather-dependent.

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Birds for Life

7:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 2

Birds for Life

Team with DNR ornithologist Tim Keyes and his crew as they try to net and band sharp-tailed sparrows in the marsh. This project is providing new insight into the winter distribution of Nelson’s and saltmarsh sparrows, as well as five subspecies. After–hopefully!–a hands-on encounter with these little-known birds, we’ll take a short drive to Andrews Island. The Brunswick dredge spoil-site is off-limits to the public but open to our guests, and a magnet for birds, from American avocets to long-billed dowitchers. Bring binoculars, boots and a burning desire to band and see some unique birds.

If you need binoculars, please let us know in advance. Wellingtons are recommended for the marsh, but guests can also stay on higher, drier areas.

Always popular

Falconry at Broadfield

7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. • Spaces available: 2

Experience an ancient sport on coastal lands carved from one of the South’s oldest hunting clubs. Master falconer Steve Hein will be your host for a fascinating morning at 5,800-acre Broadfield, a Sea Island sporting club and lodge. Witness amazing aerial agility and hunting styles as falconers use a Harris hawk, goshawk and a peregrine falcon–the world’s fastest animal–to find squirrels, bobwhites and other game. Cap the adventure with an exquisite, home-grown lunch, and a side of history on the sport and the setting at Broadfield!

This trip is weather-dependent.

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Sapelo Stories

7:30 a.m.–4:15 p.m. • Spaces available: 19

Enjoy a day immersed in the rich history of Sapelo Island with acclaimed coastal historian Buddy Sullivan. Experience the places and stories that comprise more than 4,000 years of human activity on this isolated stretch of barrier sand. Names like Reynolds, Spalding, Johnson and Lindberg will tell of a diverse and celebrated past somewhat disguised by today’s largely undisturbed landscape. Lunch will be served at historic Reynolds Mansion, where you’ll dine in the shadow of presidents and magnates of yesterday.

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Let’s Go Herp Hunting

7:45 a.m.–3:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 4

Herp Hunting

From swampy bottomlands to sandy ridges, the Altamaha River watershed is rich in reptiles and amphibians. While winter is a slow season for these creatures, sunny days can be prime time to find rare eastern indigos–our longest snake!–as well as big diamondback rattlers! DNR herpetologist John Jensen will be your guide as you search for snakes, peer into gopher tortoise burrows using a burrow cam and possibly dip-net for amphibians. Gain a greater appreciation for native herps and DNR efforts to conserve them and the habitats they call home.

Requires extensive walking in woods. Appropriate for guests 12 and older.

Returning for 2017

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St. Catherines Nature and Culture

7:45 a.m.–4:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 0

Owned and managed by the St. Catherines Island Foundation, this barrier island offers a heady mix of habitats, wildlife and history. The St. Catherines Island Center for Research, Conservation and Education conserves ecosystems and native wildlife, while also engaging in husbandry of exotic species (ever seen a lemur?). See the wild sights and the scope of island history, visiting the site of the 1600s Spanish mission Santa Catalina de Guale and possibly even the home of Button Gwinnett, a Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Trophy bass? We got ‘em

Frederica Lunkers

8:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 4

Fish for largemouth bass at one of the most exclusive lakes in Georgia. As part of beautiful Frederica Golf Club on St. Simons Island, 400-acre Lake Frederica has been managed for trophy bass for a decade. The strain of largemouths stocked here–all females until 2013–is fast-growing and very aggressive! We’ll provide the equipment and guides, including Frederica Water Recreation and Wildlife Manager Teddy Elrod. Your role: Be ready to rock and reel! (P.S.: And if you want to fish only that morning, we have your transportation covered.)

Fishing is catch and release. Appropriate for guests older than 12. You can bring your own equipment. No license required.

See where Georgia's sea turtle project began

Loggerheads on the Rebound

8:15 a.m.–3:30 p.m. • Spaces available: 0

Loggerheads on the Rebound

One recovery benchmark for loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia was 2,800 nests in a year. The federally threatened turtles blew past that goal last summer, laying more than 3,200 nests. Learn the inside story on that conservation success as you travel to private Little Cumberland Island, home to the continent’s longest-running loggerhead conservation project. Walk the beaches where Dr. Jim Richardson started the Little Cumberland Turtle Project in 1964. Listen as DNR Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Mark Dodd explains the conservation measures that have helped loggerheads rebound. Visit the climax maritime forest, ephemeral dune-swale wetlands and one of the Georgia coast’s most dramatic dune fields, all managed under the auspices of Little Cumberland Island Homeowners Association.

Requires extensive walking and is weather-dependent. Appropriate for ages 12 and older.

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Know the Connection

8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. • Spaces available: 1

DNR’s Coastal Resources Division is working to help Georgians understand the connectivity of the coast’s natural environment. Explore the ecological connections between black water and sea water as you travel aboard the R/V Marguerite from the St. Simons estuary headwaters to the Atlantic. Biologists will explain the connections–including why they’re important–and use an Unmanned Aerial System to give you a bird’s eye view of some of the unique natural features that make estuaries one of the world’s most diverse and productive ecosystems. End the trip with a lunch treat: CRD’s trademark spread of shrimp stew and roasted local oysters and clams.

Appropriate for guests as young as 10.

Loved by young and old(er)

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Rare Wildlife at White Oak

8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. • Spaces available: 12

Saving species on the brink of extinction takes hard work and commitment. But for the conservationists at White Oak, saving species is their job and passion. Witness the results on this Weekend for Wildlife tour of the 13,000-acre, world-renowned conservation center to see cheetahs, white rhinos, okapi, maned wolves and Pere David’s deer. Go behind the scenes to understand how White Oak is conserving these rare creatures. Dine at Gilman Hall and learn the fascinating history of this Florida refuge on the St. Marys River.

Appropriate for children.

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Jekyll’s Hidden Past

9:15 a.m.–3:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 0

Jekyll Island has rightly earned a reputation as a family-friendly vacation mecca. But did you know that this island’s past is filled with drama and tragedy? Join with Historic Preservation Director Dr. Dave Crass and State Archaeologist Dr. Bryan Tucker to explore an archaeological site, learn about the slave ship Wanderer, which helped spark the Civil War, and visit Horton House, burned during the Spanish invasion of 1742. Along the way you’ll enjoy lunch at historic Jekyll Island Club and tour several homes in the National Historic Landmark District.

A Weekend for Wildlife tradition

Unspoiled Little St. Simons

9:15 a.m.–4:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 2

Unspoiled Little St. Simons

Be one of the few who experience this private, 11,000-acre barrier island held in a conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy. Accessible only by boat, Little St. Simons is an Audubon Important Bird Area and a member of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. More than 300 species of birds, from red knots to roseate spoonbills, make their home here. Join staff for an interpretive drive through ancient maritime forest and along wind-swept marshes. Feast on a Lowcountry lunch in a hunting lodge built a century ago. Then revel in the solitude of seven miles of pristine beach.

Popular with advanced and novice shooters

Sharpen Your Shooting

9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. • Spaces available: 8

Whatever your skill level, a day at Sea Island Shooting School will improve your mechanics and boost your confidence. Enjoy skeet, trap and Five Stand in a beautiful marsh-side setting. Benefit from Sea Island’s veteran teaching staff. Let Instinct Shooting expert James Rutland transform your ability to point into snap-shooting skills that will have you plugging nickels in mid-air with a BB gun. Relax at the clubhouse and dine at the Cloister on us!

Bring a hat, sunscreen and shooting glasses or sunglasses. Novices are welcomed!

Exploring Island Time

10:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m. • Spaces available: 3

Few know St. Simons like Jingle Davis. Fewer still can write about it like she does. The third-generation St. Simons resident and retired journalist, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor, has received five-star reviews for two UGA Press books with Brunswick photographer Ben Galland–Island Time, a history of St. Simons, and Island Passages, a similar work on Jekyll Island. Meet Jingle and Ben, also a St. Simons native, and settle in as they peel back the layers of local history, exploring the significant and simply interesting stories that helped shaped this island. You’ll also lunch with Jingle and Ben at The Oak Room overlooking St. Simons Sound, one of the many rich sources of history this author and photographer are so familiar with.

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Marine Scientist for a Day

10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. • Spaces available: 4

Marine Scientist for a Day

Join DNR Coastal Resources Division staff to glimpse what lives in the waters of coastal Georgia! Board the R/V Anna–a shrimp trawler converted to a research vessel–and see how biologists inventory marine life using a traditional shrimp trawl. Get up close with everything from white shrimp to whiting! Dine on roasted local oysters and clams and shrimp stew. Watch as staff demonstrates how resource managers are using Unmanned Aerial Systems to help in conservation. Then tour oyster reefs for insight into how they prevent shoreline erosion and provide wildlife habitat.

Appropriate for guests as young as 10.