Nature walk puts spotlight on challenges facing Jekyll Island

28 10 2008

CAROLE HAWKINS, Florida Times-Union

JEKYLL ISLAND – Dorinda Dallmeyer ran her hands along the twisted skeleton of a live oak tree at Jekyll Island’s north beach.  “Here is one of the great love/hate relationships we have on Jekyll Island,” Dallmeyer said. “We hate to think of losing a live oak. But photographers love to take pictures of driftwood, and this is probably one of the biggest pieces you’ll ever see.”

As if agreeing, cameras clicked from among the dozen people who had followed Dallmeyer to the spot.

Nature walks on Jekyll aren’t uncommon, but one led by an ecologist from the University of Georgia certainly is, bringing details into focus that might otherwise pass unnoticed.

Dallmeyer is UGa’s Environmental Ethics Certificate Program director and her field trip was part of a weeklong ecology series on the past, present and future of the Jekyll Island region’s ecosystem. The program was sponsored by the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology, the world’s first standalone ecology school, and held in conjunction with The Georgia Review’s Pulitzer Legacy in Georgia conference.

“It’s an exciting time for us to be here,” said Elisabeth Butler, the school’s director of development. “Jekyll’s revitalization plans give us a chance to talk about how to develop the coastline in the most ecological way possible.”

At the nature walk Wednesday Dallmeyer discussed Jekyll’s salt marshes and beaches as both ecological and commercial resources, but was nonjudgmental over which purpose held greater merit.

Read on here.

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