Featuring art from award-winning cartoonist, Jim Jinkins, this book chronicles the adventures of two youngsters as they learn about the ecology of coastal Georgia from their grandfather during a day spent on mythical Marshmallow Island. The book content meets science curriculum requirements for 3rd through 5th grade students. A total of 10,000 copies were printed and distributed to elementary schools in the coastal area.
• Deployment of 144 prefabricated concrete reef units at Artificial Reef DRH Reef, located 17 miles east of Sapelo Island.
• Deployment of a surplus 85-ft steel barge and 72 concrete transmission pole sections at Artificial Reef ALT, located 7 miles east of the mouth of the Altamaha River.
• Deployment of 44 concrete utility pole sections, each measuring 55 feet in length and weighing 7.5 tons, at Artificial Reef CDH, located 13 miles east of Cumberland Island.
• Design and construction of a motorized recycled oyster shell bagging machine.
• Completion of oyster reef restoration project adjacent to the Overlook Park public fishing pier in Brunswick, Georgia. A total of 3,153 bags of recycled oyster shell were placed on wooden pallets creating a footprint of 2,600 square feet.
• Completion of an oyster reef restoration project on the Chatham County Public Shellfish Harvest Area located within Oyster Creek near Tybee Island. A total of 3,568 bags of recycled oyster shells and 248 bundles of oak limbs were deployed creating a footprint of 5,317 square feet.
Volunteers are an integral part of all operations and program delivery for the Wildlife Resources Division. They also provide valuable assistance in delivering educational programs, shooting sports instruction, Outdoor Adventure Days and various planning and development projects. Volunteers are used throughout each Section and represent a valuable asset to the Division. Generous support from GNRF allowed WRD to purchase and distribute volunteer incentives to maintain enthusiasm and support for continued service to the Division. WRD was able to leverage funds from GNRF with other funds sources to purchase and distribute incentive items to our volunteers including hats, water bottles, vests and keychains. Volunteers always show great appreciation for these items and wear and carry them proudly.
“I always enjoy the sessions you guys sponsor…I am very excited about the new school year!”
“I caught my first fish!”
That is what the OWLS program is all about, learning about wildlife conservation and taking it all back to the classroom. Nineteen educators from around the state participated in the OWLS program this year. All participants received intense wildlife management instruction as they participate in numerous hands on activities. Spending time with professional DNR staff throughout the week is one of the best things about the workshop. The OWLS program was held all week at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center and is a workshop focused on wildlife conservation for K-12 educators. Participants spend five days immersed in Georgia wildlife education via hands-on activities and day trips to Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, canoeing in Bond Swamp, and exploring bogs at Ohoopee Dunes.
DNR has a unique culture. Part of that culture is due to the agency’s broad responsibilities. There is virtually no aspect of both the natural and built environments—from the water that comes out of citizen’s faucets, to Georgia’s wonderful natural and historical resources, to enforcement of conservation laws—that DNR doesn’t touch. The DNR culture is also formed as a result of the people the agency attracts. DNR employees, by and large, are in the agency because they want to make the world better for future Georgians. For over four decades, the people that make up DNR have played a critical role in Georgia’s stewardship of her natural and cultural resources. However, the individuals, events, and social trends that shaped the agency and its policies have never been adequately documented—for the public, state policymakers, or future employees. The DNR oral history project captures the challenges, achievements, and character that make DNR such a dynamic agency.
With Georgia Natural Resources Foundation support, maritime archaeologists from Georgia’s Historic Preservation Division and the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) from St. Augustine, Florida conducted remote sensing operations using side-scan sonar and underwater magnetometer search techniques to identify shipwrecks. Several areas were of particular interest during this phase including: sections of the Frederica River adjacent to Ft. Frederica National Monument (c. 1736-1760); the former colonial and early republic port of Sunbury, GA (c. 1757-1825); and selected creek confluences in St. Catherine’s Sound (Steamboat Enoch Dean, lost 1865). Partners in this project included the DNR’s Coastal Resources Division, The Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program from St. Augustine, and the Georgia Southern University Applied Coastal Research Laboratory in Savannah. The survey identified multiple magnetic targets which were identified for further investigation, which should be investigated by putting divers on the most promising anomalies for hands-on identification.
The Historic Preservation Division developed a pilot augmented reality (AR) interpretive program focusing on Camp Lawton, a Confederate POW camp discovered at Magnolia Springs State Park. HPD created a digital experience for park visitors. While visiting the Camp Lawton Museum, visitors can now link codes with their own tablet or smart phone, and discover additional information about the Camp Lawton site. This AR information includes interactive tables, and links to primary and secondary sources of archaeological information. These resources allow visitors to tailor their experience to focus on subjects of personal interest. Visitors may also view a virtual 3D reconstruction of the corner of Camp Lawton’s prison stockade, as it would have been situated in today's landscape.
From the 1950s though 1970, Georgia built what were called “Equalization Schools” across the state. The schools, intended for African American children, were a reaction to the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education. They were intended to demonstrate that “separate but equal” school systems could in fact be operationalized. Willow Hill, located in Bulloch County, was one such school. Willow Hill was preserved and repurposed by a group of Willow Hill descendants who bought the property at auction. The school was the recipient of a grant from the GNRF that led to extensive historical research and the installation of a historic marker by the Georgia Historical Society. Through this partnership, which includes Georgia State University and the Georgia Humanities Council, the school, now the Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Center, is once again a living part of the local community.
In October 2014, a Law Enforcement Division K-9 named “Gauge” and his handler were working to locate a firearm in a felony investigation in South Georgia, when Gauge suddenly collapsed. The veterinarian found an inoperable tumor on his heart. Sadly, Gauge passed away the next day.
Through directed giving from the GNRF, the LED was able to purchase a new K-9, “Titan.” After eleven weeks of intense training in such areas as: tracking, evidence recovery, wildlife detection, obedience, apprehension, agility, and officer protection, Titan began his service to the LED in April, 2015.
The K-9 Unit is vitally important in meeting the LED’s core mission as well as in assisting other local, state and federal agencies in law enforcement operations.
Officer safety is always the number one goal. Night vision gives an officer an upper hand when investigating nighttime complaints. Our goal is to provide each Ranger with night vision for any investigation or complaint handled after dark. A GNRF grant enabled LED to provide night vision devices to areas with the greatest immediate need, such as in areas with large lakes and coastal boat patrols.
GNRF funding enabled LED to produce the new "Georgia Boat Education" video, which helps to educate boaters on the laws, rules and regulations that govern the operation of vessels on waters of the state of Georgia. Boating education and outreach is one of LED's top priorities. This video encompasses guidance on Georgia-specific boating laws, utilizing current DNR Rangers as spokespersons. The video is an invaluable teaching tool in boating education outreach and will be used in our classroom courses as well as the with our online boating education course.
GNRF funding enabled LED to participate in Force Science training. Force Science is the research and application of unbiased scientific principles and processes to determine the true nature of human behavior in highly stressful and deadly force encounters. Force Science's groundbreaking, reproducible studies address real problems encountered by law enforcement officers.
The Force Science Consultation Division provides expert support that helps attorneys, judges, jurors, review board members, investigators and others responsible for determining the appropriateness of an officer's behavior during a force encounter. This knowledge enables us to better understand the scientific realities surrounding such events.
Funds from a GNRF grant enabled the Law Enforcement Division (LED) to purchase branded, marketing materials to help educate Georgians about the role of the Law Enforcement Division in the protection of Georgia's resources. Materials purchased included banners, signs and other display items. All items were distributed evenly across the state to each LED regional office. Rangers will use marketing materials at sporting events related to hunting and fishing, hunter education classes, career day events, and any event sponsored or promoted by the DNR.
The Willys roadster housed at the Little White House State Historic Site is one of only two in existence. Prior to the assistance of a GNRF grant, it was protected by mere barrier ropes. Through the support of the GNRF, this valuable artifact is now protected by a glass wall, which protects the car, but still allows visitors to enjoy this unique automobile from the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt. This project, coupled with new interpretive enhancements coming to the museum, help the past come alive to hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world.
Interpretive panels were critically needed at Hardman Farm State Historic Site, Griswoldville Battlefield and Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site. The panels provide front line, passive interpretation of the impact that these sites had on the history of Georgia and of the United States. The signs provide park visitors with important context regarding the momentous battles of Pickett’s Mill and Griswoldville and the effect of those battles on Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and March to the Sea in 1864. Likewise, the panels at Hardman Farm help capture the story of that historic area and its operation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Made of high quality, weatherproof material, these interpretive panels will be enjoyed by site visitors for years to come.
Camp TALON 2015 was held the first week of June and this year’s camp was a great success. There was an overwhelming response from prospective campers, and for the first time, a waiting list. A total of fifteen campers attended ranging from ages 12 to 18 years. Six were new to the camp and eight were retuning campers. One camper joined us on scholarship from Apalachee Audubon of Tallahassee, Florida. Two returning campers served as TALON interns, and did an excellent job. This year’s itinerary included field trips to Gould’s Inlet (St. Simons), Little St. Simons Island, Altamaha WMA, Wassaw Island NWR, Jekyll Island, Sapelo Island, and Harris Neck NWR.
Twenty seven educators from around the state attended the 2015 Teacher Conservation Workshop (TCW) in June. TCW is a weeklong workshop that uses the forest as a window to environmental education. Activities are led by foresters, wildlife biologists, educators, and industry professionals. The workshop is interdisciplinary and focuses on the environmental, economical, and social benefits of Georgia’s forestry and wildlife communities. Educators visit numerous sites including Plum Creek land, Barkaloo Farm and Gully Branch. They also visited several lumber mills and the Flint River Nursery.
Each year since 1995, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has hosted CoastFest, the largest event on the Georgia coast showcasing the natural and cultural assets and outdoor recreational opportunities of the region. The one-day event is organized and planned to be both entertaining and educational for the over 9,000 visitors, many of which are children, who typically attend the event. During 2013 and 2014, the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation funded the rental of a 5,000 gallon mobile aquarium which was filled with filtered seawater and specimens of saltwater fish found along the Georgia coast. DNR staff and volunteers interacted with visitors explaining the life history and habitat requirements of these species and providing information about the angling techniques commonly used when targeting these species.
Since 2004, there have been 1,646 search and rescue incidents at Georgia state parks -- with 285 lives saved. The GNRF grant enabled the Department to purchase critically needed SAR equipment ranging from gear for cave rescues to high angle equipment and swift water rescue tools. Since this new equipment was purchased, the Department has responded to 118 incidents and saved 26 lives.
Fire damage years ago put this historically accurate oven out of commission. With help from the GNRF grant, the metal parts were re-fabricated and the oven is expected to be in full operation. Warm bread from the oven will be shared with site visitors allowing Fort King Georgia to restore an important part of interpreting Georgia's history.
Three different groups that benefitted from a GNRF grant that provided funding for the Teacher Workshop Stipends/Scholarships. The first group benefitting from the GNRF grant was the Teacher Conservation Workshop (TCW). Thirty teachers attended the workshop, and they learned about forest and timber management, wildlife management practices, and conservation of the state’s water resources. The second group benefitting from the GNRF grant was (OWLS). Sixteen educators attended the OWLS workshop which teachers in attendance. This week-long workshop taught the group about wildlife conservation and provided the participants conservation lessons to take back to their classrooms. Like the campers in the ACE camp, the participants travelled around the state and learned from DNR biologists about swamp and sandhills ecology, fisheries, and red cockaded woodpeckers, and the longleaf pine ecosystem. Finally, the Advanced Training for Environmental Education in Georgia (ATEEG) has been was able to sponsor several weekend-long workshops with the assistance of GNRF funding. To date, there have been two workshops that have hosted a total of thirty educators. Additional sessions planned for throughout the year.
CEWC’s summer camps continue to be a draw for adventurous children. A portion of the grant money that was allotted to Conservation Education Camp Scholarships was used for the most popular camp: Adventures in Conservation Education (ACE). GNRF grant funds were used to cover the costs for five campers to attend the camp, and the remainder of that grant money will be used for additional children’s scholarships in the coming summer camp season. ACE campers spent a week travelling around the state learning from WRD biologists about birds and birding, bat research, herpetology, and sandhills botany, among many other things.
This project is in progress with design, specifications and purchasing completed. Delivery and installation is expected by the end of 2015. This much needed dock replacement will allow anglers of all ages, incomes and abilities to access the waters of Lake Seminole and provide opportunities to catch Catfish, Crappie and Bass.