Marine Debris Cleanup Package: February 2nd – 4th, 2014

marine debris collageOnly $649* for two nights: almost half price! *All-inclusive, double-occupancy. Tax and service charge will be applied at checkout.

One of Little St. Simons Island’s many treasures is our seven-mile stretch of undeveloped beach—seven miles that many of you have spent countless hours enjoying. More than just a beautiful landscape, these beaches also serve as prime habitat for a variety of species of wildlife. Although our beaches are otherwise pristine, it is not uncommon to find manmade debris amongst the shells and driftwood in the wrack line.

Because of the connectedness of the seas, marine debris is a widespread issue facing the world’s oceans and coastal ecosystems.  Since initiating a regular cleanup and survey on our shores, we have removed over a thousand pounds of debris from our beaches and marshes. In cooperation with the Ocean Conservancy and Rivers Alive of Georgia, we have not only been cleaning up our beach, but documenting every piece of marine debris that we remove. This information is submitted to a database of debris collected from beaches around the world. By documenting the debris we collect, we are contributing to a debris profile of our oceans.  In addition to removing potential hazards to wildlife, this data helps us create more effective solutions.

Continuing with this effort, we would like to invite you to participate in a comprehensive sweep of our beaches. With your help, we can cover a greater distance making a more significant impact on the beach.  To show our gratitude for your participation, we’re offering you this deeply-discounted package deal for the nights of February 2nd and 3rd.

Mahi, a patient at the GSTC, had an emergency flipper amputation after being tangled in monofilament. Photo: GSTC

Mahi, a patient at the GSTC, had an emergency flipper amputation after being tangled in monofilament. Photo: GSTC

Marine debris has been documented affecting at least 267 species worldwide. This includes 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species.

Entanglement and ingestion of plastic are two of the main dangers that debris poses to wildlife, and unfortunately we have seen examples of both pretty close to home. In October, a pygmy sperm whale stranded on Jekyll Island, and the necropsy revealed two large pieces of black plastic sheeting in its gut. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) has also admitted several patients suffering wounds from entanglement, and found small pieces of plastic and strands of monofilament in the digestive tracts of their patients. To learn more about individual cases, read these patient descriptions from the GSTC

Now is a critical time for debris removal. Beginning in the spring, our beach becomes feeding and nesting grounds for several species of birds including red knots, Wilson’s plovers, and American oystercatchers. We’ll also see female sea turtles feeding in the coastal waters and nesting on our beaches. In order to minimize disturbance of wildlife, marine debris cleanup is best preformed during the winter.

We would like anyone interested in learning more about marine debris issues and solutions to take advantage of this special event.  In addition to everything you expect from a stay on Little St. Simons Island, there will be an evening “Trash Talk” presentation, discussions, and a chance to make a difference for wildlife. On Monday, February 3rd, we will spend a few hours on the beach surveying and removing debris.  While the workload will be light, it will have a great impact.

As always, LSSI is limited to 32 overnight guests, so call today to reserve your room: 912.638.7472.

Please like & share:

Naturalist Fact: Manatee

Manatee (Trichechus manatus)


Manatees are large aquatic mammals found in warm coastal waters including tidal rivers and estuaries.  Often called “sea cows”, manatees are in fact more closely related to elephants than they are to cows.  Being entirely herbivorous, manatees will eat large amounts both saltwater and freshwater plants.  Manatees only have molars, which are used to grind up the plant matter they ingest.  In just one day a manatee may eat up to a tenth of its bodyweight, and they can be quite heavy.  Individuals are typically 8 to 13 feet in length and will weigh 440 to 1,300 pounds.  The average lifespan of manatees in the wild is 40 years.


Manatees prefer warm water, and tend to be found in regions where the water temperature is above 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  These gentle and slow-moving creatures will migrate north along the Atlantic coast during the warm summer months and can be found in the coastal waterways near Little St Simons Island throughout the summer.  Manatees spend most of their time resting and eating, but they can be playful as well.  Like all marine mammals, manatees must breathe air at the surface through nostrils, but can remain submerged for up to 15 minutes at a time.


Historically, manatees were often hunted for their hides, oil, and bones.  Being gentle and slow-moving made the manatee an easy target for hunters.  Today manatees are an endangered species, and they are protected by law.  Even with protection, manatees still face a number of threats including boat strikes and entanglement in fishing equipment.  On many individuals scars are visible where a wound from a boat has healed.


While it may be tempting to pet manatees or give them freshwater to bring them closer, these actions may negatively affect manatees.  Manatees may begin to associate humans or boats with these actions which can put them at higher risk for boat strikes.  If you do happen to have the exciting experience of seeing a manatee, the best thing to do is simply enjoy watching it interact with its natural environment.

Please like & share: