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VOLUME 3


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OKEFENOKEE ! W E N MULTI-DAY PASS

Visit Okefenokee Swamp Park in Waycross and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge with Okefenokee Adventures in Folkston on multiple days and at the multiple entrances, all for one new, low price. Adults - $48 each | Kids - $38 each (ages 4-11)

Your Adventure Begins Here!


ISSUE NO.3 - 2021

CREATED BY & FOR THOSE WHO LOVE SMALL TOWN SOUTHERN GEORGIA.

D.R. Pierce Founder Don@thecollectiveandcompany.com Faythe Hall Co-Founder & Editor in Chief Faythe@thecollectiveandcompany.com Saige Stokes Executive Creative Director Saige@thecollectiveandcompany.com Robert Goldinak Jr. Graphic Designer Robert@thecollectieandcompany.com Carol Dempsey Accounting Director Cover Image Chad Hoffman Contributing Photographers Collin Fuller Chad Hoffman Justin Dobson Contributng Writers Jake Eanes Opinion Pieces St. Marys Riverkeeper Satilla Riverkeeper Altamaha Riverkeeper Suwanee Riverkeeper Okefenokee Protection Alliance 100 Miles Wild Cumberaland Email | hello@thecollectiveandcompany.com Web | www.southerngeorgiamagazine.com Southern Georgia Magazine is a lifestyle publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, printing, or any other electronic or physical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in digital and print reviews. The views of contributing opinion pieces do not directly represent the views of the publication. Copyright 2021 The Collective & Company LLC.


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RIVER WARRIORS

Meet those leading the charge to restoration and preservation of our rivers and watersheds.

CRYPTID CREATURES

The hunt for a prehistoric fish that has inhabited our waterways for thousands of years.

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BLACKWATER RIVER DIVING Preserves prehistoric relics and pieces of our past.

PADDLING ADVENTURE MAP

Southern Georgia paddling trail adventures to explore in our region.

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COUNTY HAPPENINGS

From bountiful seafood festivals to pumpkin carvings, mark your calendar for the best events.


SUPERVISORY REFUGE RANGER

Meet Susie Heisey Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge supervisory ranger.

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SWEETS OF THE SOUTH

Chocolatier Dale Potts creating coastal-inspired chocolate delights.

CAMPFIRE COOKING

Stews and Soup Recipes ready for the open fire!

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THE COLLECTIVE AND CO

Meet the storytellers, dedicated to design and marketing services that surpass expectations.

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Podcast COMING SOON

Want to see Southern Georgia in your store? Small businesses are at the heart of everything we do here at Southern Georgia Magazine. You can’t buy happiness… but you can certainly buy local. Sales made are not in vain. The people who took a shot in the dark for their dreams often have to risk it all. Whether it be a career change or life savings, these business owners are real people, with real families that are being provided for. Your neighbor did or almost had to make the decision to close their business last year. We believe that a rising tide lifts all ships and we are dedicated to providing as much support to our small businesses through efforts that include intentionally only distributing our publication to small businesses. Much added benefits are coming to Southern Georgia stockists and wholesalers to help promote foot traffic to their store such as an online web directory, exclusive stockist badge, shoutouts, merchandise, features, and so much more.Visit www.southerngeorgiamagazine.com/wholesale to get Southern Georgia on your shelves.


NOW OFFERING 3D MAMMOGRAPHY

Because you matter to so many!

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FROM THE

EDITOR

For a moment, forget where you are, pour a tall glass of iced

restore and preserve the Altamha, Satilla, Suwannee, and St.

tea, sit back and stay a spell. I invite you on an exploration

Marys Rivers are the riverkeepers. We’ve invited each keeper

through these glossy pages. Join Jake Eanes on an expedition

of the river to share the threats associated with the water-

deep within the swamp, surrounded by open prairies of lily

way they are entrusted with. Our waters are also the oldest

pads and ancient cypress on his hunt for living dinosaurs. We

historians in the world. Beneath the dark ripples and waves,

are not speaking of scaly alligators, but of obscure native pre-

30-feet and more below the surface, buried in the riverbed,

historic fish that have inhabited the shadowy waters through-

blackwater river divers unearth the oldest fossils and artifacts,

out North American for tens of thousands of years. The ad-

some millions of years old. Unable to see anything but the

venturous pastime sport of angling is synonymous with this

dense curtain of blackness that surrounds them, they eager-

magnificent region we call home, anglers from all over the

ly search inch by inch on the river floors for rare treasures

world make Southern Georgia’s coastal waters and inland riv-

to add to their collection. Megalodon teeth, massive ornate

ers their quest. Our rich sweet-tea-colored rivers and water-

vertebrae of mastodons, and historic man-made creations are

ways are the veins that pulse with abundant life through the

just some of the items recovered locally in the depths of the

body of Southern Georgia. Yet, it’s a precarious time for our

St. Marys River. You’re invited to read Saige’s blackwater river

life waters, their wellbeing hangs by a thread depending on

diving adventure just a few page flips away. It’s with this year’s

river warriors. The fight is on for the most basic and essen-

“outdoor” issue that we celebrate our waterways, not only

tial human right, clean water. If we want future generations

for the many adventures that they offer locals but also the

to enjoy streams that are fishable, swimmable, and drinkable,

vital importance clean water has to our region’s eco-tourism,

then we all have a vested interest in protecting our water-

which is an economic catalyst to the communities of South-

ways. At the forefront of this battle, leading the charge to

ern Georgia.

Faythe Hall Executive Editor in Chief


PA S T O R P R E S E N T, PEOPLE OR P L A C E S, J O I N US IN THE TELLING OF SOUTHERN G E O R G I A'S C A P T I VAT I N G N A R R AT I V E. Have a story to tell? Visit our website to submit your story idea. www.SouthernGeorgiaMagazine.com

Tell me a story WITH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, FAYTHE HALL

Tell me a story, tell me the memories you cherish, the one closest to your heart, or maybe tell me what keeps you scared of the dark, the hauntings that keep you awake at night. From family memories to outdoor adventures, I want to share your story with our readers.


VIP'S

coming soon

You are cordially invited to immerse and indulge into the unparalleled experiences Southern Georgia has to offer with us. The SG VIP does not only get a first peek at new magazines, content, and merchandise, but ticketed events are limited and SG VIPs are guaranteed a seat with first access to tickets. Mingle with other SG VIPs, meet the editors, and don’t miss out on the opportunity to celebrate the life we share in Southern Georgia. With the help of local partners, we have curated immersive experiences that pay homage to the Southern Georgia culture through its ability to bring everyone together in a soul-enriching atmosphere. From exclusive boat tours down the Satilla or Altamaha with wine, cheese, and Oysters Rockafeller or dining between pecan trees surrounded by twinkling lights enjoying air being filled with the sounds from the saxophonist and aromas of dishes prepared by our top chefs and restaurants. Regardless of which dining or off-the-beaten-track we take, it will truly be an elevated Southern Georgia experience.

MAG L AUNC H PART IES C U RATE D SUB SC R IPT IO N B OXES V I P T ENT AC C ESS AT FEST IVA LS ANNUAL VIP BANQ UE T G I RLS & GUYS NIGHT ' S O U T

F IRST TICKET ACCES S TO OUTING S A ND EXCURS IONS F REE & DIS COUNTED MERCH NEW MAGA ZINES F ULL PODCA ST EPIS ODES & EXLUS IV ES

www.southerngeorgiamagazine.com/vip


THE OKEFENOKEE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & SOUTHERN GEORGIA MAGAZINE PRESENTS

3RD ANNUAL

HALLOWEEN TOWN FOLKSTON

SAT. OCTOBER 30TH

We are back! We are excited to partner with the Chamber in Folkston Georgia to host the 3rd Annual Halloween Town!!! Bigger than ever, the family-friendly spooktacular event of the year brings VILLIAN magic and a little HOCUS POCUS to Georgia. Enjoy trick or treating DOZENS of candy zones down the brick roads of main street Folkston. Along your walk, you’ll be greeted by familiar friendly VILLIANS passing out sweet treats at photo spot zones. Dance the night away at the train depot to LIVE MUSIC and join in the glow zone monster mash with Frankenstein! Chow down, with all the delicious food from a large variety of food trucks! Special Needs children and their families are invited to a special pre-event hour dedicated to teal pumpkins. WWW.HALLOWEENTOWNGEORGIA.COM


SOUTHERN GEORGIA

RiverK


EEPERS


St. Mary’s Riverkeeper From its headwaters in Georgia’s famed Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge to its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean in Florida, the 130-mile St. Marys River is a cherished resource. The river defines the boundary between the two states winding through thousands of acres of forestry land and two growing population centers. The St. Marys Riverkeeper (SMRK) plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the river, keeping it safe for tourism, recreation, commercial fishing and safe drinking water as well as protecting its diverse natural ecosystems. SMRK was founded in 2016 when the St. Marys River Management Committee helped create the nonprofit organization to monitor the health of the river. Fecal coliform impairments from poorly maintained septic systems are a primary threat to the river, creating a need for consistent, widespread water quality monitoring. SMRK trained volunteers using Georgia’s Adopt-A-Stream protocols and began adding bacterial water monitoring sites. Today, more than 50 sites are monitored for E-coli, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and other measures. It also has begun chemical monitoring and testing for toxic chemicals known as PFAS. Sites in need of water quality testing are carefully selected, and volunteers are assigned sites to test each month. A portion of the sites are monitored by high school science classes -- one of the organization’s most successful outreach projects. Efforts are focused on supplementing the states’ monitoring programs and developing a baseline dataset to look for monthly trends and identify areas in need of timely action. The water quality data is used to

advocate for improved protections from threats such as poor septic systems, coal ash, mining, landfills, and overdevelopment. The data – available at stmaryriverkeeper.org -- has been integral in making critical decisions regarding the health of the river. SMRK also works to improve the resiliency of our local communities and ecosystems. The St. Marys River watershed comprises over 40 percent wetlands; maintaining these wetlands is imperative to the health of communities. As rampant growth continues in many areas, the SMRK advocates for improved watershed planning and wetland conservation. One example of a habitat restoration project is the Fernandina Beach Old Town Living Shoreline. SMRK teamed with students from the University of North Florida to create a new oyster habitat that serves as a wave break. The project, now in its third year, has been successful in growing new oysters and providing important data for student scientists. The organization is now involved with efforts to create more living shorelines at other locations. The organization also organizes volunteer clean-up efforts, such as the annual St. Marys River Clean Up. Joining forces with Keep Nassau Beautiful, more than 250 volunteers collected more than eight tons of trash and debris in 2021. The St. Marys Riverkeeper organization has plans to expand its volunteer and educational efforts in the coming years.

The views of contributing opinion pieces do not directly reflect the views of the publication.


Altamaha Riverkeeper What Does Altamaha Riverkeeper Do? Altamaha Riverkeeper protects, defends, and restores the Altamaha Watershed - from our large rivers, the Ocmulgee, Oconee, Ohoopee and Altamaha, to the smallest tributaries and coastal marshlands. Altamaha Riverkeeper (ARK) aggressively monitors pollution and polluters throughout the watershed through a program of water sampling and analysis. ARK monitors land-based activities that impact the health of the river including forestry and agriculture practices, wetlands destruction and development. How Does Altamaha Riverkeeper Do It? On any given day you might find ARK: • Investigating a citizen complaint regarding alleged illegal dumping into a waterway; • Talking to a legislator about bills that could better protect the watershed; • Negotiating with commercial businesses or developers about ways to minimize any negative impacts on our rivers; • Working on events or talking with school classes to get more people to understand, enjoy and protect all that our streams have to offer; • Out collecting water samples, taking pictures or engaged in other activities involved in developing legal cases against known polluters. The priority is to identify locations where chemical and biological pollutants are discharged into waterways. Through water testing and site inspection, the ARK team determines whether these problems are in violation of state, local or federal law. The first step towards a solution in all of these efforts is to alert authorities to the issue and work with regulators and stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the problem. In cases where regulatory agencies decline to act, then ARK will work to rally public support, and if necessary, resort to legal action against the polluter and/or regulators. Finally, if current laws do not provide adequate remedies, then partners in the Georgia Water Coalition work to develop policy proposals or legislation to address shortcomings in state environmental regulations.

The views of contributing opinion pieces do not directly reflect the views of the publication.


entity such as DNR, US Fish & Wildlife, or NOAA. Nearly two years have passed since the Golden Ray cargo vessel capsized without a NRDA in place to measure the extent of environmental damage caused by the oil and contaminants spilled into our waterways, coating St. Simons beaches and surrounding marshes. Community members can take action by writing letters or calling Georgia leaders to request a NRDA be started. Visit the Altamaha Riverkeeper Facebook page or website to easily send a letter directly to Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The fight for clean water is a fight for one of the most basic and essential human rights. If we want a future with streams that are fishable, swimmable and drinkable, then we all have a vested interest in protecting our waterways. Today, water resources are declining in quantity and quality in many parts of our watershed. Altamaha Riverkeeper works to defend our water resources against anyone whose activities threaten those resources that belong to all of us. To succeed, your help is needed. With your support, the Altamaha Riverkeeper can continue to be a strong watchdog and the voice for the Altamaha, Ocmulgee, Oconee, and Ohoopee Rivers, their tributaries, and the Altamaha delta at the Atlantic Ocean. Take action - Become an ARK Member Community members can participate in watershed protection in many ways. Join Altamaha Riverkeeper: ARK membership fees help make our work possible. Members also receive the ARK newsletter and action alerts to stay informed about volunteer opportunities. Volunteers can assist with watershed monitoring and reporting incidents, watershed cleanups, and advocacy.

In the central watershed, ARK is working with citizens of Juliette GA to hold Georgia Power accountable for coal ash that is contaminating the community’s ground water. Plant Scherer in Juliette is one of five Georgia Power sites with unlined coal ash pits planned to be sealed in place – meaning there is no protection from toxic leachate into the groundwater. ARK, along with community members impacted by contaminated drinking water, is pushing for coal ash to be moved to lined landfills and for Georgia Power to be held accountable for damage to the drinking supply in effected communities. The public can support this effort by attending public meetings and by contacting legislators and the EPD to advocate for greater protections for public health: requiring coal ash be disposed in lined pits with leachate prevention. Public comment is currently being accepted by GA EPD for the permit that would allow Georgia Power to seal in place coal ash pits with no groundwater protection. You can write GA EPD at epdcomments@dnr.ga.gov. For more information and to stay up to date on Altamaha Riverkeeper’s initiatives, follow ARK on Facebook www.facebook. com/AltamahaRiverkeeper and visit altamahariverkeeper.org.

Currently, the priority action in the ARK lower watershed is to push for a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) to be initiated to fully assess the impact of the Golden Ray Incident in St Simons Sound. A NRDA must be initiated by an The views of contributing opinion pieces do not directly reflect the views of the publication.


“If we want a future with streams that are fishable, swimmable and drinkable, then we all have a vested interest in protecting our waterways.”


Drinking Tea with the Satilla River By: Chris Bertrand, Satilla Riverkeeper

Everyone loves tea. However, not everyone knows that Mother Nature loves tea too. The Satilla River is one of the few blackwater rivers in Georgia. Most blackwater rivers are found in the Southern United States or in the Amazon. In Georgia, these rivers are a unique attribute of South Georgia. A celebration of South Georgia’s waterways and wetlands would not be complete without giving a nod to these unique and special riverine ecosystems. The most distinctive characteristic of these rivers is their dark colored water. This “iced tea” color originates from tannins which leach out of plants. One way in which tannins find their way into the Satilla River is called the “tea-bag” effect. After heavy rain events, the Satilla will flood her banks and push her water into adjacent wetlands. This is analogous to someone preparing their tea by pouring hot water into a cup. The Satilla drops her water into the “cup” of the bordering wetlands. The Satilla doesn’t need to buy tea bags because the adjacent wetlands provide their own. Mother Nature’s tea bag commonly includes ingredients such as the barks of trees, leaves, buds, fruits, seeds, and sticks-a delicious mixture by anyone’s standards. After the Satilla fills up the wetlands, her water levels gradually lower and the Satilla recedes to its more defined channels. As the water levels decrease, the Satilla leaves some of her water in the pockets of the wetlands to steep that water in its earthy concoction of sticks, leaves, and plants. Just like any tea-lover, the Satilla does not fail to retrieve her brew once the time is right. As rain falls, the Satilla once again expands outwards to revisit her neighboring wetlands. However, this time when she recedes back to her main channel, the Satilla brings

some of her excellently brewed ice-tea colored water back with her. Any tea that the Satilla forgets to take may also find its way back to the main channel through subsurface seeps through the groundwater. As the Satilla takes her newly brewed tea with her, the Satilla also remembers to leave some more water in her wetland teacups in order to make her next batch. The Satilla River’s consistent tea brewing benefits others too. For example, the expanse of its water into the wetlands, expands the food opportunities for the fish in the river. Fish like the redbreast sunfish will have a buffet of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates to munch on as the expanding river water covers dry ground and connects with wetlands. The nutrients and detritus brought back in the tea will also provide more food for fish by feeding the lower levels of the food web. Overall, more tea means more food for the fish and better fishing for anglers. The Satilla River is an amazing resource. The river is an excellent place to paddle and one of the best fishing spots in Georgia. The Satilla is especially unique in the United States as a blackwater river and one of the last undammed rivers. However, as the region changes and develops new challenges arise for the Satilla River and her wildlife. Different sources of pollution and habitat degradation threaten this natural wonder. At the Satilla Riverkeeper, we spend each day fighting to protect the river. We invite you to join our mission to ensure that the Satilla River can be enjoyed for generations to come. To join, check us out at www.satillariverkeeper.org.

The views of contributing opinion pieces do not directly reflect the views of the publication.


Suwannee Riverkeeper “Incredibly remote, yet noisy with wildlife!” said Gretchen Quarterman, Executive Director of WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), after she paddled across the Okefenokee Swamp from Kingfisher Landing to Stephen C. Foster State Park. “Unfortunately, the trees had not regenerated after the fires a few years ago. I hope the ring of prescribed burns around the Swamp keeps that from happening again.” WWALS member Bobby McKenzie wrote, “As a world traveler for the past 20 plus years I must say I never would have thought I would have used the term enchantment to describe a swamp, but it’s the best word for the Okefenokee Swamp. My adventures have taken me to many amazing places that most people have never heard of or will see in their lifetime. Like them, the Okefenokee Swamp is a wonderous and inspiring place. Recently I paddled with WWALS eight peaceful miles out from Stephen C. Foster State Park to camp at Floyds Island. The green cathedral-like tunnel toward the island was like a portal to a fairytale dimension. The colors of the fall, the canopy formation of the trees, and the mirrored reflections were hypnotizing. We could have paddled this natural tunnel for hours and still want more. The Okefenokee is an enchanting place that you never knew you needed to experience.” Yet for the second time in twenty years, a titanium strip mine threatens the Okefenokee Swamp. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has abdicated oversight, leaving only the state of Georgia, with decisions on five permit applications, standing between the miners and the Swamp. You can help Suwannee Riverkeeper save the Okefenokee Swamp by asking the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to thoroughly review and reject those permit applications: https://wwals.net/?p=55092 Some of the Swamp’s water drains down the St. Marys River to the Atlantic. But somewhere between 85 to 92% goes into the Suwannee River, including through Strange Island, Cypress, and Little Swannee Creeks. There is no dam between the river basins, so anything that contaminates the Swamp or lowers its water level or affects the underlying Floridan Aquifer will affect the Suwannee River. The Suwannee rolls on past Fargo through Ware, Clinch, and Echols Counties, Georgia, on through Florida to the Gulf.

signs at I-75 Exit 16 say “Okefenokee Swamp 62 Miles.” The Swamp is an economic advantage to all of southeast Georgia and northeast Florida, and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) contributes more economically to each of Florida and Georgia than any other NWR. WWALS organizes paddle outings all over the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in both states. Every full moon, we paddle out on Banks Lake NWR west of Lakeland, GA, to see the sun set, the moon rise, and the bats fly. Mike Lusk, Manager of both Banks Lake and Okefenokee NWRs, paddled with us on Halloween 2020. That’s in the Alapaha River Basin. We also do several Alapaha River paddles a year, often over some nice rapids. On November 6, we will hike to the Dead River Sink, where the Alapaha River disappears underground for most of the year, coming back up after three days and twenty miles at the Alapaha Rise on the Suwannee River. To encourage people to get out and see our marvelous rivers, swamps, and lakes, WWALS has produced online maps, z-fold brochures, road signs, and at-water signs for an Alapaha River Water Trail and a Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail. We are currently taking 360-degree pictures along the rivers, which are appearing on Earthviews.com. WWALS does many paddles on the Withlacoochee River, including along the west edge of Valdosta, and down past two of the only six second-magnitude springs in Georgia. Every fall, our WWALS Boomerang paddle race goes into Florida and back upstream to Georgia. Fortunately, Valdosta’s chronic sewage spills are much less frequent and less severe, after a record big one in December 2019. WWALS ramped up our water quality testing program to gather E. coli data, while helping coordinate the many concerned citizens with numerous elected officials. GAEPD issued a Consent Order that required Valdosta to test three times a week on forty river miles to the state line, along with many sewer system improvements. Before that, WWALS accumulated thirty organizations to ask GA-EPD to publish sewage spill reports the same day they get them, and now that happens.

Way over on the Withlacoochee River at Valdosta,

The views of contributing opinion pieces do not directly reflect the views of the publication.


On a cheery note, we just held our Fourth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, with nine finalists from Atlanta to Palatka and Tallahassee to Kathy Lou Gilman from Kingsland, back for her second time, this year with “The Legend of the Suwannee.” Everybody had fun, and press and social media coverage brings more awareness to our rivers, swamps, sinks, and springs, and to the work WWALS does. Maybe you’d like to become a member, or join a committee. Or just come paddle with us. About WWALS: Founded in June 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity. WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. Since December 2016, John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin. See wwals.net or suwanneeriverkeeper.org.


CRYP


TID

C R E AT U R E S Written By: Jake Eanes Photography by: Collin Fuller, Chad Hoffman, and Justin Dobson


INTO THE SWAMP

Imagine yourself deep in a swamp surrounded by open prairies of lily pads, meandering creeks lined with gargantuan cypress, and even man-made canals carved through the living landscape. Enormous, red-headed Pileated woodpeckers knock away at the bleached skeletons of ancient trees long dead. Herons and ibis stalk the edges of the waterways in search of their next meal. The swish of the paddle or the near-silent prodding of the push pole is the only form of locomotion through the black waters of this remarkable place.

Suddenly, mere feet from your small aluminum jon boat, a massive scaled head emerges from the nearly opaque waters. An alligator, the swamp’s largest and most physically intimidating inhabitant. These overgrown lizards eye you with some amount of casual boredom, recognizing themselves for what they are, the apex predators of their environment. It can be hard to appreciate the scene that envelopes you. It isn’t quite like anything you have ever seen before. Mostly unchanged for thousands of years, the Okefenokee swamp carries on the traditions of the ancient world in its own simplistic ways. The swamp has seen early native inhabitants, the endurance of European settlers and the steady creeping of the modern world as it nears and then recedes once again. Despite plans to drain the swamp, create farm and pastureland, and log the primordial cypress with their heavy beards of draping Spanish moss, the swamp survives. The Okefenokee endures.


The name of the swamp translates to “trembling earth” and characterizes the nature of the ‘land’ that makes up much of the region, peat moss. Mounds of this floating and decaying vegetation give the false appearance of solid ground until the observer notices its slow movements in the current or how they gently rock when presented by a passing boat’s wake. Frequently as deep as 12 feet and even capable of supporting a grown man’s weight, these moving islands give the landscape the appearance of a living thing. In a place where the plants devour the insects and where the fish and animals have evolved to eat each other, even the land doesn’t want to remain still for too long. It’s a hostile environment, full of life and yet not altogether welcoming. The dark, tannic waters that make up the life-blood of the swamp seem intent on keeping its own secrets mired beneath the black surface. This trip has been a long time coming for us. I journeyed into the swamp once before but, due to an unfortunate accident while camping, was forced to cut my expedition short before I was able to catch bowfin. Having survived my self-inflicted 2nd and 3rd-degree burns, I needed to return to prove to myself that I could deal with whatever the swamp might throw at me.

“The alligator, the swamp’s largest and most physically intimidating inhabitant.”


Years ago, I heard about the incredible fishing in the Okefenokee for a species that was unfamiliar to me, bowfin. Living dinosaurs, the native bowfin has lived in still waters throughout North America for tens of millions of years. The last of their family of fish, the bowfin is most similar to the gar family that still abides throughout the continent. Both bowfin and gar are capable of breathing air and surviving in the acidic and low oxygen levels of the swamp in South Georgia. They are known by countless names often localized to specific regions; I have heard them called, grinnel, dogfish, blackfish and in Georgia they are most often referred to as mudfish. Call them what you will, these living fossils are miraculous for their tenacity and ability to survive. Many however, view this species as a “trash” fish due to the poor table fair it provides. Luckily, some fly fishermen out of Atlanta had made it their business to promote this amazing fishery and the species that was being needlessly treated so poorly. The guys at Winged Reel ended up creating an epic short film about the swamp, its surroundings and its toothy inhabitants. They titled their film “One Man’s Trash” as a reference to the maligned bowfin of South Georgia. Their efforts inspired me to pursue these fish and proved to be one of the most invaluable resources I had while planning my trip to the Okefenokee. Even better than using just the film as our guide though,


one of the Winged Reel founders, Justin, was actually going to come with us too! I first met Justin in the Fall while guiding some business companions of his. After he and I discussed my intentions on returning to the Okefenokee, Justin decided he would take the weekend and join us on our bowfin quest. A knowledgeable and extremely experienced fisherman, we were elated to have his companionship on our trip. A multitude of other species survive in the acidic, predator-filled waters and these other fish are much more likely to be targeted by locals generally because they provide superior table fare. After all, the Okefenokee can often be seen as a place where things are done more out of necessity than simple sporting intentions. Chain pickerel are toothy predators that live amongst the lilies and channels of the prairies and canals. Chain pickerel, referred to locally as jackfish, are scrappy fighters in their own right and have jagged teeth much like their muskellunge and Northern pike relatives. Their smaller cousins, redfin pickerel, make their homes in the little tributaries that feed the swamp. Many species of bream and catfish abound as well. Flyer are the preeminent panfish in the swamp and resemble something mixed between a bluegill and a crappie. Warmouth represent the next step up in size from flyer. They are similar to the rock bass that are spread throughout the U.S. and


Reclamation

TRIP

“This trip has been a long time coming for us. I journeyed into the swamp once before but, due to an unfortunate accident while camping, was forced to cut my expedition short before I was able to catch bowfin. Having survived my self-inflicted 2nd and 3rd-degree burns, I needed to return to prove to myself that I could deal with whatever the swamp might throw at me.”


“One Man’s Trash” southern Canada. Bullheads are in the catfish family and are famous scavengers living in some of the deeper waters in the area. Finally, Florida gar make the swamp their home just like their bowfin cousins. They are most similar to spotted gar both in size, coloration and habit preference. My cohorts and I pulled into our Folkston campground around 01:30 on Saturday morning. Eager to hit the water, we awaited daylight with bated breath. Awakening to a surprisingly crisp morning that might have touched into the upper 50 degrees and knowing that bowfin prefer warmer water, we met with Justin a littler later on, giving the water a chance to absorb some


of the sun’s warmth for the day. With little to no information regarding bowfin angling, Justin had assured us in the weeks prior that “flashy flies” were the ticket to scoring numbers of bowfin. With this insider information in mind, we reached out to Adam Hudson at Blue Line Co. and gave him free rein on a handful of custom tied flies specifically made for bowfin. With rods rigged and ready we launched from the Suwannee canal ramp just before 09:00 with attentive eyes searching

for gulping bowfin coming up to the surface for a quick breath of air. We meandered past canoers, kayakers and perhaps a dozen jon boats filled with fishermen looking to fill their coolers. We pushed on past this crowd looking for solitude and bowfin, undesirable as a food fish and thus overlooked by pretty much everyone besides our motley crew. Justin and I took the lead in his boat, he used the same technique passed down for thousands of years and “poled” our vessel through the


narrow canoe trails of the swamp. As he prodded us along, I took my first casts in the swamp in years. Justin regaled me with some of his personal experiences in the Okefenokee while I threw casts to structure and then again into the open channel ahead of us. It didn’t take more than perhaps twenty minutes until a solid thump transmitted through the fly line and into my hands, fish on! A vicious 30-second battle brought a dark, scaly fish to my hands. As I carefully worked to avoid her jagged teeth, Justin snapped a few quick shots of my fish. She might not seem particularly noteworthy to a local or even to many others who have caught bowfin but hell, I wanted to catch her so badly. This little bowfin was amazing to me. It represented years of anticipation finally come to a head. I finally got to hold one of these amazing, native fish in my hands after years of planning. The slimy mucus that sloughed off in my hands was a trophy to remind me of the little success that meant such a disproportional amount to me. Mere moments later while passing along some information to Collin and Chad behind us, I hooked up again. This bowfin was a tad larger and hit my fly with the same ornery disposition as his sibling! The fight of a bowfin is remarkable. They hit a fly like a Northern pike, seeking to do as


much damage as possible on initial contact. However, the fight doesn’t stop there as a hooked bowfin will twist, roll, dig and jump to escape being pulled up into the boat. These fish put on a battle to rival any other close quarters competitor in freshwater fly fishing. They may not peel line off of a reel like a common carp but they refuse to come to an angler without using every trick at their disposal. With just two small bowfin in the boat, my trip was completely made. I was surrounded by an amazing eco-system, with great friends, catching a unique species that has haunted me for years. In just an hour in the swamp, I found my contentment. I spent much of the rest of the day either poling or utilizing our trolling motor to slowly maneuver our boat in the calm waters. While Chad and I plied the current for flyer, warmouth and whatever else may bite, Collin was busy having the time of his life catching monster fish in what we came to call “Bowfin alley”.

Bowfin Alley “A vicious 30-second battle brought a dark, scaly fish to my hands.”


The Battle Raged On Collin was fortunate enough to hook into several excellent fish while we were away. He and Justin battled fish of 6, 12, and even possibly as much as 15 pounds! It’s even possible that Collin’s largest fish could have been a potential state record fish for a fly rod! We may never know though as Collin’s big fish was smart enough to dig itself deep into one of the peat mats. Despite his best efforts and stout 20-pound fluorocarbon, we fishermen never stood a chance against that monster bowfin! I’m sure that Collin’s taste with glory on just our first morning will have him coming back for years to come. While Collin and I had both found the success we were looking for, Chad had not yet put a fish in the boat. Justin being the congenial fishing partner that he is, had Chad hop in his boat and patiently poled our friend through some excellent-looking water. Collin and I looked on as Chad hooked multiple bowfin and Florida gar just to have them come off at some point during the fight. We playfully teased Chad although our confidence never wavered that he would catch a great fish. Finally, as Collin and I were quietly stalking gar, we heard the water erupt with a leaping fish


from nearby the other boat. As the battle raged on, we watched Chad and Justin fight the fish into open water before landing a hearty bowfin! Later, Chad finished our fishing on day one with his first-ever chain pickerel. That fish shot out of nearby lilies and ripped around under the boat before being wrangled inside. All in all, our fishing was a tremendous success due in no small part to how much Justin assisted us with poling the boat and locating the fish. To close out our day we hiked the nearby boardwalk to an observation tower overseeing much of the eastern side of the Okefenokee. We watched the sun begin to set and took in the majesty of this enormous natural resource that remains so poorly known even today.

On day two we were entirely on our own schedule. Justin was on his way back to Atlanta and we three humble fishermen had decided to fish the same stretch as yesterday. We only had a few hours to fish so that Chad could return home to central Alabama. Despite my fears regarding putting three of us in my 12-foot jon boat, my 50-year old flat bottom handled the situation with aplomb. We cruised out to our spot and went about the process of carefully fishing out of our heavily laden craft. Collin was hunting for gar while Chad shot film and I blind cast for bowfin. I managed to pick up a few including two “buzzer beaters”. As we were wrapping up for the afternoon I gave myself 5 more casts. On number 4, my Blue Line Fly got nailed by a healthy mid-size mudfish. Lastly, on our way out of


Bowfin Alley I was trolling the fly some 55 feet behind the boat. Maybe 3 minutes into my doing this my fingers suffered some line burn as a fish ripped line out of my hands! Unexpected but no less welcome! Chad even got on the board with his own buzzer-beater as we were nearly out of the canal when he hooked another excellent pickerel like his final fish the day before! With his giant teeth, this fish looked like his much larger pike and muskie cousins of northern fame. Another great day behind us, it was time to enjoy one of our fishing traditions; a trip to the local Mexican restaurant for cervezas and queso. The swamp is full of life and needs to remain that way forever. Bear, deer, and scores of birds and amphibious species round out the incredible eco-system that

has survived and adapted to live here. Although attempts have been made to destroy the Okefenokee before, the swamp outlasted its detractors. Now though, another issue has arisen on the swamp’s borders. Mining stands poised to do irreparable harm to the headwaters that feed and support the swamp’s unique ecology. With the weakening of watershed protections over the last few years, the Okefenokee now finds itself in a precarious position. Is the risk of short-term resource extraction worth the long-term benefits of a healthy eco-system? Please read up on the issue and consider taking a stance in favor of protecting the mighty Okefenokee. This amazing place deserves our greatest protections to ensure that it can be experienced for generations to come.

“Is the risk of short-term resource extraction worth the longterm benefits of a healthy eco-system? “


Georgia’s 100-mile coast is a wonder of the world-worthy of our pride and deserving of our protection. Known for its vast salt marshes, abundant wildlife, and undeveloped beaches, our wild coast is unique among our neighbors up and down the east coast. While our coast certainly needs to be celebrated, it is by no means an accident. Generations of visionary landowners, philanthropists, and citizens have dedicated their lives to protecting the unique natural features of our coast. Over the years, these efforts have largely paid off. Unlike our neighbors in Florida and South Carolina, only four of Georgia’s 14 barrier islands are accessible by car and developed—all thanks to the foresight of landowners and advocates who ensured the protection of treasured places like Cumberland Island National Seashore, Sapelo Island, Little St. Simons Island, and others.

advocacy, education, and citizen engagement. Our board and staff understand that conservation action is part of our coastal identity and takes shape in many forms. For OHM, advocacy means sharing what you love with others so that they may also come to value it. Once we value something, only then will we work to protect it.

There are numerous examples of this stewardship and foresight. In 1970, after thousands of concerned citizens demanded the legislature and governor protect our salt marsh from the threat of mining, the landmark Salt Marsh Protection Act was passed. As a result, today Georgia boasts 33% of the remaining salt marsh on the eastern U.S. Meanwhile, a network of dedicated volunteers known as the Georgia Sea Turtle Collaborative have worked for nearly 60 years to protect our state’s beloved loggerhead sea turtles. Today, scientists and volunteers continue to work to ensure the survival of threatened and endangered sea turtles, shorebirds, right whales and other important species that call Georgia’s coast home.

Spaceport Camden threatens Cumberland Island National Seashore. Camden County officials want to build a spaceport that would shoot rockets over Cumberland Island National Seashore. These rockets have a failure rate of more than 20% and explosions could cause fire and contaminants to destroy our coast’s only congressionally-designated wilderness area, the surrounding salt marsh, and private homes on Little Cumberland and Cumberland Islands. We need your help to stop Spaceport Camden. If you are a registered voter in Camden County, go to OneHundredMiles.org/Spaceport to learn more and sign a petition that could lead to a county-wide referendum on the project.

In 2013, One Hundred Miles was founded by some of these very same visionary leaders. With staff in both Brunswick and Savannah, we work to preserve and protect Georgia’s 100-mile coast

Mining threatens the Okefenokee Swamp. The Okefenokee Swamp is home to the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi. Alligators, wading birds, turtles, and black birds all

We provide people who live along and love our coast opportunities to take action to protect it. Today, three project proposals are currently causing us grave concern and we need your help to stop them.


kind make their home in the Okefenokee’s peat beds, cypress forests, and tannin-soaked waters. And every year, more than 600,000 visitors flock to the Swamp, which was designated as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1937. We need your help to stop an ill-conceived proposal to build a titanium mine that could destroy this irreplaceable ecological and cultural resource. Visit OneHundredMiles.org/Okefenokee to learn more and submit comments about the proposed mining project to Georgia EPD. Summer dredging threatens nesting sea turtles. Georgians love their sea turtles. So, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans dredge our harbors during loggerhead sea turtle nesting season—jeopardizing the lives of nesting females and setting conservation efforts back decades—the public outcry was loud and swift. Thanks to the overwhelming opposition and a preliminary injunction by federal district court Judge Stan Baker, summer dredging was prevented during the 2021 nesting season. But we are not out of the woods yet: the Corps is still advancing plans for spring and summer dredging in future years. Learn more and speak out against this dangerous plan at OneHundredMiles.org/Dredging. Our wild, unparalleled coast is both a challenge and an opportunity for Georgians. We must constantly work to ensure bad ideas don’t destroy this unique place. But it also presents us with the chance to work in our own backyards to protect the special landscapes, wildlife, and communities we call home—for us and generations yet to come.

The views of contributing opinion pieces do not directly reflect the views of the publication.


Now or Never for the Okefenokee For generations, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has proven a point of pride. A source of renewal and inspiration, millions of people from all over the world have flocked to the swamp, earning the refuge its place among the country’s most visited and valued natural areas. Despite its cherished—even sacred—status, the refuge is now under attack. An out of state mining company is seeking to develop the first phase of a titanium dioxide mining operation that stands to alter the very character of the Okefenokee forever. If the mining executes its long-term vision, draglines and bulldozers would eventually destroy roughly 6,000 football fields worth of land, coming within hundreds of feet of the Okefenokee, all in search of minerals commonly used to whiten paper and household paints. People driving Swamp Perimeter Road would be stunned by the contrast in their view: the famed Okefenokee on their left; an industrial moonscape, with mining pits, buildings, and infrastructure on their right. It’s hard to imagine the impact this would have on local communities. When DuPont tried to develop a similar mine decades ago, the people of Georgia, along with the U.S. Department of the Interior and Georgia Board of Natural Resources, successfully fought back. It was a decision that paid off. At that time, tourism numbered roughly 400,000 people per year. Today, the refuge records as many as 700,000 visits and could become the first World Heritage Site in the National Wildlife Refuge System. If mining near the swamp was bad for business then, it’s

it’s even more foolhardy today, with over 750 jobs supported by the refuge. In terms of large, intact wetlands, the Okefenokee stands alone. In North Carolina and Virginia, the Great Dismal Swamp is but a shadow of its original size, the casualty of shortsighted development. The Great Black Swamp of Ohio and Indiana once covered nearly a million acres, yet suffered a similar fate, as did the Everglades of Florida, which supports only a fraction of its historical wildlife. Having survived, the Okefenokee functions as it has for millennia, feeding two rivers and nourishing thousands of species. To lose oneself in its watery prairies, remote lily ponds, and blackwater channels is an enchanting experience that leaves an indelible mark upon thousands of paddlers and anglers every year. Under the best of circumstances, this wilderness experience would be blighted by noise and light, the swamp’s wildlife disrupted and scattered by long-term mining operations. At worst, the entire Okefenokee, through a lowering of the water table, could be irreversibly compromised, eliminating habitat and exposing the swamp to catastrophic fires, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For these plainly unacceptable dangers, the mining project has engendered near-universal opposition. Over 100,000 comments have been submitted from all 50 states and dozens of countries opposing or voicing concerns. The views of contributing opinion pieces do not directly reflect the views of the publication.


University faculty, independent experts, and political leaders have expressed similar sentiments. Over 40 organizations, representing millions of members, recently formed the Okefenokee Protection Alliance, one of the country’s largest site-based coalitions. Even TIAA, the corporate giant, has refused to let mining operate on its land near the refuge. It is within this context that Georgia will make a historic decision, electing to either issue or reject the first set of permits in the coming months. Considered a test case for the larger industry, if the mining is given the green light, additional companies are sure to follow suit. If denied, the threat of mining near the Okefenokee will likely be brought to its natural end, securing in perpetuity one of Georgia’s greatest assets. History has shown that, if there is a right decision to be made, it’s the one that protects the refuge and the people and wildlife that depend on it. Had we let DuPont proceed years ago, the Okefenokee would be unrecognizable today. No one will regret our decision to once more protect the refuge, but our children will judge us for abandoning our values—for damaging a natural treasure without equal. You can encourage Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division to reject the permits for this ill-conceived project and learn more by visiting ProtectOkefenokee.org.


WILD CUMBERLAND: WILDERNESS ADVOCATES What is Wilderness? Mindful of our “increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization,” Congress passed the 1964 Wilderness Act to preserve and protect certain lands “in their natural condition” and to “secure for present and future generations the benefits of wilderness.” The Act recognized the value of preserving “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Wilderness was designed to protect some of our most valuable natural resources from ourselves. It helps to protect air, water, and other ecosystem components that are critical for our survival. It provides a respite from the developed world, and some of the best places for scientists, students, and the public to learn about natural resources. Why Cumberland Island? Our state has an extensive history of logging, canal digging, and agriculture. Cumberland Island is no exception: it paid a steep price in timber harvesting and sea island cotton farming. Large plantations were established and most of the inland maritime forest was harvested or plowed, but when the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished, these plantations collapsed and the island’s natural ecosystems were offered a reprieve.

rents — and reducing storm surge, flooding, and other severe storm impacts. The estuary systems that have developed between the mainland and Cumberland Island serve as nurseries for crabs, oysters, shrimp, fish and more. In fact, Georgia has the second-largest amount of salt marshes in the entire United States — and they produce more food energy than any other estuarine zone on the eastern Seaboard. Development, channel dredging and river dams even “far upriver” affect the sand and sediment that are necessary to fortify our coastal barrier islands. Much of our state’s coast has been developed and altered in ways that have permanently affected natural systems. Current Threats Since the Wilderness Act was passed, the threats to Wilderness have exceeded what its writers could have imagined. Right now, a spaceport proposes to use our state-owned marshes and Wilderness as a “buffer” for small rockets. Capsized ships leaking oil and abandoned vessels litter the same waterways that endangered species traverse. Proposed changes in the dredging of our shipping channels threaten decades of sea turtle conservation efforts.

In 1982, Congress bestowed the highest level of protection possible to Cumberland Island National Seashore: over 20,000 acres of recovering maritime forests, wetlands, tidal creeks, marshes, and sand dunes were designated as Wilderness and Potential Wilderness.

Privatized space travel, development on the island and across the intracoastal waterway, political tug-of-wars, and increasing ecological stress from climate change are combining to imperil the public lands that were set aside decades ago to be protected and preserved for future generations.

Less than 5% of the United States is afforded this level of protection. Nearly half of that is in Alaska. Georgia contains less than 1% of the nation’s Wilderness acreage.

Protecting the Cumberland Island Wilderness is an investment in recreation, education, and our own survival.

As the largest and Southernmost barrier islands in Georgia, Cumberland provides a rich biological and ecological diversity that has been destroyed elsewhere on our state’s coast. Species living in naturally-functioning ecosystems — such as Cumberland Island Wilderness — have the best opportunities to thrive. Critically-endangered sea turtles rely on Cumberland Island’s undeveloped shores for nesting each summer. Cumberland also hosts the largest freshwater lake on any of our state’s barrier islands, which serves an important role for migrating birds. Why Are Barrier Islands Important? Undeveloped barrier islands are exactly what they sound like: they serve as natural buffers, protecting our mainland communities by absorbing the impacts of winds, waves, and cur-

About Wild Cumberland Wild Cumberland is a nonprofit organization staffed completely by volunteers -- people just like you — who understand the importance of Wilderness to our survival. “There is just one hope for repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every inch on the whole earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom and preservation of the wilderness.” -- Bob Marshall


How Can You Help? ● Visit www.wildcumberland.org to learn more ● Sign up for our monthly email newsletter ● Follow Wild Cumberland on social media (Instagram: @wild_cumberland, Facebook: @wildcumberand.org) ● Share how much you value Wilderness with your elected officials and the National Park Service. ● Donate to help raise awareness of Cumberland Island Wilderness — and our role in protecting it. Did You Know? ● The waters off Georgia’s coast are primary calving grounds for the North Atlantic right whale, one of the rarest marine mammals on our planet ● Cumberland Island and Manhattan are approximately the same size ● More than 335 species of birds have been reported on Cumberland Island ● Cumberland Island was once designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ● Cumberland Island is a destination on the Southeast Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail


In the black abyss... she preserves prehistoric relics and pieces of our past that hold tales patiently waiting to be discovered and told as they drift along her murky Georgia river floors. Where do your deepest fears linger? Does your courage prevail in the darkest of depths? As emptiness fills every crevice, your eyes can’t believe what they are seeing. Uncertain whether or not they are opened or closed. Instinctively you quickly shut them and sink with the led weights guiding you to your adventure. The black veil makes the space feel desolate, yet limitless with the mystery of not knowing what could be lingering only inches away. Thirty seconds feel stretched into minutes as you drop into the unknown. The tip of your diving fin finally scrapes the gravel bed, your knees drop to the river bottom, and you let out the breath you’ve been holding since the last time you saw a ripple of light. The realization sinks in as you just did. The rest of your story, as many before you, is at the mercy of the St. Marys River. The search begins.


BLACKWATER river diving Saige Stokes


Captain Terri Whitlock aboard the Shamrock with a diver back rolling backwards off the boat.


Southern Georgia rivers hold a past that is intricately woven with secrets and mysteries, triumphs and travesties, and peaking through the sandy bottoms is untouched treasures anticipating its finder. However, blackwater river diving is not for the faint of heart. If you have an overwhelming fear of alligators, sharks, snakes, or the dark... this is not for you. Captains Terri and Chris Whitlock, owners of Diver's Den Georgia, have been scuba diving in the St. Marys River for over twenty years. Not only that, but year-round they bring adventurers from all over the country to aboard their 26-foot Shamrock to visit our region's most popular dive sites.


Terri's love for the water never led her too far from the coast or away from its depths. She became a SCUBA Instructor in 1997, is full-cave certified, and is a rebreather diver. She holds a captain's license from the U.S. Coast Guard. She used to drive tugboats at Kingsbay Naval Base and was also given the opportunity to train dolphins and sea lions for the navy. Her husband, Chris, is also a former tugboat captain. He became a SCUBA Instructor in 2000 and his favorite part is seeing the energy and excitement of new students when they get to experience their first open water dive. No diving experience is required to sign-up for your first SCUBA training class and it is open to all ages. From zero training or knowledge about diving up to professional diver training, world-class diving courses can be found at Diver's Den Georgia. They are an SDI/TDI teaching facility, offering everything from beginning Open Water Diver to Advanced, Specialty, and Leadership certifications. Whether you choose to jump or roll off the boat backward like the pros your first dive, no one is getting in the open water until they have been schooled in Divers Den's heated, indoor pool under the guidance of their experienced instructor's watchful eye. Not only do they equip divers with the knowledge to be safe in their underwater journey, but all of the gear divers need including oxygen tanks can be purchased, rented, or serviced at their expansive shop within the dive center.


Blackwater river diving is described exactly how it sounds, however it is not to be confused when used only as "blackwater diving" which means diving at night in just any dark waters. Thankfully this Southern Georgia River allows our visitors to dive in the dark day or night. The St. Marys River begins deep within the depths of the Okefenokee Swamp, drawing the border between the Georgia and Florida line, winding a 190mile stream with the majority being centered in Folkston and Kingsland, ending her path at the Cumberland Sound, a short 40-miles from the Atlantic Ocean's headwaters, she is a remote blackwater stream. The 7,000-yearold Okefenokee Swamp, also known as "Land of the Trembling Earth" due to its endless peat-filled bog, with a dish-shaped compression that was once a piece of the ocean

floor. Formed by organic material, the peat is formed by the decay of plants in water. The dark sweet tea color of the swamp that flows through the also peat-filled marshes into the St. Marys River is due to a tannic acid that is released into the water by peat and decaying vegetation, and there is a lot of it. Despite the massive length of the river, it is actually the smallest outlet for the Okefenokee Swamp compared to the Suwanee River that flows into the Gulf of Mexico near Cedar Key, Florida. Only one-fifth of the water from the Okefenokee Swamp makes its way down both of these rivers. The rest evaporates as about 95% of the water in the swamp comes from rainfall. In 2020 the Okefenokee Swamp and the St. Marys River were both named among America’s Most Endangered Rivers® with their threat being titanium mining.


An otolith from the inner ear bone of a whale oddly looks a lot like the shape of a human ear! Since these are common finds, they're sometimes thrown back into the river for the next diver to recover.

Experiencing the beauty of our preserved waterways is unlike any other. Above the water is something magical where every sunset is painted in the sky just for you and is distinct every evening, inimitable it dances in the reflection between the waves and ripples. The expedition below the surface embracing what seems to be capsulated in time is what the intrepid divers from all over the world are longing to discover. Justin Moore is no exception to the kind of adventurer who prefers an escape from the mundane. He learned to dive in the Carolina's in 1999. For over thirteen years he has been with Diver's Den Georgia where he is an SDI Open Water Instructor, Nitrox Gas Blender, Fill Station Operator, and is the onsite Certified Pool and Spa Operator. For Justin, there is nothing more invigorating than the excitement brought from unearthing the oldest fossils and artifacts to showcase in his vast collection. Zero-visibility waters are a small leap to triumph when it comes to the hunt. A twelve-to-eighteen-inch beam of light acts as your guide through the river bottoms. You are unable to see anything but the dense curtain of blackness permeating every inch around you other than the subject your flashlight is immediately illuminating. The bottom of the brackish river floor is the same color as our beach sand, making it surprisingly very easy to spot the treasures lying against the light sand without having to do any digging. When you venture into the depths of the St. Marys River, it is unlikely you will return home empty-handed unless your determination for the daring was empty when you began. The

floor is coated with opportunities for recovering remnants of the past including chards of bone, teeth from even the most pre-historic of creatures from horses to megalodon sharks, massively ornate vertebrae of mastodons, an abundance of inner whale ears, as well as man-made creations that have been long forgotten. Justin's insight and expertise on the fossils and artifacts found within the river is truly something to be marveled. His passion for exploration was unquestionably genuine as he proudly displayed his extremely rare and valuable benedini shark tooth, as there were not as many of this species and they did not lose their teeth as fast or dwelled in the waters as long as the megalodon sharks did. Megalodon teeth trace back as far as 23 million years ago and he eagerly explained that every inch of a megalodon tooth represented ten feet of its ancient owner. Throughout the span of their lifetime, megalodon sharks would lose thousands of teeth which is why we still are able to find so many. The characteristics collectors look for in megalodon teeth other than the enamel being intact and age of are the knife-sharp serrations along the edges and the aged, deep dark colors from the fossilization process. After collecting an endless number of shark teeth Justin now searches for fossils that tell a story, seeking traces of the ancient rivalry between predators from strike marks to large gouges in whale bones. He also hunts for teeth that have been warped with a wave or curl that occurred during their development stages.


Captain Chris Whitlock steering the Shamrock.

Prehistoric Whale Vertebrae The youngest of these would have been 30,000 years old.

Fossilized Horse Teeth are one of the most common non-marine animal preshistoric discoveries.

Justin Moore and Deco, the dive shop's benevolent overseer and security system who has been at Diver's Den even longer than Justin!

Megalodon Teeth The tooth on the left is 4 inches and its original owner would have been 40 feet long at the time the tooth fell out. Can you even imagine seeing one of those in our waters today?

Justin's Prized Benedini Shark Tooth


Make no mistake, blackwater river diving is extremely dangerous without the proper training and equipment to navigate the dark conditions safely. There are hazards that you must be prepared to rescue yourself from, should you need it from different entanglement hazards like old crab pots, abandoned shrimp nets, and fragile mud caves. This encounter is one you don't want to do without the certified experts at Diver's Den Georgia. The most intense and frightening part about blackwater river diving doesn't lie in wait for you to enter its domain, the scariest of all the sea monsters lurk within the infinite possibilities of your imagination. Unless you're on an expedition seeking Altie, the legendary Altamaha-Ha Sea Monster in the Altamaha River, of course. Justin reassures that the most likely marine hazard you would run into, if any at all, would be sea lice. Yup, that's right. Those pesky sand fleas, locally known as "no-see-ums", have some kind of cousin that lives in the water too. So to answer everyone's question, no. There is nowhere safe from our favorite bugs... even in the water. Welcome to Southern Georgia.


Close-up of the ornate occlusal surface of an Ancient Woolly Mammoth Tooth.


SOUTH GEORGIA PADDLE ADVENTURES Organization

Area

Rentals Guides Shuttles

• Altamaha Coastal Tours

Coastal (Darien)

• Amelia Adventures

Cumberland Island

• Adventures Up the Creek

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R

Cumberland Island, St Marys

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R

• Georgia 4-H

Jekyll Island

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R

• Golden Isle Paddle Co.

Jekyll Island, St. Simons

R

R

• Southest AdventureOutfitters

Marshes of Glynn (Brunswick)

R

R

• Okefenokee Adventures

Okefenokee Swamp

R

R

• Stephen C. Foster State Park

Okefenokee Swamp

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R

• Knucklehead Kayak Adventures

St Marys

R

R

• Turtle Tides Outfitters St. Simons • Southern Paddling Guide

Valdosta

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R

R

COMING SOON! S O U T H E R N G E O R G I A PA D D L I N G TRAILS ITINERARY GUIDE AVA I L A B L E I N D I G I TA L & P R I N T


Fall Events CAMDEN 10.16 MWR Trunk or Treat 10.24 - 10.25 Neutral Zone Studios' FAWlloween Trektacular

C H A R LT O N 10.30 3rd Annual Halloween Town Georgia

MCINTOSH 10.30 Tricks, Treats, and Tricorns at Fort King George 10.30 Halloween on Main 11.06 - 11.07 Fall Fest WA R E 10.01 Swamptown Scarecrows 10.21 Pumpkin Fest 10.31 Swamp Monster Spooktacular


Winter Events CAMDEN 12.03 Camden Library of Lights 12.11 Neutral Zone FAW Christmas

C H A R LT O N 12.04 Christmas on Main Street & Lighted Christmas Parade MCINTOSH 12.04 Classic Holiday Cinema Parade & Celebration

WA R E 12.11 Toy Trains, & Candy Canes Christmas Parade


C

AMDEN

A coastal adventure or the calm crossroads of small-town feel awaits you in Camden County. Waiting for you within the early 20th-century brick buildings of Kingsland is a special coffeehouse that pays a special homage to the beautiful and iconic blue bridge on the Highway 17 Georgia-Florida line. Walk beneath the canopying oak trees, between the mystifying Dungeness Ruins, and keep an eye out for the enchanting wild horses that inhabit Cumberland Island. A sight you won’t soon forget. While the timelessness of Historic Downtown St. Mary’s is a lot to appreciate throughout the day, when the sun sets behind the marshes the locals come out to enjoy live music, good food, better drinks, and the best memories to reminisce on. Cast a line out on the river, listen to the sounds of many water birds, and watch the marsh grass dance while relaxing to the natural splendor in Woodbine. Surrounded by beautiful sights and experiences, marshes and creeks, there is much to be discovered in this corner of Southern Georgia.

www.southerngeorgiamagazine.com/camden


CAMDEN


CAMDEN HAPPENINGS OCTOBER 1st | Jaybone and Friends at Brackish Beer Company 2nd | FFA Autumn Fest 9th | Annual Rock Shrimp Festival 15th | Full Moon Folk at Brackish Beer 22nd | Trunk or Treat at Camden Rec Center 23rd | 6th Annual Walk for Alzheimers 23rd & 24th | Neutral Zone Studios' FAWlloween Trektacular

NOVEMBER 6th | Three Rivers Ride by the St Marys Waterfront 12th & 13th | Kingsland Mudcat Crawl 13th & 14th | Neutral Zone Studios FAW 20th | Kingsland Catfish Festival 26th | The Santa Express Special at Coastal Georgia Railway 30th | Crooked River State Park Amateur Photo Contest

DECEMBER 3rd | Camden Library of Lights 11th | Neutral Zone FAW Christmas

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Golf lessons are offered during the week with the Golf Pro and kids golf free every day with a paying adult after 12 noon.

The Pro-Shop is well stocked with golf balls, tees, clubs, apparel, gloves, and shoes.

Open to the public, Trident Lakes Golf Club is a beautiful course with terrain featuring gently rolling fairways, bordered by dense trees for beautiful, shady scenery. The well-manicured, sloping greens will test golfers’ putting skills. Reservations are suggested for tee times seven days a week Monday- Sunday.

912-573-8475 1010 USS Proteus Blvd Bldg. 0163 Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Georgia 31547 www.NavyMWRKingsbay.com


EVEN T GR APHIC DE SIGN & MARKETING

912- 510- 8586

DOWNTOWN

KINGSLAND


Your Gateway to Nature! I-95 at exit 3 at the Georgia-Florida line

Nestled between two of Georgia’s natural treasures is Kingsland. To the west is the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, one of Georgia’s seven wonders. To the east is the beautiful Cumberland Island National Seashore, famous for its wild horses and the ruins of the rich. Kingsland’s humble allure and easy interstate access appeal to visitors looking for reasonable modern hotels and familiar restaurants. Historic downtown Kingsland brings quaint shops and the feeling of stepping back in time. From the red brick sidewalks, old-fashioned light fixtures, and a chiming clock to the blooming trees and the warm smiles, Kingsland’s Royal District is full of small-town charm. When you travel our way, you’ll have the opportunity to marvel at wonders, take in historical sights, and remember just how beautiful a journey can be. Kingsland is the ideal location for exploring the great outdoors on foot, by bike, or by boat. Start your coastal getaway on a high note by viewing the kaleidoscope of birds, along with the diverse lands and waters along the Colonial Coastal Birding Trail. More than 300 species of birds make our area their home. Natural, graceful beauty can be discovered at every turn. Whether you’re venturing over the rivers and through the marshes, we know you’ll enjoy your stay on the southeast Georgia coast.


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C

HARLTON

Those wanting to experience genuine Southern Georgia hospitality need look no further. Many families who live within these county lines can trace back their lineage for generations. Their families have explored, cultivated, and preserved the land for decades with a wholesome southern touch. When you step foot into this lifestyle, you don't want to leave. Walk Folkston’s storybook Mainstreet, lined with local shops and boutiques. Once a month on Friday's you can also find a line of your favorite street food at their Food Truck Friday's. As you stroll past the historic buildings, you would have sworn you've taken a step back in time until the rumbling sounds of the trains bring you back to reality as they make their way through the heart of the town. The best place to see these technological leviathans in action is at the Folkston Funnel. This extensive viewing platform is equipped with everything you need to make sure you don’t miss a second of the action. A short drive down the road, you can get a taste of the natural beauties of the area. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has 430,000 acres of wetland that contain a type of beauty that simply can’t be expressed in words alone. Patrons can spend time in their nature and visitor center, be led through the waters by boat, or even paddle into the depths of untouched magnificence. No matter what you are looking for, Charlton County has the small-town American experience you have been yearning for.

www.southerngeorgiamagazine.com/charlton


CHARLTON


CHARLTON HAPPENINGS OCTOBER 1st | Food Truck Friday 9th & 10th | Okefenokee Festival 50th Anniversary 30th | 3rd Annual Halloween Town Georgia

DECEMBER 3rd - 5th | Folkston Winterwatch Weekend 4th | Christmas on Main Street & Lighted Christmas Parade

WANT THE MOST CURRENT EVENTS IN YOUR INBOX? Join our weekly newsletter on our website! www.SouthernGeorgiaMagazine.com


There is not a doubt in my mind that I am an artifact of my upbringing. My mother was a nursery school teacher and my father was a marine biologist. It came as no surprise to anyone that I sought a passion that not only allowed me to be immersed in nature, wildlife, and the outdoors every day, but the opportunity to educate children, people, and any who will listen about the preservation of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. I remember as a child my parents would take me to Calvert Cliffs in Maryland to hunt for as many shark teeth as we could find. My dad and I would spend hours fishing on Allens Pond, mowing the yard, and throwing a baseball or football back and forth. In our many conversations, he would share his wealth of knowledge on the significance of our ecosystems. I still hold these memories dear, but most of all I remember his lack of hesitancy when sharing the details of and even complex terminology with me. With our matched passion for the environment, there was never a dull moment between the two of us. When I was in seventh grade, I took an aptitude test to discover what career path would best suit my personality and interests. Somehow, someway, my prophetically suggested career path was for none other than a Park Ranger. In high school, I took an Environment Science Class and knew this is exactly where I wanted to pursue my advanced education. Once at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina I found myself very intimidated by the labs and the technical coursework that was further than I wanted to be from the outdoors. However, when I enrolled in an Environmental Education course all of the opportunities for my future were unveiled and I immediately knew this was where I was meant to be.

Now here I am, working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I began my career as an Environmental Education Intern at Patuxent Research Refuge, which just happened to be a mere ten-minute drive from where I grew up! After moving around and working seasonal positions both with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several other organizations, I secured a position in the Outer Banks of North Carolina at Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges. Working at these refuge’s was one of the best experiences and also allowed me to meet, or re-meet depending on who is telling the story since we went to the same college, my husband Andy! He is also now a career U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee and is the Assistant Fire Management Officer at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. I have worked at Okefenokee NWR for a little over eight years as the Supervisory Refuge Ranger. I have never had a more beautiful and photogenic “office”. Every day is different and unique – the big sky views are some of my favorites in this untouched place. Depending on the time of the year, painted above the open prairies are blankets of yellow, white, or green that never stop being breathtaking. The Okefenokee Swamp is refreshing and rejuvenating, invigorating but tranquil. Working as the manager of the Visitor Services program often keeps me in an office, but it’s needless to say that every day is an adventure being able to work for such a beautiful and special resource. When I am not in the swamp, you will probably find me tending my vegetable garden or fishing on our boat around Cumberland Island!


SusieHeisey Supervisory Refuge Ranger Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge


M

CINTOSH

The landscape of McIntosh County is full of mystery, history, and natural wonder. The centuries-old story, that has been passed down for generations, is about none other than the legendary Atlamaha-ha sea monster itself. Coastal marshes and rivers conceal the legendary aquatic monster that lurks near the coast of Darien. Begin discovering Darien at their visitor center where their friendly staff can guide you to the best experience for your family. The famous shrimp boats and smaller ships populate the riverside while families relax in the expansive waterfront park and docks. Fishing, biking, and birdwatching are popular pastimes near the river. Stroll under the moss-draped trees of Vernon Square and experience a walk through history in the former gathering place in the center of the city. Make your way to the downtown area to grab a bite or two to eat at any of the local restaurants serving the day’s freshest catch. While you are there, stop into The Studio to refine or rediscover your artistic talents. Regardless of where you turn in Darien, the charm of the small river city is sure to welcome you with open arms.

www.southerngeorgiamagazine.com/mcintosh


MCINTOSH


MCINTOSH HAPPENINGS OCTOBER 9th | Darien Lions Annual Low Country Boil 12th | Darien-McIntosh Chamber Silent Auction 29th & 30th| Butler Island Remembrance 30th | Tricks, Treats and Tricorns at Fort King George 30th | Halloween on Main

NOVEMBER 6 th & 7th | Fall Fest

DECEMBER 4th | Classic Holiday Cinema Parade & Celebration

WANT THE MOST CURRENT EVENTS IN YOUR INBOX? Join our weekly newsletter on our website! www.SouthernGeorgiaMagazine.com


SWEETS

OF THE SOUTH Saige Stokes

Of all the desserts I hold near and dear, the most popular sweet in the whole world is at the heart of all my favorite guilty (not really) pleasures. Chocolate. Unregrettably, I would consider myself a life-long chocolate lover. After all "chocolate", or some attempted version, was one of my first words as a baby. Being the first Sweets Of The South feature, it only seemed right that I shared my delicious discovery within the quaint, coastal town of Darien. Scouts honor that it was positively and simply a mere coincidence that I'm sharing one of my favorite chocolate gems with you.

There is no feeling comparable to the impermanence of visiting a place overflowing with a history like Georgia's second-oldest city. I was wandering the historic squares, photographing the tall magnolia trees, the sun shining through the hairs of Spanish moss, and the beautiful 19th to 20th-century historical homes. As I walked up to my last photo spot around Vernon Square, I suddenly found myself sprinting up a red brick path after reading a chartreuse green sign fixed on a wooden easel that persuasively read Sugar Marsh Cottage, Island Chocolatier.


Chocolatier Dale Potts


Unlatch the old bronze handle and open up everything you dreamed a coastal chocolate cottage would be. Except, even more awaits you within the gorgeous two-story 1935, Georgian Colonial Revival home. There to welcome incoming sweet seekers was award-winning chocolatier and confectioner, Dale Potts. The southern charm and warm hospitality from her and her staff made me feel so sinless for tasting... well everything. Inspired by the natural beauty of the Georgia Coast and the essence of its barrier islands, Dale's creations include a variety of shortbreads, artisan toffee, rich whimsical chocolates, and gourmet bonbons. Dale and her husband, Charlie, lived between Darien and Atlanta for over a decade. They established Sugar Marsh Cottage in 2006 in Atlanta and found Sugar Marsh's forever home steps away from the Darien Waterfront four short years later. Dale's story is a unique one that transformed everything from construction to confections. Prior to her life being surrounded by the aromas of fresh baked cookies and warm melting chocolate, she was employed by a large general contractor in Atlanta as a construction manager. Today, she is heavily immersed in the community as she partners with many local businesses not only in the sourcing of as many premium ingredients but with some delicious collaborations as well. One of the special collections is the luscious rum crème bonbons utilizing three expressions of Brunswick's very own Richland Rum and their single estate highest quality rum. Dale has also paid homage to a special friend you may recognize from Southern Georgia, Volume 1. Coming soon to Sugar Marsh Cottage, you can enjoy the infamous Altamaha-ha Sea Monster, Altie in milk or dark chocolate flavors. The flavor profile that usually makes my mouth water is hard dark chocolate with a touch of spice. However, after indulging in the smooth bittersweet chocolate of a megalodon tooth, seashell, sea turtle, and even mermaid coins, let me tell you that Sugar Marsh Cottage is a sweet spot you do not want to miss in Southern Georgia.


W

ARE

By train, boat, or foot you can experience the wildlife, plant life, and how the pioneers once dwelled by visiting the Okefenokee Swamp Park and Laura S. Walker State Park. The Okefenokee Swamp Park offers original Indian waterway tours where native animals in their own habitat can be spotted. Wander through Laura S. Walker State Park where alligators, carnivorous plants, and various species of fish call home. The lake inside the park allows visitors to swim, boat and fish to their heart’s content. Between the history of the swamp, three museums, and a bustling historic downtown, your thirst for historical tales and experiences is guaranteed to be satisfied. Train enthusiasts are guaranteed to get their fill of train history and railway traffic at the Historic Rail Depot and Train Watching Platform and Railway Express Building. The large brick building of Waycross' former Union Station is one of Georgia's largest remaining railroad stations.

www.southerngeorgiamagazine.com/ware


WARE


WARE

HAPPENINGS OCTOBER 1st | Swamptown Scarecrows in Downtown Waycross 2nd | Arts & Music In The Swamp

9th | Okefenokee Swamp Park 75th Anniversary Celebration 21st | Pumpkin Fest 23rd | Rock & Ride Veteran Suicide Awareness Benefit Concert and Motorcycle Ride 31st | Swamp Monster Spooktacular

NOVEMBER 18th | Taste of The Chamber

DECEMBER 11th | Toy Trains, & Candy Canes Christmas Parade 10th. 11th. 12th | Heritage Festival

WANT THE MOST CURRENT EVENTS IN YOUR INBOX? Join our weekly newsletter on our website! www.SouthernGeorgiaMagazine.com


10.21.21 | 5:00 PM DOWNTOWN WAYCROSS, GA FREE GAMES, CANDY, A COSTUME CONTEST, MUSIC, REFRESHMENTS AND MORE! WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/WAYCROSSCHAMBER


Hoo's there? SOUTHERN GEORGIA SWATCHES

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TS

TICKE

OW! N E L ON SA


SOUTHERN DOGS

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Adopt. Save a life and gain a friend.

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Can't adopt? Donate! Most animal shelters

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bags, puppy & kitten food, treats, and so much more. Contact your local shelter to see

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Daily Mantra I believe in myself. I am thankful for all that I have. I have the ability to do great things. My strength is greater than my struggle. There are no obstacles I cannot overcome. My life is a miracle and I am grateful for it. I have the power to create change. I am dependable and resourceful. I love myself unconditionally.

We hope you’ll find these positive affirmations as beautiful artillery for your daily mantras to help encourage happy thoughts and mental wellbeing. Download this mantra for your phone for free by visiting www.southerngeorgiamagazine.com/downloadables


C A M P F I R E

C O O K I N G

H U N T E R’S S T E W

What makes this recipe a must-have for many is the four (four!) different types of meat. But do you have to use each type, or is there some wiggle room? For the beef and pork, you’ll want to stick with cuts that do well in stews — namely, meat that has a lot of collagen.

INGREDIENTS •

1/2 ounce dried mushrooms

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 pound pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

salt

black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 pound bacon, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup dry red wine

5 cups beef broth

1 cup apple cider, plus if you want more sweetness

1 heaping tablespoon beef flavor Better Than Bouillon

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, including juices

8 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 large parsnips, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

14 ounces kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and grated

1 cup pitted prunes, quartered

1 (16-ounce) jar sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained

16 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced

bay leaves

Fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons ground marjoram

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed, optional

1/4 cup Olive oil

1 cup Apple cider

1/2 cup Red wine, dry

PROCESS

P

lace dried mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water, let sit to reconstitute. Drain mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and strain to remove all sediment. Toss beef and pork with 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and all-purpose flour in a large bowl. Heat half the olive oil in a Dutch oven and brown beef and pork in batches, adding it to the Dutch oven in a single layer, without crowding the pan. Remove to a bowl and continue with remaining beef and pork adding more oil as needed. Brown chopped bacon in the Dutch oven. Remove to the bowl. Saute onion and garlic in bacon drippings over medium heat until soft. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until wine is reduced by half. Add the beef broth, reserved mushroom liquid, and Better Than Bouillon, reduce heat to simmer and whisk until Better Than Bouillon is dissolved. Add the beef, pork, and bacon back to the Dutch oven, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat and simmer 3 hours. Remove bay leaf and serve as is, over cooked noodles or rice.


C A M P F I R E

C O O K I N G

POLISH GOULASH

A delicious Polish dish that can be made in a large pot or boiling over a campfire. One of our favourite recipes for a meal at home or for a big crowd over the fire.

INGREDIENTS •

6 cups redskin potatoes, cubed

6 tbps. olive oil

2 small onion, diced

2 tbps. minced garlic

2 x 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 yellow or green pepper, cut into chunks

4 tbps. hungarian paprika

3 packages of kielbasa, cut into slices

salt & pepper to taste

8 cups water

PROCESS

B

ring campfire to a high enough heat to boil water. Place cast iron pot over fire.

Add the olive oil and minced garlic into the pot, then add in the diced onion and sauté until translucent. (Watch carefully to ensure the ingredients don’t burn) Add in the kielbasa, diced tomato, red potatoes, paprika, and salt & pepper. Cover the mixture with water (about 8 cups) and simmer on medium heat 45 minutes – 1 hour or until the potatoes are cooked through and can be pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and serve.


C A M P F I R E

C O O K I N G

FISH STEW

Quick, easy, and absolutely delicious fish stew! Fresh fish cooked open-fire in a stew with onions, red pepper flakes, red potatoes, tomato, and bacon!

INGREDIENTS •

fish whole descaled (loin cuts)

2 TSP of red pepper flakes

3 TSP of sea salt

2 TSP of black pepper

5lb Bag of red potatoes

2lbs of yellow onions

3 cans of tomato sauce

3 cans of tomato paste

1-8oz Package of bacon

2 dozen eggs

water - approx 3 Gallons

3 stalks of celery ( Optional)

1 loaf crusty bread (Optional)

1 Pound shrimp (Optional)

1 Pound scallops (Optional)

PROCESS

P

lace fish on cutting board and descale, loin cuts or steak cuts work best depending on the type of fish you are preparing for your stew. In a bowl mix together the red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Set mix aside. Begin by frying the bacon in the bottom of your dutch oven. Layer sliced onions, quartered red potatoes, diced celery, and fish head and quarters. Pour the red pepper flake sauce mix over the contents of your dutch oven. Add water to desired level, we enjoy a lot of the broth and fill our pot to approx. 5 inches from the rim, allowing room for additional contents to be added later. Bring contents to a roaring boil, crack and add the dozen eggs. Let boil for 20 minutes and then begin to add in your shrimp and scallops (optional). Let boil for 30 minutes and then serve, with bread if desired.


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18-Hole Golf Course Designed by Arthur Hills

O’Brien’s Bunker Restaurant offers scenic views of the golf course and American-style cuisine.

Cart Rental *ADA Carts Available* Equipment rental, including clubs.

Golf lessons are offered during the week with the Golf Pro and kids golf free every day with a paying adult after 12 noon.

The Pro-Shop is well stocked with golf balls, tees, clubs, apparel, gloves, and shoes.

Open to the public, Trident Lakes Golf Club is a beautiful course with terrain featuring gently rolling fairways, bordered by dense trees for beautiful, shady scenery. The well-manicured, sloping greens will test golfers’ putting skills. Reservations are suggested for tee times seven days a week Monday- Sunday.

912-573-8475 1010 USS Proteus Blvd Bldg. 0163 Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Georgia 31547 www.NavyMWRKingsbay.com


October WHAT’S IN SEASON

VEGETABLES

FRUITS

Arugula Avocado Beets Broccoli Brussel Sprouts Butternut Squash Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celeriac Celery Collard Greens Cucumbers Eggplant Fennel Kale Leeks Lettuce Onions Parsnip Peas Potatoes Pumpkin Radishes Spinach Sunchokes Sweetcorn Sweet Potatoes Tomatoes Turnips Zucchini Winter Squash

Apples Blackberries Cranberries Figs Grapes Grapefruit Honeydew Melon Cantaloupe Kiwi Lemon Lime Oranges Pear Plums Pomegranate Chestnuts Walnuts


farm frolicing There is nothing quite as satisfying as walking through farm rows, breathing in the fresh Georgia air, and collecting as many fruits and vegetables as your basket can hold. If it’s not already, turn a trip out to the farm into a family tradition where wonderful, delicious memories can be made. U-pick offerings often change from season to season, so be sure to contact the farm to learn what they have in season. Visit our Southern Georgia U-Pick Farm Itinerary at www.southerngoergiamagazine.com


November WHAT’S IN SEASON

VEGETABLES

FRUITS

Avocado Artichoke Beetroot Butternut Squash Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celeriac Celery Chicory Collard Greens Chilies Horseradish Eggplant Fennel Kale Kohlrabi Leeks Onions Parsnip Potatoes Pumpkin Rocket Spinach Sweet Potatoes Swiss Chard Swede Turnips Wild Mushrooms Winter Squash

Apples Blackberries Cranberries Clementine Figs Grapes Grapefruit Honeydew Melon Cantaloupe Kiwi Lemon Lime Oranges Pear Plums Pomegranate


December December WHAT’S IN SEASON

WHAT’S IN SEASON

VEGETABLES VEGETABLES

Arugula Avocado RUGULA Beets AVOCADO Bell Peppers BEETS Bok Choy BELL PEPPERS Broccoli BOK CHOY Brussel Sprouts BROCCOLI Butternut Squash BRUSSEL SPROUTS Cabbage BUTTERNUT SQUASH Carrot CABBAGE Cauliflower CARROT Celeriac CAULIFLOWER Celery CELERIAC Collard Greens CELERY Cucumber COLLARD GREENS Endive CUCUMBER Fennel ENDIVE Kale FENNEL Leeks KALE Parsnips LEEKS Potatoes PARSNIPS Pumpkin POTATOES Radicchio PUMPKIN Radishes RADICCHIO Spinach RADISHES Sunchokes SPINACH Sweet Potato SUNCHOKES Turnips SWEET POTATO TURNIPS

FRUITS FRUITS

Apples Clementine APPLES Cranberries CLEMENTINES Dates CRANBERRIES DATES Figs FIGS Grapes Grapefruit GRAPES Kiwi GRAPEFRUIT KIWI Lime LIMEMandarins Oranges MANDARINS ORANGESPears Persimmons PEAR Pomegranate PERSIMMONS POMEGRANATE


A LARGE VARIETY OF jewelry FOR all BUDGETS GIA CERTIFIED DIAMONDS

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HUGE BRIDAL SELECTIONS

CUSTOM ENGRAVING

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LASER ETCHING

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In a lot of ways, we are extraordinary storytellers. But not just with the publications. Our team of creatives delve into the mission and goals of businesses from varying industries. We then identify their ideal customers by analyzing their personalities, interests, and consumer behaviors. By understanding the audience, we are then able to share their story through unique campaigns and visuals that not only convert them to a customer but an advocate for the brand. We believe the foundation for power and effectiveness is brand honesty and transparency. We say what we mean. The brand will, too. We believe in going the extra mile to provide elite design and marketing services that surpass expectations.

h e l l o @ t h e c o l l e c t i v e a n d c o m p a ny. c o m


The Collective and Company is a full-service marketing, advertising, branding, and design team that tells the stories of small businesses to government entities through confident designs and strategies that produce income and impact. Not to mention, our in-house publishing is home to magazines Southern Georgia, Southern Georgia Weddings, and Southern Motherhood. Our team of creatives offer innovative solutions for businesses who want to extend their reach and ignite growth. Our mission is simple, with a commitment to integrity, excellence, and partnership, we elevate brands through storytelling and beautiful designs so they can stand out in a noisy world.

THERE’S ART IN YOUR S T O RY A N D M A G I C I N YOUR BRAND. C O U R T N E Y PA I G E R A Y


A FEW SERVICES MARKETING

SOCIAL MEDIA

PRODUCT DESIGN

BRANDING

BROCHURES

PHOTO & VIDEO

ADVERTISING

STRATEGY

CONTENT CREATION

GRAPHIC DESIGN

FLYERS

BUSINESS PLANS

WEBSITES

BANNERS

& SO MUCH MORE!

H E L L O @ T H E C O L L E C T I V E A N D C O M P A N Y. C O M

Faythe Hall CO-OWNER & BRAND WARRIOR

Saige Stokes MARKETING ROCKSTAR


Red River Estate’s ground breaking ceremony!

Let us be the first to introduce you to Red River Estates. A new luxury retreat and venue coming to Waynesville, GA in 2022. The Collective and Company had the pleasure of writing the business plan for the funding, brand development, and website for this gorgeous new event venue that secured them a loan for over a million dollars! Woah! In their plan, we created their executive summary, mission, and vision statement, strategized their sales channels, branding, an analysis of their target market, competition, and SWOT analysis. Then we dove into their most actionable strategies to long-term campaigns and even calculated their break-even points to figure out the minimum amount of events and guests they needed a month in order to pay their expenses and after that, it’s all profit. Business plans are so important, not just for obtaining loans from the SBA or bank, but it helps navigate your goals, develop strategies, and acts as a fluid benchmarking tool to gauge the success of your business. The business plan investigation also supported the creation of their stunning visual aesthetics for effective, strategic, and cohesive branding. Branding is one of the most important investments and biggest asset. It serves as your first impression, attracting and connecting businesses with their ideal customers. It’s important that all marketing material, print, and digital is consistent, complementary, and reflective of the message the brand is conveying.


Coming 2022 Named in homage to the rich red waters of the nearby Satilla River, the Red River Estate is nestled among grazing cattle on twenty acres of manicured fields and woodlands. Offering a multifaceted wedding venue, gathering place, and vacation rental that provides an unforgettable southern escape through our thoughtfully curated modern spaces. KEY FEATURES Red River Residence

Central Location

Bridal Suite

Handicap Accessible

The Glasshouse Pavilion

On-Site Activities

Ceremony Settings

Saltwater Pool

Follow Red River Estate on Facebook to enjoy the creation of this venue from start to finish as we eagerly await the grand opening!


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Aries - This Fall will bring many emotional challenges for you. Keep a cool head and try not to lose your temper with the people around you. By mid October things will start to even out and you will have smooth sailing for the rest of the season. Get cozy with your loved ones around Thanksgiving. Taurus - This season have fun with decorating your space with some new Fall decor. If you clean your space and get rid of old stuff you don’t need anymore, it will help to get rid of stagnant energy and make you feel lighter and more put together. This will give you more energy and a bigger sense of purpose. Gemini - Take a daring risk this Fall! Go to that fun Halloween party or travel to a new place for Thanksgiving. The point is to get out and see new faces, by doing this you are opening doors for yourself and having a great time in the process. Cancer - This Fall might feel heavy for you. There is much uncertainty in the world, and it can definitely cause you anxiety. Fear not, all is not lost and all is not what it seems. Keep the faith and keep pushing through, we will get through this together. Spend time cooking nutritious food for you and your loved ones. Leo - This Fall will slow down a bit for you Leo’s. You might fine yourself twiddling your thumbs all of a sudden since the summer was so busy for you. Use this time to catch up on rest and self care. This is important, because in the middle of November things start to pick up. Read a creepy good book to fill some time. Virgo - New challenges will be happening in the workplace for you Virgos this Fall. Luckily you are up for the challenge and can be adaptable. You might have to give up a little bit of control to get everything accomplished, but that is a good thing for you. Things don’t always have to be in perfect order for them to turn out fabulous.

Scorpio - The chaotic energy of the world is making you Scorpios feel more on edge this season. You are the 8th house of the zodiac which is all about sex and transition to the other side, because of this you have a strong connection to the cycles of life and death on this planet. It can give you a sense of deeper meaning, but it can also be very confusing at times. Remember to talk about how you are feeling to your parter or loved ones, and take time to recharge. Sagittarius - Hold off on making that big decision this Fall. Sit back and see how things play out until you can see the whole picture of a situation. You will feel the need for change or escape, but before you decide to completely change something in your life, really ask yourself if you give it some time will it seem different in a few days or weeks? Capricorn - This Fall spend as much time with family as you can. Being successful in business is great and it gives you purpose, however being with your loved ones and spending quality time with them is much more important than any job you might have. Aquarius - Focus on your spiritually this season! You are growing by leaps and bounds this Fall. To help you navigate your new spiritual experiences try praying more often, read a spiritual book, or gaze at the moon and stars. Do whatever makes you feel closer to your higher self and God. Pieces - This season is a time of starting something new for you. Whatever you have been feeling drawn to do, whether it is starting a new business, or learning a new skill, embrace it and go for it full force this Fall. Sometimes you focus on the mistakes in the past. Let all of that go and focus on how amazing your future will be.

October-December

Libra - Fall is the best time for shopping for you stylish Libras. You love to decorate and socialize when the weather gets a bit cooler. This is a great thing for you to do, because it feeds your creative side Sara Candelaria and your social side. Just be careful and don’t go Learn more at SaraCandelaria.com overboard with your festive shopping therapy.


COMING SOON! S O U T H E R N G E O R G I A PA D D L I N G TRAILS ITINERARY AVA I L A B L E I N D I G I TA L & P R I N T W W W. S O U T H E R N G E O R G I A M A G A Z I N E . C O M

Profile for SouthernGeorgia

Southern Georgia V3  

Volume 3 "The Outdoor Issue" celebrated the natural wonders of Southern Georgia.

Southern Georgia V3  

Volume 3 "The Outdoor Issue" celebrated the natural wonders of Southern Georgia.

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