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WildScapes symposium focuses on barrier islands
CW - 2018 Open the Garden Gate IG - 4 preview
The symposium brings together experts to talk about the area's environment.

WildScapes will host its ninth annual symposium, Open the Garden Gate, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Richmond Hill City Center in J.F. Gregory Park.

This year’s theme is focused on beaches and barrier islands.

Attendees will leave the symposium with a better sense of what makes Georgia’s beaches and barrier islands some of the most critical habitats for native wildlife, as well as why these environments should be cared for and how they can be protected.

Speakers will include: Clark Alexander, director of the University of Georgia’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography; Susan Shipman, retired GA DNR Coastal Resources director; Adam MacKinnon; Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve education coordinator; and Alice Keyes, vice president of Coastal Conservation at One Hundred Miles.

Each year has a new theme that is the focus of all volunteer opportunities, field trips and educational events for the remainder of the year.

These events also serve to fulfill Coastal WildScapes’ mission to preserve and restore the biodiversity of southeastern coastal ecosystems.

Coastal WildScapes was founded in 2008 as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization with an all-volunteer board of directors and one part-time staff member.

This organization was formed to meet the increasing need to educate and engage the public in practices that will preserve the biodiversity of Georgia’s coast.

Today, Coastal WildScapes has seen movement towards increased understanding of the need to protect biodiversity, but recognizes there is still work to be done.

Each year, the organization hosts its annual Starlight and Spartina fundraiser, multiple field trips to exciting locations along the coast, native plant sales, lunch and learns, and evening lectures by local experts in their fields.

The year is capped off with a Members’ Appreciation Oyster Roast held at the home of one of Coastal WildScapes’ founders, Linda Lamb.

For more information, contact Raleigh Nyenhuis at

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