Our coast is a wild space in a tame world. When a hurricane is heading for the Georgia coast, the Weather Channel rarely mentions us. It is Jacksonville and Charleston. Every once in a while, the stations will remember that Savannah is somewhere in between. Dorian threatened us last year. At the Jekyll Island Guest Information Center, we had DirecTV and the Weather Channel focused on Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and Charlestown, South Carolina.
When it looked like Dorian was headed toward us, they mentioned Tybee Island, but they said Tybee Island, Florida. (What? Tybee is the northernmost barrier island on the Georgia Coast.) Even the Savannah station doesn’t talk about us. That station talks about Jesup and the South Carolina Low Country.
“Oh well,” I laughed. “We are the land in between … and we have The Brunswick News to keep us informed.”
It isn’t such a bad thing for the Golden Isles to be left out of the TV conversation.
The more I thought about it. The more I liked the idea of living in the land in between. It is a nature-lover’s paradise. Whether we want to be with people or to find the space to be alone, our islands are perfect. The idea of space is becoming more critical as the world population grows and we crowd into every corner. Before settling here, I traveled all over the United States. I choose the Golden Isles. Why? Because of our habitat.
In 2018, the Georgia Coast became the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network’s (WHSNR) 100th Landscape of Global Importance. We joined places all up and down the western hemisphere as a place for wild birds. We have rare birds in every season — endangered piping plovers in the winter, red knots, whimbrels, and other migrants in the spring and fall. In the summer, we have least terns, Wilson’s plovers and American oystercatchers nesting here. Every season, the Georgia Coast is vital to the birds.
These birds are using our coast. Just like the birds, we live here. We have the room to breathe, to move, and to live, so do these birds. For years, people avoided the coast. It had miles of soggy marshes before you could get to the shoreline. The Atlantic Ocean slowly rolled onto this shoreline. There were no wild waves to surf, plus the water is a milky brown. All of these landscapes slowed the influx of people.
There is another reason it isn’t overbuilt. These Golden Isles were the playground for the super-rich. They liked the isolation — to be able to get away from the clamoring world of people. It is the same today. We come because we can leave the world behind and rest. So, when the next storm comes and it will — it doesn’t matter if we are not in the televised weather reports. We have our treasured Georgia Coast for the nature lovers. And the birds have a safe place to live. It not so bad being the land in between.