Monarch Butterfly Project at The Landings Entering Its 7th Year

By Fitz Clarke, Citizen Scientist

Fitz MonarchsIn 2008- 2009, I became interested in the Monarch butterfly that I was observing in small numbers at the Landing’s Sparrow Field and about the island, mainly within the yard of Landing’s resident Sandra Wolf whose side and rear yard contained large amounts of the Milkweed species, Tropical or Mexican Milkweed(Asclepias curassavica).  I became a contributor to the Annenberg Learner Foundation “Monarch Journey North,” reporting and documenting by photographs the Monarch sightings here at the Landings, Skidaway Island, Savannah, Chatham County, GA.

During this period I became aware of Project Monarch Health and the research being conducted by Dr Sonia Altizier into a protozoan parasite, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha)(OE), an obligate protozoan parasite responsible for the deaths of the Monarch butterfly . Read more

Diamondback Terrapin Update

The Landings, Deer Creek Recognized for Environmental Excellence by Audubon International

Click Here to view the Re-certification announcement

Past President of Skidaway Audubon honored at May 9th tournament

Jerriann Kirkwood headed Skidaway Audubon for six years during the transformation of the committee into a not-for-profit board. Among the many initiatives undertaken during her tenure, the building of Skidaway Farms, our community garden, was most notable. Jerriann, as was noted at the gate opening of the farm in February of this year, served as the champion of the project from inception through completion. A framed original photograph by Hank Croci from The Landings Company 2011 calendar was given to her. All profits from sales of the calendar were donated to Skidaway Audubon by The Landings Company.

Leaders Urged to Restore Monarch Butterfly Habitat

New York Times Article- February 14, 2014

Migration of Monarch Butterflies Shrinks Again Under Inhospitable Conditions

New York Times Article – January 30, 2014

Environmental Stewardship at the Landings: A Priority That Defines Us

A review of a 16-year partnership with Audubon International, Landings Club and Landings Association professionals and residental volunteers to sustain and enhance the environment of The Landings.

By Dick Miller, Chairman of Audubon Committee 1999-2001. Click Here to Read More

Got Milkweed ?

Notice from Fitz Clarke:

See below for a heads up from “Journey North” alerting us that the Monarchs have departed their overwintering sites in Mexico.

Our Milkweed, mainly Asclepias curassavica here on Skidaway Island is breaking the surface and will be ready for their arrival. Of course we have been fortunate to have had a goodly number to over winter at the Skidaway Island, Landing’s  Sparrow Field.   They are currently to be observed daily about the 3 1/4 acre field.

The link below is an interesting site and I recommend you click upon it when you have a moment:

Hello from Journey North!

Here they come! Monarchs have left the overwintering sites and are appearing on the breeding grounds to the north. According to our observers, monarchs may already have spread more than 1,000 miles from the overwintering sites in Mexico. Our northernmost reports this week came from Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The monarchs will be looking for milkweed to lay their eggs. Has your milkweed EMERGED yet? Have you seen your first monarch? Will you let me know by reporting to our site:

Or emailing me directly?(If you’ve already reported, please check your milkweed for eggs!)

Because the monarch over-wintering population was at an all time low, it’s going to be a bit harder this year to spot them. Keep your eyes open for monarchs!

Thanks for your help!

Cindy @ Journey North
Plant it and they will come

Guide to Preventing Invasive Plants in Georgia

Skidaway Audubon is contributing to fund the printing of the second edition of A Homeowner’s Guide to Preventing the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Plants in Georgia. Click Here to view the first edition.

You Can Make a Difference in Your Backyard



As seen in the Landings Journal – Tallow Terrors

Tallow Terrors Remove 5,146 Chinese Tallows (as of July 31, 2012)

The Landings community has demonstrated a high degree of interest in controlling this invasive non-native species that is found everywhere on Skidaway Island and threatens the diversity of our environment. In the five years since the Chinese Tallow Tree Removal Project has been endorsed by Skidaway Audubon, we have gone from me and two Boy Scouts to over an estimated 1600 residents who have benefitted from or contributed to this effort. Community volunteers have mobilized under the leadership of Don McCulloch to form the Tallow Terrors (TTs), wielding chainsaws and loppers most every Monday since December of 2009, resting only for nesting season and the extreme heat of summer. In this year alone, they have almost doubled their impact of the first two years, removing 2,274 through July for a grand total of 5,146 Chinese Tallow trees killed and removed from The Landings.
Their productivity was increased greatly by the bulldozer assistance provided by Utilities Inc. of GA (UIG) which cleaned up the fallen trees behind their work in the North Spray Fields (one of the water reclamation areas off McWhorter Blvd). The cooperative alliance formed in February 2011 with the three governing entities involved (The Landings Association, The Landings Club and UIG), marked a great milestone in our goal to stem the tide of this silent invasion.

Another vital set of volunteers answered my call to form Hack and Squirt (HAS) work parties starting in the fall of 2009 commencing with the Sparrow Field project. A weedy field, once rimmed with Chinese Tallow of all sizes is now a spectacular pollinator nectaring garden enriching our community with phenomenal educational learning and photographic opportunities. That project has progressed to the point of serving as a valuable resource for study and research by UGA scientists with input from the field’s lead visionary Fitz Clarke. A combined effort by the first volunteer HAS work group, under the guidance of Holly Holdsworth, Skidaway Island State Park Superintendent, followed by professional tree removers cleared the berm and perimeter of tallow trees. Club land, that was once under utilized and overrun with tallow trees, is now a treasured community amenity maintained by a volunteer work force.

Since that beginning, the HAS parties have worked in cooperation with the TTs, sometimes tagging trees for winter identification and subsequent removal, but most recently, penetrating the woods beyond the perimeter of areas targeted by the TTs. By working in conjunction, we’ve been very successful in thoroughly cleansing most areas of our community systematically. Although our HAS parties have not kept count of the trees we’ve treated and left to die in place, I conservatively estimate we’ve killed at least 2 to 3 times that of the TTs….another 10,000 to 15,000 tallows GONE…well, at least dead! Areas of completion by both TTs and HASers include:

• The Sparrow Field
• The Dog Park
• The Nature Preserve
• All six golf courses
• TLA common property island-wide
• The Recycling Center and Fire Station
• The North Spray Field – 150 acres!

Next up for the team are the South Spray Fields and the Skidaway Farm. To join the effort starting up again this fall, please email Ann Fenstermacher at


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