2013 Community Sustainability Presentation to Audubon International

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The Landings – A Quick Look into this Extraordinary Community
By Sean Burgess – (seanb@landings.org)

The Landings Association consists of 4,566 acres, 151 Lagoons, 91 miles of roads, 2 marinas, 10 bridges, 6 golf courses, a nature trail, a native plant trail, a dog park and more. Home to approximately 8,500 residents, The Landings is situated on Skidaway Island defined by the Wilmington River to the north, Skidaway Narrows to the west, the Vernon River to the south, and Romerly Marsh and Wassaw Island to the east. While there were Timucua Indians and farmers settling on this island in the earliest years, it wasn’t until 1941 when Union Camp Organization bought 5,000 acres on Skidaway Island that progress started. With Union Camp also came a drawbridge that enabled the island to be more accessible and desirable for development. A subsidiary of Union Camp and a land developer, the Branigar Corporation, began what is now known as The Landings development in the early 1970s. The development would take four phases, and eventually be deeded to The Landings Association for the continued service of the residents. READ MORE

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By Dot Bambach (dotbam@bellsouth.net)
A joint project of The Landings Club and Skidaway Audubon


  • 31/2-acre field owned by The Landings Club and located between the 15th fairway of the Magnolia course and a large lagoon.
  • Previously used by the Club for growing turf, storing sand and staging other course-maintenance materials. Portions of the field were left un-mown for much of the year.
  • The weedy areas in the field provided cover and forage for birds, insects, and small mammals that were often not found elsewhere within The Landings development.—a fact that did not escape the attention of the community’s birders.
  • In 2004, representatives of the birders approached the Club with a request that the field be managed for birds and other wildlife.
  • From this initial request, the Sparrow Field Project evolved under the leadership of The Landings Club Audubon (now incorporated as Skidaway Audubon). Well over 100 species of birds have been documented to use the field.  READ MORE

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BY Chuck Smith (chuckbetsysmith@bellsouth.net)

CCA is dedicated to the conservation of marine life with nearly 100,000 members on three coasts. We are the voice of recreational fishermen and maintain a strong Federal, State, and local presence. CCA advocates for conservation of the resource and for the publics’ right to fish. CCA was founded in Texas in about 1980 to advocate needed regulations to stop commercial overharvesting of Redfish to meet restaurant customer demands for blackened Redfish.

This year, CCA Georgia (GA) led the effort to pass legislation to provide gamefish status for Redfish. This bill, once signed by the governor, will prohibit the commercial sale of Redfish caught in GA waters. The economic impact from recreational fishing far exceeds the commercial value. This is a WIN for recreational fishermen vs. special interests. READ MORE

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Chinese Tallow Tree Removal Project
Ann Fenstermacher (ttann@aol.com)

Skidaway Audubon endorsed this project in 2007 and it has since grown from a couple of committed residents to more than 1600 residents who have actively helped or been impacted. My dedication to it grew out of a growing awareness and sensitivity to the issue of “invasives” (something our daughter was familiar with in the West, working to remove tamarisk along the Colorado River) but new to us in the South as recent retirees from the North. My first exposure to this Priority One Invasive non-native species occurred while touring our Native Plant Trail with the founders of that project. Spying a tallow, this white-haired senior ripped the sapling away from the trail’s edge creating a powerful teaching moment and lasting impression! I started seeing tallows everywhere, even among the well-maintained landscaping of The Association and many private residences. Six years later, with a lot of support, publicity and networking, we are now a largely cohesive community dedicated to controlling this aggressive, diversity threatening species – listed among the top 6 UNWANTED in Georgia. Here’s what Skidaway Audubon has accomplished so far, primarily through two volunteer work crews (15 Hack and Squirters under my direction and 19 Tallow Terrors under the direction of Don McCulloch): READ MORE

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The Landings Garden Club
by Anne Guira   (sondu@bellsouth.net)

Beautification, Conservation, Education: The Landings Garden Club was founded on October 22nd, 1986 and federated on February 24th, 1987.

Today, 82 members strong, the Landings Garden Club also includes membership to the National Gardens Club, Inc., The Deep South Region, The Garden Club of Georgia, Oleander District III, Savannah Area Council of Garden Clubs, and The Friends of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.

The Landings Garden Club Mission Statement reads, “To function as an educational organization interested in all phases of gardening and related subjects. To aid in the protection of forests, marshes, native plants, wild flowers and birds. To maintain membership in and coordinate club interests with those of the Garden Club of Georgia, Inc., The National Council of Garden Clubs, Inc., and The Savannah Area Council of Garden Clubs, Inc.  READ MORE

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Skidaway Farms
Blake Caldwell (mblakecaldwell@bellsouth.net)

 Skidaway Farms was a dream for a number of people at the Landings for many years after Paul Kurilla of Public Works and Jerriann Kirkwood of Skidaway Audubon visited the Hampton Island Preserve and saw the developer-constructed community garden. A suitable piece of property, a former sod farm of The Landings Club, was identified in 2010, a lease was signed with the club and a Development Committee was formed under the authority of Skidaway Audubon. READ MORE

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By Pat Barry (pat@home31411.com)

Green Thumb Club, established in 1986, is under the auspices of the Landings Landlovers, an umbrella organization for numerous and varied activities here at the Landings.

Our primary focus is to provide monthly meetings that center around a topical program headed by a speaker(s) who presents an hour of informative, often unique, often entertaining, but always demonstrating a high level of competence and expertise. Within our meetings the club strives to consistently provide pathways to nature conservancy, appreciation of the Southern lifestyles and its environs, and lastly but very importantly, fellowship among the membership. We currently enjoy having 112 members, all residents at the Landings, mostly women but certainly, happily include men as well. READ MORE

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The Landings Lagoon System
Sean Burgess (seanb@landings.org)

The Landings Community has 151 lagoons located within its borders which equates to 269 surface acres of water. Approximately half of the lagoons are fresh water and half are brackish and can range in size from 0.2 to 9.8 acres in size. The entire lagoon system is interconnected via underground piping as they primary function is storm water retention for the community. In addition to storm water retention the lagoons also serve other functions such as irrigation ponds, fishing, birding and aesthetics. READ MORE

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By Betsy Flaherty (bobflah@bellsouth.net)

 More than twenty years ago, Dave Scott envisioned developing a bluebird trail on the Landings Club Golf Courses in order to provide nesting sites for these cavity nesters. Today there are more than two hundred Bluebird houses on the six golf courses which comprise the Dave Scott Bluebird trail. Each house is mounted on a pole with a baffle in order to minimize predator activity. We are protecting against raccoons, snakes, other birds and flying squirrels. READ MORE

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The Native Plant Trail and Nature Trail
by Linda Sue Babcock (lindasjb@msn.com)

The Nature Trail was the inspiration of two ladies from The Landings Garden Club. Why not add some of the indigenous colorful native plants to an area where the people from The Landings could see what was available and how well they could be used in landscaping? It would feature flowering trees and shrubs that grow well in this area. It would add to the biodiversity, give color to the trail and provide food and cover for the birds. READ MORE

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The Recycling Center
By Sean Burgess – (seanb@landings.org)

There are currently 8,500 residents at The Landings. Prior to 2008, residents recycled their newspaper at The Landings Association building and their aluminum was recycled in two other locations around the island. The newspaper recycling was a revenue generating project; however the aluminum recycling profits went to the charities that provided the service. READ MORE

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Skidaway Audubon
By Mal Welch (meredithwelch@gmail.com)

 In 1997 the Green Committee of The Landings Club began to explore Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program, dedicated to naturalizing out of play areas and using a six-part process to ensure environmental stewardship. By 2002, all six of the club’s courses were certified in this rigorous program and, with the combined efforts of volunteer committee members and dedicated staff, they have been recertified every two years since. Our scorecards note this achievement and in the past year bronze plaques have been installed at each pro shop identifying the courses as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries. READ MORE

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Caryl Warner   (ccwarnerjr@bellsouth.net)

Skidaway Audubon is committed to environmental sustainability in every area in which it is associated on Skidaway Island. One of our environmental functions is the volunteer operation of the Bottle Brigade, given its name and logo for the important but somewhat unappealing task of picking up and disposing of litter that is found on the roads, paths and common areas within The Landings gates and on public areas and roadways on Skidaway Island. READ MORE

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Skidaway Island Diamondback Terrapin Hatchery Project
Carolyn McInerney (cmcinerney@thelandings.com)

 There she was, just sashaying across the green, completely oblivious of the four golfers who were attempting to sink their putts. She was obviously on a mission. She gracefully dropped over the edge of the first cut and went head first into the greenside bunker. Twenty minutes later, after excavating an 8” deep hole and depositing her eggs, she reversed her route and disappeared into the spartina grass. Within 24 hours her nest was decimated by foraging raccoons. READ MORE

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TLA Water Conservation
By Sean Burgess – (seanb@landings.org)

For the past decade, Skidaway Island has been under terrible strain because of ongoing droughts. The Landings needed to find a way of offsetting the lack of rain in the irrigated areas around the island. TLA made a decision to not simply water more but instead to upgrade our existing irrigation systems to make them more efficient. To date TLA has  completely removed and replaced 7 of the 11 major irrigation systems throughout the community. READ MORE

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Best Management Practices for Water Conservation and Sustainability on the Golf Courses at The Landings Club
By Chris Steigelman (Chris.Steigelman@LandingsClub.com), Director of Golf Maintenance – South

The Landings Club is the largest private member owned club in the United States. The Club is located on Skidaway Island, an 18 square mile barrier island off the coast of Georgia. There are six championship golf courses designed by some of golf architectures greats such as Arthur Hills, Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer and Willard Byrd. Each course has its own style and views; all of the courses intertwine along the salt marshes and lagoons that surround Skidaway Island.. All 6 of the Landings Club golf courses are all certified in the Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf (ACSP). READ MORE

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The Landings Club Golf Maintenance Shares Best Practices and Expertise
Water Conservation Highlights

Expert panels – Staff participated on panels of experts before approximately 150 (February 2010) and 300 (February 2012) residents as part of programs about the urgent need for water conservation at The Landings. Among the shared knowledge: no need to water turf while it is dormant which occurs between November and February, best to water at night when natural plant wetting occurs, and the use of the Georgia weather station network to determine whether or not to water and how residents can access the same information. READ MORE

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Landings Residents Support Regional Conservation


  • The Ogeechee Audubon Society (“OAS”) is chapter of National Audubon that serves the northern half of the Georgia coast and the adjacent portion of South Carolina.
  • Ogeechee Audubon educates the general public about birds, wildlife and the environment, provides opportunities to enjoy nature, and advocates for responsible public policy to ensure good stewardship of the environment.
  • Approximately 50 Landings residents are dues-paying members of OAS.
  • Four Landings residents serve on the OAS Board of Directors and currently hold the elected positions of President, Vice President, and Secretary.
  • Landings residents often serve as OAS field trip leaders and guest speakers.
  • OAS bird walks and surveys regularly visit the Sparrow Field at The Landings, as well as other natural areas including the two marinas and the Nature Trail.  READ MORE




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