Path to Certification


The Landings on Skidaway Island, a Certified Sustainable Community, first in Georgia


Twenty years ago, The Landings Club executive staff turned to a group of resident volunteers and asked them to explore the value of an environmental certification program being run by Audubon International. Within four years, by 2002, all six of the club’s golf courses on Skidaway Island, located 12 miles southeast of Savannah, were certified as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries. Today the Troy, NY-based not for profit works all over the world with nearly half of Golf Digests top 100 courses involved and 27 certified, according to Marcus Grey who leads the golf course certification program.

What certification has meant for The Landings Club is a fascinating and ever-growing list of projects on its six courses, all taking advantage of out of play areas. These include the longest monitored bluebird trail in the Southeast and the largest terrapin turtle rescue program on the East Coast, a pollinator berm garden that provides a habitat for monarch research with University of Georgia and University of Minnesota, a community garden with beds for 150 farmers on the site of a former sod farm and The Landings bird cam which streams nesting raptors 24/7 in cooperation with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

All projects are spearheaded by volunteers with funding from Skidaway Audubon, an on-island conservation organization that was launched as a committee of the club to secure certification. The Landings Club course maintenance professionals provide manpower whenever needed and the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association and its Environmental Foundation have both supported and publicized many initiatives.

Skidaway Audubon took its successful work with the club and, with encouragement from the founder of Audubon International during an onsite visit ten years ago, began to expand with projects for the entire Landings community. Volunteers worked alongside the professionals at The Landings Association, the communities governing body, with an environmental manager playing a key role. Out of this collaboration came a recycling center, a native plant trail, a campaign to eliminate an invasive species, the Chinese tallow tree, and water conservation initiatives. Five years ago the decision was made to take it a step further and pursue certification in Audubon International’s Community Sustainability Program.

In February, 2018, after completing work in 15 different focus areas and building a long term plan, The Landings on Skidaway Island was designated as a Certified Sustainable Community, the first in Georgia.

Steven Freund, Executive Director of The Landings Club, lauds the effort, ”Sustainable living in a sustainable community is a reflection of the sensibilities of our residents and members and the right thing to do.”


Among the many projects completed as part of the community-wide certification initiative was the installation of interpretive signage at a tabby-walled cemetery that dates back to the time of the American Revolution, a piece of history on club property, adjacent to a green on one of the six courses, and carefully protected through the years.

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.

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