Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Georgia Outdoors Special this Evening

Georgia, with its miles of wilderness, mysterious swampland, and diversity of wildlife is fertile ground for unusual tales from the natural world. From the altamaha-ha, Georgia’s answer to the loch ness monster, to the search for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, thought extinct for decades, we explore some of the legendary creatures, far-fetched myths and animal lore handed down for generations. What is fact and what is fiction?

Some of the most popular destinations in Georgia are our beaches. From the well-traveled sands of Tybee Island, to the protected shores of Cumberland Island, Georgia Outdoors explores the geology and ecology of our amazing beaches.

These areas are more than great spots for soaking in the sun. From nesting for shorebirds and sea turtles, to the important storm buffer of the dune system, beaches also play an essential ecological role. On this episode, we’ll take a closer look at where the water meets sand.

Tonight at 7 PM only on GPB.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Georgia Out...and about...Georgia Marshes

Keely's picks for great outdoors adventures-- Marsh style.

Fort Morris Historic Site - Midway, GA
Come & Take It! -- American Revolution Encampment
Saturday, November 17; 11:00 AM -4:00 PM
This American Revolution encampment commemorates Colonel John McIntosh's defiant reply to a British demand for surrender: "Come & Take It!" Watch colonial demonstrations, musket and cannon drills, skirmish and more. Interpreters in historical attire will teach about colonial life. $1.50-$3. 912-884-5999.

Fort Pulaski National Monument
Saturday, November 17; 8:30 AM- 12 Noon
Guided Bicycle Tour of the Fort as well as surrounding areas. Park Rangers and employees from Chatham County Parks and Recreation, Oatland Island, and volunteers will lead a bicycle tour of the Rails-to-Trails, Battery Park on Tybee Island, Fort Pulaski National Monument, surrounding dike system, and the lighthouse trail. This tour will interpret natural and cultural resources, and allow participants to exercise as well.

Frederica National Monument
Visit the "Bloody Marsh Unit" of Fort Federica. The English and Spanish forces fought in an encounter later known as the "Battle of Bloody Marsh". The origin of the name came from the marsh supposedly running red with the blood of Spaniards. However, official Spanish records indicate that only seven grenadiers died during this battle. Due to the efforts of Lt. Patrick Sutherland of the (old) 42nd Regiment of Foot and the Highlanders from Darien, the battle was a British victory, ending the Spanish claim to Georgia.

Plus one suggestion for land lovers...

Panola Mountain State Park - Stockbridge, GA
Youth Basic Flyfishing Clinic
Saturday, November 17; 10:00 am -11:30 am
The two-hour clinic covers equipment, casting, safety issues and other tricks of the trade. If time permits participants may stay to catch the “Fish of Fish.” Our local instructors C. H. Brown and Michael Reilley suggest wearing long pants/shorts and hiking shoes, and bringing snacks, water and sunscreen. Georgia fishing license required for parents joining the group. $5 plus $3 parking. 770-389-7801.

Premiere Episode: Georgia's Marshes

Though Georgia’s coastline is relatively short – only about 100 miles long – it holds one third of the salt marsh habitat on the east coast. From the freshwater rivers which feed the marsh, into the muddy grassland of the marsh itself, we’ll explore the incredible biological diversity of the salt marsh.

We start with a kayak trip down Cathead Creek, a tributary of the mighty Altamaha river which feeds the marshland of Macintosh County. From there, we visit the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve for a tour of the marsh with a group of students. The salt marsh is also a great place for fishing, and we venture out to fish for red drum both at high tide and low tide.

Premieres this Friday, November 16, 9:30 PM
Repeats Saturday, November 17, 6 PM &
Tuesday, November 20, 7:30 PM

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

On the Road: Lighthouses

Escaping the expected cold temperatures of the city, Georgia Outdoors is heading to the coast. This week we'll be shooting for an upcoming show about historic sites in Georgia. We'll be visiting all but one of the five remaining lighthouses along the Georgia coast.

If you've ever been to Tybee Island you've seen the tall black and white Tybee Island Lighthouse but did you ever notice little Cockpur Lighthouse on your way? Cockspur Lighthouse sits in the mouth of the Savannah River's South Channel and at high tide is almost inundated with water.

Working southward, the Sapelo Island Lighthouse comes next. The lighthouse sits on southern end of Sapelo Island guiding the way through Doboy Sound to the Port of Darien, which in its heyday, was an important port for lumber and agriculture.

The St. Simon's Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in Georgia reported to be haunted. in 1888, the keeper and his assistant got into an altercation in which the assistant shot the keeper dead. People to this day report hearing footfalls on the tower stairs.

The Little Cumberland Lighthouse is the only lighthouse we will not be able to visit. The lighthouse sits on a privately held island in the St. Andrew's Sound and access to the lighthouse is not permitted. Today a large dune protects the lighthouse from the sea but also blocks the good views from the nearest public viewing area-- the water.

There was one other lighthouses in Georgia. The Amelia Island Lighthouse was originally constructed on the southern tip of Cumberland Island but it was dismantled and rebuilt on the north end of Amelia Island in 1838.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Behind the Scenes - Suwannee River Watershed

We see some pretty amazing sights out in the field, and there is nothing quite like the Okefenokee Swamp at sunrise. While shooting last October, we were able to experience the amazing prairies of the eastern swamp at a time when the bird life and alligators were particularly active. Thanks to the drought, the water levels were several feet below average, forcing animal life to congregate more densely.

During this trip, we woke to rain, but soldiered out into the prairies of the swamp anyway and were treated to an amazing sunrise. Thanks to our guides Chip and Joy Campbell, we were able to sneak our boat right up to a family of elusive Sandhill Cranes as they were feeding by the water’s edge, quite a sight to see in the golden light of the early morning. From the stable platform of a motorized tour-boat, we saw dozens upon dozens of alligators corralled along the edges of the canals.

Several months later, the largest wildfire in recent Georgia history swept through the swamp. The Okefenokee images you’ll see on the Suwannee River Watershed episode document the swamp as it was before the burn. Today, the swamp is in a period of regeneration after the spring wildfires. Historically, the Okefenokee burned regularly, and over centuries, fire shaped the swamp into what it is today. I highly encourage a trip to the swamp to witness this amazing natural process.

For the episode, we also took a rare trip out of state. Though we are Georgia Outdoors, covering a topic like the Suwannee river watershed involved following the Suwannee to its terminus in the Gulf of Mexico. It was nice to cross state lines and experience some different scenery. Following the Suwannee via the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, we were reminded that nature knows no such artificial borders as state lines. At the mouth of the river, we found salt marsh habitat not unlike that found on our own coast. Another reminder of how intricately connected we all are…I hope that you enjoy watching this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Conserve-Action: Water Conservation

As you've undoubtedly heard by now there is a mandatory 10% reduction in water use order in effect. How are you going to handle it?

Here at GPB the plan to reduce water use is primarily through our heating and cooling temperatures throughout the building. Apparently we will save over 65,000 gallons a month by reducing our winter temperature to 68 degrees from 70 degrees and increasing our summer temperature from 72 degrees to 75 degrees. The water saved is that which is normally lost through condensation in the cooling towers.

This got me thinking. What are the most effective ways to reduce water inside your home?

According to my web research the average home uses more than 200 gallons of water per day.

The culprit: The clothes washer - 56,000 gallons/year
The solution: operate only on full loads. Turn off that "extra rinse."

The culprit: The shower head - 37,000 gallons/year
The solution: Take a 5 minute shower, or less. Save 20,000 gallons.

The culprit: The water faucet - 35,000 gallons/year
The solution: Turn off the water running while brushing teeth, shaving, or washing. Catch "warm-up" and "cool-down" water for plants. Install low flow restrictors/aerators.

The culprit: leakage - 30,000 gallons/year
The solution: Check for and repair leaks - will waste from 30 to 500 gallons of water per day!

The worst culprit of all: The good ol' toilet - 60,000 gallons/year
The solution: Offset older toilets with a plastic jug of pebbles and water. Don't flush bugs or trash. And finally, use this adage: "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."