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Tag Archives: Annabelle Carr

Some Enchanted Eating

In our quest to become a true food destination, Savannah has reached its share of milestones: decadent dishes and inspired ingredients that keep us hungry for more. Join your city magazine and our team of talented tasters on a tour of the city’s flavor profiles, as we share our top cravings—and their creative culinary cures.

Compiled by Annabelle Carr   |   Photography by Teresa Earnest

View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/foodphotographyteresaearnest

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It’s a new year—a fresh start for Savannah.  And, as I look over this issue of our city magazine, I can’t help but feel a buzz of excitement.
  You’ll hear more than 50 local voices as you read through the magazine.  We’re talking about everything—from education, segregation and public safety to beauty, home décor and locally made Valentines.  Nothing is off the table, as long as it’s of concern to our readership of invested Savannahians.  But our focus is the future: a kinder, more collaborative city that’s as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. How will we get there?  Let’s begin and end with kindness.  Instead of tearing each other down, let’s help each other be better.  Let’s offer respect, a listening ear, and the grossly underrated benefit of the doubt.  As the improv artists challenged us a few issues ago, let’s respond to each other with “Yes, and …” instead of the easy “No.”  Let’s show our famous hospitality to one another, and acknowledge that each life, each opinion, is a worthy part of our whole.
"We’ve asked some questions in this issue that have no easy answers.  What follows is the start of a dialogue that’s incomplete without you."
In this issue, we’ve identified and interviewed 20 of Savannah’s future leaders. We’ve listened to some pretty compelling success stories and gathered some clever advice for improving our quality of life. We’ve sought the counsel of a gunshot victim, an urban planner, a cognitive neuroscientist and a tour guide—among many other local heroes. We’ve asked some questions in this issue that have no easy answers.  What follows is the start of a dialogue that’s incomplete without you. We want to offer you Savannah magazine as a forum for your future.  The city needs a thoughtful, non-partisan place to explore and enrich its cultural identity, and we are that place. You can participate by reading and replying.  Send us a letter at editor@savannahmagazine.com.  Let us know your hopes, and share your solutions.  You could be one of the exciting voices in our next issue.

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A lot can change in a year.
Just look at last year’s holiday cover girl, Merline Labissiere—then a local designer and philanthropist teaching at-risk kids to create their own clothes.  Today, she’s a household name—a Project Runway star with her own lingerie line for sale. ND14 Cover.indd Or take my last holiday letter, in which I lamented the editorial struggle to find something new in ritualistic holidays I wasn’t raised to celebrate.  Today, I’m planning a lavish feast with a Roman Catholic fiancé who dotes on all things Christmas.  And I’m giving the reindeer free rein, so to speak—taking the advice of staffers with more expertise on the subject of celebration. You’ll find more holiday ideas in this issue than in last year’s—thanks in great part to director of advertising Jane Townsend, a British alumna of cozy cottage celebrations and cheery pubs, who confessed herself heartbroken and bereft by our grinchlike brevity in 2014. In response, we asked local event designers to reimagine the classic winter holidays, from a green (not orange) Thanksgiving and the “Miracle of the Mad Men” to a platonic, playful New Years’ Eve.  We invited a floral designer to do a tinsel-free takeover on a favorite Parkside cottage, and we worked with coastal Georgia maven Monica Lavin to raise the roof on seasonal parties.SavMagThanksgiving15-8 You’ll also notice that this issue is packed with recipes, thanks to art director Michelle Karner and associate editor Amy Condon, who truly believe that some Savannahians actually like to cook.  From Malena Stone’s easy apple dip to Chef Chris Nelson’s chipotle lavender pickled pears and Meta Adler’s quail and chanterelle mushroom pie, you’ll find a fresh flavor for every skill level. Still more milestones mark this festive time.  Thanks to a convergence of loved ones and year’s end, ’tis the season when we tend to get engaged, give back, and begin the transition to retirement living.  As your city’s lifestyle magazine, we’re making a gift of the advice and inspiration you need for these important life choices. Still, as we wrap this issue and put a big, shiny metaphorical bow on it, darkness threatens our season of light. Last New Year’s Day, local college student Matthew Abijade died under restraint in the custody of Chatham Co. deputies.  This year, we’re reeling over newly released footage depicting the cruelty and excessive force police used during what the coroner labeled a homicide. Last season, Beth Logan of Hospice Savannah still had her family heirlooms, and her house was a safe shelter for family and friends.  This year, she’s rebuilding a shattered door—and shattered trust. A year ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the legitimacy of a political race in little old Savannah could be threatened at gunpoint. In the words of John Lennon, “So this is Christmas.” I don’t have an answer for the large shadows life casts, but I can’t ignore them.  Instead, I hope they inspire us to start by brightening the darker corners of our own lives. If the holidays have a message for the humanists among us, it’s the message of forgiveness.  Grace, redemption and salvation are just fancy words.  And love is easy until the beloved does something we don’t like.  Forgiveness. I don’t know how to forgive the people whose actions led to Matthew’s death, or the ones who took Beth’s trust and her grandmother’s treasures.  I have no words for a man who would (allegedly) flash a gun at a political forum. But we all know how to forgive the small stuff.  The loved one who speaks sharply in a “hangry” moment.  The (nameless) child who leaves his dirty clothes on the bathroom floor.  The colleague who leaves out a letter when spelling our names.  The inconsiderate and the insecure.  How?  By communicating, and reaffirming shared goals of peace and happiness.  We don’t have to forgive, but we can. Such small acts of forgiveness may seem insignificant, but they add up.  Like little candles, they light the dark.  They soften the edges of our community and invite our neighbors in. Together, I hope we can shine enough light that Savannah begins to experience a shift in her spirit.  Let’s move the dial from dangerous insecurity, back to the generosity and creativity the world sees in us.  Spark by spark, let’s create a shining example of a community where inhumane actions have nowhere to hide. I know we can do it.  After all, a lot can change in a year. Annabelle Carr

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As "mayor" season gets underway, Annabelle Carr enjoys a cold drink and some hot topics with the first two declared contenders in the amazing race.   The deadline to file as a candidate in Savannah’s next election will have passed by the time you read these words.  Hopefully, more of the Garden’s myriad characters will have thrown their hats in the ring, and we’ll all be in for an exciting two months of grandstanding and rabble rousing.  In the meantime, I can think of no better way to contemplate this city’s future than to sit down with each of the race’s earliest contenders.  Incumbent Edna Jackson and challenger Murray Silver have been at it for months: shaping their rhetoric, building a fan base, and meeting with constituents to define the issues of the day.  I met them each on separate nights at the Top Deck Bar for an open discussion about the future—and a view of the city from all directions. Be warned: political correctness and politics do not always go hand-in-hand in Savannah, and the views expressed by the candidates do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine. [caption id="attachment_15464" align="aligncenter" width="585"]Photograph by Jason B. James Photograph by Jason B. James[/caption]

The Incumbent: Mayor Edna Jackson

Native daughter Edna Branch Jackson has a long history in public service and a reputation for being approachable.  As a young leader in Savannah’s Civil Rights movement and the NAACP Youth Council nationwide, Jackson helped organize wade-ins at Tybee Island, kneel-ins at local churches, and voter registration all over the South.  A veteran social worker and counselor, she worked as an administrator at Savannah State University for 30 years.  Before she was elected as our first female African-American mayor in 2011, she served three terms in City Council as alderman at large, and two terms as mayor pro tem.  And, after nearly four years as the seaport’s supreme figurehead, she’s been campaigning hard for another term under the golden dome.  Her motivation?  “Unfinished business.”   Read On » [caption id="attachment_15463" align="aligncenter" width="585"]Photograph by Teresa Earnest Photograph by Teresa Earnest[/caption]

The Challenger: Murray Silver Jr.

Savannah’s mayor should be a character—a prerequisite native son Murray Silver has on lockdown.  This former rock music writer and photographer got his start promoting soon-to-be iconic bands in Atlanta at the tender age of 16.  Think Fleetwood Mac, the Grateful Dead and Paul Simon.  His book, nonfiction bestseller Great Balls of Fire: The Uncensored Story of Jerry Lee Lewis, became a major motion picture by the same name.  He earned his Juris Doctor at Woodrow Wilson College of Law and has worked as a speechwriter for Coretta Scott King, a special emissary for the Dalai Lama, and a writer and lecturer on the subject of Spirit.  But most Savannahians know him for his spirited criticisms of the status quo in local government—often voiced on his Facebook campaign for mayor, Change Savannah.  Read On »  

The Latest Challenger: Eddie Deloach

Former Chatham County Commissioner Eddie DeLoach had not declared his candidacy for Savannah’s mayor by the time we went to press with the September/October Best of Savannah issue.  But, we reached out as soon as we heard the news.  Kay Heritage stopped him on the campaign trail to ask a few questions. [caption id="attachment_15462" align="aligncenter" width="238"]Photograph by Kay Heritage Photograph by Kay Heritage  [/caption]
Savannah Magazine: Why do you want the thankless job of mayor?
Eddie DeLoach:  I came from a family that taught me if a job wasn't getting done, I had an obligation to step in and help make things happen. Right now, I don't think the job is getting done in the Savannah city government. Crime is on the rise, our money is being wasted on studies and failed projects, and no one has proposed, much less implemented, a long-term vision for Savannah. I know I'm capable for the job and I know I'll give it the best I've got, but this isn't about me; this race is about helping the people of Savannah, Georgia, get the services, protection, and peace of mind that they deserve.
SM:  What are your qualifications to represent this city—both in and out of the box?  
DeLoach:  I grew up in the Savannah area, I've owned and operated a business in Savannah, and I served as a Chatham County Commissioner for eight years. I believe my business background will help me tackle the huge amount of money that the [current] Mayor and Council are wasting, which will free up the funding in the budget to fully staff our police force and help reduce crime. Savannah desperately needs real leadership and I truly believe I'm the person for this job.
SM:  What peculiarities do you love about Savannah?
DeLoach:  I moved to Savannah when my wife and I became empty nesters. I quickly learned to love this city. I've always loved to eat with a group of friends and family and being downtown makes it easy to find a local restaurant that caters to whatever you desire. There's always a crowd to enjoy the atmosphere with you and your friends. When my wife and I moved in, it was obvious to us that everyone in the neighborhood was concerned about each other. People brought cakes, food, and all types of things when we moved into the neighborhood. When our neighbor moved out, we celebrated their time with us and hosted parties to wish them well as they moved to a new Savannah location. If you lose a dog in Savannah, people help you find your dog. They'll take the time to call around to find your dog and they'll keep it safe if they find him. I remember I once kept a lost dog for three days. I didn't know whose dog it was, but I knew the owners would show up and I wanted to make sure that dog was safe and loved. That's Savannah for you.
SM:  What, in a nutshell, needs changing?
DeLoach:  I think most of the change in Savannah needs to happen in three main areas; crime, fiscal matters, and leadership. If we set a long-term vision for this city that incorporates a serious reduction in crime and involves cutting out waste, this city will see tremendous growth. There are many things in Savannah that don't need changing; we have incredible people and incredible character, but we need a leader who is willing to tackle the tough questions so that our citizens get what they deserve.

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Cashing in on her editorial privilege, Annabelle Carr takes the turn-key approach to life on the water.

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Our annual Health Supplement is the key to feeling your best.

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MoreToLove

As your city magazine approaches its 25th anniversary, we’re growing to keep up with Savannah’s graceful evolution.

With our July/August issue, we’re expanding our page size to match that of our spacious sister publication, Savannah Weddings.  And we’re refreshing and refining our design template to make your reading experience a true vacation from the chaos of daily life.

Our mission is to preach the gospel of the inimitable Savannah lifestyle, and to do that, we have to look and feel as generous, thoughtful and authentic as you are.  We want to embrace the luxuries of time and space that the city naturally exudes.

Imagine Savannah without Oglethorpe’s famous squares—or without those breathtaking expanses of marsh and water.  That’s the kind of breathing space we’re talking about infusing into the new Savannah magazine.

A bigger magazine that better reflects the authentic, eccentric Savannah?  Ah … inspiring!

Elegant and relevant.  Spacious by design.  That’s your city.  And her magazine is all grown up.

Warmly,

Annabelle Carr

Editor

Savannah Magazine

Savannah Homes

Savannah Weddings

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Get to know the local fashionista behind one of the biggest developments in the history of the Historic District.  Annabelle Carr and Autumn Van Gunten take notes.  »  Photography by Cedric Smith

LJSM00
  Real estate dynamo Lori Judge had just finished performing a feng shui remodel on the bathroom at her Abercorn Street office when she got the call from Atlanta mall maven Ben Carter. “Tell her about your rocks,” the jovial developer interrupts when Lori begins the story of how the two met.  “She had these rocks on top of the toilet and I lifted them, thinking it would flush.” It didn’t, but there is a purpose behind every item in the tiny red water closet, which Lori reconfigured according to the ancient Chinese philosophy of harmonizing human life with the surrounding environment.
"Since July, the partners have placed more than 20 Broughton Street buildings under contract and met with everyone from Sephora and Louis Vuitton to J Crew and H&M."
“When I realized that our prosperity center was in the restroom, I knew I had some work to do,” laughs the tireless Savannah ambassador.  She brought in “sparkly light fixtures,” local art, strategically placed mirrors and transitional Chinese symbols of wealth. “My staff thought I was nuts,” she laughs, “but I didn’t like the idea of abundance and energy getting flushed down the drain.”   LJSM03   Within hours of the feng shui project’s completion, Lori was collaborating with Ben on Broughton Street’s $75 million fashion-forward redevelopment project—one that promises to change our sleepy “main street” forever. That was eight months ago.  Since July, the partners have placed more than 20 Broughton Street buildings under contract and met with everyone from Sephora and Louis Vuitton to J Crew and H&M. “This is the first project that I didn’t have to build from the ground up,” says Mall of Georgia developer Ben, who also is hard at work on the Pooler outlet mall due out in Spring of 2015.  “Savannah had everything we needed and the signs of growth were undeniable.” Lori credits Ben’s relationships with high-end retailers, while Ben lauds Lori’s fashion-forward mindset and deep Savannah connections.  In-tune locals know Lori’s hard work for the past five years is finally paying off. high res ben lori   “When I brought my contacts to Savannah for the Pooler project,” Ben recalls, “they all had one question: Why isn’t Broughton Street as prosperous as King Street in Charleston?  Lori and I want to make it that way.” The planned development will add national retailers, green space and art space to our rehabilitated central thoroughfare by this fall, but Lori emphasizes that local business will always be a part of the revitalized shopping district. An avid boutique shopper and celebrated Savannah style icon in her own right, Lori’s love of all things local is self-evident.  Here’s hoping we can keep it alive on the brand new “B. Street.”

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Savannah’s Realtors are selling the good life—and we’re buying.  Annabelle Carr asks the Empire’s eponymous experts for their hottest tips and sweetest deals.

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With the help of a born ’n’ bred naturalist, editor Annabelle Carr visits an alternate Savannah where development never happened.  »  Photography by Beau Kester

I can taste salt and exultation in the air as we leave civilization behind, skimming across the inscrutable water, blue-black laced with shimmering olive highlights. I’ve asked John “Crawfish” Crawford to show me his favorite places.  We’re in a Carolina skiff that belongs to Crawfish’s employer, the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service, aka MAREX.  Crawfish’s daughter, Lauren, 11, his wife, Jeana, and my son, Santo, 12, are along for the Sunday ride. “We have one of the largest stretches of undeveloped coastline in the US—60 miles from Tybee to Sea Island—and the highest tidal range from Cape Cod to South America,” Crawfish calls out above the roar of the motor.  “This right here is the nursery of the ocean.  Dead grass feeds bacteria, which feed plankton, which feed everything.” Underneath a Captain Ahab beard, his voice sparkles with boyish enthusiasm.  I feel suddenly privileged to be here, in this diverse ecosystem based on constant change, with a bona fide disciple of Poseidon. A Savannah native, marine science education specialist and U.S. Coast Guard master captain, my host came by the name “Crawfish” honestly.  He grew up exploring the woods and marshes of Savannah’s east side, catching specimens in jars, leading his fellow Boy Scouts on natural history expeditions and riding his bike to the now-defunct Savannah Science Museum, where he found mentors and a lifelong passion.  After a stint in the Navy, he went on to have a hand in every local ecological organization I can think of, from Wilderness Southeast to the Caretta Research Project.  Today, he leads groups “from ages 10 to 110” on learning expeditions into the coastal wilderness.  Back in laboratories at MAREX’s saltwater aquarium on Skidaway Island, he and his colleagues teach by example.  They involve their students in field research, inspecting plankton, dissecting fish and observing horseshoe crab behavior in salt tanks. When I thank Crawfish for spending his day off at work, he laughs and quotes Georgia folk hero Br’er Rabbit: “Please, please, please don’t throw me in the briar patch!” This is one local man who doesn’t just live on the water—he lives for it.
Adrift With Living Fossils
Wilmington Island’s crowded shore gives way to oyster-lined tidal creeks where ’gators larger than our children slide noiselessly into the water.  Crawfish shows us where the ageless reptiles have changed the marsh over time, creating new waterways by wallowing through the grass.  He explains how they keep other species alive by digging holes that stay wet through seasons of drought—reverse “arks” where these unlikely “Noahs” unwittingly preserve their prey. It’s one thing to take an ordinary Savannah boat ride—koozie in hand, marveling at the raw, wordless expanse and gossiping with the usual suspects.  It’s another thing entirely to take a ride with Crawfish, a lifelong champion of coastal ecology.  I pester him with questions and find that he can answer them all.  How do starfish eat?  (Through a mouth that’s disturbingly close to the anus.)  How do you tell a great egret from a snowy egret?  (Yellow beak vs. yellow feet.) After 10 years in Savannah, I feel like I’ve finally arrived. We pass a sand bar where glossy clusters of watermelon-sized horseshoe crabs float in the shallows.  Nothing like the occasional stragglers that surface on Tybee’s South Beach to die, these living fossils are active and plentiful. “These fellas mate only on the spring tides—the full and new moon—so we’re in luck,” Crawfish says, tossing an anchor overboard so we can get a closer view. Everywhere we look, the prehistoric creatures have strung themselves together, the males’ hooked legs, or pedipalps, locking onto the shells of the females.  They haven’t changed much in the past 300 million years. Lauren disembarks to help a stranded male.  Crawfish shows me the crab’s underbelly, a fierce, flailing knot of spidery legs. “You can see that they’re related to scorpions,” he says, and the “stinger” is clearly the sword-like tail, which aggressively slices the air on its abdominal hinge.  “But, even though it looks threatening, it’s only trying to propel itself.” My host also knows his plant life—he’s particularly fond of “what other people call weeds”—and he offers us a crab-watching snack.  As we sample salty sea blight and succulent glasswort near the water’s edge, birds hover close by, no doubt hoping to feed on horseshoe crab eggs.  The birds’ diversity is astounding but Crawfish can name each species, pointing out their unique markings and peculiar habits as we motor onward. I’ve been making magazines for so long that I only have eyes for the supermodels: the leggy, graceful great blue heron, standing on ceremony at the skirt of the tide.  But Crawfish has a place in his heart for each unique creature. “See that smaller bird there?”  We spot a flash of deep emerald with a reddish throat.  “That’s the green-backed heron, and it uses bait to catch fish.  You’ll see it ‘casting’ the same twig again and again, then snapping up the fish that comes for it.” [nggallery id=290]
Where the Wild Things Are
As I contemplate a world where birds use tools, the Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge stretches out before us in all directions —10,053 acres of wilderness accessible only by boat.  Separated from the mainland by vast marshes and tidal waterways, the refuge encompasses Wassaw and Little Wassaw islands, along with several smaller hammocks. On Wassaw Island, we follow a sandy path through thick woods of pine and palmetto, which gradually give way to an older maritime forest sheltered by vast oaks.  Along the way, we sniff fragrant, willowy dog fennel, so named because it keeps fleas away; wax myrtle, a natural insect repellent; and the crisp, glossy leaves of the vanishing red bay tree. “The red bay is native, and it’s under attack by the Asian ambrosia beetle, which carries a symbiotic fungus that feeds on the tree,” Crawfish explains.  “It arrived in the U.S. by way of the Port of Savannah, presumably in the infested wood of packing crates aboard a cargo ship.  Now the tree is threatened.” I consider that precarious view of life on the water. “Only naturalists were concerned, until the beetle reached Florida and tackled the red bay’s cousin, the avocado.” He hands me a red bay seed, which looks and tastes like a marble-sized version of its celebrated relative.  I wonder how many more people will hold one of these in the palm of their hand before the trees are extinguished forever.
Kingdom of the Ghost Shrimp
To my surprise, the forest takes a sharp turn upward, and we’re scaling a 45-foot hill in the shade of towering oaks.  After years in the lowlands, this promontory presents a challenging climb, its view breathtaking. “A hurricane in 1893 made these dunes overnight,” Crawfish tells me.  “See, there are still sea oats up here among the trees.” The sea oats proliferate, the dune slopes downward and we emerge onto the brilliant, sugary beach: seven straight miles of uninterrupted purity. Our kids, shy until now, become instant friends, gathering sun-bleached sand dollars and the swirling shells of lightning whelks.  We marvel at the way the ocean forges friendships and brings children to life. “I had a group of sixth-graders out here,” Crawfish remembers.  “Most were pretty excited but there was one little girl—when I mentioned there were no bathrooms you could see the horror in her eyes.  And one of the kids said ‘Oh, look at this spider,’ so the kids all gathered around, and this little girl didn’t even think.  She picked up her foot to stomp it.  I caught her in time but that was her impulse.  You could tell that in her family that there was just no environmental awareness.” That’s where Crawfish, a self-described “environmental missionary” sees his life’s work. “By the end of the day she was gathering up all kinds of cool stuff on the beach—stuff other kids didn’t even want to touch,” he delights.  “So I praised her for that.” Crawfish shows me the claw of a ghost shrimp, stark white and finger-length. “That’s what lives here, all along the water’s edge.”  He points to the familiar tiny holes, sprinkled with brown confetti, that I recognize from the shores at Tybee Island. The claw indicates a creature too large to move in and out of those tiny holes, but Crawfish explains that the holes connect to a clay-lined burrow system the shrimp make underground.  “The opening down below is much, much bigger.” For a moment, I see the beach as a long network of underground chambers. “Ghost shrimp are a sign of a healthy and high-energy coastline,” Crawfish adds.  “They only live where there is plenty of wave action and plenty of healthy small organisms to eat.”
The Eagle’s Lofty View
Back in the boat, more good environmental omens abound.  Dolphins, pearlescent as hot rods, surface repeatedly to watch us with their knowing smiles.  Dark and hulking, wild boars and their piglets root around on a scruffy beach. Crawfish stops the boat to scan the hammocks for eagle nests in the trees.  We see three massive nests and then a bald eagle at the top of a towering pine, the bird’s beak scowling, its dark feathers lined in gold. “Seeing eagles is another good sign,” Crawfish tells me.  More bald eagles roost in the Coastal Empire each year, he explains.  They’re recovering in the wake of the 1972 ban on DDT, which sterilized much of the population. Crawfish celebrates these victories, one by one. “If I wasn’t optimistic, I couldn’t do what I do,” he smiles.  “My mission is teaching people about the life that’s out there.  I don’t focus on the garbage.  I focus on the natural environment and I want to get the beauty, diversity and value of that across to my students.  And once people appreciate stuff and begin to understand it, they can’t help but want to preserve it.” I know it’s true for me.  Out here, despite its obvious bounty, the coast seems more precious, more illusory, more fragile than ever.  It’s like a beautiful dream that I’m scared to wake up from.  On our way back to the aquarium, I pepper Crawfish with fearful questions.  How are we ruining this bit of paradise?  Will this still be here for Santo’s and Lauren’s children? “Our problems are solvable,” he assures me, steering into the wind. As much as the harbor deepening and the Ogeechee fish kills have made environmental headlines, the saltwater world before us is threatened most by nonpoint source pollution, including pesticides, fertilizers and runoff from parking lots and roads.  We can limit the damage by choosing alternative lawn treatments and paving with permeable materials, which filter pollution rather than storing it up for the next rainstorm.  And then there are the septic tanks, many below sea level, that can leak out into our waterways at high tide if not properly inspected and repaired. We also urgently need to limit our use of plastics, and Crawfish has a much more local reason than the horrifying “plastic continents” scientists have discovered floating in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. “Even if plastic doesn’t strangle a dolphin or get eaten by a sea turtle, it breaks down into tiny particles that don’t go away,” he explains.  “When we do plankton tows with our students, we bring in jars full of organisms, and every time, the kids put them under the microscopes and say, ‘What it this?’  Brightly colored microscopic bits of plastic.  This can be confusing to planktonic animals that are the basis of food webs.  They might spend a whole lot of time trying to get rid of debris that they can’t digest.  That could lower their productivity, meaning that the disruptions could move up the food chain.”
The Sea of Love
This is a sobering thought: that the worst damage to our touted “salt life” comes from all of us at once.  But as we travel home, Crawfish gives me the greatest hope of all.  Revealing that he knows just as much about Savannah’s human history as her natural history, my host points out the various hammocks and islands that have been saved by local families who opted out of opportunities to develop their land. Wassaw’s Parsons family, for example, chose to convey their land to the Nature Conservancy of Georgia in 1969.  Ossabaw Island’s remarkable centenarian Sandy West is widely credited for one of the most public-minded land deals in recent Georgia’s history, ceding her 26,000-acre barrier island system to the state for less than half its value.  In 1970, still more concerned citizens brought about the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act, which, among other things, prevented oil and gas giant Kerr McGee from drilling after Midnight’s infamous Jim Williams sold Cabbage Island to the company. Humans may be the greatest threat to our wetlands, but we’re also their staunchest defenders.  We’ve made tough choices before, and we can make them again. “If it weren’t for locals who care about the environment, all this would look like Hilton Head,” my host says with gratitude. And if it weren’t for locals like Crawfish, we wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

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