Volunteers have offered to assist the Jekyll Island Landscape crew with reforestation efforts.
Several thousand trees were lost island-wide during Hurricane Irma. Trees were also lost during Hurricane Mathew but were a fraction of the loss caused by Hurricane Irma, according to Cliff Gawron, Jekyll Island Authority’s director of landscape and planning.
Replanting and reforestation is a long-term, ongoing project led by Gawron and the Jekyll Island Authority Landscape and Conservation Departments, help from volunteers with tree planting is welcomed, according to Gawron.
Gawron met Wednesday with Annette Matters, founder of the Golden Isles Community Live Oak Restoration Project who has about 100 or so volunteers from St. Simons, Jekyll and Brunswick standing by to help with tree planting.
“I started the Golden Isles Community Live Oak Restoration Project,” Matters said. “I’ve had so many responses from people wanting to volunteer to help plant new trees on Jekyll.
Gawron offered Matters two large scale live oaks from the authority’s nursery to plant on the marina’s leased property. The marina site lost roughly 200 trees, primarily slash pines, in the recent fire.
Though Matters and her volunteers were ready to plant what she described as two, 10-foot tall live oaks, the marina ownership put the planting of those two trees on hold for now, according Matters.
Gawron has since made other plant material available to Matters to plant on the marina property, which would count toward Jekyll’s island-wide tree loss mitigation.
Matters and other volunteers will help the Jekyll Island Authority later this winter or next spring, with planting 330 to 400 saplings the authority anticipate receiving from the Georgia Forestry. The specific specific species are not yet known, according to Gawron.
That effort will be under the supervision of Jekyll’s Conservation and Landscape Departments.
The Cottages at Jekyll Island lost approximately 100 trees in the special protection area, only three or four on their leased property. Villas by the Sea lost approximately 200 trees in the special protection area and less than 10 on their leased property during hurricane Irma, according to Gawron.
The Jekyll Island Authority budgeted $10,000 this fiscal year prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irma for island-wide reforestation, according to Gawron.
Gawron added that budgeted funding will pay for planting approximately 30 mature trees and, up to four inch caliper trees in high profile areas. The 300-400 saplings Georgia Forestry will provide, will be planted in natural areas.
Funds allocated for reforestation will be primarily used for the purchase of trees. Labor will be provided in-kind by the Jekyll Island Authority.
Saplings planted in late February to early March will be done with assistance from Americorps Members. The larger trees will be planted by the Jekyll Island Authority Landscape staff in December through January, according to Gawron.