One Hundred Miles will launch its Naturalist 101 educational series Thursday with a lecture on life in the salt marsh.

The lecture kicks off the series, which will continue with monthly programs through December. The series is part of several educational programs and initiatives One Hundred Miles, a local nonprofit environmental organization that works to preserve Georgia’s coast, will offer this spring.

“Naturalist 101 is designed to help participants increase their encyclopedia of knowledge about our coast and critical issues affecting our wildlife, habitats and other resources,” said Catherine Ridley, vice president of education and communications for One Hundred Miles.

The series will have a different theme each month and will include a monthly lecture and field trip. Some events will take place at One Hundred Miles’ Savannah office.

This month, the series will focus on this area’s signature salt marshes. Jane Mackinnon, a biologist with the Department of Natural Resources’ coastal resources division, will give a talk at One Hundred Miles’ Brunswick office at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The lecture will be an overview of the salt marsh and ongoing conservation efforts.

“Space is limited for both the lectures and the field trips, so we do encourage people to sign up early,” Ridley said.

The field trips will give participants a more personal look at that month’s discussion topic. This month, SouthEast Adventure will host a kayaking trip in the marshes.

The trip will take place March 17 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participants will meet at Village Creek Landing Dock on St. Simons.

Registration for lectures and field trips can be found at http://www.onehundredmiles.org/Naturalist101.

One Hundred Miles will also kick off its Nature and the Arts series this month. The program explores the creative side of Georgia’s coast.

The series offers monthly workshops that tie coastal conservation with the creation of art.

Past participants have been able to tell their own conservation story through the lens of photography, painting, pottery or other mediums, Ridley said.

The series will start this month with a sweetgrass basket weaving class on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Brunswick office. The class is full, and Ridley said names can be added to a wait list.

Next month, One Hundred Miles will host a nature poetry workshop in Savannah.

The full schedule and registration can be found at http://www.onehundredmiles.org/NatureandtheArts.

Both the Naturalist 101 and Nature and the Arts programs will add events throughout the year.

“Right now we have the basic calendar up, but we encourage people to keep checking back in because we’ll have new workshops that we’ll be adding too,” Ridley said.

And for those looking for a way to more independently explore Georgia’s coast, One Hundred Miles has recently created a curriculum guide for young students and their families called “The Passport to the Georgia Coast.”

The guide spotlights 17 coastal destinations, including spots in the Golden Isles, Darien and Savannah.

“There’s just so much right here in our own backyard that we overlook, we take for granted or we don’t always get to go out and see,” Ridley said. “And this is just an opportunity to encourage people to stop and revisit some of these exciting places.”

One Hundred Miles partnered with 15 organizations to highlight the coastal destinations, which include the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, the 4-H Tidelands Nature Center, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and more.

The project was funded through a grant from the M.K. Pentecost Ecology Fund.

“The Passport to the Georgia Coast is a really fun activity guide for children and local students, families and anyone really who wants to get out and explore the coast,” Ridley said.

The guide also offers a scavenger hunt for each location, a specialty stamp that can be collected at each spot, a “Naturalist Notebook” and a “Coastal Georgia Bucket List.”

The guides are free and available at all participating organizations.

Anyone with questions can call the One Hundred Miles office at 912-264-4111.

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