Wednesday, April 3, 2002

The Secret Seashore: Not a Secret Anymore!

Did you know that Georgia is home to the largest sand dune on the East coast? Or that troops of wild horses have run across parts of the state since the 1500s? Or that Georgia still has intact communities of the direct descendants of former slaves? You can find all of these things and more on Georgia's barrier islands.

In honor of Earth Day 2002, PeachStar will be airing The Secret Seashore, a Georgia Public Television original program written and produced by Frank Loose. The Secret Seashore tells the story of Georgia's 17 barrier islands. This hour-long program looks at each of these islands in both a historical and environmental context, offering an excellent opportunity for cross-disciplinary teaching and learning.

Barrier islands are large deposits of sand and sediment just off the coastline that serve to protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wind and waves and that also harbor a wide variety of plant and animal life. Stretching along the Atlantic coastline, Georgia's barrier islands are replete with natural and American history:
- Cumberland
- Little Cumberland
- Jekyll
- St. Simons
- Sea
- Little St. Simons
- Wolf
- Egg
- Little Egg
- Sapelo
- Blackbeard
- St. Catherines
- Ossabaw
- Wassaw
- Little Tybee
- Williamson

Georgia's barrier islands have several distinct ecosystems and biomes: the ocean beach, salt marsh, maritime forest, and freshwater slough. They exhibit plant life ranging from giant oaks and magnolias to marsh elder, cord grass, and, of course, sea oats. Wildlife include many imported as well as native species, ranging from Eastern Diamond rattlesnakes on Blackbeard Island and wild horses on Cumberland to lemurs and wildebeests on St. Catherines.

The Secret Seashore does a lot more than tell the story of the barrier island's natural history, though. The stories of these islands are full of Georgia's rich cultural history, exhibiting its African, European, and American influences. Through this intriguing documentary, your students will explore different eras in Georgia history, visiting such sites as St. Andrew's Lighthouse, the Gichi community of Hog Hammock, and the home of John Wesley, founder of Methodism.