OssabawLogoSmEarlier this year, a truly special gathering took place in Savannah.

Environmental advocates, writers, educators, businessmen and some of the region’s most respected “friends of the Earth” met in a lecture hall to learn about our history.

Not just our history.  Our environmental history.

What’s that, you ask?  Well, it’s a concept we should’ve embraced a long time ago.

It’s the idea that human beings alone did not shape their world.  We had help from the land and water around us.

The Ossabaw Island Foundation convened the “Coastal Nature, Coastal Culture” symposium to present original research into the environmental history of Georgia’s coast.

And the atmosphere in the room was electric as 11 nationally-renowned scholars revealed the fruits of two years of study to a capacity audience at the Coastal Georgia Center.

I was honored to be there to record these proceedings for Savannah Podcast.

Over the course of this year, I’ll be presenting these lectures every three or four weeks.

You’ll learn about topics as diverse as:

  • How African landscapes shaped Gullah-Geechee culture
  • How pulp and paper products shaped our water resources
  • How maps visualized our coastal frontier
  • How slave stories shaped ghost tourism and
  • How Northern industrialists became our first conservationists

The first of these talks is the symposium’s keynote address.

Delivered by environmental historian Mart Stewart of Western Washington University, it lays out the broad outlines of the rest of the symposium.

And it delves specifically into three ideas from nature – islands, edges and the globe – and how they relate to coastal Georgia’s history.

He posits that dreamers have been inspired here throughout history.

I know you’ll learn many new tidbits about our history from this talk and those to come.

For instance, did you know that a Scottish nobleman promoted a utopian plan along the Savannah River 16 years before James Oglethorpe founded the Georgia colony?

Did you know that a Liberty County author in 1853 penned a Robinson Crusoe like story based on experiences that are likely based on Georgia’s barrier islands?

These stories and much more await you in this podcast. I hope you enjoy it.

This podcast was sponsored by the Ossabaw Island Foundation. Click here to register for their upcoming field trip on March 26th.