Arising from the Okefenokee Swamp, our St. Marys River flows 130 miles to the Atlantic Ocean at Cumberland Island National Seashore. Bookended by two national treasures, the St. Marys River is pristine from Swamp to Sea, but a river is only as healthy as its headwaters and tributaries.
This series focuses on the future of our river in regards to the proposed mining operation located at our river’s doorstep, rapid growth throughout the watershed, and ways we can all be better stewards for our waterways.
Join St. Marys Riverkeeper for a FREE educational series to inform the community about advocacy efforts to protect our St. Marys River. We will discuss our St. Marys River and its connection to Trail Ridge, Okefenokee Swamp, and the Floridan Aquifer with experts in the field!
Webinars are virtual on select dates from 12:00p-1:00p. Experts will present for 45 minutes followed by 15-minute Q&A from our participants. You must register to participate.
FOR OUR RIVER | EPISODE 6
MICHAEL LUSK: OKEFENOKEE NWR & WORLD HERITAGE SITE BID
Michael Lusk, Refuge Manager of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
Michael Lusk is a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Born in Florida, he grew up in eastern North Carolina and received his BS and MS in Fish and Wildlife Biology, with a minor in Forestry, from NC State University. He is a certified Wildlife Biologist by The Wildlife Society and a founding member of the Invasive Species Working Group. After graduation, he served as a wildlife biologist working with the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker at Fort Bragg, NC. He then moved overseas for a two year stint as a wildlife biologist for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, working with highly endangered endemic birds. He still serves as a member of the Mariana Crow Recovery Team. Michael then joined the FWS as an endangered species recovery biologist in Honolulu, HI. During this time, he conducted the field work to establish the population status of the endangered Tinian Monarch (a bird) and authored the package that lead to the delisting of this bird from the Endangered Species list. He left there to join the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) and took a job as an Assistant Manager at Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in central Georgia. Following that, he traveled to the southern border of Arizona as Deputy Project Leader at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge where he dealt with illegal human migration through conservation lands. Having learned about the damage that invasive species can do to native ecosystems from his time in the Pacific Islands, Michael moved to FWS Headquarters in Washington D.C. as the Invasive Species Coordinator for the NWRS. In this position, Michael created the first-ever national invasive plant management course for the FWS and the $1 million competitive grant to address large invasive species projects. Michael returned to the field to take the Refuge Manager position for the Crystal River NWR Complex in central Florida where he worked with the endangered Florida manatee and helped extend protections for manatees in Kings Bay, the largest natural gathering area for manatees in the world. Michael then moved to southern Georgia in 2013 to become the Refuge Manager of Okefenokee NWR, the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the eastern United States. Michael served as the Agency Administrator for the West Mims wildlife in 2017 that burned 152,00 acres of public and private lands and cost $50 million to suppress.
FOR OUR RIVER | EPISODE 5
DR. ADAM FOX: STURGEON IN THE ST. MARYS RIVER
Dr. Adam Fox, Assistant Professor at University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.
Dr. Fox earned his B.A. in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University, his M.S in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies from Coastal Carolina University, and his PhD from University of Georgia. He has been a faculty member at the University of Georgia since 2018.
Dr. Fox’s research focuses mainly on the life history, population dynamics, and ecology of marine and diadromous fishes. Much of his recent work has focused on endangered Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon in Georgia and threatened Gul Sturgeon in the Apalachicola River in Florida. His research investigates movement, habitat use, recruitment, abundance, and survival of these imperiled species. Dr. Fox has also worked with coastal sharks, longnose gar, gag grouper, Atlantic tripletail, bottlenose dolphins, and salt marsh herons.
FOR OUR RIVER | EPISODE 4
ANGELA WIGGER AND JAMES COUGHLIN: ECO-TOURISM IN A GATEWAY COMMUNITY
Angela Wigger, Executive Director of St. Marys Convention and Visitors Bureau
Angela Wigger has been the Executive Director for St. Marys Convention and Visitors Bureau for 12 years and brings over 25 years of hospitality industry experience and a love for customer service and community cooperation to her position.
Angela held the Convention Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation from 1999-2014 and holds the Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) designation from the Southeast Tourism Society and the Georgia Certified Professional Travel Counselor (GPTC) certification from the U.S. Travel Association.
She also serves on the executive committee of the St. Marys Submarine Museum Board of Directors.
James Coughlin, Executive Director of Camden County Joint Development Authority
James comes to Camden from Rome, Georgia, where he served as the Director of Professional Recruitment and Retention for Floyd Medical Center. In this role James traveled the Southeast region, recruiting physicians to northwest Georgia. James was a 2011 graduate of Leadership Rome and in 2013 he was the Governor’s Appointee to the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission.
James is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Southeast Georgia and now serves on their board. He is also Vice-Chair of the Southeast Georgia Alliance, an economic development partnership between Camden, Charlton, Glynn, Brantley, McIntosh and Wayne Counties. He is a Georgia Certified Economic Developer and is currently serving as a member of Senator Ossoff’s Hydrogen Braintrust.
FOR OUR RIVER | EPISODE 3
DR. JEREMY STALKER: FLORIDAN AQUIFER
Dr. Jeremy Stalker, Associate Professor of Marine Science at Jacksonville University with Marine Science Research Institute.
Dr. Stalker earned a B.S. in Geological Science at Michigan State University, a M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Montana, and Ph.D. at Florida International University in Geochemistry. He has taken a path of academics and professional work in his career; besides his academic degrees he has worked as a hydrologist for the United States Geological Survey, as a geophysical consultant in Southeastern Alaska, and as a private hydrologic consultant.
Dr. Stalker’s primary research interests are in hydrologic processes at terrestrial ocean margins, including issues of water scarcity, forensics, sea level rise, and climate impacts. Dr. Stalker’s focus in geochemistry is the application of stable isotopes (O,H,S,N,C,Sr) and ionic constituents (Ca,Fe,Mg,Ba,Si) as tracers in hydrologic systems. These tracers occur in unique concentrations and ratios in water from different sources, when applied they can answer numerous questions about the timing and spatial importance of each source. Dr. Stalker also applies geophysical instruments and physical data to build water models to study the impacts of both natural climate change, but also anthropogenic project impacts.
FOR OUR RIVER | EPISODE 2
DR. LISA CHAMBERS: WETLANDS AND CARBON CAPTURE
Dr. Lisa Chambers, Associate Professor in Biology and National Center for Integrated Coastal Research at University of Central Florida.
Dr. Lisa Chambers focuses on the impacts of distrubance (sea level rise, climate change, urbanization, etc) on wetland and coastal ecosystem functions, including nutrient cycling, greenhouse gas production, and carbon storage. She is Principle Investigator for UCF Aquatic Biogeochemistry Lab. She holds a PhD in Soil and Water Science from University of Florida, a MS in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University, and a BS in Natural Resources from Ohio State University.
FOR OUR RIVER | EPISODE 1
DR. RHETT JACKSON: OUR ST.MARYS RIVER WATERSHED
Dr. C. Rhett Jackson, John Porter Stevens Distinguished Professor of Water Resources, Warnell School, University of Georgia.
Dr. Jackson’s research focuses on the effects of human land use activities, specifically forestry, agriculture, and urbanization on water quality and aquatic habitat. He conducts applied research into the effectiveness of best management practices (BMPs) in reducing nonpoint pollution, erosion, and flooding. He also conducts basic research into the subsurface routing of water and solutes from hills to stream, and this work helps us understand how, where, and under what conditions pollutants move to streams. A particular current interest are the relationships between riparian vegetation, channel structure, stream temperatures, and aquatic habitat. He is a member of the Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems and the River Basin Center at UGA. Dr Jackson has published over 100 peer-referenced publications. Dr. Jackson earned BSE and MSE degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University and PhD in Environmental Engineering from University of Washington. Prior to becoming an academic, Dr. Jackson worked in stormwater management and environmental consulting.