SAVANNAH, GA – The Landings at Skidaway Island is the first community in Georgia to earn the Green Community Award for their ongoing sustainability initiatives. Members of Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program are eligible for the award, which recognizes significant environmental achievement and is an intermediate milestone en route to earning rigorous designation as a Certified Audubon International Sustainable Community.
The Landings’ accomplishments for this award include:
- Outreach and Education – The Community Sustainability Steering Committee is installing an interpretive sign at a popular overlook, the Delegal Marina Tower, to orient the visitor and resident alike to local geographic features and the unique coastal ecosystem around them. The sign highlights resident and migratory wildlife species such as bottlenose dolphins, otters, manatees, and diamondback terrapins through a series of beautiful and informative images.
- Resource Management – The community has reduced its use of potable water and become more environmentally friendly through resident and management actions such as planting native drought-tolerant species, reducing turf areas, and using irrigation timers, reducing costs and preserving natural aesthetics.
- Health and Wellness – Amenities are integrated with the natural landscape by paths shared by golf carts, bikes and walkers, as well as nature trails. The island promotes a healthy lifestyle by offering walking, biking, boating, golfing, swimming, tennis, and other activities. The Landings Club has formed a new Life Extension and Fulfillment initiative (L.E.A.F.) that will provide programs for education and public health. Matt Roher, Senior Executive Chef and steering committee member, has introduced many local sourcing initiatives, and one chef is beekeeping at the community garden and using the honey production in dining offerings.
- Wildlife Habitat – In 1986, the Branigar Organization won the Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence for preservation of the sensitive marsh system and donation of 588 acres to the Skidaway Island State Park while developing The Landings. As part of the community’s original plan, open space and wildlife corridors were protected through large vegetated buffers and minimal fencing, and now habitat is maintained through sensitive management and a comprehensive tree removal policy that protects specimen trees. Viewing platforms offer opportunities for viewing eagles and other sensitive species, a pollinator garden, a bluebird box trail that runs on all six golf courses, and Diamondback Terrapin hatcheries are evidence of residents’ passion for local wildlife.
“As the first community in the state of Georgia to receive the Audubon International Green Community Award, The Landings at Skidaway Island has signaled a strong commitment to embodying the ideals of sustainability in all aspects of their community,” says Joanna Nadeau, Director of Community Programs. “Following the lead of the six golf courses within the community that have been certified as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries, The Landings’ Community Sustainability Steering Committee is taking an important next step to ensure a sustainable future for the island’s residents, human and wildlife alike, by pursuing certification. Furthermore, Landings’ residents support so many off-site organizations that this community is helping the world around them become more sustainable.”
The Landings Association’s forthcoming strategic plan with its focus on sustainability will provide many of the needed initiatives in the areas of Governance; Economic Development; Planning, Zoning and Building Development; Public Safety & Emergency Management; and Transportation. After a community sustainability plan is approved, communities in the program may apply for certification in the Sustainable Communities Program by demonstrating continuous progress towards goals in the plan under fifteen focus areas.
About The Landings at Skidaway Island
Skidaway Island is an interior barrier island next to the Ossabaw Sound and 12 miles southeast of Savannah. The Landings community offers 40 miles of walking trails through maritime forest of native pineland and live oak and extensive salt marsh habitat, a two-acre community garden, and many kayaking, fishing, boating, and birding opportunities. Its community of more than 8,500 active residents drawn from all over the country is being led by the Community Sustainability Steering Committee through the certification process. Skidaway Island is also home to the University of Georgia’s Marine Extension Service and Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, as well as the Skidaway Island State Park. The Community Sustainability Steering Committee includes representatives from each.