center on path toward completion
Sat, Apr 21, 2007
By KRISTA HARRIS
The Brunswick News
Sea turtles everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief.
Georgia Sea Turtle
Center on Jekyll Island will be open in a little more than two months.
But before the center's doors swing open, a walkway
of prehistoric proportions has to be laid down.
The Walkway to Wonder is being built with
personalized bricks that will lead the way into the Georgia Sea Turtle
Jekyll Island Authority landscape
architect Cliff Gawron, from left, Georgia Sea Turtle Center Director
Dr. Bill Irwin, and Jekyll Island Foundation Director Cindy McDonald
look over plans and brick samples for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center
walkway. (Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News)
Cindy McDonald, executive director of the Jekyll
Island Foundation, describes what will be done.
"The bricks will form the image of a loggerhead
turtle, a huge turtle" like in prehistoric times, she said. "It's going to
be pretty impressive."
The foundation sponsored a fundraiser that allowed
people to buy one of the 2,000 bricks needed to build the pathway and
inscribe it with a personal message.
Glynn County Commissioner Uli Keller and his wife,
Sandy, made their mark on the walkway.
"It's a great investment ... and the facility is
greatly needed," Keller said. "A little contribution can go a long way and
make the center go a long a way."
He added that the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is a
"great addition to our community."
Over in Albany in Southwest Georgia, Lake Park
Elementary School has gotten involved with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
Fifth-grade science teacher Nan Ward said, "a group
of four boys went to the principal (a couple years ago) with a letter
stating they wanted to start a sea turtle club."
They insisted Ward be a part of it. She laughs
remembering that she knew nothing about it until the principal approached
"They wanted to learn more about sea turtles," Ward
So, the club was created and Ward soon learned about
the center being built on Jekyll Island.
"I had been to Jekyll Island so many times and I
absolutely loved it," she said.
With that knowledge, Ward returned to her classroom.
The class decided it wanted to help the sea turtles along the Georgia Coast.
"Here we are a little Southwest Georgia town trying
to take care of sea turtles on the coast," Ward said.
The class purchased a personalized brick for the
walkway with Lake Park Elementary School imprinted on it. The Sea Turtle
Club also donated $2,000 to the center through various fundraisers and plans
on donating $1,000 more.
"The kids have done so much and the brick says,
'Here's my legacy, I did this, I was a part of this and I helped do this,"
said Ward. "Hopefully, (students will) continue to give throughout their
People who purchased bricks had three lines with 15
characters per line to write a message that will last forever. The proceeds
from the $50 cost of the bricks went into the Georgia Sea Turtle Center's
The center plans a grand opening on June 16, but
McDonald said the center will be open to the public on Memorial Day weekend.
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center will occupy the 1903
power plant in the Jekyll Island Historic District. The renovated building
will have educational exhibits, surgical and rehabilitation areas, an
information center and gift shop.
Before the building of the center, injured or sick
turtles that washed ashore in the Golden Isles had to be taken many miles
away to rehabilitation centers.
Some of the turtles couldn't survive the travel, and
Jekyll Island's Georgia Sea Turtle Center will give the injured or sick
turtles that come to our shore a better chance of survival.
Get involved :
For more information about the Georgia Sea Turtle
Center or to make a donation, call 635-4402 or visit