St. Catherines Island Opportunities for KSU Researchers - July 1, 2020

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St Catherines Island, privately owned and maintained by St. Catherines Island Foundation, is one of Georgia’s barrier islands. The island is made up of 22,000 acres, including salt marsh, barrier beaches, maritime forests of different compositions depending on elevation, and old-field successional forests. The island, occupying 10 percent of Georgia’s 110-mile coast, is about 50 miles south of Savannah. As a historical repository of pre-colonial Indian, colonial Spanish and English, and American Revolutionary archaeological remains and artifacts, the island was designated as a National Historical Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1969.

St. Catherines Island


The American Museum of Natural History began exploring the island’s archaeology in 1974 by establishing the St. Catherines Island Archaeological Project (SCIAP). Archaeological research and natural history surveys have evolved into an expansive program of conservation research. In 2005, SCIAP began a new program to conserve the most endangered archaeology and history of St. Catherines Island. Several existing programs include:

  • The Lemur Program maintains several free-ranging troops of ring-tailed lemurs, the only free-ranging population outside of Madagascar.
  • The Sea Turtle Program is a holistic program dedicated to the study of the interactions of coastal geology, biology, and human development on nesting ecology of loggerhead sea turtles.
  • The Sewanee Island Ecology Program is an interdisciplinary summer field school that exposes students to many scientific disciplines while they live and work on St. Catherines Island.


St. Catherines Island Foundation board members, comprised of prominent scientists, publishers, attorneys, and environmentalists, is committed to sustaining the island’s natural environment and promoting research, education, and conservation programs that benefit from its unique ecological character. The Scientific Advisory Committee reviews all island research applications.

Research opportunities include but are not limited to archaeology, anthropology, botany, geoarchaeology, biology, loggerhead nesting ecology, science and conservation education, coastal geology, botany, natural history, and zoology.


If you would like more information about research possibilities on St Catherines Island, please contact Michael Blackwell, Operations Manager of the KSU Field Station at