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Shout Out – Ecotourism Along Georgia’s Coast

An article in the Spring-2024 Edition of the Magazine of the University of Georgia describes how an award-winning certifications program, CARE (Coastal Awareness and Responsible Ecotourism), launched in 2020 through the collaboration between the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, Manomet (environmental non-profit and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources promotes sustainable water-based tourism on the Georgia coast. The article, written by Aaron Hale, a UGA graduate (’16), describes the journey of two women, Katie Higgins ( a faculty member and educator for UGA Marine Extension and Sea Grant) and Kathryn Lapolla (a CARE graduate), who both run ecotourism companies on Little Tybee Island and Savannah, respectively. 



The State of Georgia is in a unique position to help protect its coastline and preserve the delicate coastal ecosystems. Eleven of Georgia’s fourteen barrier islands remain unconnected to the mainline by bridges which means that there aren’t as many roads, houses, hotels and seawalls built. This lack of development provides visitors to these islands with spectacular views and the possibility of observing the wildlife in their natural habitats. It is the aim of the CARE program to train the people who guide people into these coastal habitats to be stewards of the environment. The certification comes with a commitment preserve the ecosystem, while also allowing these businesses to thrive and become a significant part of the region’s economic growth.

Preserving the coastline also serves to preserve the waters of the ocean. The lack of encroachment from humans onto these islands and the education of the people who come to visit will serve to reduce the pollution introduced into the ocean, thus preserving the ocean ecosystem.

More information about the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant program can be found at the following link:

 More information about the CARE program can be found at the following link:

More information about Manumet (environmental non-profit) can be found at the following link:

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