photo courtesy of GSTC

School is out and parents may be scattering to find a summer activity for their kids. Behold, Jekyll Island has you covered! Consider enrolling them in Gatorology:101!

This hands-on experience is held underneath the shaded wildlife viewing platform at Horton Pond. Enrolled children will be taught about the biology, conservation and behavior of the American gator. An insight of the alligator research on the island, the creation of a safe co-existence of people and the large reptiles.

The 45-minute class will wrap with a ‘graduation’, allowing the kids to be labeled as an Alligator Advocate. They will walk away with an understanding of to safely enjoy the gators and conservation support opportunities.

Jessica Scott, Marketing Communications Manager of the Jekyll Island Authority, gave a bit more information about the summer-long event. She shared that the program started as a graduate project in 2013 and officially became a regular Jekyll Island Authority Conservation program in 2015.

When asked what is included in a class, Ms. Scott shared the following, “Students will learn all about American alligators including where they live, how they move, nesting, eating, and more. There will be hands-on activities, a Q&A and Safety tips.”

The sessions are lead by a combination of permanent staff and AmeriCorps Members, with each having a background in biological sciences research and education.

Recommended items to bring include:

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Insect repellent
  • Water

Advanced Reservations are required, and the tours are offered on a first come, first served basis. Groups are limited to 25 guests and the classes can possibly sell out days in advance. Upon the day of your reservation, guests should check-in at Horton Pond, off North Beachview Drive. It is recommended to arrive 10 minutes before the program’s start and be prepared to walk up to two miles.  Parking is available at the pond. No-flash photography is both welcomed and encouraged.

The program is currently running through September, on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Each class begins at 11 a.m. For children three years and under, the class is free. For those over the age four, the class is $15 plus tax and includes the GSTC general admission.

For more information, or to reserve a space, visit their website here. Tickets can also be purchased at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

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