Satilla Riverkeeper


Laura Early
[email protected]
(912) 462-5094

The Satilla River watershed consists of about 3,940 square miles in 15 of Georgia’s counties. The Satilla itself is a 260-mile long black-water river that lies completely within the Atlantic coastal plain. The head waters of the Satilla River Watershed begins in the Ben Hill and Jeff Davis Counties region of Georgia and snakes its way to the Georgia Coast where it empties into the St. Andrews Sound at the Atlantic Ocean in Camden County. The Satilla River is bordered by Cypress and tupelo gum swamps along with other hardwood riverine bottomland swamps that harbor many species of wildlife including black bear, white tailed deer, mink, as well as a variety of other species. The Satilla River watershed is also inhabited by several threatened and endangered species including the bald eagle, the eastern indigo snake, and gopher tortoise (rare). 

Laura’s first encounter with the Satilla River watershed was as a sea turtle technician on Cumberland Island. She was captivated by the ecosystems, history, and communities of coastal Georgia, and the region has never really let her go. Laura worked with extension programs at University of Florida and Clemson University, as well as a small nonprofit in Sanibel, Florida before she returned to the Georgia coast as a naturalist on Little St. Simons Island. As her experience in the region grew, she recognized the vital connections between the rivers and coastal ecosystems--and the people that depend on them. To become better equipped to help protect Georgia’s natural resources, she attended an interdisciplinary graduate school program at University of Georgia. She earned her Masters of Science in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development in 2016, in which her research focused on environmental impacts of land use changes in the Satilla watershed. Laura is returning to coastal Georgia from a year in Washington, DC where she worked in NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office. She loves kayaking and birding, and learning new things, and she is incredibly excited to jump into the role of Satilla Riverkeeper!


PO Box 817
Nahunta, Georgia 31553