When Mildred and John Teal moved to Sapelo Island, Georgia, in 1955, they stepped back in time to a virtually undeveloped landscape of salt marsh, maritime forest, freshwater ponds, sand dunes, and beaches. Over the course of a four-year stay their careful observations of the island's unique marine ecology and wonderfully varied flora and fauna became the basis for Portrait of an Island. The island's human history dates back more than four thousand years. The lure of Sapelo has drawn many to its shores, including tobacco millionaire R. J. Reynolds, who established the University of Georgia Marine Institute there in the 1950s. Surrounded by sixteen thousand acres of pristine marsh, Sapelo offers researchers and the public a rare opportunity for environmental studies. Now a state game refuge and national estuarine sanctuary, the island remains a special haven where humans and nature quietly and peacefully coexist. Portrait of an Island is essential reading for anyone who treasures tranquility.
In the best tradition of writers of natural history, the authors have presented their own discoveries of wild life and sea life in a meaningful, readable combination of accurate scientific observations, colorful descriptions, and unsentimental appreciation.
This engagingly unpretentious account of the island and what the authors found there is informative-and happily evokes the idyllic atmosphere of the place.