Residents of Georgia’s coastal communities can learn how to save money and better preserve natural resources during “Green Living,” a new series of programs offered by the University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant in Brunswick this winter.

“Our goal is to help coastal residents realize how everyday actions, from picking up after pets to using reusable bags, not only saves money but also helps conserve and protect our vital coastal resources,” says Kayla Clark, public programs coordinator for Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. “We know how much people value living in the Golden Isles. Our hope is to share some fun, innovative ideas for how they can help protect this area as well as the rest of the coast.”

From December through March, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant will offer sustainability-focused events, including a film screening, tips on how to save money by using less energy, the environmental impacts of animal waste, recycling habits, and a lesson in building a rain barrel.

Class topics and dates are provided below. Registration is required for each class. Participants can register online here. More information is available on the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant event calendar.

Film Screening: The Human Element, Dec. 5
Enjoy a free screening of the visually stunning documentary, “The Human Element,” in which environmental photographer James Balog captures the lives of everyday Americans on the front lines of climate change. Following the film, a panel of local experts will discuss efforts to address climate resiliency in coastal Georgia. Panelists include Susan Inman, the Altamaha Coastkeeper; Randy Tate, Ft. Stewart/Altamaha Partnership coordinator for the Longleaf Alliance; and Rachel Guy, research coordinator at Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Home Energy Economics: Saving Money by Going Green, Jan. 23
Learn about utilities that save energy and money. Talk with Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s marine economist, Adam Stemle, about the costs and benefits of different types of energy, and make a plan for reducing energy costs at your home or office.

What’s the Scoop? Environmental Impacts of Animal Waste, Feb. 6
Animal waste from wildlife and domestic pets can introduce harmful bacteria into waterways. Understanding where this waste is coming from can help us better prevent and manage it in the future. Join Asli Aslan, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Georgia Southern University, on a field trip to St. Simons Coast Guard Beach where you will survey the beach for possible sources of pollution. Afterwards, participants will engage in hands-on activities in the Brunswick Station laboratory to learn about the water testing that takes place behind the scenes to help protect human health.

Beyond the Bin: Rethinking Recycling Habits, Feb. 20
Learn about some of the negative impacts of single-use plastics and other types of marine debris on coastal ecosystems before exploring new, creative ways to reduce, recycle and reuse plastic material. Lea King-Badyna, executive director of Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, will discuss local cleanup and recycling initiatives taking place in the Golden Isles and Jennifer Zamudio, owner of Dot and Army Sustainable Everyday Goods, will share her story about building a sustainable business out of reusable materials.

Planning for Rainy Days: Building your own Rain Barrel, March 6
Rain barrels are an easy and affordable way to manage and conserve rainwater that can be used for your garden or to maintain your lawn. The Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is partnering with Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant to teach residents how to build a rain barrel they will take home following the program.