Cumberland Island is the largest and most beloved of the Georgia barrier islands. Although it can be reached only by boat, more than forty thousand people make the trip each year to enjoy the island's natural splendor and solitude. As on most barrier islands, human activity has long been a shaping force on Cumberland. It is among the few islands, however, that we have let return to a relatively natural state. With its expansive oceanfront beaches, dunes, interior maritime forests, freshwater ponds, tidal creeks, and salt marshes, Cumberland is all the more special for its restored natural environment.
In The Seasons of Cumberland Island, naturalist and photographer Fred Whitehead captures the unique allure of the island's flora and fauna in 118 stunning full-color photographs. Moving through seasons punctuated by the comings and goings of such animals as the migratory birds that rest here in autumn and the loggerhead turtles that nest here in summer, the photographs reveal the subtle but important effect of cyclical change on the island's ecosystem. The lush color images, which are often paired with detailed captions, include spectacular views of muscadine vines and Virginia creeper in autumn, a prowling bobcat in winter, a springtime nest of pileated woodpeckers, and a green tree frog announcing an impending summer rain.
Featuring a introduction on the importance of the complex ecosystems of barrier islands like Cumberland, the book informs as it enchants. Here is a stunning tribute to Cumberland's sublime treasures that also serves as a thoughtful reminder to respect and protect the wildness of our barrier islands.
"Fred Whitehead reminds readers why we must protect natural areas like Cumberland Island. . . . His knowledge and respect for the area are evident in his stunning photographs."
- Blueplanet Quarterly
"You must get this wonderful book with the beautiful photos of the birds, the horses, the deer, the plants, trees, everything so that you can see for yourself all about this place. Having this book is the next best thing to being there and seeing it for yourself. . . You must get this wonderful, exciting, beautiful book and enjoy it for yourself."
- Valdosta Daily Times
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Fred Whitehead is a naturalist at Cumberland Island's Greyfield Inn and a photographer whose work appears in such publications as National Geographic, Audubon, and Newsweek. He is a retired National Park ranger, with a career spanning the Everglades National Park, Glacier Bay National Park, and Cumberland Island National Seashore.