Flagler College receives a $600K grant for Guana peninsula project

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The NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative awarded Flagler College and the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) a $600,000 grant for their project “From Past to Present: Ecosystem Services and People at the Guana River.”

The project is being led by Sarah Miller, Emily Jane Murray and Lori Lee. It began Oct. 1 and will end Sept. 30, 2024.

The Guana peninsula project aims to better understand, through a combination of archaeological investigations and applied anthropological methods, how people have used the cultural and natural the resources of the peninsula in the past, as well as how people continue to use the resources today.

Researchers say these resources are at risk due to threats from climate change impacts and development.

Information gained from the grant-funded work will help land managers understand and interpret the area's history, and inform and guide management strategies for cultural and environmental resources to best fit the needs of the existing stakeholder community.

Specifically, the grant funds will be used to model impacts from sea level rise over the next 100 years, monitor historical resources through Heritage Monitoring Scouts, organize surveys about coastal heritage and lead excavations through Flagler College and archeology projects where members of the St. Augustine community will be asked to participate as well.

“This project is truly an extension of our mission to provide education/outreach, assist local governments and the Florida Division of Historical Resources, and collaborate and provide opportunities for staff and students at Flagler College,” stated FPAN Northeast and East Central Region Director Sarah Miller.

Flagler College students will have the opportunity to get involved with the Guana peninsula project by conducting shovel test surveys about poorly understood sites and excavating test units concerning past people who lived in the Guana peninsula.

“We are excited to partner with FPAN, the NERRS and community partners to provide Flagler students opportunities to help document, manage and mitigate modern problems like climate change and historic preservation through applied anthropology and archaeology in our community,” said Lori Lee, associate professor of anthropology at Flagler College.

The partners that helped make this project possible are the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve and North American Heritage at Risk.

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