Local fossil hunter unearths history from Tybee Island

Local fossil hunter unearths history from Tybee Island

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Many of us go about our days without thinking about what is under our feet, but one woman has been focusing on just that for over 25 years.

“I never know what I am going to find, I never know,” said Master Naturalist Rene Heidt.

6 inch long Megalodon tooth
6 inch long Megalodon tooth (Source: Sundial Charters)

That sense of curiosity began for Rene Heidt when she was a teenager on her first fossil hunting trip.

“Oh it is wonderful, it is wonderful. I mean, when I get this fossil, I know that I am the first person in 2.6 million years to touch it. I want every person, every human to be able to go out into the landscape and into nature and have an ah-ha moment," said Heidt.

Rene sets out to accomplish just that almost every day by taking people from across the country fossil hunting right here in Georgia and South Carolina.

From Megalodon teeth to pottery and old whiskey bottles, there is plenty to unearth along the Georgia and South Carolina coastline.

Sundial Charters Megalodon teeth
Sundial Charters Megalodon teeth (Source: Sundial Charters)

“It’s really the corps of engineers who are the fossil hunter’s friend because dredging up there, it would still be underneath there, and we would never find them. They have been dredging the Savannah River since the 1800s so they had these huge piles and you just walk around them,” said Heidt.

In this case, one person’s trash leads to another’s person’s treasure, creating memories that can last a lifetime.

“With fossil hunters, they might be lured in by the megalodon, but then they start looking at the intricacies. It is a life-long hobby, it is an inexpensive one and it produces something that is very tangible that you can keep. It’s all fascinating. The more time you spend outdoors the more you realize the more there is to learn,” said Heidt.

With each trip, Rene hopes she can instill her love for nature and our local environment into generations to come.

Happy child finds shark tooth
Happy child finds shark tooth (Source: Sundial Charters)

“This is why we have to preserve this, this is why protected spaces are important. The ability to connect with nature on another level than just watching it on TV,” said Heidt.

If you would like to contact Rene Heidt, click here.

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