Survival


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Disaster can strike at any moment leaving you stranded without the comforts and even necessities of modern-day living. Jacksonville's American Survival Company wants to make sure you have the tools you need to survive any worst-case scenario.

I call it, flexing your Macgyver muscle.”

Joel Graves, owner of Jacksonville’s American Survival Company, has quite a bit in common with the eponymous ’80s TV character. A former member of Seal Teams 2 and 4, he is among the foremost experts in the world on disarming explosives. He also spent a lot of time oversees and credits time spent in Afghanistan for leading him down his current career path.

“If you were to compare the general status of American culture vs. the rest of the world,” Graves said, “we’re getting further away from taking care of ourselves.”

American Survival Company’s tagline is “where training meets adventure,” but Graves says it’s really about teaching people to take care of themselves in ways we’re collectively forgetting how to do.

Graves points to the last few hurricanes along Florida’s Atlantic coast as a perfect example of what can go wrong when those skills erode across society. With power out for days and even weeks for some, Graves heard plenty talk about all the meat they had to throw away from their well-stocked, but inoperable freezers.

“Our forefathers would laugh,” Graves said. “We’ve been preserving meat for thousands of years!”

Graves isn’t just looking down on the softness of others. He’s been there himself. In Afghanistan, he worked with some of the most capable people on the planet. Yet, there were still plenty of times where his team needed to rely outside of themselves to meet even the most basic of needs.

“If you're in an area that is prone to natural disasters, think about the last one. What weren't you ready for?”

Two big examples of that: Graves said he needed to disarm an explosive just to access a cache of already spoiled food in order to survive. Even more stark was the seal team needing to rely on five of six-year-old goat herds who were more capable of providing for themselves in that environment than some of the world’s most finely trained warriors.

“We get all this money and fancy gear, and there’s still stuff we couldn’t do,” Graves said. “There’s danger in not being able to meet your basic needs… but, attention to detail is why I’m still alive today.”

Today, Graves is able to live as comfortably as the rest of us, but he’s hyper-focused on a time where he learned comfort is a luxury not everyone is always afforded. And so, he trains others to prepare themselves to rely less on the creature comforts of the modern age that are so often taken for granted and can so easily be taken away.

Classes at American Survival Company run a wide range from starting a friction fire or setting up a tarp shelter to more complex lessons like providing your own food by crafting a bow or fishing equipment in a survival situation.

“Really, what I teach people to do is to adapt to any situation,” Graves said. “God forbid you’re ever in an actual situation where you’ll need some of this. But, just the mindset that you get in a survival situation transfers over into a day-to-day, never-quit attitude. It’s really rewarding”

Perhaps the most accessible class is their foraging workshop. Graves said it turns any boring walk into something fun and exciting. More importantly, it reconnects people to nature in a profound way.

“A lot of people are really, really uncomfortable in a natural environment,” Graves said. “Because they’re uncomfortable, they don’t care about it. Maybe next time, they won’t throw that piece of trash on the ground.”

Graves is not alone in his mission to better prepare himself and others for survival. There are scores of reality TV shows that take viewers into this world — in fact, Graves and fellow instructor Matt Tate have been on Discovery Channel’s “Bushcraft Build-Off.”

Just as wide are the reasons survivalists like Graves get into this particular lifestyle. Some have a real, almost paralyzing fear of the worst happening. Others have religious reasons they believe they need to be prepared. Still others, like Graves, simply want to be less reliant and have been in real situations where those skills would have been needed.

“I do think it’s important to have skills and be prepared,” Graves said. “The big difference between me and those who look at the darker side is that they miss that the most important tool is the mental aspect. People put too much faith in the gear.”

For those wanting to embark on survival adventures of their own, American Survival Company has locations in Jacksonville, Arkansas and Maine. If you can’t make it to a class or event, Graves reminds people to get out of their comfort zone.

“If you’re in an area that is prone to natural disaster,” Graves said, “think about the last one. What weren’t you ready for? People think they’re prepared, but they have tarps and tents that are still in the package.”

“Don’t just watch this stuff,” Graves said. “You need to try it.” 

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Greatest Chefs 2019

Chefs are invisible artists. They keep us salivating, our minds fixated on the last time we ate at our favorite restaurant, and when the next time we plan on going. Nominate your favorite chef now!

Greatest Pets 2019

Man's Best Friend can be South's Greatest Pet with the right amount of love. Enter your pet and get those votes! Limited to southeast Georgia and the Lowcountry. Voting begins June 10 and ends July 1.
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Events Calendar

  • Summer Sea Camp

    May 27, 2019
    9:30 AM - 4:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    Kids 6 to 11 years old * Morning and/or Afternoon Modules * After Care * Curbside Drop-off/Pick-up   Summer FUN for the kids…designed to fit...

  • Summer Reading Program

    Jun 01, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:15 PM @ Live Oak Public Libraries

    Reach for the stars with Summer Reading Program at Live Oak Public Libraries! Explore "A Universe of Stories" from June 1 through July 31...

  • "The Prints of Dame Laura Knight" Exhibition at Telfair Museums

    Jan 19, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Telfair Museums' Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums exhibits nine prints by Dame Laura Knight (British, 1877-1970), together for the first time since they were acquired by the museum...

  • SS Savannah (1819-2019)

    May 23, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Ships of the Sea Museum

    2019 marks the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's groundbreaking trans-Atlantic crossing.  In recognition of this monumental achievement,...

  • Ready. Set. Summer. at Bluemercury!

    May 13, 2019
    10:00 AM - 8:00 PM @ Bluemercury

    Summer is quickly approaching – stop into your local neighborhood beauty store Bluemercury for all the essentials you need to refresh your...

  • "Keita Takahashi: Zooming Out" Exhibition at Telfair Musuems

    Jan 24, 2019
    10:00 AM - 5:00 PM @ Jepson Center

    Telfair Museums hosts the first museum survey of the work of visionary videogame designer Keita Takahashi (Japanese, b. 1975). Takahashi is noted...

  • Cocktail Classes in Congress Street Up

    Jun 17, 2019
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM @ Congress Street Up

    This 1.5 hour long experience takes place in Congress Street Up, in the 1920’s style speakeasy inside the American Prohibition Museum. Using...

  • French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950

    Jun 15, 2019
    All Day @ Consumer Museum of Art and Garden

    The biggest names in French art such as, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir will be showcased...

  • Coastal Heritage Society Summer Camps

    Jun 03, 2019
    All Day @ Tricentennial Park

    Each week-long camp: “STEAM Studio Camp,” “Jr. Chef Camp” and “Jr. Engineer Train Camp” will take place in June...

  • Tacos for a Cause

    Jun 18, 2019
    11:00 AM - 10:00 PM @ Bull Street Tacos

    Every Tuesday Bull Street Taco presents Taco’s for a Cause supporting a different charity every Month! All day long (11am-10pm)

  • Tiggy Needs A Kidney

    Jun 21, 2019
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Hogan's Marina

    Join us for a fun event at Hogan's Marina to raise awareness and funds for Tiggy's kidney transplant.  The event will take place from...

  • Friday Concert Series

    May 03, 2019
    7:00 PM - 12:00 AM @ Historic Courthouse, Downtown Blairsville on the S

    Come enjoy live music every Friday Night from the first Friday of May through the end of October. The Historic Union County Court House will host...

  • Collin's Barefoot Comedy Club w/Tommy Ryman

    Jun 21, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    National headline comedian Collin Moulton's monthly stand-up comedy show always features his own brand of hilarious and family-friendly comedy,...

  • Movie NIght in the Courtyard at Foxy Loxy

    Jun 21, 2019
    8:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Foxy Loxy Cafe

    Join Foxy Loxy Cafe the third Friday of every month for movie night!

  • WhasSUP Yogis? Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga with Biza Mabry

    Jun 22, 2019
    11:00 AM - 12:15 PM @ Wymberly Dock, Isle of Hope

    Come practice yoga on a stand up paddleboard. This may be the most fun you have had since you were a kid!   No paddle experience is required,...

  • Shagging at the Rock

    Jun 22, 2019
    12:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ The Blowing Rock Attraction

    A full afternoon of classic tunes by the best acts at this celebration of shag music! Outdoor event at the Blowing Rock Attraction- performances...

  • WhasSUP Yogis? Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga with Biza Mabry

    Jun 22, 2019
    12:30 PM - 1:45 PM @ Wymberly Dock, Isle of Hope

    Come practice yoga on a stand up paddleboard. This may be the most fun you have had since you were a kid!   No paddle experience is required,...

  • BEE Wise: the Importance of Bees

    Jun 22, 2019
    1:00 PM - 2:00 PM @ Southwest Chatham Library

    Learn the importance of bees to our environment, with Sade Shofidiya of Foster Beelief. Plus find out how to care for hives and plants that bees...

  • Cats Under the Stars

    Jun 22, 2019
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM @ Tybee Post Theater

    Jerry Garcia may be best known as the lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead, but his solo project for over 20 years, the Jerry Garcia Band,...

  • SCAD Cinema Circle: Do the Right Thing

    Jun 22, 2019
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Trustees Theater

    Join Cinema Circle for a "Hot, Sweaty Summer" of films! From Academy Award winning Director Spike Lee, DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)...


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Scenes of the South

JCB Mudfest 2019

JCB doesn't it again with the JCB Mudfest. This year’s race excited and challenged with 5 miles or 5 kilometers of mud and obstacles. As always, some of the favorites like the JCB lake and tire field will be back in all their glory with a few new shake-ups to kept it interesting.

Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum's 200th Anniversary!

This past Wednesday, May 22, we celebrated with Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum for for the 200th anniversary of the SS Savannah's historic trans-Atlantic crossing — the WORLD'S FIRST oceanic voyage under steam! On this year's Maritime Day, Ships of the Sea celebrated the Savannah's 200th anniversary with a commemorative ceremony provided by the PROPELLER CLUB, where Robert Morris unveiled two eight-foot paintings. The evening also included an amazing performance by the Parris Island MARINE BAND, complimentary hors d'oeuvres and celebratory beverages!

Brews For A Cause at Top Deck

This past Tuesday, May 21 we celebrated another successful Brews for a Cause at Top Deck Bar! We joined up with Southern Eagle and a great group of like minded people to benefit Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire in their efforts to provide financial assistance to the surviving families of local law enforcement officers and firefighters who lose their lives in the line of duty. It was another memorable night in the South filled with great people and even greater crafted beer! This month's Featured Craft Beer: Island Coastal Lager Sponsors: Island Coastal Lager, Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire, Southern Eagle, South Magazine

SCAD Fashion Show 2019

It's the celebrated return of SCAD's spring fashion shows, touting the Savannah debut of the latest collections by top senior and graduate students. Live for the runway and off-duty looks over this four-day campaign as you get to know the next big names.

Nine Line Foundation Dinner

On Friday, May 17, Nine Line hosted their Foundation Dinner that included special guests WWE Superstars Mark Calaway aka The Undertaker, Dustin Rhodes aka Goldust, John “Tig” Tiegen, hero of Benghazi portrayed in the movie “13 Hours,” Chad Prather, comedian and social media celebrity, and Graham Allen, social media celebrity. Guests mingled with the superstars and bid on auction items to raise money for the foundation. Matt Lyda put on a stellar performance as the MC of the event and kept the crowd entertained and bidding.

6th Annual Nine Line Run for the Wounded

The Nine Line Foundation and Nine Line Apparel celebrate Armed Forces Day for their 6th Annual 5K/10K Run for the Wounded in Savannah, Georgia. Proceeds from the race go directly towards their newest initiative: building a transitional community, a Veterans Village, for homeless veterans right here in Savannah, Georgia. With both 5K and 10K options available, this twilight run turned out to be another great success.

Nine Line Foundation Dinner

On Friday, May 17, Nine Line hosted their Foundation Dinner that included special guests WWE Superstars Mark Calaway Aka: the Undertaker, Dustin Rhodes aka: Goldust, John Tiegen "Tig" hero of Benghazi portrayed in the movie "13 Hours", Chad Prather, Comedian and Social Media Celebrity, and Graham Allen, Social Media Celebrity. Guests mingled with the superstars and bid on auction items to raise money for the foundation. Matt Lyda put on a stellar performance as the MC of the event and kept the crowd entertained and bidding.

SCAD40 Block Party

SCAD celebrated their 40th anniversary with a grand block party. Fellow alumni reconnected with university faculty and staff. ShopSCAD had live artist demonstrations, live music at the Gryphon, keepsakes and SCAD40 merchandise to purchase at the Art’s Café, SCAD food trucks with tasty treats and much more.

Kessler Collection’s Armstrong-Kessler Mansion Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Local hotelier Richard Kessler and his company The Kessler Collection officially cut the ribbon on his newly restored home in Savannah, the Armstrong-Kessler Mansion. This iconic home celebrates its 100th birthday this year, and his been meticulously restored to its former grandeur as one of the foremost examples of Italian Renaissance architecture and design in America. Congratulations to Richard Kessler and The Kessler Collection!

The Clyde

The Clyde Venue is Savannah’s newest, most modern, wedding venue located in the Historic Landmark District. The space has been completely renovated, and a work in progress for more than a year. The venue is 5,200 square feet and includes a grande room, large marble bar, catering prep area, and restrooms. It’s located at 223 Martin Luther King Boulevard.