The preservation of Georgia’s Cumberland Island National Seashore—especially its 8,000-acre wilderness—owes much to Carol Ruckdeschel, an island resident and self-taught environmental activist who has spent much of her life fighting to protect the area’s sea turtles and other threatened species. Despite only having a high school education, Ruckdeschel has become one of the world’s most respected sea turtle biologists due to her continuous lifestyle of studying the animals. She lives simply in a self-built cabin made from washed-up driftwood and eats roadkill gathered from around the island, with both examples showing the industrious nature that has served her well for more than seven decades.

Blue Ridge Outdoors editor Will Harlan examines her intriguing life and determined mission in Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island.

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