Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges (FSCWR) is an organization of volunteers from coastal Georgia and South Carolina dedicated to preserving and protecting the seven National Wildlife Refuges in our area and the Refuge System as a whole. These refuges are managed by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, which currently consists of more than 560 Refuges totaling about 150 million acres of land and water across the US, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

     Founded in 2007 and granted tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status in 2008, we are one of more than 230 Friends groups affiliated with National Wildlife Refuges.  Were are also an affiliate of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, a national group that advocates for the Refuge System.

What's New   

September 14, 2014
     It's been a long hot summer, but cooler weather means it's time for National Wildlife Refuge Week!  The US FWS and the Friends are sponsoring activities on Friday October 3, Saturday October 11 and Sunday October 12 to celebrate.
     On Friday October 3, Swampgirls will once again lead a fund-raising paddle down the Savannah River through parts of Savannah NWR.  This is a beautiful and rewarding trip.  Check out the FLYER for more details.
     On Saturday we will "Wander Wild at Pinckney!" with a full day of outdoor activities at Pinckney Island NWR.  Some of the activities have limited registration, so check out the ACTIVITY SCHEDULE and the FWS PRESS RELEASE to find out how to sign up.
     On Sunday the 12th, we will once again be joined by President Theodore Roosevelt (as portrayed by Joe Wiegand) as we sail up the Savannah River into the Savannah NWR aboard a Savannah Riverboat Company replica paddle boat to see parts of the refuge only seen from the water.  This three-hour cruise with commentary from "TR" is not to be missed! Click HERE for more info about the cruise and check out details under "Coming Events".
July 15, 2014

     The Friends Group wants you!  From now until August 15th we are mounting our Summer Membership Drive.  Anyone joining during the drive will receive two years of membership for the price of one year!  Or, buy a membership for yourself, and gift a Family membership for one year to the person or family of your choice!  
     You can join online , or send your check to the address listed below.  Check out this recent email for details.
July 15, 2014

     The winners of the Friends Group 2014 Photo Contest are now posted on our Flickr site.   The winners of the Youth Division are not posted, since the winning photographers have not yet sent me digital versions of their winners!  You know who you are, get those images in!  The winner of the Best in Show was Fran Baer for "Snowy Egret at Sunrise", show at left.July 15, 2014

      The Hilton Head Island-based newspaper The Island Packet, has recently developed an on-line birding guide to the best bird-watching spots in the low country.  The list includes Pinckney Island NWR and Savannah NWR.  Thanks to Friends members Susan and Kelly Murphy for the heads up about the new site.
June 27, 2014

     We don't see Cabinet-level officials at our refuges often.  Yesterday, however, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visited the Savannah Refuges Complex to announce that the wood stork (Mycteria americana) had been down-listed from the Endangered category of the Endangered Species Act and is now considered Threatened.  While much work is yet to be done to guarantee the long-term survival of the species, this announcement reflects the dramatic comeback the wood stork has made from near extinction 30 years ago.  For more info check out this Press Release from US FWS.  Also, check out some photos on our Flickr site.
May 12, 2014
     The winners of the 2014 Friends Group Photo Contest were announced today.  For a list of the winners, click HERE.  As soon as we receive the digital copies of the winners, they will be posted on our Flickr site.  Congratulations to Fran Baer and Sean Reitnauer for being awarded "Best in Show" in the Adult and Youth Divisions respectively

April 17, 2014

     The latest edition of the Friends group e-newsletter has been published.  It includes a report on our 6th Annual General Membership Meeting.  If you did not receive one, you can read it online HERE.

April 16, 2014

     Don't miss the great article and video on the Savannah Morning News web site about Refuge Ranger Peter Range and his abilities as "bird whisperer"!

April 15, 2014

     Good news for procrastinating photographers!  The deadline to submit your entries for the 2014 Friends group Photo Contest has been extended till April 29th!  Don't miss this opportunity for your chance and fame and prizes!
     Download CONTEST RULES AND FORMS , CONTEST FLYER, and see a gallery of last year's winners on our Flickr Site.

March 20, 2014

     Hope you are planning to attend the Friends group 6th Annual General Membership Meeting on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the Savannah NWR Visitor Center from 1 to 3:30 PM!  The meeting is free and open to the public and features a presentation on "Fascinating Reptiles and Amphibians of the Lowcountry" by Tony Mills, Education Director at The LowCountry Institute.
     Click on the "Upcoming Events" button on the left for more details.

March 10, 2014

     Just a reminder: the deadline for entering your photos into the Friends 2014 Photo Contest is April 15th.  Some folks have reported difficulty downloading the forms from this site.  If you can not download the rules and entry forms by clicking on the link below, please let us know at and we will send them to you.


March 10, 2014

     The US FWS has announced that beginning as early as today, Pinckney Island NWR will be undergoing repairs and improvements on the entrance road that will entail brief closures of the Refuge over the next three months.  Read the Press Release for more details.

February 20, 2014

     The Friends group has received a $3000 grant from the Wilson Conservation Trust in Sarasota, FL, to help replace the informational panels in the kiosk at the beginning of the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive on Savannah NWR.  The current panels are worn and outdated.  Thanks so much!

February 13, 2014

The latest Friends e-newsletter was distributed today.  If you did nor receive a copy, contact us and you'll get a copy.  Please send us your comments and suggestions and ideas for articles you would like to see.

February 7, 2014

The 6th Annual General Membership Meeting of the Friends will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 1-4:30 PM in the Savannah NWR Visitor Center. Our featured speaker will be Tony Mills, Education Director of the Lowcountry Institute and Host of the television series "Coastal Kingdom" who will speak on "The Fascinating Reptiles and Amphibians of the Lowcountry".  Tony promises to bring along some of his critter collection for all to see and appreciate.

  We will also elect members to our Board of Directors, while we enjoy light refreshments and interesting door prizes.
  The meeting is free and open to the public and reservations are not required, but only members in good standing may vote, run for office, or win door prizes.  Hope to see you there and be sure to Join the Friends or renew now!


January 30, 2014
Announcing the Friends Third Annual Photo Contest!
Submissions of photos taken on a refuge by amateur shutterbugs will be accepted from February 15 through April 15, 2014.  Winning entries will be announced and prizes awarded during Environmental Education Week (April 22-26.)  You can read or download CONTEST RULES AND FORMS , CONTEST FLYER, and see a gallery of last year's winners on our Flickr Site.
So start snapping those pictures, and good luck to all!

December 27, 2013
     The AmazonSmile Foundation has a program called AmazonSmiles that donates 0.05% of your online purchases from to the Friends if you go through the link below near the bottom of this page.
     From now until New Year's Day, AmazonSmiles will donate $5 per individual who makes a purchase through the link. If you are planning an Amazon purchase in the next few days, please consider going through the link so that the Friends will receive the donation. It costs you nothing, the donation comes from the Foundation.

November 22, 2013
   The Friends group distributed a special email listing of 25 projects that we hope to recruit volunteers to take on.  The FWS is facing a debilitating budget crunch, and volunteers from the public are needed now more than ever to help maintain our refuges.  Please review the list and contact the Friends if you find one that fits with your talents and interests.  The list is HERE , and how to contact us is HERE.

 November 14, 2013:

   The Gator Hole will hold its annual holiday sale on Saturday, December 7, 2013, from 9 AM to 4 PM.      

   All merchandise will be 20% off our usual retail price.  Rain checks, gift certificates, and gift memberships will also be offered.   What better way to shop for Friends and family!

November 12, 2013:

   The Savannah Refuges Complex staff announced the implementation of a new audio tour on the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive at Savannah NWR.  There are five marked stops along the drive at which you can pause to hear short informational messages about the refuge on your radio at AM 1610.  The system was designed and installed by volunteers.  

     The Drive is open dawn to dusk every day.  Be sure to read Mary Landers' article in the Savannah Morning News,   For a more detailed report on the system, check out Arnie Weisbrot's article.

 November 10, 2013:

   The latest issue of the Friends e-newsletter is now available, featuring stories about Refuge Week, the 2013 Photo Contest, and more.

   The newsletter can be viewed online HERE.

   To view an archive of all our newsletters, click HERE.

   If you are not on our list to receive our newsletter and other e-mail updates, click on the link at the bottom of this column.

November 8, 2013:

   The US Fish and Wildlife Service has released its Banking on Nature report, a 365-page document which lays out the economic benefits that communities adjacent to refuges enjoy. 

   During the partial federal government shutdown in October, refuges were closed because they were "non-essential".  We all knew that refuges are essential in many ways.  This report shows just how essential refuges are to the economy of neighboring communities.

October 30, 2013:

   Our very own Dot Bambach was awarded the 2011-2012 Award for Volunteer Service by FWS Region 4 Director Cindy Dohner.  Dot has been a volunteer for the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex for 11 years and has put in more than 3,300 volunteer hours (and counting).  Dot is currently our Treasurer, and has served on our Board of Directors from its founding.  Click HERE to see more about the awards ceremony.

   Congratulations Dot on an award well-deserved!

October 13, 2013:

   Winners of the Friends 2013 Photo Contest were announced today.  Sarah Lemmons won Best in Show with her entry "Hard Work" (shown at left).  To view all the winning entries on our Flickr site, click HERE, or check out the Slide Show int he column to the right.  To see a list of winners and prizes, click HERE.

Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges


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Support the Friends!

  FSCWR receives no government funding.  Our activities are made possible by membership dues and contributions from folks like you, from sales at our book and nature store, The Gator Hole (at Savannah NWR), and from grants. 
   Please consider becoming a member or making a donation to enable us to continue our efforts in support of our refuges.  If your are a grant administrator, or know of an organization that might be interested in awarding grants to the Friends, please contact Rick Shields at

To search the Friends web site, enter the word or phrase into the Google search box, then click.

Coming Events

Friday, October 24, 2014 10:00 AM • Harris Neck NWR
Saturday, October 25, 2014 9:00 AM • 10 River's End Drive, Savannah
Friday, October 31, 2014 10:00 AM • Harris Neck NWR
Saturday, November 01, 2014 8:30 AM • Hutchinson Island/SCAD Equestrian Center
Saturday, November 29, 2014 • Savannah NWR

Recent Posts

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 5:32 PM • Rick Shields
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 4:51 PM • Rick Shields
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:17 PM • Rick Shields
Friday, June 27, 2014 9:43 AM • Rick Shields
Monday, May 12, 2014 1:08 PM • Rick Shields
Monday, May 12, 2014 1:07 PM • Rick Shields
Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:35 AM • Rick Shields
Saturday, April 05, 2014 10:50 AM • Rick Shields
Saturday, April 05, 2014 10:44 AM • Rick Shields
Saturday, February 22, 2014 11:48 PM • Rick Shields

Here is a slide show of the 2013 Photo Contest Winners.


Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges, Inc.
PO Box 16841, Savannah, GA, 31416
Copyright 2013

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