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Our new design!

We've redesigned our website to make it more visually appealing and easier to navigate.  It is a work in progress, so tell us what you think.

Who We Are

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, managed by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service,  are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, which consists of more than 565 Refuges across the US, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.  We were formed in 2007 and granted tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status in 2008.

Kingfisher Discovery Center Project...

Many of us share the concern that our children are growing up estranged from the natural world. Children who grow up without contact with and love for the natural world are unlikely to be motivated to protect and defend our wilderness heritage as adults. Educating our youth and instilling in them a love for nature is part of our vision. The Kingfisher Discovery Center will provide a facility to allow many more children to participate in educational activities.

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  • Monday, December 25, 2017 10:16 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    The year 2018 is the tenth year we've been in existence, and your Board of Directors plan to start it out with a brainstorming session starting at 10AM on January 6th. 

    All Friends members and supporters are invited to attend and participate as we discuss where we stand today, and to make plans for the coming year.

    Discussions will focus on:

    • Building our membership and recruiting new leadership
    • Fundraising
    • Kingfisher Discovery Center
    • Future plans and projects

    We plan to be done by 2 PM, but will continue until everyone is heard.  Hope to see you there and to hear your ideas!

    (Brainstorming: "a conference technique of solving specific problems, amassing information, stimulating creative thinking, developing new ideas, etc., by unrestrained and spontaneous participation in discussion.")

  • Monday, December 25, 2017 10:04 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    I suspect most of you are bombarded with donation requests as the end of the year approaches.  The Friends set a goal of raising $50,000 before our annual meeting on April 5th, an amount that will let us start construction on the Kingfisher Discovery Center.  In the last two weeks we have raised $2300 from Friends members, including a very generous gift of $1000 from Life Members Bill and Marily Teeter (a big Friends thanks to you!)

    Recent changes in the federal tax code are expected to reduce charitable giving next year by reducing drastically the number of households that itemize their federal income tax.

    Please consider maximizing your giving and your tax benefit by donating to the Friends before December 31, 2017.  You can send a check to the Friends at our PO Box below, or donate online HERE or HERE.

    Thanks in advance, and let's get this important project into the construction phase ASAP!

  • Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:20 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    The F&WS announced that as of today, all of our refuges are open to the public.  That includes the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive at Savannah NWR.

  • Saturday, September 16, 2017 8:39 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Hurricane Irma did significant damage to Savannah NWR.  The Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive and all trails north and south of SC-170 are closed until further notice.   Wassaw NWR is also closed.  Pinckney Island NWR is open, as is the Savannah NWR Visitor Center.

    For more details check out the Complex's Facebook page.

  • Friday, September 01, 2017 10:31 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Be sure to mark your calendar so you don't miss the Snakes Alive! event on October 21st.


  • Friday, September 01, 2017 10:26 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Remember, September 8th is the deadline to submit your entries top the 2017 Photo Contest.  The Awards Ceremony will be at the Savannah NWR Visitor Center on October 14th.


  • Saturday, July 15, 2017 4:44 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Very informative article from the Orianne Society about water snakes, and how to tell a moccasin from a harmless water snake.

  • Friday, July 14, 2017 9:58 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    FWS has posted a multimedia site called "Conserving Paradise: the Altamaha River".  Very informative piece about one of the most important rivers in the coastal southeast.

  • Friday, July 14, 2017 9:57 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    If any one is having problems navigating the site or trouble logging in, please contact me at webmaster@coastalrefuges.org.

  • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 5:46 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Welcome to the first major redesign of the Friends web site.  I'm learning a lot with this project, but I still have work to do: please bear with me.  I'm sure there will be errors found (broken links, grammar errors, etc.), so please let me know when you spot one and I will try to correct it promptly.

    Rick Shields

The Op-Ed Column

One activity that Friends groups engage in is advocacy.  We advocate for our affiliated refuges and for the National Wildlife Refuge System as a whole at the local, state and Federal level.  Our refuge system faces many challenges, including: climate change; sea level rise;  a large backlog of deferred maintenance; development encroaching on refuge borders; even an armed invasion of a refuge in Oregon.

The most immediate threat, however, is a proposed cut of perhaps as much as 20% in the systems's budget - a budget that has already fallen short of the needs of the system for several years.  If the proposed cuts in the President's budget are passed by Congress, our refuges will face dire consequences, including staff reductions, closure of refuges, halting of biological field research, reductions in public programs, and more.  The National Wildlife Refuge Association located in DC is leading the fight for a sustainable budget and they have lots of info on their website.

If you are as concerned as I am about the fate of our refuges, please read the documents linked to below, and get involved in the effort to demand that the refuge system be funded at a sustainable level.  Join with us by becoming a member, volunteering, or giving money to support this effort.  Now, more than ever, the refuges need your help.

Rick Shields, President, FSCWR

Template for a letter to your US senator and representative

Testimony to Congress submitted by FSCWR

Pinckney Visitor Accessibility Project

The Friends group was awarded a generous grant from Community Foundation of the Lowcountry for Pinckney Island NWR Visitor Programs & Accessibility. The grant funds allowed us to purchase equipment including a 15-
seat electric shuttle, bicycles, binoculars, informational brochures, tables/chairs and improved signage.

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Coming Events

Become a Member

We are an all-volunteer organization.  All our funding comes from memberships, donations, grants, and sales at our nature store, The Gator Hole, located in the Savannah NWR Visitor Center.  Please consider joining us today.  Your membership donation is tax-deductible.

Enjoy some images captured on our refuges.  Some of the photos were entries in our past photo contests.


The Friends is an all-volunteer organization.  Please consider giving of your time, you won't regret it.
"Work to make a living...volunteer to make a difference."

Pinckney Island Project

Docents, drivers, visitor assistants, and tour coordinators are needed for this very rewarding project.

 Read More

Kingfisher Discovery Center

WE need help with fund-raising, planning, and program development.

About the Project

Contact Us

The Gator Hole

Looking for an assistant store manager and volunteers to staff the store and the information desk at Savannah NWR Visitor Center.

The Gator Hole

Board of Directors and Committees

We need to get more members involved in governance and leadership development.  Please contact us if  you have the time and desire to serve.

Contact Us

Not a member yet?

Won't you join us?  Now more than ever, with the proposed Refuge System budget calling for dramatic cuts,  all of us need to show our support for the irreplaceable national treasure that is our refuge system.  Our refuges make up the world's largest system of protected wildlife habitat, and we must guarantee that it survives and thrives as a legacy for our children and their children.  Won't you help by joining us now?

Join Us


We are working on expanding our presence on social media platforms.  If you have an interest or a talent for facebook, Twitter, or other platforms, and are willing to help, please contact us.

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Savannah NWR is the largest of the seven Refuges that make up the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex.   The refuge was established in 1927 as a migratory bird sanctuary, and has expanded over the year to its current 29,452 acres.

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Please consider donating to the Friends! 

Email us at webmaster@

Copyright 2017
PO Box 16841
Savannah, GA, 31416

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