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  • Wednesday, March 02, 2022 11:11 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    The Friends are planning to kick-off a post-pandemic organizational reboot we are calling “Friends Forward!” at our Annual Meeting on April 30th at the Beech Hill Pavilion on Savannah NWR (be sure to save the date!).

    It is vital to this effort that we recruit new leadership for our Board of Directors to replace a number of members who are stepping down.  We will not be able to carry out our mission unless some of you reading this email step up and decide that you want to be a part of Friends leadership and the proposed reboot of our activities and goals.  This is a golden opportunity for you to help guide the direction we take in the coming years and what kind of activities we sponsor and support.

    Please email, call or otherwise contact me or any member of the current Board to find out how you can progress from being a member or supporter of the Friends to being a leader.  I can’t emphasize enough how important this is to the future of the Friends.  Without dedicated and talented leadership, I fear we will wither away as an effective advocate for our refuges and the wildlife they protect and nurture.  The Refuge System is facing daunting challenges going forward, and they need our help now more than ever.

    Please consider joining our Board. No prior experience is necessary, only a desire to share your talent, time, and energy. Call me at 912-604-1872 or email me at webmaster@coastalrefuges.org.

    Rick Shields

  • Wednesday, March 02, 2022 11:05 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    The next presentation in our monthly “Second Tuesday” Zoom series will be held at 7PM on Tuesday, March 8th, and is entitled “Gators and Bugs and Snakes…Oh My!” The speaker will be Friends President and Emergency Physician Dr. Rick Shields who will talk about how to be safe if you have a close encounter with one of the critters that inhabit our refuges, and what to do if the encounter doesn’t go well. This is a live session and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.

    Second Tuesday Zoom meeting.

    When: Tuesday, Mar 8, 2022 at 07:00 PM EST

    Register in advance for this meeting by clicking here:

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  The presentation is free, open to the public, and will be recorded and posted on our YouTube channel for later viewing.

    To view our prior presentations, click on the links below:

    Low Country Turtles with Dr. Kathryn Craven and Kris Williams

    Winter Birds with Diana Churchill

    Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex 2021 Report with Russ Webb

    Hangin' with Gators in the Okefenokee with Cathy Sakas

    National Wildlife Refuge Association Update with Caroline Brouwer

  • Monday, January 10, 2022 9:03 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Our next Second Tuesday Zoom presentation will be on January 11th, 2022 at 7 PM and will feature Cathy Sakas (AKA "Swamp Goddess"). Cathy will present “Hanging with Gators in the Great Okefenokee” based on her many years leading trips into the Great Okefenokee Swamp. She has had some very interesting experiences while on those trips and can often be heard saying "You just can't make this stuff up!" Her interpretation style is to tell true stories of her experiences while heavily infusing the narrative with the natural history of the Swamp and her inhabitants, big and tiny.

    Cathy is also active in numerous local activities including serving as President of the Tybee Island Marine Science Foundation, Chair of the Board Of Directors of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Chair of the Tybee Island Beach Task Force.

    The presentation is free and open to the public but we do require that you register in advance at the following link: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAtduiupzgrH9GDFuEHwuLJ3u0G5-dcq1dD

  • Thursday, December 02, 2021 10:47 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    You are invited to a Friends monthly Second Tuesday  Zoom presentation on December 14, 2021 at 7:00 PM EST.  Refuge Manager Russ Webb will be discussing the state of our refuges as we near the end of 2021 with updates on construction, openings, programs, staffing, and community involvement.  This is a must see to keep yourself current on what’s happening on your favorite refuge.  Register in advance for this meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUldu6rqjwqHdPGFPDsCQAs-BvGONZgnyYJ

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

    The presentation will be recorded and posted on our YouTube page for later viewing.

  • Thursday, October 28, 2021 8:47 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Thanks to everyone who registered and/or attended “Low Country Turtles: The Conservation and Cultural Impact of Sea Turtles and Diamondback Terrapins in Georgia

    by Kris Williams and Dr. Kathryn Craven on October 12th, 2021.  We hope you enjoyed it.

    If you did not get to watch live, or want to see the presentation again, a recording is now posted on our YouTube channel and can be accessed here: 


    Our next Zoom presentation will be on Tuesday, November 9th at 7PM entitled "Winter Birds in the Low Country”.   You are invited to join well-known local birder, photographer, and author Diana Churchill for a visual and audio review of some of our year-round resident birds as well as the ‘snowbirds” that visit the Low Country every fall and winter. As we close in on Christmas Bird Count season, this is a great way to refresh your birding skills. 

    We ask that you register in advance at the following link:

    You are invited to a Zoom meeting.

    When: Nov 9, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

    Register in advance for this meeting:


    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  Please feel free to share this link with your friends and organizations.  The presentation is free and open to anyone.

    Thanks again, and if anyone had trouble getting into the meeting on the 12th, please let me know by replying to this email.

  • Tuesday, July 27, 2021 3:17 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Unfortunately, the Savannah NWR Visitor Center and the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive remain closed.  We hope that the VC may reopen around Refuge Week in October, but we have not been given a definite date as of yet.  The Wildlife Drive and the trails north and south of SC-170 will remain closed until Spring of 2023 most likely.  Opening date will depend on the completion of the major construction project to improve the dike system.

  • Thursday, December 05, 2019 9:13 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    The Friends will be helping out at the Westin's annual holiday celebration on December 12th and 13th from 6:30-9:30PM.  Come by to see the gingerbread house display and other holiday decorations, and stop by our table and say Hi!

  • Thursday, December 05, 2019 9:10 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Join us for this annual event in the newly completed Beech Hill Pavilion on Savannah NWR! The Visitor Center will be open from 9AM to 4PM with a 20% off sale at The Gator Hole, our book and nature store. Tour the new Pavilion starting at 2 PM, while enjoying chili, hot dogs, drinks and snacks for sale at our fully equipped kitchen. Dr. Wasil Khan, Friends Board member, will also be displaying some of his fascinating reptile collection as well.

    At 4PM, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive , so be sure to bring your cameras to get your free photo opp with this jolly couple before they disappear at 6PM. During their visit the Fish and Wildlife Service will provide free refreshments and arts and crafts for the kids.
    Hope to see you there!

  • Thursday, December 05, 2019 9:05 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    This is definitely a "Good News-Bad News" situation.  Hurricane repair work has finally begun on the main water control structure on the wildlife drive that was made inoperable by Hurricane Irma in 2017.  Alas, the repairs will require the intermittent closure of the wildlife drive until the repairs are completed, hopefully by the end of May 2020.  So far the Service has been able to keep the drive open on weekends, but that may change week to week.  Check the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex Facebook page before heading out to the drive.  Notices are planned to be posted  by Wednesday afternoon for the following weekend.

  • Monday, September 02, 2019 9:40 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Because of the approaching hurricane, all our refuges will be closed until further notice.  Be safe everyone!

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