An Exciting Day at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
(Article and photos by Monica Harris)
Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was an exciting place to be Saturday, June 8, 2013, as nearly 200 visitors showed up to participate in the refuge’s First Annual Kids' Fishing Day and to celebrate the unveiling of new interpretive exhibits at the refuge Visitor Center.
The day started early as 80 eager children lined up at 8:30 am to check-in for the fishing event. Throughout the four-hour event, they had the opportunity to learn about and use the equipment to fish and crab, fishing ethics, and how to be safe around water.
They also learned about boating requirements, cast netting for bait, and made a fish print T-shirt. The event ended with a BBQ lunch, and each participating child got to take home a brand new rod and reel and tackle box.
The event began as a partnership between The Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR)
, Coastal Resource Division to provide local children with an educational fishing experience in conjunction with GADNR’s Free Fishing Day. The event also served to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week, June 1-9.
Fishing from the newly refurbished public pier at Harris Neck
Additional funding and support for the event was provided by Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges and the Sport Fish Restoration Program. Many local organizations also provided volunteers to assist with the on-site activities.
View from the pier
After the fishing event, the festivities moved to the Harris Neck NWR Visitor Center where visitors enjoyed cake and punch, and explored the new interactive, interpretive exhibits. Malone Design/Fabrication constructed the exhibits from designs developed by Ballantine Environmental Resources, Inc. The majority of the exhibits focus on the wildlife, habitat, and rich history of Harris Neck NWR.
The other two refuges managed out of the Harris Neck office, Blackbeard Island and Wolf Island NWR's, are also mentioned in several exhibits; highlights being the significance of barrier islands and sea turtle and shorebird management.
People came from as far away as two hours to attend the event for the day. Ninety-five percent of the visitors attending the activities had never been to the refuge before. With the success of the event, our partners are ready to help again next year.