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  • Sunday, June 18, 2017 10:27 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    At the Friends Board of Directors Meeting on June 15, 2017, Dr. Wasil Khan was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late Connie Terrell.  Dr. Khan is no newcomer to the Board.  He was elected to a Board position at our very first membership meeting in 2009.  We welcome him back and look forward to working with him again.

  • Wednesday, April 12, 2017 8:27 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Despite the thunderstorms and tornado watches, the Friends met for the Ninth Annual Meeting on April 5th at the Palmetto Electric Coop in Hardeeville.  The food, live music, and presentations were topped off by our guest speaker, noted local naturalist Rudy Mancke, who fascinated the audience with a narrative of his experiences along coastal Georgia and South Carolina, then displayed some of the specimens collected over his lifetime.

  • Thursday, November 17, 2016 8:17 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    In the face of rising cost estimates and stricter engineering requirements for the Kingfisher Discovery Center Project, the Board of Directors of Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges has found it necessary to revise the time line and phasing of the project.  The original project cost estimate of $350,000 developed over two years ago, has now risen to closer to $600,000.  In addition, the Department of the Interior now requires that the total estimated cost of any project must be deposited into a designated account with the cooperating agency before any construction can begin.  This derailed our original plan to build the center in phases as the funds became available.

    We have raised more than $90,000 over the past two years for the project.  Increasing our target to $600,000 would mean many more years of continued fund-raising and the real chance that we might never reach that new goal within what any of us would consider a reasonable amount of time.  During that prolonged period, the demonstrated need for expanded educational opportunities for children and youth in our area would go unmet.

    The Friends Board of Directors, the leadership of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex, and the Friends Advisory Council remain convinced of the need for the Discovery Center.

    Therefore, the Friends announce the following changes to the Kingfisher Discovery Center Project:

    • 1.     We will construct a screened-in covered pavilion on a concrete foundation at the proposed Discovery Center site adjacent to the Savannah NWR Visitor Center.  This will provide us with a functioning classroom space much sooner than if we delay until we have raised the larger amount needed to build the fully-enclosed building whose image has appeared on our website and promotional materials.
    • 2.     This pavilion will be designed and built such that if and when sufficient funds become available, it can be fully enclosed and upgraded to the original concept.
    • 3.     Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex will manage the construction and consider the use of Complex staff to assist in construction where possible.
    • 4.     The Friends group will continue to raise funds dedicated to the construction of the Discovery Center.  Efforts will now expand to include soliciting major local donors as well as state, national, and regional foundations and grantors.
    • 5.     In partnership with the Complex leadership, we will endeavor to secure federal funding for the building conversion, understanding that this is not assured and that, even if possible, will be years in the future.
    • 6.     Our new fund-raising goal for the revised project is $250,000, all of which must be on hand before construction can commence.
    • 7.     If, through our fund-raising efforts, we able to reach the $600,000 mark within the next year, we will proceed with the original plans and skip the intermediate pavilion stage.

    This plan will enable us to provide a functional facility much sooner than if we wait until we can afford to build the fully enclosed all-season version.  If you have already made a donation to the project, and are not comfortable with this revised plan, please contact us.

    We remain committed to the project, and hope that you are too.  If you want to help us continue the effort, or if you have ideas on how to help, please let us know.

    We can be reached at webmaster@coastalrefuges.org.

  • Sunday, January 24, 2016 12:38 PM | John Petraglia (Administrator)

    The Friends Facebook page is available for your refuge related posts.  Please share your experiences the with Friends membership.  


  • Thursday, December 03, 2015 8:52 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    We have now raised nearly $65,000 toward our goal of $350,000 to build the Kingfisher Pond Discovery Center.  If you would like to help in this effort, check out the Project pages and consider donating.Kingfisher Pond Discovery Center Project.

  • Thursday, December 03, 2015 8:47 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    The re-engineered wildlife habitat at Onslow Island is now open to foot traffic, but only on Wednesdays.  Off-road parking is available at the gate, but visitors must proceed form there on foot.  The limited hours are a compromise that allows some public access but minimizes disruption to the resident wildlife.  Please respect the restrictions, as violators are liable to be ticketed and fined. 

  • Thursday, October 01, 2015 8:33 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    National Wildlife Refuge Week activities in our area will kick off with a kayak./canoe paddle on the Savannah River on Friday morning, October 9th.  Led by Linda Etchells of the Swampgirls Paddle Club, this has been a favorite in prior years and a great fund-raiser for the Friends.

    Friday evening we will be at Sgt. Jasper County Park in Hardeeville, SC, at 5 PM for "Buffalo Burgers and TR in the Park".  Joe Wiegand, our favorite TR reenactor will put on an educational and inspirational one-man show as our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, the father of the National Wildlife Refuge System

    Saturday the 10th, from 10 AM -4PM there be all sorts of fun and interesting activities held in conjunction with the US Fish & Wildlife Service at the Savannah NWR Visitor Center on US Hwy 17.

    Sunday the 11th will feature once again our Savannah River Wildlife Refuge Cruise from 1PM - 4PM, leaving from River Street in Savannah.

    At 5PM "TR" will perform again at St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Skidaweay Island to wrap up the weekend activities.

    Here's hoping you plan to attend at least one of these activities.  All funds raised will be directed to the Kingfisher Pond Discovery Center Project.

  • Thursday, July 30, 2015 10:36 AM | John Petraglia (Administrator)

    Are you the parent of a 3-4 year old who is interested in giving them the opportunity to learn more about the environment and natural resources? Well we’re here to help!  The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting a monthly preschool program, Young Explorers Club, starting in August.


    The programs are scheduled to be one hour long and will be held on the first Tuesday of every month beginning on August 4, 2015 at 10 a.m. The location will be at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (694 Beech Hill Lane Hardeeville, SC 29927).


    Each month, a different animal or method of conservation will be highlighted. Juniors of Girl Scout Troop 30387 have designed the following monthly programs as their service project for completing the Bronze Award.


    Read More: Program Info       Flyer

  • Monday, March 30, 2015 9:58 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    Our first online auction is now underway at www.biddingowl/FSCWR.  I want to send out a big Friends group thanks to our sponsors:

    • The Carretta Research Project
    • May River Golf Club at Palmetto Dunes
    • Captain JB Riffle of the shrimp boat Agnes Marie
    • Captain Mike's Dolphin Tours
    • Peggy Noon of Pegasus Riding Academy
    • Linda Etchells and Swampgirls Paddle Club
    • Dot Bambach
    • Connie and Dale Terrell
    • The Piano Studio
    • Chef Hugh Acheson and The Florence Restaurant
    • Wilderness Southeast
    • The Ancient Olive
    • Portman's Music Academy
    Without the generosity of our sponsors, the auction would not have been possible.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2015 3:45 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    The Friends are sponsoring our first online/silent auction to support the Kingfisher Pond Project.  Bids on our nature-oriented unique items will be accepted beginning at 8 AM on March 27th and ending at midnight on Friday April 10th,  In person bidding will be available at the meeting from 10AM until Noon on the 11th.

    See the items and place your bids on our Bidding Owl auction site.

Please consider donating to the Friends! 

Email us at webmaster@

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PO Box 16841
Savannah, GA, 31416

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