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  • Tuesday, November 12, 2013 10:10 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

         The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to announce the installation of an AM transmitter audio tour on the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive on Savannah NWR.

         If you’ve ever wished for a ranger-lead tour of the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive, come on out and tune your radio to AM 1610 for an interpretive audio tour. There are five marked stops along the 4-mile drive where visitors can pause and receive recorded messages about the wildlife, habitat, management, and history of the Savannah NWR.  The project was designed and installed by refuge volunteers.

  • Tuesday, November 12, 2013 10:07 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    Our latest e-newslatter was sent out on Sunday the 10th.  If you have not received it, please let us know at webmaster@coastalrefuges.org and we'll get a copy to you.
  • Monday, October 28, 2013 8:19 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
          Our own Dot Bambach has been awarded the US F&WS Southeast Region 2011-2012 Regional Director's Award for Volunteer Service!  This award is presented to partners who have made extraordinary contributions to the conservation of natural resources in the Southeast Region. The award will be presented in Atlanta on October 30th, with Dot and Complex staff in attendance.

         Dot was nominated for this award by Jane Griess, Project Leader for the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex in recognition of Dot's long-term commitment to conservation in our region, including representing the Friends at a US Congressional Subcommittee hearing in 2011 concerning the Harris Neck NWR land issue, and a tireless dedication to the Wood Stork project at Harris Neck.
         Dot is an avid birder, very active in Ogeechee Audubon activities, and has been with the Friends from the beginning as a member of our organizing committee and member of our Board of Directors.  She currently serves as our Treasurer.

         To see photos from the award ceremony of Dot and other recipients, click HERE.

         Congratulations Dot on a well-deserved award!!
  • Monday, October 28, 2013 8:01 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
          The US FWS has announced the closing of the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive and all trails north of SC-170 on the Savannah NWR all-day November 5th and 6th, 2013.  The Drive and all trails will reopen at dawn on Thursday, November 7th.

         The closing is to allow the annual mobility-impaired hunt for deer and feral hogs on the refuge.

         This hunt for wheelchair-bound hunters is assisted by volunteers and donations from the Savannah Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Georgia Power, and Yancey Caterpillar.
  • Monday, October 28, 2013 7:51 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
          The US FWS has announced the closing of Pinckney Island NWR to all visitors on November 8 and 9 for the annual deer hunt.
         Thus is a quota hunt, 200 hunters applied for the 80 slots available.
  • Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:06 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    The US Congress has finally agreed to reopen the federal government (for now) and to pay its bills!  Late tonight, the House passed by 285-144 a resolution concurring with the Senate bill that had passed earlier in the evening by an overwhelming 81-18 vote.  HR2775 raised the debt ceiling, thus allowing the federal government to borrow money to bills that come due and avoid a default on our national debt.  The bill also provides funding to resume full government operations. The President will sign the resolution and it will take effect immediately.

    Despite the the call from House Speaker John Boehner (R)OH for Republican members to support this bill, despite the fact that this was the last opportunity to prevent a government default that would have had dire consequences for the nation and the world economies, every Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from SC and GA voted NAY on the bill.  Every one. 

    The bad news...the cuts know as the sequester remain, and, since the budget and debt ceiling agreement are very short term,  we get to do this all again in January 2014.  How will our economy grow and move forward with the threat of another shut down and debt ceiling debacle just a few months down the road? Was this all worth it?  Could this deal have been struck weeks ago, thus avoiding the enormous costs and dislocations of the shut down and the permanent tarnishing of our international reputation?

    This means that our refuges will reopen in the next few days once furloughed staff can be called back,  Watch this site for details.
  • Sunday, October 13, 2013 10:07 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
     The Friends 2013 Photo Contest received 60 entries this year, and our judges had a difficult time picking the winners from so many excellent images.

    Our judges were:  Sam Koltinsky from Marvo Entertainment who was in town for the local debut of his award-winning documentary "America's Darling: the Story of Jay N. 'Ding" Darling";  Joe Wiegand, the nationally-celebrated Theodore Roosevelt reenactor, joining us for the third year in a row to help us celebrate Refuge Week, and local author and photographer Sharon Lindsay (of the "Puddles Blog fame).

    The Best in Show trophy in the Youth Division was awarded to Brittany Harris for "Hiking".  The Adult Division Best in Show went to Sarah Lemmons for "Hard Work".  Both Brittany and Sarah will receive a check for $50 as well as a trophy for their achievements.

    Once the Savannah NWR Visitor Center reopens, the winning photos in both divisions and all categories will be placed on display.  These winners will receive Gift Certificates to The Gator Hole, our nature and book store in the Visitor Center.

    Congratulations to all the entrants and especially to the winners.  Keep shooting those photos, and watch this web site for the announcement of our Third Annual Photo Contest coming soon!

    To see the list of all the winners, click HERE.
  • Sunday, October 13, 2013 10:02 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)

    I would like to thank everyone who made this weekend into a resounding success!  Despite the infuriating shutdown, despite confusion about which events were cancelled, despite the cancellation on a gorgeous fall day of the activities at Pinckney Island NWR, we came through with heads high and two events of which we can be proud.  I hope we can reschedule the Pinckney activities in the near future.

    Joe Wiegand (TR) was phenomenal as usual, and is talking about coming back next year for a full week of events.  Sam Kolitinsky,  the executive producer of the documentary "America's Darling" described his visit with us (especially the cruise)  as “magical” and wants to include some of us and our refuges in the documentary on which he is currently working.  This is without setting foot on refuge property!

    There were more than 180 people on the cruise today, 90 with complimentary tickets from the Friends, the rest paying customers.  The Savannah Riverboat Company staff was happy with the cruise and I am almost certain they will want to do it again next year.  Some of the working staff on the cruise said they specifically requested this cruise because they enjoyed it so much last year. We have recruited new members and collected donations around the cruise, and our paid membership is now at its highest number ever.

    Thanks to Sam, Joe, and Sharon Lindsay (who filled in for us at the last minute) for judging the photo contest.  Lots of good photos, I’m glad I wasn't the one making the decisions. 

  • Tuesday, October 08, 2013 4:13 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    I Jusr received word from Savanna Coastal Refuges Complex Project Leader, Jane Griess, that due to the government shutdown, the activities planned for Saturday, October 12, 2013, on Pinckney Island NWR have been cancelled.  What a shame!  The events scheduled would have allowed many Friends and visitors a wonderful, educational  experience  at Pinckney.

    On a brighter note, the screening of Sam Koltinsky's "America's Darling" on Friday the 11th at the Palmetto Electric Coop in Bluffton will take place, and tickets are still available.

    The Sunday, October 13th Riverboat Cruise is also happening, tickets are also available for the cruise.
  • Tuesday, October 08, 2013 2:39 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    We have received 60 entries for the Friends 2013 Photo Contest.  Because of the government shutdown, there was some confusion right near the deadline about submitting entries.

    If you have submitted an entry for the photo contest, and you have not received an e-mail acknowledging the receipt of your entry, please notify me at:


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