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  • 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:


  • Wednesday, October 02, 2013 2:22 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    If you want to reserve your free tickets (Friends members only) on the Riverboat Cruise on Sunday, October 13, there has been a change in the phone number to call. 

    Please call 912-604-1872 between 9AM and 5PM to reserve your tickets.  If you have already reserved tickets, you do not need to call again.

    Tickets are also available directly from Savannah Riverboat Cruises for adults at $26.95 (or $46.95 with Buffet) and $16.95 ($25.95 with Buffet) for children 3-12 years old.  Call 912-232-6404 or check out their website.
  • Tuesday, October 01, 2013 9:36 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    Due to the government shutdown, we have extended the deadline for entries to our 2013 Photo Contest.  Entries can no longer be dropped off or mailed to the Savannah NWR Visitor Center.
    The announcement of the winning entries may be delayed as well, depending on when the shutdown is lifted.

    Please send your entries to:

    PO Box 16841
    Savannah, GA, 31416

    Entries received by October 4, 2013, will be accepted.  Please make sure that the entry fee and the entry form are included.


  • Tuesday, October 01, 2013 7:47 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    Unfortunately, effective immediately, all our refuges are closed due to the inability of our elected leaders to agree upon a budget.  Depending on the length of the shutdown, the Saturday , October 12th activities at Pinckney Island NWR may be cancelled.  Watch this web site for further information.
  • Wednesday, September 25, 2013 10:48 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    It looks like the stars are once again aligned for a US Government shutdown starting October 1, 2013.  No rational citizen wants to see this happen, but it would not be the first time it'd happened.  You may remember that for 28 days in 1995 and 1996 the feds furloughed staff and suspended non-essential services as then-President Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich battled over the 1996 Federal Budget.

    If the shutdown does occur, watch this site for updates on any impacts to refuges operations or programs.  The October 11 screening of "America's Darling" and the October 13th River Boat cruise will happen regardless.  The activities on Pinckney on the 12th might be at risk.

    Let's hope that our elected representatives can come to a last minute deal and avert this embarrassment.

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PO Box 16841
Savannah, GA, 31416

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