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  • Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:52 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
          The Friends group has received a $1500 grant from the Savannah Presbytery M. K. Pentecost Fund to aid in feral hog control on Blackbeard island NWR.  The feral hog population has recently increased on the island, threatening the vital sea turtle nesting beaches.  The funds will be used to build and bait traps for the hogs.

         The Friends thanks Mary Beene, the Coordinator of the Fund for all her help, and her husband, Friends group member Eric Beene, for informing us of the Grant opportunity.

        To find out more about Fund, check out their website or their facebook page.
  • Thursday, May 23, 2013 11:29 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
      Here is a message from Linda Etchells, Friends Board member and member of our Stewardship Committee:

    "On Saturday June 1st, the Friends of the Savannah Coastal Refuge, will be doing a Land & Water Clean up of Pinckney Island. This clean up is being organized by Connie Terrell, Twila Gray, Linda Etchells and the Friends Group. There will be 2 clean ups, 1st one in the morning starting around 8:30 am, which will be a land cleanup coordinated by Connie & Twila, at low tide to get at areas that collect lots of trash. The 2nd part of the clean up will be a water clean up launching from the private landing on Pinckey Island starting at 2 PM. We will need help with shuttling the kayaks back to the launch as space is limited. I can carry 3 kayaks on the trailer and 2 on top,which includes my own kayak. I could also supply 3 kayaks to volunteers, if I can get help from others with shuttling kayaks and drivers. We will be doing a high tide clean up in the surounding marshes and shorelines in that area. For more information or to Volunteer you may contact:

    Connie Terrell at 705-6105 or cter@hargray.com for the Land Clean up in the morning and also if you would like to assist us in the afternoon with the trash the kayakers pick up on the water.

    Linda Etchells will be coordinating the kayakers  and on-water clean up. To Volunteer for that or to use a free loaner if available, at 784-2249 or swampchicks@aol.com.

    There will be extra water, snacks, gloves & trash bags provided, you will need to bring bug repellant and wear sunscreen and old sneakers or shoes, no sandals or flip-flops.

    Let's clean up the trash on and around Pinckney Island together on the 1st!


    Hope to see you all out on Pinckney Island on Saturday June the 1st!


  • Sunday, April 28, 2013 8:22 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
       The video usually shown at the Savannah NWR Visitor Center will not be shown from April 30 thru May 2, 2013.  The auditorium where "Waterways for Wildlife" is shown will be in use for a training course.  Showings will resume as usual on May 3rd.
  • Sunday, April 28, 2013 7:56 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
      What a beautiful day for an outdoor project!  We met at the entrance to the laurel Hill Wildlife Drive at 10 AM on Saturday morning, and set to work aggressively pruning years of growth along the fence.  While we didn't finish the entire fence, we did accumulate piles of branches and clippings that FWS staff will cart away in the next few days.

    Image provided by Cindy Groff

         Many thanks to David Applegate, Cindy Groff and her friend Mary, Joanne  McMenamin, and  Refuge Manager Russ Webb.  All of them gave up their Saturday to accomplish this project.

         After the work was done, we took a tour of the impoundments north of SC-170, and saw a flock of bobolinks, a pair of black-bellied whistling ducks perched atop a wood duck house, a swallow-tailed kite, Mississippi kites, and the usual assortment of gators and wading birds.
  • Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:46 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
          John Davis passed away peacefully on April 22, 2013, after a long illness.  John retired from the US Fish & Wildlife Service and had served as Project Leader at the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex from 1974 until 1996. 

         Nancy Davis, John's beloved wife of  59 years, has requested that in lieu of flowers, remembrances take the form of donations in John's name to the Friends group.   Condolences can be sent to Nancy at 3 Abbott Lane, Savannah, GA, 31411.  There will be no local funeral service.

         Nancy and John were charter Life Members of the Friends, making their contribution in the very lean early days of the group when their Benefactor Level donation meant a lot to us.  They both made a point of being in attendance and demonstrating their support when the new Savannah NWR Visitor Center opened in March, 2010.

    John and Nancy Davis at the Grand Opening of the Savannah NWR Visitor Center, March 6, 2010

         Our condolences to Nancy, the Davis Family, and those who knew and respected John.

         Pat Metz, one of John's "green peas",  has written a brief obituary.
  • Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:42 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
          Dot Bambach sends this report from Harris Neck NWR:

         "This year’s wading bird colony in Woody Pond is at its peak and a sight to behold, with new chicks hatching every day.  If you’ve never seen this spectacle or if you want to witness it once more, between now and May 31 is the time to visit.

         Nesting species include wood storks, great egrets, snowy egrets, cattle egrets, tricolored herons, black-crowned night-herons, little blue herons, green herons, and anhingas.  White ibis are abundant but haven’t started to nest yet and roseate spoonbills and black-necked stilts have recently been seen on the refuge".

         Remember that some areas of the refuge are closed to the public during this important season.  Please observe all signs and closings.

  • Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:25 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    At 6 PM on Thursday, April 25, the Friends group Board of Directors will meet for the final discussion of the Draft Strategic Plan with the aim modifying it as needed, then voting on whether to accept it.  This process began last September with a Strategic Planning Retreat at which we worked on our vision and goals for the future of the Friends.

    Dot Bambach and George Cathcart took on the difficult task of condensing and organizing all the thoughts and ideas from that weekend into a Draft Strategic Plan which broke the plan into a number of areas of focus.  The Board decided subsequently that four of these eight areas were the first to begin implementing.

    Some participants in the planning process were divided into teams to address these four areas, and a timetable was proposed.

    Now it is time to put it all together, discuss and modify the plan as we see fit, and adopt or reject it.

    We encourage all members to attend the Strategic Plan meeting.  Developing and adopting a Strategic Plan is vital to the progress and direction of the Friends and your input is vital.

    The Board will meet at 4 Pm to conduct our usual business, then reconvene at 6 PM.  As always, the Board meetings are open to all members.

    Below is a link to the latest version of the Plan.

    Final draft 01-09-2013_edits.pdf
  • Sunday, April 14, 2013 11:09 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    Refuge Ranger Peter Range will lead a bird-banding session at Savannah NWR on Friday, April 19th at 7:30 AM.  Attendance is limited to 15, so reserve your spot now by calling Dot Bambach at 912-598-3764.
  • Friday, April 12, 2013 5:36 AM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    Puddles will be hitting the road on April 20th, continuing its national tour of National Wildlife Refuges which started in Florida earlier this year.

    Who is Puddles you ask?  Puddles is the embodiment of the Blue Goose, the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System.  It was "banded" recently by Savannah NWR Manager Russ Webb, and is now free to travel again.

    Puddles will be accompanied by Sharon Lindsay (author, photographer, and Friends group Board member) who is both traveling companion and archivist, and who will be keeping a photographic record and posting this blog of  their travels.  This adventure will be condensed into a book, written to be enjoyed by Refuge fans of all ages. Tentative release date for the book is Christmas 2014.

    Here is a note about the trip from Sharon:

    "Puddles will leave the Savannah NWR on April 20th and travel west, to visit a few refuges in four of the eight Regions of the Refuge System. The first stop on this tour will be Ruby Lake NWR, Region 8. This refuge is in Eastern Nevada, and is reported to be the most isolated of all the refuges in the lower 48 states. This will be followed by visits to Deer Flat NWR in Idaho and refuges associated with the Inland Northwest National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Eastern Washington. These refuges are in Region 1. Puddles will then travel into Region 6 and visit the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge Complex in Montana. Region 3 is next, with visits planned for Rydell, Tamarac and Crab Orchard Refuges. These refuges are found in Minnesota and Illionis.

    Puddles will be observing and participating in various Big Six Activities at the Refuges, as opportunities arise. The goose has acquired waterproof knee-high boots, so that it can help students visiting Deer Flat NWR do water testing on the refuge. The Big Six Activities of visitors to refuges, Hunting, Fishing, Wildlife Observation, Environmental Education, Interpretation and Photography, make up the major emphasis of its trip. The various roles of US Fish & Wildlife personnel will be noted, and perhaps opportunities for helping may arise. Of course there will be much sightseeing and photographing by the goose.

    This follows a successful tour of some refuges in Florida earlier this year. These Region 4 refuges were Pelican Island, where the history of the refuge system started, J.N. "Ding" Darling, and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuges. Puddles got its "Blue Goose Passport" and Duck Stamp during that trip, and the special leg band at Savannah NWR's Discovery Day. The goose is ready to migrate and visits its Refuges! 

    Sharon, traveling companion for Puddles

  • Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:49 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
    The National Wildlife Refuge Association has released a statement praising the funding level for the refuge system in President Obama's proposed 2014 budget.  The budget request $499 million  for the Refuge System's Operations and Maintenance accounts, as well as outlining a path to full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  LWCF is a powerful land acquisition tool for adding important habitat to the Refuge System.

    Three key points about the LWCF:
    1. LWCF is already paid for – without using a single taxpayer dollar. Every year, $900 million is deposited into LWCF from the many billions of dollars the Treasury collects from offshore oil drilling and other federal energy revenue sources. Congress created LWCF with a simple idea in mind: when we sell oil and gas that belongs to all Americans, at least a small portion of the proceeds should be reinvested in something of lasting value for us all.  NO tax  dollars or other general revenues are used for LWCF!
    2. The Senate LWCF Provision Funds Only Willing-Seller Conservation.
      The Senate language guarantees that any land purchase under the bill  – as is typically the case for LWCF purchases – will be from willing sellers. Across America, many landowners needing to sell their properties want to see those lands conserved for public use. Providing LWCF funds honors their property rights as willing sellers, including their rights to fair compensation, and their public-spirited intent as landowners. The Senate language explicitly ensures that property rights will be respected and that landowners will be treated fairly.  Property condemnation and eminent domain are not allowed.
    3. LWCF funds have not be utilized- For the nearly 50 years the fund has been in existence, almost never has more than 1/3 of the money collected in a given year been used for its authorized purposes.  This proposal will help to correct that misappropriation.
    Of course, this is a PROPOSED budget, and no one can predict what will happen to these funds in what promises to be a very contentious battle in the Congress beginning next month.

    Here is the entire press release from NWRA.

    Here is a list of land acquisition under the proposed 2014 budget
    Sorry, none of our seven refuges are on the list!

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