FRIENDS OF THE SAVANNAH COASTAL WILDLIFE REFUGES
694 Beech Hill Lane
Hardeeville SC 29927
Contact Information
Organization DBA (Doing Business As)
Organization DBA
Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges, Inc.
The Gator Hole
Address 694 Beech Hill Lane
Hardeeville, SC 29927
Telephone (843) 784-2468 301
E-mail webmaster@coastalrefuges.org
Projected Annual Revenue $62,500.00 (2017)
Web and Social Media
Pinckney Island NWR Nature Tour
Mission Statement
The mission of the Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges, Inc., a South Carolina non-profit, is to support and advocate for the seven refuges within the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges system and to promote public understanding of the need to protect and preserve wildlife and wildlife habitat.   The two most visited refuges are the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Hardeeville and Pinckney Island NWR on the north side of U.S. 278, between the two bridges that connect Hilton Head Island to the mainland.
 
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director DR. Richard Owen Shields Jr
Board Chair Dr. Richard Owen Shields Jr.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Georgia Emergency Associates
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2008
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Revenue vs Expenses Area Graph - All Years

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission
The mission of the Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges, Inc., a South Carolina non-profit, is to support and advocate for the seven refuges within the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges system and to promote public understanding of the need to protect and preserve wildlife and wildlife habitat.   The two most visited refuges are the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Hardeeville and Pinckney Island NWR on the north side of U.S. 278, between the two bridges that connect Hilton Head Island to the mainland.
 
Background

Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges, Inc., is a group of concerned citizens of coastal Georgia and South Carolina who share an interest in seeing that the seven Savannah Coastal National Wildlife Refuges are maintained and protected as sanctuaries for wild creatures and the habitat they need to survive.

Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges, Inc., relies heavily on donations from members and the public for our operating budget. We receive no funding from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. None of our volunteers, Board members or Officers receive any financial compensation for all their time and efforts. All of the funds we raise are used to support activities on the Refuges in our complex and to support and build the Friends group.

The seven Savannah Coastal refuges are part of a much larger national system that is under-funded and under-staffed. They are national treasures that ensure the survival of our native wildlife and wildlife habitat: they must be protected and nurtured. Friends groups provide an opportunity for lots of “regular folks”: (students, teachers, carpenters, doctors, bankers, nurses, professors, retirees) to invest their time, money, and sweat to assist the US Fish & Wildlife Service (F&WS) staff in carrying out this mission. The one thing that all of us have in common is that we care about our local National Wildlife Refuges and are willing to organize and work to protect them. Friends group activities include working closely with and supporting the efforts of the F&WS staff assigned to our refuges; public outreach and education; public electric shuttle accessibility nature tours of Pinckney Island NWR; fund raising; staffing Visitor Centers and Nature Stores; refuge maintenance and improvement; advocating for the refuges at all levels of government, and much more.

Impact
Accomplishments - Past Year
1) We won a grant from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry for equipmnent to hold accessibility nature tours using our electric shuttle.  The tours are held once or twice a week, they are usually fully booked and have received wonderful reviews from the many people that have taken the tour.  We had 
 
From January 2017 to Nov. 1, 2017 there have been approximately 450 people, with the majority having accessibility issues, that have taken one of our tours.  
 
2) Planned the Kingfisher Pond Discovery Center (KPDC) and raised over $50,000 toward construction.  This building will provide much-needed instructional space (including classroom and lecture space, wet labs, a library and AV equipment) to bring local student and community groups into first-hand contact with the wildlife and wildlife habitat preserved by the Savannah NWR and managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
 
3) Support the Savannah Coastal NWR by managing the refuge store, The Gator Hole, with the profit going toward refuge needs and community environmental programs.  
 
4) Increased membership and donations from previous years.
 
Goals - Current Year
 1) Continue funding the KPDC
 2) Increase donations 
 3) Continue Pinckney Island NWR accessibility shuttle nature tours  
 4) Increase membership
  5) Increase public programs/events
  6) Increase volunteers 
 
 
Needs
1. Donations to continue building the Kingfisher Pond Discovery Center.
 
2. Donations and Memberships in our organization to support the Savannah Refuge projects that are not funded by the National Wildlife Service .
 
3.  Volunteers for our nature store at the refuge - The Gator Hole. 
 
4.  Volunteers for our committees:  Publicity, Newsletter, Events, etc.
 
5.  Volunteers for our Pinckney Island NWR Accessibility Electric Shuttle Nature Tours  
CEO/Executive Director Statement
The Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges is a non-profit, volunteer organization supporting the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges.  We are completely volunteer run with no salaries or any other compensation.  Our dedicated BoD and volunteers are activity support the refuge in any capacity needed by the refuge staff.
 
Our primary activities include running programs/events, building the Kingfisher Pond Discovery Center, supporting Refuge Week, volunteering expertise for various wildlife projects at the different refuges comprising the seven Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges, providing equipment (telescopes, computers, etc.) for the refuge and refuge staff, and many other support activities.
 
We work very closely with the refuge management and staff including the a management presence at our Board Meetings.
 
We appreciate the initial Community Foundation of the Lowcountry grant for equipment to initial our successful Nature Tours on Pinckney Island NWR and the continued support provided though the Community Foundation of the Low Country.
 
Rick Shields, President of the Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges. 
Board Chair Statement See statement above. 
CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments
http://www.coastalrefuges.org/              Friends of Savannah Coastal Refuges
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/savannah/   Savannah Coastal NWR 
 
 
Areas of Service
Area
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Beaufort County
Jasper County
South Carolina:  Hilton Head, Bluffton, Hardeeville, Ridgeland, Port Royal, Beaufort and vicinity.
Georgia:  Savannah, Pooler, Rincon and vicinity. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Dr. Richard Owen Shields Jr.
Company Affiliation Georgia Emergency Associates
Term Mar 2009 to Feb 2016
Email webmaster@coastalrefuges.org
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
Ivan Bennet Retired
Linda Etchells Retired
Twila Gray Retired
Walter Hoskins Retired
Dr. Wasil Khan Retired
John Petraglia Retired
Dr. Richard Owen Shields Jr.Retired
Bob Speare Retired
April Sutton Retired
Kris Willaims Retired
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 8
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 3
Governance
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 78%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 0%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 0%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Standing Committees
Program / Program Planning
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Comments
The Friends need to increase membership to increase our programs and additional support for the Savannah Coastal NWR.
 
The Friends has started a $350,000 project to build the Kingfisher Pond Discovery Center - for Educating our youth and instilling in them a love for nature is part of the mission of both the US F&WS and the Friends. This class room fulfills this goal.  The Friends received donations of about $50,000 to date and architectual planning has started.
Executive Director
Executive Director/CEO DR. Richard Owen Shields Jr
Experience None
Co-CEO
Co-CEO John Petraglia
Term Start Jan 2015
Email johnpetr17@gmail.com
Experience BoD of the Friends of Wertheim NWR in New York
Senior Staff
NameTitle
John Petraglia Board VP & Project Leader Pinckney Island NWR Accessibility Tours
Staff
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 80
Contractors 0
Plans
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2013
Years Strategic Plan Considers 4
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures No
Diversity Policy
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Programs
Description

Friends of the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuges has launched our first major fund-raising campaign. The Kingfisher Pond Discovery Center Project hopes to raise $350,000 to construct a four-season free-standing classroom at the Kingfisher Pond Recreation area located on the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.  

 
This building will provide much-needed instructional space (including classroom and lecture space, wet labs, a library and AV equipment) to bring local student and community groups into first-hand contact with the wildlife and wildlife habitat preserved by the Savannah NWR and managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.


We are soliciting donations from individuals, groups and local corporations and foundations, and we are pleased to announce that as of April 17, 2015 we have surpassed our Phase 1 goal of $50,000 in contributions! A big Friends group thanks to the IKEA Distribution Center 490 in Port Wentworth which is our Phase 1 Lead Supporter having donated $18,300 in cash with a promise of up to $10,000 more in in-kind contributions of furniture for the Center when completed. This means we can now begin the permitting process and hope to begin clearing the building site soon.

 
 
 
Budget 350000
Short Term Success A little over $50,000 has been donated to date.  The planning process has started. 
Long Term Success The KPDC is expected to be completed in about 3 years assuming donations continue and their are no unforeseen problems.
Program Success Monitored BY The past funding raising effort has not provided sufficient revenue to meet our aggressive schedule. This year we are focusing increasing donations and grants accelerate the building of the important education center. 
Description
Another typical project:  Sea Turtle Nesting Update on Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge is another typical Friends project in support of the Savannah Coastal Refuges.
 

2015 has been a GREAT year for loggerhead sea turtle nesting in Georgia! As of July 27, GA has recorded 2,195 loggerhead, less than 100 nests from the record set in 2013 (2,291)! Wassaw NWR is also having a great year, documenting 215 nests so far with at least one more week of nesting to go. This makes it our second highest year recorded since 1973. At least 105 individual turtles have been identified on Wassaw, and 70% are new turtles who have never been tagged before. Additionally, four of the turtles have nesting histories that started back in 1996! Twelve of the nests have emerged to date, releasing almost 1,100 hatchlings into the water.

Budget None
Short Term Success As above.
Long Term Success As seen from the article, the loggerhead turtles are doing very well and the tagging of them has contributed to understanding how well they are doing.  
Program Success Monitored BY National Wildlife Service
Description The Friends hold numerous nature programs including birding walks, canoe/kayak tours, yearly Savannah Riverboat Cruise on the Savannah River, lectures, and much more. 
Budget 0
Short Term Success The programs are strictly for the enjoyment and education of our members and guests.
Long Term Success The programs are strictly for the enjoyment and education of our members and guests. 
Strategy Yes
Program Success Monitored BY Not monitored.
Description We staff the information desk at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Hardeeville, SC, and operate the Visitor Center nature and book store located there.
Budget None
Short Term Success There are financial goals for the Friends Group is to maximize donations, The Gator Hole sales and membership income.  Just about all of the income goes directly toward refuge projects and programs for refuge visitors.    
Long Term Success
The Gator Hole store and Greeters are important resource for the Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of the Savannah Coastal Refuges. Visitor greeters introduce the refuge to visitors.  The Gator Hole store is managed and run by Friends of the Savannah Coastal Refuges volunteers.  Donations are needed to fund the Friends group to increase the much needed support of the refuge. 
 
 
Strategy Yes
Description

The Friends were awarded a generous grant from Community Foundation of the Lowcountry for Pinckney Island NWR Visitor Programs and Accessibility Project. This grant enabled the Friends to purchase a 15-seat electric shuttle, bicycles, binoculars, informational brochures, tables/chairs and improved signage that we could use to provide guided tours of Pinckney Island NWR to those who had limited mobility and difficulty exploring the island on foot.

In another example of a public-private partnership involving the Friends, the Foundation, and the Service, there is now expanded programming and access for all visitors including the elderly, very young and mobility impaired. These services are offered without charge to the public.

The programs and services include:

    Scheduled Programs: Guided nature programs including electric shuttle and bicycle programs

    Visitor Services

      - Roving docent at key locations
      - Water on very hot days
      - Pinckney Island NWR visitor information
      - Brochures
Budget $2,000
Short Term Success As above.
Long Term Success
* We have held public shuttle tours once a week since January with great reviews from the people taking the tour. 
* We have held private tours about once a month for organizations with accessibility challenged members.  For example, PEP, Seabrook, Tidepointe and others.
* The majority of passengers were not capable of walking the trails. 
* We have recruited over 40 volunteers for positions such as docents, visitor assistants, drivers, publicity, and community outreach. 
* We are supporting the refuge in their community outreach program to introduce minority communities to the refuge. 
Program Success Monitored BY The volunteer staff keeps records of all programs and passengers.  
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year 2017
Projected Revenue $62,500.00
Projected Expenses $19,850.00
Spending Policy N/A
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
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Total Revenue/Total Expenses2.541.081.63
Program Expense/Total Expenses0%0%0%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets------
Current Assets------
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets------
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets------
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose
- Fund the construction of the Kingfisher Discovery Center-  
  
Goal $175,000
Dates Jan 2014 to Dec 2018
Amount Raised To Date 125000 as of Oct 2017
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Registration Yes Dec 2015
Comments
Organization Comments The Friends financial are cash positive by a substantial amount.  We use the majority of our profit on Refuge support programs, events and support.  The remaining funds are saved for emergencies situations.  The expense are minimum because we do not have any paid staff and most services are volunteered. 
Nonprofit FRIENDS OF THE SAVANNAH COASTAL WILDLIFE REFUGES
Address 694 Beech Hill Lane
Hardeeville, SC 29927
Primary Phone (843) 784-2468 301
CEO/Executive Director DR. Richard Owen Shields Jr
Board Chair Dr. Richard Owen Shields Jr.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Georgia Emergency Associates
Year of Incorporation 2008