The guiding vision of Friends of Coastal South Carolina is shaped by our dedication to preserving the ecosystems and wildlife of the South Carolina coast for future generations. To that end we support the respective missions of our coastal national wildlife refuges and forest through active participation in programs and projects that enhance these treasured resources. We work to instill a conservation ethic in students and encourage the next generation of scientists through environmental education programs. In addition to encouraging stewardship of our public lands through education, the Association also promotes stewardship through volunteer opportunities and advocacy.
Since its creation in 1996, our organization has grown from a small group of supporters serving Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge to a thriving organization with two full-time staff members and a membership of over 1,400. Today, we serve not only Cape Romain, but also Waccamaw and E.F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuges and the Francis Marion National Forest.
Our first endeavor, as a newly created Friends Group in 1996, was to begin an environmental education program at the newly constructed Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center in Awendaw, South Carolina, a joint venture between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service designed to interpret the unique and valuable ecosystems of the Francis Marion National Forest and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
Our growth over the years has been driven primarily by the success of, and demand for, our environmental education programs. Our programs reach thousands of students along the South Carolina coast each year, sparking students’ natural curiosity and reinforcing classroom science and math through hands-on scientific investigation on our public lands. In addition to educational opportunities, we also provide opportunities for students to act as stewards of these resources through service projects.