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Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, SC – 2023 Volunteer Vacations

March 5 @ 8:30 am - March 11 @ 5:00 pm

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Join Savannah National Wildlife Refuge for a chance to be immersed in nature while working to restore access and reopen the refuge’s Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive after an extensive renovation project! The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, established April 6, 1927, consists of 31,551 acres of freshwater marshes, tidal rivers and creeks, and bottomland hardwoods. About half the refuge is bottomland, composed primarily of cypress, gum, and maple species. The chain of national wildlife refuges that forms the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex extends from Pinckney Island NWR near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to Wolf Island NWR near Darien, Georgia.

For this project, volunteers will work on the restoration of the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive and hiking trails on the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. The Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive and associated trails, as well as the Little Back River Trail and Tupelo Trail, are closed due to an ongoing impoundment renovation project. This important habitat project is currently on-schedule to be completed by Spring 2023, and they need the help from volunteers like yourself! After being closed to the public for almost 2 years, the refuge is planning for a grand reopening. The volunteers will spend the week outside trimming trails, replacing trail signs, and bringing the refuge back to life. The project will be supervised by an experienced refuge staff and USFWS Volunteers, and all required tools and equipment will be provided. Work will include hauling, trimming, lifting, and other outdoor trail maintenance activities.

Volunteers will drive from accommodations to the daily project work sites via the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive, a one-way 4.5 mile driving loop through the managed portion of the Refuge named for one of the rice plantations that once existed on the site. The drive is well-maintained gravel easily navigated. There are trails that finger off the main drive that vary in length that will be apart of this projection completion. Volunteers will need to be able to hike at least 1 mile on their own in a hot and humid environment.

There is no experience needed to join a Volunteer Vacation! Your expert hosts will provide detailed instruction, tool demonstrations, and project oversight throughout the week. All you need is a willing attitude and to be in good physical condition to participate in moderate physical activity for approximately 6-8 hours a day with plenty of breaks, at your own pace. Find out more about what it’s like to join a Volunteer Vacation and other frequently asked questions here.

AHS acknowledges with gratitude that this project takes place on the traditional lands of the Mvskoke (Muscogee), Yamasee and Guale peoples past and present. We honor the land itself, the Indigenous communities who have stewarded this land for generations, their deep and sacred connection to these lands, and those who continue to steward these lands today. We offer this land acknowledgement as the first of many steps to stand as an ally and amplify Indigenous voices. We invite the American Hiking Society community to join us through continued efforts to support Indigenous communities and learn more about the history of the lands on which we live, work and recreate.

Host

Fish and Wildlife Service

Accommodations

Dormitory/Bunkhouse

Hiking/Access

Day hiking up to 1 mile each work day.

Project Rating

Moderate

Minimum Volunteer Age

16

Maximum Group Size

10

Area and Attractions

The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is located along the Savannah River in South Carolina and Georgia, minutes from historic Savannah, Georgia and within two hours of other metropolitan areas like Charleston, South Carolina. The 31,551 acre Savannah NWR is home to a large variety of wildlife including: ducks, geese, wading birds, shorebirds, and several endangered and or threatened species. The refuge provides thousands of visitors an opportunity to see and learn about wildlife species and their native freshwater tidal marsh and bottomland hardwood habitats. The city of Savannah is a charming Southern escape where art, period architecture, trendy boutiques and ghost stories are all set under a veil of Spanish moss. Savannah is a place with a wide variety of cuisine that comes straight from the coast. Come and take a walk down Riverstreet, a historic district filled with cobblestoned squares and parks such as Forsyth Park shaded by oak trees covered with Spanish moss. Visitors can enjoy public beaches, kayaking, boating, and fishing opportunities as well as a thriving arts and cultural scene.

Accommodations Description

Volunteers will stay in a four bedroom house with 8 twin beds, showers, full kitchen, and washer and dryers. Showers and flush toilets are available throughout the week. Volunteers are also welcome to camp outside the bunkhouse if they prefer. If camping, volunteers will need to provide their own personal camp gear including tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag. All volunteers need to bring their own linens (sheets/bedding or sleeping bags), personal toiletries, towels, and personal cup / bowl / mug / eating utensils. Please contact volunteer@americanhiking.org for assistance with gear needs.

Travel

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, GA is the closest major airport. Airport pick up and drop off is available for volunteers and will be arranged upon confirmation of the trip.

Location

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
is 694 Beech Hill Lane, Hardeeville, South Carolina 29927 United States, SC 29927 United States + Google Map
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