Friends of Hunting Island
Friends of Hunting Island was organized in 1993 and dedicated to helping the park enhance the unique natural wonders and educational opportunities that exist on the island. As a non-profit, 501(c)(3), independent volunteer organization, Friends of Hunting Island’s mission is to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural and cultural resources of Hunting Island by educating the public and promoting a variety of programs.
With a current membership of over 1100 volunteers, we continue to grow, matching the park’s increasing need for help to initiate and maintain various projects and functions which otherwise might be scaled back due to state fiscal restraints.
Photo courtesy of Ginger Wareham
Events, Programs & Activities
January 1 Pelican Plunge—take a dip on New Year’s Day and support the many ways Friends of Hunting Island gives back to the park.
Beach Sweeps—Every year, around Earth Day in the spring, in September in the fall, and on an as-needed basis, Friends of Hunting Island partner with other organizations and individuals to sweep the beaches, trails, interior roads, Nature Center, Marsh Boardwalk, and Highway 21 of litter and debris to keep Hunting Island a pristine preserve.
Social Events—our spring event has various themes, and our fall event is to be determined. In the winter there is an annual general meeting to welcome new board members.
Environmental Work--includes jobs like rebuilding oyster reefs in conjunction with the South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement; erosion control through beach renourishment, groins and jetties, as well as dune building and dune plantings, and installation of sand fencing.
Community Outreach—public education about Hunting Island State Park and environmental issues. We participate in festivals, parades, or outdoor community events that are focused on the environment such as Earth Day, the Beaufort Water Festival, and the Beaufort Christmas parade.
Creative courtesy of Galen Warden
Awards & Recognition
2015—President’s Award, from the National Association of State Parks Directors, for a volunteer group’s support of a state park.
2013—10th Annual Paddlefest proceeds—Higher Ground Outfitters donated over $1250 from the 10th Annual Paddlefest kayak and canoe race at Hunting Island State Park. The money supports the Discover Carolina program. Higher Ground Outfitters has raised over $5000 since 2009.
2012—Civitas Award—Tourism Leadership Award, by Beaufort Chamber of Commerce. “This award recognizes a business, person, or organization that has made great contributions to Beaufort County’s number one industry—tourism.” In 2010, Friends of Hunting Island contributed a combined 25,000 volunteer hours, making the park truly a jewel in our backyard for us and for our many visitors to enjoy.
2010—SC DHEC Earth Day Award—South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, for our Litter Control Program, Doggi-Pots, Monofilament Recycling, Beach Sweeps, and participation in Earth Day events. DHEC promotes and protects the health of the public and the environment.
2007—Certificate of Recognition—Senate of the State of South Carolina, for bringing national attention to our state through our programs.
2007—Take Pride in America—National Non-Profit Organization Award—US Department of the Interior, for our Loggerhead Sea Turtle Rescue Program, Dune Building, and Oyster Reef Restoration.
2006—Take Pride in America—Certificate of Appreciation—US Department of the Interior, for outstanding stewardship and awareness effort involving state lands and waters and cultural resources.
2006—Civitas Award—Non-Profit Organization—by Beaufort Chamber of Commerce, for demonstration of enhancement of the quality of life and betterment of the community.