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Friends of Hunting Island Events

Friends of Hunting Island takes pride in hosting some very exciting events to help with our community engagement in Beaufort County.  Hunting Island State Park is a spark of joy for so many visitors and Beaufort families that we look forward to welcoming organizations who want to volunteer their time or just plain have fun.


2022 has been a renewal of these efforts, post Covid 19 and we kicked off this year with our very popular Pelican Plunge on New Years Day, 2022.  Since then, we have welcomed Beaufort Elementary Summer Camp, Agape Family Life and look forward to working with Rotary Club of the Lowcountry and the US Marine Corp. for beach sweeps this September.  Pledge the Pink is another organization we support and they will be here in October. Watch our Newsletter and Social Media for volunteer opportunities.


If you are a Community Organization or an Education group interested in working with us, please contact our Events Director at




Agape Family Life Visits the Park Again!!

July, 2022


We were pleased to host another busload of students from the Agape Family Life Center in Hardeeville, SC, on Wednesday, July 13. The excited kids had a great day and learned a lot. 


From Margit Resch they learned about beach creatures, such as whelks, oysters, lettered olives, and snake eyes. From Dick Geier they learned about the loggerhead turtles that nest on Hunting Island as well as about the salt marsh and all its critters on the west side of the island. 


From Ted Panayotoff and Laura Boozer they learned about the lighthouse, and they even sang a lighthouse song while there.


At the end of their day, they got to go to the Nature Center and the Fishing Pier. On the fishing pier they encountered some men who were just finished fishing for shark. The men gave the kids their bait and the kids threw it in the water, with much delight.


This is the second year that Agape Family Life has brought their summer camp kids to Hunting Island for the day. They come in two busloads to keep the size manageable. 


In addition to our tour guides, thanks go out Laura Veronie, FOHI Secretary, Mary Shriner, FOHI Events Director, and Chris Crooke, who baked cookies.




Beaufort Elementary Summer Camp

July, 2022


Friends of Hunting Island hosted a big day of exploration and education  for four classes from the Beaufort Elementary Summer Program at Hunting Island on June 16th. 


Teacher Debbie Smith brought sixty eager explorers so that they could sharpen their skills at identifying denizens of the marshes, learn about sea animals, see the exhibits in the Nature Center and just plain have fun! 


Students learned about the life of the sea turtles with Denise Parsick, former FOHI president. They were taught how important preserving the nature and lives of these sea creatures is for the environment and future sea life. With Margit Resch the students explored the beach and its treasures, identifying shells and washed-up sea plants.


A tour of the lighthouse and grounds was led by Linda Barefoot and Jo Anne Solesbee. Students learned about the history and structure of the Hunting Island icon. Full of new ideas and impressions, the children created works of art to take home as souvenirs of the day.


After lunch, the group was treated to a tour of the Marsh Boardwalk where Dick Geier, former FOHI president, pointed out some periwinkles and fiddler crabs that inhabit the marshes.


The Nature Center was next on the program. Full of fascinating exhibits and live animals, the center is a wealth of critters such as snakes and turtles, and alligators as well as shells and sea plants. Later they took a walk out on the pier looking for dolphins and got a close-up look at some fish that were caught there. Many thanks to all the volunteers and park staff who contributed to this successful day at the beach.




January 1, 2022

12th Annual Pelican Plunge

By Mike McCombs – The Island News

Hunting Island State Park’s 12th annual Pelican Plunge was the biggest yet as more than 500 people rumbled down the beach and splashed into the Atlantic Ocean on New Year’s Day, raising roughly $5,000 for the Friends of Hunting Island (FOHI).

Friends of Hunting Island Marketing Director Linda Miller confirmed there were more than the roughly 450 plungers that participated in 2020 and said the group, “doubled what we did in 2019.”

The Pelican Plunge was canceled last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miller said the reasons for the big crowd Saturday were simple.

“It was a beautiful day,” Miller said. “The water temperature was warm, too. It was like 62 (degrees).

But our numbers improved by twofold (over 2019) mostly because people were anxious get back to it.”

The Pelican Plunge is one of the organization’s biggest annual events. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit in its work to support the park’s environmental efforts, including its sea turtle conservation project, which protects the sea turtles who nest on Hunting Island each year.

Miller said the funds raised would be put back into the community and used where they served the park the best.

The New Year’s Day event is traditionally the last day a Friends of Hunting Island membership for the previous year can get you into the park. The Plunge is the perfect time for current members to renew and new members to join.

Currently, FOHI has around 1,400 members, Miller said. She said the Plunge generally increases the membership around 10 percent, and this year the event increased traffic to the FOHI website with new visitors up by 80 percent.

FOHI membership costs $60 for a year and presents volunteer opportunities which includes special events. 

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