Monday, April 28, 2008

A Slice of Lowcountry Heaven

Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort, South Carolina

Stop 6 of the VolunTOUR

Hunting Island's Friends group and staff are no strangers to Take Pride in America. The Friends of Hunting Island Inc. were 2007 Take Pride National Award Winners for their Loggerhead Sea Turtle program. Thus, it was our honor and pleasure to reunite with these tremendous volunteers and get a first hand glimpse at the amazing work they do for Hunting Island State Park. We arrived and were happy to once again see Bonnie Wright, Vivian Wayne and the rest of the Friends, (and to meet a few new faces). It was also great to see Jeff Atkins, Park Manager again and to meet his staff. They took us on a fascinating tour of the island and highlighted the new conservation techniques and facility upgrades that have made Hunting Island a can't-miss destination for travelers to the South Carolina lowcountry. Trails, kayaking, beach combing and wildlife-viewing are but a few of the features that the island offers.

The most popular volunteer program that the island offers is their Sea Turtle Recovery Program. Through the hard work and diligence of staff and volunteers, countless numbers of sea turtles are protected and saved from danger during each hatch. We had the absolute honor of recognizing one of the group's most impressive volunteers: Buddy Lawrence. Buddy has achieved nearly 4600 hours of lifetime service to turtle recovery and protection - sometimes even carrying them himself into open ocean! Buddy was a delight to talk to, and certainly an inspiration; we were thrilled to present him with the President's Call to Service Award.

It was difficult, (as always,) to say goodbye to our friends at Hunting Island. They personify Southern Hospitality, and they take great care of their island and its inhabitants that call Hunting Island home. Thank you for allowing us a glimpse of one of the most successful volunteer programs in the Southeast.

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