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2010 FOHI Accomplishments — Bonnie Wright, Outgoing President

  • It's totally amazing how much we have accomplished this past year. Thanks to your dedicated enthusiasm and strong support we succeeded in acquiring 139 new members. We now have a total of 769 members; slightly down from 773 members this time last year. Friends have contributed approximately a total of $58,000 to enhancements to the park and special park events. This does not include the $42,000 awarded to Friends from the 2010 County A-Tax for enhancements to public beach access areas. Our largest fundraiser the FOHI DMV license plate this year has generated revenue totally $9,686 and since introduction a total of $42,965.
  • Park Projects:
  • 2nd Annual Pelican Plunge had close to 400 attend and raised over $3,000.
  • Increased Discover Carolina school program participation from 0 in 08/09 to 7 schools with 421 students in 09/10 and already have 350 signed up for the 2010/11 school year.
  • Installed new bird feeder stations at the Nature Center water garden.
  • HISP became part of the South Carolina Audubon Important Bird Area program.
  • Continued the DHEC/OCRM Adopt-A-Beach Trashbuster program.
  • Installed trail signs/kiosks and printed new trail maps.
  • Built 5th Oyster Reef restoration site.
  • Maintained water quality monitoring for SCORE.
  • Designed/purchased/installed two new Nature Center signs from 2% A-tax funding.
  • FOHI purchased four Nature Center educational touch screens.
  • Conducted two beach sweeps with a total of 380+ participants.
  • Added wildlife specimens to Nature Center displays.
  • Stemming from the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program installed four ashtray receptacles at North beach.
  • FOHI added three ashtray receptacles at South beach.
  • Constructed handicap wheelchair storage shed with signage at North Beach.
  • Built cabinetry bases for reptile cages and stand for touch screen.
  • Added, repaired and replaced monofilament and trash bag receptacles.
  • Held 3rd annual sand sculpture contest.
  • Held 2nd annual 5K walk/run.
  • Conducted turtle and litter educational tours at the park to several youth groups, scout troops and organizations.
  • All who were involved with the turtle program went over and above the call of duty this year with the DNA study, dealing with beach erosion and a record number of 111 turtle nests.
  • Increased assisting the Nature Center staff with programs.
  • Continued alligator and lighthouse docent program.
  • Assisted Eagle Scout on installing Rain Barrel water conservation project with interpretative signage at Nature Center.
  • Cleaned/maintained Nature Center water garden.
  • Repaired Visitor Center pond fountain and electric system.
  • Contracted repairs to irrigation system and landscaping at the lighthouse compound.
  • Constructed boxes for the park's new Ranger Quest program.
  • Purchased 2 additional all terrain wheelchairs, 4 bike racks, 4 shower towers, and 8 changing cubicles to North and South beach access areas.
  • Implemented County maintained port-a-john and trash receptacles at Russ Point.
  • Outreach Successes
  • Received the 2010 Earth Day State Award for our ongoing litter control efforts.
  • Received Environmental Awareness Certificate of Recognition award for our leadership efforts in protection, conservation, and improvements to the natural resources and environment from SCDHEC/OCRM
  • Donated Commemorative T-shirts to the Beaufort Boys & Girls Club and Haiti.
  • Established a separate e-mail list serve for our turtle program.
  • Invited and participated in the Low Country Eat Smart, Move More 2010 School Wellness Conference in Bluffton.
  • Invited and participated in three Earth Day Events (Port Royal, Beaufort Memorial and Habersham.
  • Formed a communication networking partnership with River Smart.
  • Partnered with KBCB and BCSW on a grant to implement a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program at the park.
  • FOHI and KBCB got county to install and maintain a port-a-john and trash receptacle at Russ Point.
  • Upgraded our website hosting to a much larger capacity with a new web address.
  • Conducted several outreach speaker programs to other local organizations.
  • Participated and collaborated with Coastal Conservation League in promoting "Hands Across the Sand" event at the beach.
  • Conducted FOHI information booth at Water Festival, Port Royal Seafood Festival and Bluffion Arts and Seafood Festival.

October 9th! 2nd ANNUAL 5K RUN / WALK

The trails were in such fine shape...

2009 5K race
2009 5k Run/Walk at the 150th LIGHTHOUSE ANNIVERSARY Celebration

2010 TURTLES!!

Read all about the 2010 nesting season! Click Once on this page, select the South Carolina DNR Marine Turtle Conservtion Program link. On the next page, check out the totals and then select our beach from the drop down list.

2012 plunge


January 1, 2012 - Lighthouse Beach

Read all about our annual Fun and Fundraising event. CLICK HERE.

5K Run / Walk Race

Thank you for participating in our run through the Hunting Island trails October 8, 2011.

CLICK HERE for information.


Friends of Hunting Island was recognized as a tourism leader June 17th during the Civitas Award and Annual meeting ceremony. CLICK HERE

SC DHEC Awards Friends of Hunting Island 2010 Earth Day Award!

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) awarded its 2010 Earth Day-Make Every Day Earth Day Award to the Friends of Hunting Island for our Anti-Litter events and companion environmental education and stewardship programs during 2009.

DHEC earth day award

Commissioner C. Earl Hunter presented the award at the April 14th ceremony at DHEC's headquarters in Columbia to FOHI representatives including former litter control Board member, Karen Whitehead, who was instrumental in implementing our many anti-litter programs, present litter control Board member, Vicki Anne Nestor, FOHI President, Bonnie Wright, and Hunting Island State Park ranger, Ben Holmes.

Other FOHI environmental stewardship programs which were recognized by the Earth Day Awards Committee included the monofilament recycle program, "Doggi-pot" dispenser bags for park visitors with pets, and the educational outreach of environmental awareness through our booth at annual community Earth Day celebrations.

The judges also evaluated applicants on how they embodied the spirit of Earth Day every day. On a day-to-day basis, our 700+ family, all-volunteer organization walks the walk and talks the talk of environmental stewardship either directly, through our activities at the park or indirectly through our community outreach programs and our in-kind and direct monetary contributions to the park's projects. During 2009 FOHI hit a new record of 12,130 hours dedicated to helping park management and staff enrich the park experience of over 1.2 million visitors annually.

CLICK for the DHEC Announcement
WACH-TV Columbia FOX Affiliate
WACHTV earth day award photo
More FOHI information — click HERE...


Friends of Hunting Island booth at opening day of the Farmer's Market in Port Royal April 17th.
farmers market booth

150th Lighthouse Anniversary Celebration!!


The Planning Committee, the players and producers of "People of the Light", participants, and media, you all made it work! Click here for more.

In the news:

10/19/09 The Lowcountry Becomes You Blog

10/17/09 The Island Packet

150th lighthouse anniversary

10/15/09 WTOC, Savannah, GA

10/15/09 Post & Courier

10/14/09 Island Packet

10/14/09 The Lowcountry Weekly

10/12/09 Bluffton Today

10/09/09 Island Packet

10/05/09 The Beaufort Tribune

09/26/09 The Beaufortonian

Lighthouse Digest Article by Bruce Doneff

Historic Beaufort Foundation Blog

Student Art Excursion

Beaufort Gazette article: August 19, 2009: "Park invites county students to explore 150-year-old lighthouse"

Read about student preparation for the coming Lighthouse Art Exhibition at the USCB Performing Arts Center October 17th prior to the presentation of a play celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Hunting Island Lighthouse.

In the News:

6/27/2009: Gazette/Island Packet article on seaturtle.corg.

6/1/2009: Wonderful article in Bluffton Today!
Check it out here;see-334fJOuzup0NFK8S#vw-1;dblpg;page-14

Wall Street Journal

The word is out about the treasure at our doorstep.... Hunting Island State Park is being discovered nationally! Will the park be prepared for more visitors in the future??? it out. There is even a place for you to make comments. Positive, I hope :-) Bonnie

Nature Center Map

new map at nature center
A large map of the ACE Basin mounted and framed
by the construction team for donation to the Nature Center.

New Monofilament Collection Stations

scouts and monofilament pipe
Scouts emptying monofilament disposal tube at end of H.I. fishing pier

Our monofilament recycling line program is up and running thanks to the help of the scouts from Troop 1712. We are working with DNR and Berkley Line Company that will be recycling the line into fish habitats, new line and new spools for the line.

Look around the lagoon and beach accesses to find our collection boxes for depositing monofilament line you may find at the park. Fishing line is a huge danger to sea birds, turtles and other wildlife. Read the marine chart to see how long it can last in the environment. Please do your part. Our volunteers will empty them on a regular basis. And pick up any line or other trash you find. The line will be bagged and sent to the DNR for proper disposal.

It was a very successful training day. The boys (2 Junior Assistant Scoutmasters, 1 Instructor, 1 Senior Patrol Leader, and 2 Patrol Leaders) who attended the training are some of the older Troop 1712 Scouts and are part of the boy leadership corps. They are really excited about this service project and thoroughly enjoyed this outing to Hunting Island. The troop will empty the monofilament disposal tubes each month and prepare the monofilament for recycling, rotating the responsibility between the four patrols of Troop 1712. Since this is a new venture for both the troop and Hunting Island, we will evaluate and modify this schedule as needed. Yesterday the tubes at the lagoon and South Beach were approximately half full; those on the pier were full!

scouts on the pier
Troop 1712 Scouts Brandon Massalon, John Rosemeyer, Christian Hart, Luke Hetherington, Nathaniel Rollings on pier
scouts sorting monofilament
Scouts Luke Hetherington, Bryce Hill, (Karen Whitehead in rear), Christian Hart, and Brandon Massalon sorting contents of tubes in Nature Center classroom

FOHI Communications Director at the Bluffton Rotary


Thanks to Rhom & Haas, Tnemec Co., and Dunlap Inc. the repainting of our lighthouse was completed well before our 150th Lighthouse anniversary.

lighthouse rigging man paints lighthouse

View the WSAV news item here.

In the News:

WSAV video on Tropical Storm Hanna

WSAV article on Tropical Storm Hanna

Beaufort Gazette, 9/6/08: Storm Erosion washes out Cabin Road

Beaufort Gazette, 8/29/08: No more money for erosion at Hunting Island

Beaufort Gazette, 8/28/08: Cabin owners hunting a solution to erosion

Beaufort Gazette, 8/2/08: Hunting Island State Park: 75 years of natural wonder

A day on the water

Beach Saftey - Rip Currents

Nature Center Re-Opens

Bonnie Thanks the Gazette

The 75th Anniversary Celebration was a great Success!

august 2 to 3, 2008

As the photos above indicate, the weather and participation at the 75th SC State Parks Anniversary weekend at Hunting Island, August 2nd and 3rd, created a wonderful success. From the opening ceremony with the Beaufort High School Voices, Buddy Lawrence's Take Pride in America award, and Don Turner, the grandson of a former Lighthouse Keeper, to the coloring and sand castle contests, and finally the portrayal of a day in the life of a lighthouse keepers family "People of the Light" by Suzanne Larson, a fabulous time was had by all.

LowCountry Weekly article. Thank you to all the wonderful Hunting Island fans who entered the essay contest. Read the entries: Part 3. Read the entries: Part 2. Read the entries: Part 1.

Special Historical Information

Don Turner, the grandson of a former assistant Lighthouse Keeper at Hunting Island Station, and his extended family joined us for the week surrounding the 75th State Park Anniversary celebration. His short address at the opening ceremony August 2nd, exemplified the way he feels about our Island and its history as it intertwines with the history of his family and the tales his grandmother told him about living here in the late 1920s.

The following is extracted from an introductory letter he sent to the Park and an interview I conducted as the family was packing to return home after their reunion and our celebration.

"James William Turner served in the U.S. Lighthouse Service as Assistant Keeper to Mr. Malloy (sp?). As nearly as we can determine, he and his wife, Juanita Herbert Turner, lived there from 1925 to about 1930. My dad was born in 1923 and was around 2 years old when they arrived. Very few records of this time exist. We have a cookbook of my grandmother's that has her name and the inscription 'Hunting Island — 1929' inside the front cover. They left when he needed to start school—probably 1930. Granny always said they lived for six years at the lighthouse. Just after that, in 1931, they lived in Boston where Grandpa died of complications with appendicitis.

"Their time at Hunting Island was by far my grandmother's greatest treasure. She would retell those stories with wonderful joy, and it became a root of our family history. One story she told over and over was how my grandfather killed an alligator with a sledgehammer. Also, the only reported jumps from the top were the goats that made their way up the spiral stairs and could not climb down."

The Turner family expressed sincere thanks to the Friends and the Park staff for a memorable family reunion. Highlights of their weekend included: The Sandcastle Contest! Don's son, Bill, won second place in his age group for "Bill's House," a sand sculpture of the lighthouse and his great-grandfather's (Bill) home on Hunting Island. The handicap wheelchair! Don's brother-in-law's mother, Loretta, was ecstatic to be able to splash her feet in the Atlantic Ocean despite her disability.

Mr. Turner promised to stay in touch and to become part of Friends of Hunting Island. He will attend and help us with the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse next year. Thank you, Don, for bringing your light to our lighthouse.

SCPRT Loves Us!

Dear Bonnie:

Last week I spent the day at Hunting Island with Park Manager Jeff Atkins, while visiting each operation I could not help but notice the positive impact of the Friends at each and every turn. The Nature Center is remarkable. The Friends should be very proud of the impact they have and continue to have on the park. Beyond the physical improvements, the volunteers and the financial support your contributions to the actual people that visit the park is profound. The visitors of the park will never forget their Hunting Island experience. You are making a difference!

The list of the accomplishments of the Friends at Hunting Island is long and remarkable; I just wanted to let you know that your efforts and the results of your efforts do not go unnoticed. You motivate us, inspire us and remind us what can be done when government and the citizens it serves come together for the greater good. Thank you seems inadequate, but thank you! Please pass my thanks and appreciation on to the entire organization. What an honor it is for the S.C. State Park Service to call you friends. I look forward to the opportunities ahead as we celebrate our 75th anniversary! of S.C. State Parks.

See you in a State Park!
Phil Gaines
Director, SC State Park Service
SC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
1205 Pendleton Street, Room 251
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: 803-734-0345
(letter received 7/2/08)

Take Pride in America & Toyota VolunTour 2008

Lisa Young voluntour at the aquarium
We are proud to announce Lisa Young, Assistant Director of Take Pride in America and the VolunTour team visited us again this year on April 28th for a tour of updated projects on Hunting Island and greeting our Turtle Volunteers at training session that evening. A visit to the Sea Turtle Hospital at the South Carolina Aquarium topped off their visit.

Link to the Take Pride Blog entries on Lisa's visit in April. (Go to April 29th post...)

Click on the Take Pride Logo at bottom left to read the National Declaration.

Hunting Island Special License Plate Unveiled January 31, 2007

bonnie, catherine ceips, roberta, and license
State Representative Catherine Ceips, Past President Roberta Gunderson, & Current Friends President Bonnie Wright. They got it done!

SC State Legislature: 2005-2006 Bill 4324 & 2005-2006 Bill 5235

CLICK HERE for information to purchase your plate

machette flats island
Machette Flats Island

The Trust for Public Land at the request of Beaufort County Council through the county's Rural and Critical land Preservation Program has donated nine islands to the State and Hunting Island State Park.