Free Family Outdoor Adventures
Nancy Fernandez. Photography by J&V Photography
(La Isla Magazine, April 2018) ~ HHI, SC. By Nancy Fernández. Surrounded by golf courses and tourists heading to Hilton Head Island, there exists a wilderness wonderland. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of over 560 national wildlife refuges found throughout our country. These refuges are managed by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for the conservation, protection, and enhancement of fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the enjoyment of all.
The diverse habitat found at Pinckney Island NWR attracts an abundance of wildlife throughout the year, providing excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Over 14 miles of hiking and biking trails are maintained to provide access to all parts of the refuge. Pinckney’s bird list contains over 250 species. The most popular and colorful is the painted bunting, a common summer resident in the island's brushy habitats. During spring and fall migrations, warblers and other migratory songbirds are common among the live oaks and in the shrub/scrub habitat. A variety of raptors, shorebirds, and wading birds call the refuge home year-round.
Refuge mammals include white-tailed deer, red fox, and bobcat. American alligators are also abundant on the refuge, particularly in and around the freshwater ponds. The refuge is located in Beaufort County, South Carolina and is 1/2 mile west of Hilton Head Island off U.S. Highway 278. The island lies between Skull Creek (the Intracoastal Waterway) and Mackay Creek. Its northern tip faces Port Royal Sound. From I-95, take SC Exit 8 east towards Hilton Head Island approximately 16 miles to the entrance gate on the left.
Nancy Fernández is the Urban Outreach Coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Savannah, GA. She grew up in Santa Cruz, California, in a Spanish only speaking household -her parents are from Michoacán, México. She is using her bilingual language skills to encourage local Latinos to enjoy the coastal outdoors, and to facilitate a series of programs and events for the whole community. Nancy graduated from California State University with a degree in Anthropology. She worked several internships through the Student Conservation Association before landing her fulltime position at Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).