coastal Wildlife Refuge Society

Supporting Northeastern North Carolina's National Wildlife Refuges


The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society (CWRS) is a non-profit organization established and incorporated in 1989 by a group of local citizens. The purposes of the Society are two-fold: 1) To generate funds to support programs and activities of Alligator River and other national wildlife refuges in eastern North Carolina, particularly programs relating to public education and information, and 2)To assist in the recruitment of refuge volunteers. In general, the Society provides support for programs and initiatives identified by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The generation of funds by the Society is through membership fees, donations, the annual Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival and sales from refuge gift shops. CWRS recruits and supervises interns and volunteers. It solicits, administers and pays grants for educational programs and field trips on the refuges. It helps provide educational programs in school classrooms, community functions & organizations. It designed,
built and maintains Pea Island Refuge Visitor Center. It stocks and staffs refuge gift shops. The CWRS helped with the acquisition of property on which the National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center is located on Roanoke Island. It helps with turtle watch and patrol programs. It pays for three CWRS refuge staff - gift shops manager, volunteer coordinator & Wings Over Water coordinator/administrative assistant. And, CWRS
provides helpers and materials for specific refuge construction projects and trail & sign maintenance.

Most refuge-specific projects undertaken by the Society directly benefit Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges. However, the Society provides funds for many things that benefit all eastern NC National Wildlife Refuges, such as generic leaflets that are distributed through welcome centers and ‘fun’ things, such as critter costumes for parades and other events.

The Society has been a part of many projects on Pea Island Refuge, some of which are:

• Construction of the visitor center, overlooks, boardwalks, observation tower and public photo-blind

• Purchase and installation of interpretive panels and exhibits for the visitor center, trails and kiosk

• Purchase and installation of scopes & viewers for the nature trail and visitor center observation area

Purchase of canoes & paddles for interpretive tours

  • ​​Funded the raising of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center 5 feet to help protect it from ocean encroachment.

 Alligator River Refuge projects have included:

• Construction of a floating dock and several boardwalks

• Renovation of the intern housing cabin

• Construction of an RV site with hook-ups for resident volunteers

• Partnering on the purchase of a tram for refuge tours

• Purchase of canoes & paddles for interpretive tours

                                                                              Recap Support Highlights

Recruits and supervises interns

Recruits and supervises volunteers
Solicits, administers and pays grants for educational programs and field trips on the refuges
Educational programs and classroom presentations in the schools
Provides personal enrichment opportunities
Purchases and prints brochures and pamphlets
Designed, built and maintains Pea Island Visitor Center
Helped with acquisition of property for National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island

Pays for three CWRS staff (gift stores manager, volunteer coordinator, WOW coordinator/administrative assistant)
Helps with turtle watch & patrol program
Staffs and stocks gifts shops and Pea Island and National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Centers
Refuge trail maintenance