New signs on Folly Beach come from school kids

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - A volunteer from a local nonprofit group, committed to protecting birds, drove all over Folly Beach Sunday installing new signs across the island on Sunday.

Coastal Program Coordinator of Audubon South Carolina Nolan Schillerstrom partnered with Mason Preparatory elementary school and asked children to draw a sign with a catchy message to encourage protection of birds on the coast.

Schillerstrom has been installing these signs for the last two years. He says the goal of the groups is to raise awareness of endangered bird species and to work toward protecting birds and their environments.

"These signs are meant to try to educate beachgoers to try and keep their distance from birds that need their space," Schillerstrom said. "[The children] usually think of slogans and little cartoons that I would never be able to think about."

Out of hundreds of submissions, 15 were chosen to be made into plastic signs, which are now featured on each end of the island of Folly Beach.

Audubon South Carolina works as part of the National Audubon Society, which has more than one million members.

Schillerstrom says in the last 40 years, shorebird populations have declined by 70 percent so the need for educating people about protecting birds is critical.

"That's a pretty huge decline for just four decades, it really is the reason for all of this work that we're doing," Schillerstrom said. "Almost everybody has asked what I'm doing, and I'm happy to tell them."

Schillerstrom says the success of the signs over the last two years is already evident because they saw an American Oystercatcher successfully hatch babies, which has not happened in a long time.

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