We've Come a Long Way

Thirty years ago, local school teachers grabbed a seine net and took a group of island visitors out to the surf. Thus was born our Tybee Island Marine Science Center.

Since 2007, over a half-million people, children to retirees, connected to the coast through the Center’s education and conservation programs.

In 2009, we developed a workplace training program for new biologists. Today, there are 72 seasoned marine science educators—working from Hawaii to Maine—who prepared for their careers with us on Tybee Island.

Sidewalk to the Sea brings Savannah’s inner city students to the island for a Coastal Classroom. Only 15 miles from the coast, this field trip is the first time many kids will see their ocean. Since 2011, with support from the City of Tybee Island, 40,400 students have gone through the program.

We’ve accomplished all of this with a single classroom, an apartment-sized exhibit gallery, and an island. Imagine the impact we’ll make with seven classrooms, a 3,500 sq. ft. exhibit gallery, and much more in our spectacular new facility on Tybee’s North Beach.

Now We're Extending Our Reach

Our new Center is located on four-fifths of an acre and situated for minimal impact on the dune system and to catch prevailing winds for passive cooling and ventilation. The conditioned interior space is 5,400 sq. ft. and the ground-level open-air undercroft, of that same dimension, doubles the usable area for classes and programs. 

We are grateful to the City of Tybee Island for funding the construction of our new science center on Tybee’s North Beach.

Views include the Calibogue Sound at the Savannah River entrance and the Atlantic Ocean.

We project an increase of almost 30% in center visitation.

That means each year, we will have the capacity to reach over 100,000 people, kids to retirees, and personally connect them to wonder of our coast.

Activities include: 

Hand’s-on exploration activity, demonstrations, displays, exhibits, films, presentation kiosks, and nature-based play sites are planned throughout the facility and grounds. 

  • Open Air Gallery 
  • West Gallery 
  • East Gallery 
  • ShipWatch Loft 
  • Harbor Viewing Deck 
  • Sound Overlooks 
  • Amphitheater

Highlights include:

An elevator and ramped walkway make the center’s programs accessible to everyone.

Life-size model of a right whale fluke and the five sea turtles that nest on our beaches.

Husbandry’s animal care, collection, and rescue activities will be a working exhibit.

A 50-seat amphitheater overlooks the the shipping channel for interpreting maritime activity.

Sustainable elements include:

Cladding is 70% recycled material made with fly-ash, a coal combustion by-product.

Southern-grown black locust hardwood from North Carolina.

Cistern for harvesting rainwater for irrigation and tank usage.

Throughout the windows provide .45 visible light transmittance for the  protection of our sea turtles.

Our Campaign: The Right Whale to Save

Raised To Date

The Right Whale to Save is a fundraising effort to support the fabrication of a signature exhibit for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Become a donor and help us bring Smoke, our adoptive right whale, to life with a full-sized rendering. Guests will be able to interact with Smoke’s baleen, callosities, and tongue for an up-close and personal experience! Threats to the population will be highlighted as well as the conservation efforts to protect this imperiled species.

Through the generosity of the City of Tybee Island, the W.C. Fleetwood Family Foundation, the Makel family, Ikea Savannah Distribution Center we have a new facility, almost an acre of land, and all the furnishings for the science center’s classrooms, operations, and gift shop. We now face our final challenge of obtaining the exhibits, displays, and nature-based play spaces that will bring the Tybee Island Marine Science Center to life. 

We cannot raise this amount alone, but with the right people and the right partnerships, we can complete a center that fosters, educates, and celebrates our special environment.


Partnership Opportunities - Click to Expand

Form secured by GivingTools online giving.

Our Current Partners - Thank You!

Flagship Leader - $100,000 up

  • City of Tybee Island
  • Rob Demere – Colonial Oil Foundation
  • W.C. Fleetwood Family Foundation
  • Georgia Ports Authority
  • Jeff and Lee Ann Kole
  • Littlejohn Family Foundation
  • David and Martha Makel

Marine Champion - $75,000 up

  • The Frances and Beverly M. DuBose Foundation
  • Southface Institute

Island Sentinel - $50,000 up

  • Douglas and Barbara Duch
  • Ikea Savannah Distribution Center
  • R. Howard Dobbs Jr. Foundation
  • Tybee Island Sea Turtle Project – Tammy Smith

Ocean Guardian - $25,000 up

  • Anonymous
  • Nancy Daves – In Memory of Lindy S. Johnson
  • The Maggioni Family
  • The Williams Family – In memory of Patrick Ansley Williams
  • Dennis Alexander and Shirley Wright – In Honor of Kyle Lee Wright, Gabriel Beauvais Alexander, Eloise, Gianna and ILaria Maylyn Alexander

Coastal Curator - $10,000 up

  • Jim and Linda Alexander
  • Craig and Diana Barrow
  • Robin and Lawrence Brody
  • Cathleen and Michael Campbell
  • Keith and Cody Gay – Tybee Beach Vacation Rentals
  • Georgia Power Company
  • Gulfsteam Aerospace Corporation
  • Ernest and Elizabeth Hutson
  • Lane A. Johnson, Esq
  • Little St. Simons Island
  • Don and Stephanie McGraw – In memory of Susan McGraw
  • Mary Reynolds Morrison – Mary Lane Morrison Foundation
  • North Beach Bar & Grill
  • Cathy J. Sakas
  • Sheldon and Zelda Tenenbaum
  • Alan and Karen Watson
  • Wet Willie’s Management Corp.
  • Steve and Kathryn Williams
  • Jonathon Gudjohnsen

Sea Steward - $5,000 up

  • J. Ryan and Elizabeth Alford
  • Anonymous – In Honor of General Henry B. Sayler and Jessie Dixon Sayler
  • Anonymous  – In memory of Fred and Charlotte Schwalb
  • Auction by Carol and Lane
  • Nancy Azzam – In honor of Nancy Daves
  • Deric and Mary Ann Beil
  • Dionne Hoskins – Brown
  • Caretta Research Project
  • Coastal Electric Cooperative
  • Coastal Georgia Foundation
  • Gary and Kathy Dennis
  • Helen Downing – In memory of Ned Downing
  • Dr. Pablo and Patricia Elizalde – In Honor of Douglas Duch
  • John Frey – In Memory of Mildred Frey and Dominique Audran
  • Jane Frey-Gudjohnsen
  • Greystone Power Corporation
  • Jay and Linda Hellstrom
  • Molly Holt – In Memory of Lindsy S. Johnson
  • Jeanne and Tad Hutton
  • The Hutton Grandchildren – In Memory of Joe and Cissie Hutton
  • Yeou-Rong Jih – The Kresge Foundation
  • Debbie Kearney and Dale Williams
  • Mark, Jessica Leigh, Abraham and Liberty Lebos
  • Matson Navigation Company
  • Jackie and Harry Moses
  • Michael and Cathy Neal
  • Kat Nelson Baber and Will Baber
  • Okefenoke Rural Electric Membership Corporation
  • Henry and Diane Parkman
  • The Patel Family
  • Dr. Carol Pride
  • Stu Putman
  • Karen Robertson
  • Savannah’s World-Famous Crabettes
  • Cathy and Philip Solomons – The Solomons Fund
  • Thad and Darlene Strickland – In Memory of Carrie McCullough
  • Dan Suwyn and Kim Bockius-Suwyn – Suwyn Family Foundation
  • Kenneth and Sara Walma and Family
  • Anne P. West
  • Katie and Gram Wohlust
  • Wormsloe Foundation

N.A. Right Whale $2,500 up

  • Anonymous II
  • Julie Catherine Bremer – In honor of great uncle Joseph H. Bremer
  • Venetia Butler
  • Mimi Cay – In Honor of Jack Cay V
  • Scott Center and Tatsiana Shakhmuts
  • Chairs For Charity – Liz Hood, Kelly Swope and Sarah Bernzott
  • Bobby Chu
  • Coweta-Fayette EMC
  • First Chatham Bank
  • Georgia-Pacific Savanna Gypsum
  • Jackson Electric Membership Corporation
  • Mola Jung
  • Knox County Foundation – Joy Davis – Judith and Leon Marlow Family Fund
  • Gloria Leonard
  • Sissy Schram Levy
  • Martha and Dave Makel
  • Angela and Michael Margolit
  • Bill Morrison – In tribute, honor, or memory of Ted Morrison
  • John Rabun, Jr.
  • Walton EMC Natural Gas
  • Suzie Williams – In memory of Nick Williams
  • Linda and Michael Zoller

Loggerhead Sea Turtle - $1,000 up

  • Anonymous VI – Network for Good
  • Addy’s Adventure
  • Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous I
  • Ted Ahlers and Barbara Ormond
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jay W. Andrews
  • Cameron and Jim Bentley
  • Robin Boaen Real Estate Group – In Memory of Carrie McCullough
  • Central Georgia Electric Membership Corporation
  • Barbara C. Cocherell Charitable Fund
  • David Cottingham – In memory of Lindy S. Johnson
  • Charles Ellis, III
  • Enterprise Holdings Foundation
  • Drs. Sam, Kristine and Catherine Evans
  • Fitzpatrick Family
  • Nancy and Michael Flynn – In memory of Joe and Maureen Mooney
  • Stephen and Annette Friedman
  • Georgia Transmission Corporation
  • Georgia-Pacific Foundation
  • IFAW US International
  • Otto Immel and Comer Meadows – In memory of Sam and Lilla Varnedoe
  • Faye Kirschner and Christine Addy
  • Jerome and Maria Lancaster
  • Rebecca Lent – In Memory of Lindy
  • Dayle and Aaron Levy Philanthropic Fund
  • Sidney and Randi Levy
  • Medtronic
  • Mitchell EMC PatCap Fund
  • Moffatt and Nichol
  • Oglethorpe Power Corp.
  • Judy Ouzts
  • Planters Electric Membership Corporation
  • Carol Pride and Oliver Jones – In Honor of Savannah State University
  • Beth and Mark Reed
  • Joseph and Coren Ross
  • Satilla Rural EMC
  • Henry T. Skipper III
  • Cindy and Mark Stevens
  • Stifel – The Blackbaud Giving Fund
  • Tybee Teeth
  • James B. Van Dusen Fund
  • Lisa and Ben Van Dusen
  • Ole Varmer – In memory of Lindy Johnson
  • Jack Wardlaw
  • Ruth Wilson and Nick Sears – Medtronic Foundation Volunteer Grant Program
  • YourCause
  • Katherine and Scott Warden

Bottlenose Dolphin - $500 up

  • Helen Ballard
  • Daniel Belitskus – In memory of Diane Belitskus
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation
  • Don Callahan Real Estate Group
  • Captain Mike’s Dolphin Tours – In Memory of Iris Scarbrough
  • James and Sally Chandler
  • City of Savannah Park and Tree Commission – In honor of Janice Insley
  • Sue and Jim Cole
  • Sandi, Len and Kendall Cripe
  • Charles C. Crutchfield – In honor of Nancy Daves
  • Jane Davis
  • Holley Dean – In tribute to Sumaya El-Khalidi
  • Drs. John and Josepha DeVaro
  • Terri Doyle
  • Fortune Recycling
  • Elaine Gale and Randy Pimsler – In memory of Gordon Gale
  • Habersham Electric Membership Corporation
  • The Jennifer Harris Memorial Fund
  • Hart Electric Membership Corporation
  • Kelly Hays – In memory of Crisi Manley
  • Pete and Caroline Huffstetler
  • Lisa and Danny Kaminsky
  • Gwen and Mary Ellen McKee – The Jolly Foundation 
  • Betsy and Jim Michaud
  • Musimatic Electronics Inc.
  • Michael G. and Marianne Pappas
  • Pier 16 Seafood Restaurant
  • Rock House Bar and Grill
  • Ben and Megan Sapp
  • Nancy Shull
  • Slash Pine Electric Membership Corporation
  • Pam and Dave Smith
  • Southern Motors Group
  • Sumter Electric Membership Corporation
  • Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers
  • Verisk Analytics
  • Janet K. Will
  • Paul Wolff
  • Margaret and John Wyll

Goliath Grouper - $250 up

  • Anonymous IIII
  • Canoochee Electric Membership Corporation
  • B. Willow Chanthavong, MPH, CCRC
  • Diana Churchill, In honor, memory or tribute to Bob and Phillippa Paddison
  • Sylvia Cross
  • Depriest Family – In memory of Jennifer E. Harris
  • Emerging Leaders Committee Fund
  • W.C. and Roxanne Fleetwood
  • Arthur Henning and Cheryl Tilton
  • Luke Johnson
  • Patricia Leiby
  • Katherine and James McNaughton
  • Melaver Foundation Inc.
  • Lori and Rob Roberts
  • Saint Vincent’s Academy
  • Alisa Salaki – In honor of Henry Salaki
  • Jonathan and Anna Salter
  • Steve and Kathy Salter
  • John Schoettle DMV and Innovative Veterinary Medicine – In Honor of Care For Your Coast
  • Jennie Scott
  • South Mountain Group – In Memory of George Leiby
  • Janet D. Stone
  • Dave and Cheryl Terry
  • Anthony and Nadine Turpin

Great Blue Heron $100 up

  • Anonymous
  • Thomas J. Beytagh Jr.
  • Brooks W. Binder
  • Joseph M. Binns III
  • Tim and Colleen Bozard
  • Brighter Day Natural Foods
  • Alice M. Brook – In Memory of Ruth Hoopes
  • Diane Butler
  • H. Lee and Kathy Cheek
  • Cheryl Clay – In Memory of Bruce Stephen Helmy, Wyman H. Sharpe and Cecil Knox Daniel Jr.
  • Kamille Crouch
  • Debi Doverspike
  • Sharon and Don Edwards – In Honor of Anne Campbell
  • Fidelity Charitable – Greselda P. Powell Charitable Fund
  • Nancy and Mike Futral
  • Amy Gaster
  • Georgia Association of Marine Educators
  • Captain P. Michelle Gillikin
  • Bill Goldstrohm
  • Vernon Gracen
  • Robert and Anne Green
  • Dave and Jennifer Harris
  • Donald and Melinda Hartley
  • Beth Hodges – In memory of Carrie McCullough
  • Ruth Hoopes
  • C. Hudson and Carolyn Harrison
  • John and Diane Jakubiec
  • Captain Elizabeth Johnson – Tybee Island Charter
  • Faye Kirschner and Christine Addy – In memory of Kaye Kole
  • Michael and Joanne Kooden
  • Jennifer Leatherwood
  • Susan Leonard
  • Mike Liedtka and Mary Jane Gavenda
  • Longleaf Partners
  • Lowcountry Biodiversity Foundation – In memory of Carrie McCullough
  • Thomas Lynch
  • Bruce and Jane McElroy
  • Elaine T. McGruder
  • Kathleen McGuire and Robert Jones
  • George Michael
  • Jared and Sarah Mullis – In Memory of Daughter Grace
  • Deborah and Roger Nicklas
  • Bill and Karen O’Brien
  • Michael and Cheryl Owen
  • David and Linda Phillips – In honor of “Dot” and the Colonel
  • Carol Pine
  • Tony Ploughe
  • Paul Pressly
  • Rembert and Martha Roux
  • Savannah Chatham E-Learning Academy Sea Dragons – In memory of Virginia Robin Carver
  • Sentient Bean
  • Rebecca Sharpe – In Memory of Carrie McCullough
  • Maurice and Nancy Sheppard
  • Mark and Ruth Taylor
  • Hank Tucker
  • Brad and Cara Ward
  • Susan K. Weston – In Memory of Jack and Wilma McCusker

Beaded Sea Star - $50 up

  • Susan and Larry Adams
  • Judith A. Cross – In Memory of Ruth A. Hoopes
  • Robert G. Glisson
  • Caroline and Roland Haskins – In Memory of Ruth A. Hoopes
  • Ruth Hetland
  • The Insley Family
  • Annette T. Kendrick – In Memory of Ruth A. Hoopes
  • Raymond E. Mathieu and Patricia A. Wishnok
  • Enedina Rissman
  • Margaret Shelton
  • The CGO Group – Merrill (Brian Coulter and Jennifer Grayson)
  • Peter Oppenheimer

Board of Trustees

Hover over an image to view our thoughts

Tybee Island Marine Science Foundation Trustees

Doug Duch 


“Since childhood, on family visits to the coast, I have always been drawn to the marsh and its pungent essence of marine life. I’ve now seen so many of my cherished estuaries undermined by development. I am passionate about preserving and restoring these vital birthplaces of our greater marine life. The Tybee Island Marine Science Center can be a vehicle to share this respect for our marshes with so many.”

Ruth Whitley Wilson

 Vice President

"I have always been in awe of nature and have tried to live, work, and play in it as much as possible. Being a Tybee Island Marine Science Center Trustee is one way I can continue to immerse myself in my passion while also preserving and sharing it with others."

Katie Wohlust


Jim Alexander


"After a career in ocean policy, the TIMSC is my way to continue to support marine conservation now that I am retired. And it’s my way of paying it forward to the next generation of ocean defenders. May their understanding of what they learn at the center lead them to cherish and fight for the future of our marine environment."

Nancy Daves

"Our tidal coasts are a resource well worth preserving for future generations and the most effective way to achieve that preservation is through education. I can think of no better educational opportunity than that offered by the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, even more-so when upgraded to a beautiful new facility. I wholeheartedly support the Center and feel lucky to be a part of its next iteration."

David D. Makel, Ph.D.

Mark Reed

"A step inside the Tybee Island Marine Science Center builds appreciation for the vast significance of the marine realm to our world and way of life. I stand with TIMSC in the goal of deepening Ocean Literacy for all."

Carol Pride, Ph.D.

"When complete, the new Tybee Island Marine Science Center will be unlike anything else in our area. I am honored to be a part of the center's board and look forward to seeing the new center increase educational opportunities and awareness for local residents and visitors."

Karen Robertson

"While our family spends most of its time on Tybee in and around the water, we are still surprised and amazed by the things we see 'out there.' The Marine Science Center enlightens us, and it is also a great entry portal for folks who are starting to notice things going on in the water around here."

James L. Bentley, III

"As a marine biologist living and teaching on the Georgia coast, I support the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, its projects and mission. If you visit for one day, or return each weekend, it is a place to see and interact with coastal animals you will never forget."

Kathryn Craven, Ph.D.

"Nothing captures the spirit of Tybee more than the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. The commitment to our island environment, the ocean, loggerhead sea turtles, right whales, bottlenose dolphins and more captures the essence of Tybee Island. The opportunity to support the Center, our incredible professional staff and volunteers and help grow the visitor count, young and not so young along with increasing financial support & contributions will only enhance the enormous value of the Center to Tybee and the coastal region."

Tim Mescon

"I developed an interest in the Marine Science Center over a decade ago through the involvement of my grandchildren. This interest grew as I observed the ambitious (and successful) efforts to expand the Center and it’s programs, and the benefits that followed. Today’s Tybee Island Marine Science Center provides a fun, educational, and exciting destination for families and visitors to Tybee."

Harry Moses

Project Updates

Here's How to Contact Us

Jim Alexander –  jimalexander23@gmail.com
James L. Bentley, III – Jbentley@comcast.net
Nancy K. Daves – nancydaves0711@gmail.com
Douglas E. Duch – dougduch@gmail.com
Jeanne M. Hutton – jeannehutton10@yahoo.com
David D. Makel, Ph.D. – 2alnutz@gmail.com
Carol J. Pride, Ph.D. – pridec@savannahstate.edu
Mark Reed – marknreed200@gmail.com
Karen Robertson – karen@robmark.com
Ruth Whitley Wilson – wilsonruthw@gmail.com
Kathryn Williams – TybeeCreek@gmail.com
Katie Wohlust –  cacfrye@yahoo.com

Chantal Audran
Executive Director


Or, send a message via this handy form: