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, 36,800 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—currently under construction—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 50% 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 
  • Coastal Cinema 
  • 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.

Next We'll Bring the Outside In

The island, its beaches, marsh, and tidal creeks, the ocean and Savannah River are our classrooms. Field programming is the true immersive experience, but we can’t take everyone into the field, so we need to bring the outdoors in. We’re working to create the hands-on exhibits, displays, and nature-based play spaces that will enable us to provide immersive marine science-based and conservation educational experiences that are fun and informative. Below are the early concept designs.

Open Air Gallery

Under Croft

Main Floor

Our Campaign: Bringing The Outside In

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Bringing The Outside In is our capital fundraising effort to create an outdoor marine science education experience—indoors.

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

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Our Current Partners - Thank You!

Flagship Leader - $100,000 up

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

Marine Champion - $75,000 up

  • The Frances and Beverly M. DuBose Foundation
  • Jeff and Lee Ann Kole

Island Sentinel - $50,000 up

  • Douglas and Barbara Duch
  • Ikea Savannah Distribution Center
  • R. Howard Dobbs Jr. Foundation

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
  • Deric and Mary Ann Beil
  • Robin and Lawrence Brody
  • Cathleen and Michael Campbell
  • Georgia Power Company
  • Ernest and Elizabeth Hutson
  • Lane A. Johnson, Esq
  • Little St. Simons Island
  • Mary Reynolds Morrison – Mary Lane Morrison Foundation
  • Cathy J. Sakas
  • Southface Institute
  • Sheldon and Zelda Tenenbaum
  • Alan and Karen Watson
  • Steve and Kathryn Williams

Sea Steward - $5,000 up

  • 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
  • Caretta Research Project
  • Coastal Electric Cooperative
  • Coastal Georgia Foundation
  • Dionne Hoskins-Brown
  • 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
  • Greystone Power Corporation
  • Jay and Linda Hellstrom
  • Jeanne and Tad Hutton
  • The Hutton Grandchildren – In Memory of Joe and Cissie Hutton
  • Debbie Kearney and Dale Williams
  • Maria and Jerome Lancaster
  • Mark, Jessica Leigh, Abraham and Liberty Lebos
  • Jackie and Harry Moses
  • Michael and Cathy Neal
  • Okefenoke Rural Electric Membership Corporation
  • Henry and Diane Parkman
  • The Patel Family
  • Dr. Carol Pride
  • 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
  • Suzie Williams – In Memory of Nick Williams
  • Wormsloe Foundation

N.A. Right Whale $2,500 up

  • Anonymous II
  • Scott Center and Tatsiana Shakhmuts
  • Bobby Chu
  • Coweta-Fayette EMC
  • First Chatham Bank
  • Jackson Electric Membership Corporation
  • Mola Jung
  • Knox County Foundation – Joy Davis – Judith and Leon Marlow Family Fund
  • Sissy Schram Levy
  • Angela and Michael Margolit
  • Bill Morrison – In tribute, honor, or memory of Ted Morrison
  • John Rabun, Jr.
  • Walton EMC Natural Gas

Loggerhead Sea Turtle - $1,000 up

  • Addy’s Adventure
  • Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous I
  • Ted Ahlers and Barbara Ormond
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jay W. Andrews
  • Robin Boaen Real Estate Group – In Memory of Carrie McCullough
  • Venetia Butler
  • Mimi Cay-In Honor of Jack Cay V
  • Central Georgia Electric Membership Corporation
  • 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-Pacific Foundation
  • Georgia-Pacific Savannah Gypsum
  • Otto Immel and Comer Meadows – In memory of Sam and Lilla Varnedoe
  • Faye Kirschner and Christine Addy
  • Dayle and Aaron Levy Philanthropic Fund
  • Martha and Dave Makel
  • Medtronic
  • Mitchell EMC PatCap Fund
  • Moffatt and Nichol
  • Oglethorpe Power Corp.
  • Planters Electric Membership Corporation
  • Carol Pride and Oliver Jones – In Honor of Savannah State University
  • Beth and Mark Reed
  • Satilla Rural EMC
  • Cindy and Mark Stevens
  • Tybee Teeth
  • James B. Van Dusen Fund
  • Lisa and Ben Van Dusen
  • Jack Wardlaw
  • Ruth Wilson and Nick Sears – Medtronic Foundation Volunteer Grant Program
  • Linda and Michael Zoller

Bottlenose Dolphin - $500 up

  • Helen Ballard
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation
  • 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
  • Jane Davis
  • Drs. John and Josepha DeVaro
  • Terri Doyle
  • Fortune Recycling
  • Habersham Electric Membership Corporation
  • Hart Electric Membership Corporation
  • Pete and Caroline Huffstetler
  • Lisa and Danny Kaminsky
  • Betsy and Jim Michaud
  • 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 Wylly

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
  • Emerging Leaders Committee Fund
  • Luke Johnson
  • Patricia Leiby
  • Mary Ellen McKee -Jolly Foundation
  • Katherine and James McNaughton
  • Lori and Rob Roberts
  • 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
  • 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
  • W.C. and Roxanne Fleetwood
  • Nancy and Mike Futral
  • Amy Gaster
  • 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
  • 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
  • Stu Putman
  • 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

  • Anonymous VI
  • 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)

Campaign Leadership

Hover over an image to view our thoughts

Campaign Co-Chairs

"Our Precious Ocean and Vibrant Coast Are My Passions. The New Center Is Our Coast’s Shining Crown Jewel. Through it, we reach tens of thousands to promote stewardship and instill knowledge through enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff, captivating exhibits and fascinating hands-on exhibits."

Cathy J. Sakas

"Environmental education and conservation are critical steps in our path to a healthier coast and ocean. That is the primary role of the Tybee Island Marine Science Center and is why supporting the Center is so important."

Douglas E. Duch

Honorary Co-Chairs

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Helen D. Downing

"The Tybee Island Marine Science Center is locally based and globally connected to the mission of educating all people about the reasons we must protect our oceans and marine life. 'We are the ocean and the ocean is us.'"

Zelda Tenenbaum

I discovered a hidden gem in the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. With the new building, it will be a world class institution teaching environmental education and conservation, and hidden no more.

Linda Zoller

Tybee Island Marine Science Foundation Trustees

"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

Mark Reed

“Having experienced first hand the impact of the Tybee Marine Science Center on my grandchildren, I volunteered to serve on its board to help expand the Center’s reach to thousands more children to the wonders and needs of our marine neighbors.“

Jeanne M. Hutton

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Lane A. Johnson, Esq

"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.

"My hope is that by giving to this campaign, we will be able increase the amount of people that understand how wonderful, complex and interconnected the Georgia Coast is and the need to protect it for future generations"

Michael J. Neal, Captain

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

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Kathryn Williams

Project Updates

Here's How to Contact Us

Nancy K. Daves – nancydaves0711@gmail.com
Helen D. Downing – helenrdd@aol.com
Douglas E. Duch – dougduch@gmail.com
Jeanne M. Hutton – jeannehutton10@yahoo.com
Lane A. Johnson, Esq. – LaneJ840@gmail.com
David D. Makel, Ph.D. – 2alnutz@gmail.com
Michael J. Neal, Captain – BullRiverCruises@aol.com
Carol J. Pride, Ph.D. – pridec@savannahstate.edu
Mark Reed – marknreed200@gmail.com
Karen Robertson – karen@robmark.com
Cathy J. Sakas – cathyjosakas@gmail.com
Zelda Tenenbaum – zbtenenbaum@gmail.com
Kathryn Williams – TybeeCreek@gmail.com
Linda K. Zoller – linda.kramer.zoller@gmail.com

Maria Procopio
Executive Director

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