Iconic refuge view

St. Marks Refuge Association, Inc.
PO Box 368
St. Marks, FL 32355

Phone: (850) 925-6121

Email for more information

Photo Credits

News Details

First Sunday at the Refuge Brooke 1st Sunday
January's First Sunday at the Refuge Program, entitled Frogs of the Refuge, will be given on January 4th by Nancy Thomas.

First Sunday presentations start at 2 pm in the Environmental Education building, 1255 Lighthouse Road on the Refuge. Seating is limited so come early. Regular entrance fees apply. For more info, call (850) 925-6121 or see this Flyer.

New Ultralight advertises SMRA help

New ultralight carrying SMRA's name

One of Operation Migration's new ultralights, piloted by Brooke Pennypacker, now sports the St. Marks Refuge Association's name as one of the significant supporters that allowed its purchase. Thanks to all of you, including many school children, who have contributed to this very worthy project over the years. We should all feel proud.

Major gifts to help refuge biologists
Conservation projects on the Refuge will receive more help as the St. Marks Refuge Association has just received two gifts.

For the second year in a row, Dr. Ed and Hilda Carney have given $10,000 to support four internships in wildlife conservation. Thus far, Carney Interns have worked on projects involving red cockaded woodpeckers, longleaf pine habitat assessment, and saltmarsh voles. They also gained their prescribed fire qualification on their own time.

In addition, Dr. Bud Bailey has recently given $1,965 to cover the cost of beginning restoration to longleaf pine on a 9-acre tract. Dr. Bailey is experienced in longleaf pine forestry, and manages the restoration of several longleaf tracts of his own. This summer we will be looking for volunteers to plant longleaf pine seedlings on this and other refuge tracts.

Lens removed for restoration
On November 20th, the 4th-order Fresnel lens was removed from atop the St. Marks Lighthouse, where it had resided for 148 years. It was lowered safely to the ground using a boom lift, donated by Ring Power of Tallahassee, and then transported to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, where it will be restored. The Florida Lighthouse Association and your St. Marks Refuge Association provided $5,700 for this work.

FSU volunteers remove invasives
On February 15th, an enthusiastic group of students from FSU's Environmental Service Program volunteered to remove the invasive plant, Coral Ardisia, from an area near Wakulla Beach. Guided by Ranger Scott Davis, the group finished the day with 576 individual plants removed. At least one more workday will be required to get the infestation under control.

New kiosk celebrates Wilderness Area and Florida Trail
A new kiosk has been erected to celebrate both the St. Marks Wilderness and the Florida National Scenic Trail. It is located where the Trail crosses Lighthouse Road, at the south end of East River Pool. The kiosk is the last component of a grant to your Association from the National Environmental Education Foundation (with funding from Toyota), and a part of the refuge's celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Special thanks to Firefighter Travis Pollard and Mike Keys for producing the map, to SMRA member Rita LeBlanc for designing the other panels, and to the inmate crew for building and erecting the structure.

The cranes have arrived
On October 10th, the 2014 class of whooping cranes began following their surrogate parents flying ultralights. And despite some bumps in their schedule, they arrived at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday, December 11th, following an overflight of an enthusiastic crowd of supporters gathered at the City of St. Marks. It was especially delightful to see an entire class of 3rd-graders from a Tallahassee school in attendance.

Their pensite at the Refuge has no top, so over the next several months these cranes will learn to forage on their own and become wise to the world. Then, sometime perhaps in late March, they will fly higher than normal, head north and disappear. (Photo credit: Jim Young)

New RCWs space mulched
About 170 acres of shrubs and other understory plants were mulched by Refuge staff over the last few weeks, in preparation for translocating Red Cockaded Woodpeckers in the coming year. Thanks to Okefenokee NWR for loan of the equipment (pic). After a few months of drying, the mulch layer will be burned on a regular basis. Then the wiregrass and wildflowers will return, and the new RCW residents will be happy. The areas are on the St. Marks Unit.

The Refuge needs your help! Bear off TRam Road
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge currently covers approximately 70,000 acres. In support of their Comprehensive Conservation Plan, the refuge has recently received approval to add additional acres. Now you can really help (Read how ...)

Copyright: St. Marks Refuge Association, 2013