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
December's First Sunday at the Refuge Program, entitled Bats of Florida , will be given on December 7th by Selena and Mark Kiser.

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 gift to help wildlife biologists


Dr. Ed Carney passes their gift to SMRA President Betsy Kellenberger, while Hilda Carney looks on, along with Refuge Manager Terry Peacock and Lead Biologist Joe Reinman.

Wildlife conservation on the Refuge got a big boost on December 9th when the St Marks Refuge Association received a $10,000 gift from Dr. Ed and Hilda Carney. These funds will be used to support four biology interns during the coming year.

The Carney Interns will greatly help Refuge biologists with projects involving habitat restoration, protection of at-risk species, and combating invasives. The Carneys have been Life Members of SMRA for many years. They were honored at a reception attended by Refuge staff, SMRA Board members and other friends.

Lighthouse floor needs work
That's an understatement, as shown in the picture at the right. Much work wll be needed to repair and preserve the interior of the Keeper's Quarters and the lighthouse itself, once those phases of the project begin. In the case of the floor, mutiple layers were accumulated over the years. Much of the floor has been seriously damaged by termites, and asbestos is present in a vinyl layer.

The lens will soon be removed and shipped off for restoration. And, importantly, much groundwork has been laid that will benefit the project later on. Anyone interested in helping with the restoration effort should contact us directly.

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 policy to affect Association  
A new policy has been issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that will affect aspects of its relationship with support groups such as ours. Our Refuge has formed a committee of Refuge staff and SMRA representatives to work out details as we move to implement this policy over the next few months. We will keep the SMRA membership up to date as details become available.

Whooping cranes heading south
On October 10th, the 2014 class of whooping cranes graduated from flight school in Wisconsin and began following their surrogate parents aboard ultralights, southward to St. Marks for the Winter. When they arrive depends on weather conditions, but late December is likely. You can follow the progress of this project on the Operation Migration Field Journal. (Photo credit: Doug Pellerin)

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.

Monarch butterfly tagging
The 26th annual Monarch Butterfly Festival, was held October 25th, but the refuge's involvement with monarchs hasn't ended there. Many monarchs can still be seen around the lighthouse, so come down to see them - dusk is best. Also, the butterfly tagging project will continue on Saturday mornings through Nov. 22nd. To help, contact State biologist, David Cook.


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