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
February's First Sunday at the Refuge Program, entitled Tales of Port Leon will be given March 1st by Ken Clineman. Come learn about the exciting life of this short-lived town, now on Refuge land. A tour will follow, weather-permitting.

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.

WHO Festival to be held Feb. 7th
The annual Wildlife Heritage and Outdoors (WHO) Festival will be held Saturday, February 7th from 11 am until 4 pm. Come enjoy good food, music, and lots of activities for the family. And your Nature Store will be open too - remember, members receive a 10% discount there.

For further details see the WHO flyer.

Photo Contest and Youth Art Contest welcome entries
The 2015 St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Photo Contest is open, with entry deadline of February 2nd. See the Photo Contest Flyer for rules and other details. Photo at right was 2014's Best of Show, by David Gilbertson.

The 2015 Youth Wildlife Art Contest is also now open, with an entry deadline of January 30th. See the Art Contest Flyer for rules and other details.

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.

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.

Cowpond cranes have returned
While most of the focus of whooping crane enthusiasts has understandably been on the Class of 2014, which arrived following ultralights just before Christmas, we are reminded that success of the Operation Migration's program will be measured in part by whoopers returning to Florida to overwinter in future years. Which is why we're pleased to announce that two whooping cranes from the class of 2009 have returned to overwinter in North Florida for the sixth year! They have been hanging out primarily on farm land on the outskirts of Tallahassee, living wild and free!

When viewing these magnificent birds please keep a respectful distance using a telephoto lens or binoculars. (Photo credit: Lou Kellenberger) For more information about whoopers visit www.operationmigration.org

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