Iconic refuge view

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

Phone: (850) 925-6121

Email for more information

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News Details

First Sunday at the Refuge Brooke 1st Sunday
September's First Sunday at the Refuge Program, entitled Longleaf, far as the eye can see, will be given on September 7th by the lead author of the volume of this title, William Finch, from the Mobile Botanical Gardens.

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 project making progress Damaged Fresnel lens atop lighthouse.
In the six months since the ceremonial transfer of the St. Marks Lighthouse, the Association and the Refuge have achieved quite a bit. The lighthouse and keepers quarters have been stabilized through emergency repairs. Two grants have been sought and received to support this repair work, and an assessment of structural conditions and problems by an architect and engineer. A selection process has been initiated and completed, leading to the employ of a consultant. A new kiosk has been installed in front of the lighthouse to keep the public informed about the project's progress. Soon the lens will be removed and shipped off for restoration. And, importantly, much groundwork has been laid whose benefit to this project will become evident later on. This rate of progress compares quite favorably to the history of other lighthouse projects.

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 arrive in Wisconsin
The 2014 class of whooping cranes that were hatched at the Patuxent Research Refuge this past Spring were crated and flown on July 8th to White River Wisconsin, where their training will continue. All seven birds arrived safely (pic courtesy of Operation MIgration). Their departure for St. Marks, following an ultralight, is expected in early October. You can follow the progress of this project on the Operation Migration Field Journal.

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.

St. Marks leads new complex
Until recently, the North Florida Refuges Complex consisted of just the St. Marks and St. Vincent refuges, and was administered from St. Marks by Complex Manager, James Burnett. As a cost savings measure, seven other refuges south of us have now been added to form a nine-refuge mega-complex, still to be administered by Ranger Burnett from St. Marks. The seven newly added units are: Lower Suwanee, Cedar Key, Crystal River, Chassahowitzka, Egmont Key, Passage Key and Pinellas; the latter two are closed to the public.

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