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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First Sunday at the Refuge Brooke 1st Sunday
May's First Sunday at the Refuge Program, entitled Natural Communities of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, will be given on May 4th by Gary Knight from the Florida Natural Areas Inventory.

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..

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.

Ceremonial transfer of lighthouse
The St. Marks Lighthouse was the focus of a military-style Change of Command Ceremony on March 28th. Invited speakers included Captain Samuel Walker, USCG; David Viker, Chief of Refuges, USFWS, Southeast Region; and Allen Hobbs, Mayor, City of St. Marks. The audience included local dignitaries and many descendants of former lighthouse Keepers. The Riversprings Middle School Band provided patriotic music. Now that our Refuge owns the lighthouse, structural stabilization work will continue, as well as a detailed architectural and engineering assessment of the lighthouse's condition, and determination of the work needed for repair and preservation. A major fundraising effort will follow.

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 head north
The 2013 class of whooping cranes that matured this winter at St. Marks, headed north on March 31st. Half of the flock carry satellite tags, so it's known that they reached northern Kentucky before being impeded by weather. All eight are presumably together. You can follow the progress of this project on the Operation Migration Field Journal.

p.s. It has been noted that five cranes from previous year's flocks spent some time this year on the St. Marks Refuge, so we might have the beginnings of our own flock!

Refuge floats in Springtime Tallahassee  
The St. Marks Refuge floated in the Springtime Tallahassee parade on March 29th - the first time in several years that the Refuge has participated. This year's entry (pictured below) was organized by Travis Pollard from our Fire Crew, and emphasized prescribed burning, the lighthouse, and refuge habitats. Kudos to Travis for, dare we say, rekindling the Refuge's visibility in the community by this effort.

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