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
April's First Sunday at the Refuge Program, entitled Follow the Water will be given April 5th by Jim Stevenson. Come learn why Wakulla Springs is a prime indicator of the health of the area's aquifer.

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.

Summer project on Black Bears
Several state biologists will be staying on the Refuge this summer while conducting a population census for Black Bears across North Florida. They will be setting up 10' x 10' corrals using a couple of strands of barbed wire close to the ground and well off paths used by humans. Scent lures and bait will be the attractant, and hair samples enabling DNA identification will be collected by the barbed wire. Please do not disturb a corral in the unlikely event you encounter one. Each will be signed as an FWC Research Site.

Raising milkweeds for Monarchs
The Fish & Wildlife Service has granted $10,000 additional dollars to the Refuge to raise native milkweeds for Monarch butterflies. In 2015 a greenhouse will be built at the Work Center, and then FSU students will help build planters and start seeds. Obtaining viable native milkweed plants from seed can take 3 years, so plants will also be propagated from cuttings. In 2016 they will add a hydroponic growing closet, and hold teacher workshops so they can take the project of planting milkweeds back to their schools. Kudos to all concerned for developing these important projects.

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