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
May's First Sunday at the Refuge Program, entitled Dragonflies of St. Marks will be given May 3rd by Sally and Dean Jue. Come learn about the identification and natural history of these insects at the St. Marks Refuge.

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.

Restored Lighthouse Lens Unveiled  
The restored Fourth Order Fresnel Lens has been unveiled in its new display case in the Visitors Center. Lots of lighthouse friends and dignitaries were on hand to admire its beauty, and discuss plans for the lighthouse's restoration. The picture below shows the lens with past Lighthouse Keepers' descendants, who attended the unveiling.

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.
Ground Pounders Help Monarchs
A group of FSU students affectionately known as the 'Ground Pounders' is once again helping the refuge with a project . Known officially as the Environmental Service Program, most of them are environmental studies majors. Recently they've been constructing a greenhouse and planting beds at the Refuge Work Center, for raising milkweed plants needed by Monarch Butterflies. We're fortunate to have these folks help maintain and enhance the Refuge we all love, and we thank them for their service.

Efforts to save the Frosted Flatwoods Salamander
Currently there is an intense effort on the Refuge to save the threatened Frosted Flatwoods Salamander. The salamanders live in seasonally wet pine flat woods and breed in shallow ponds. Staff and Association-funded interns have begun placing traps for larvae in ponds on the Refuge that may be used for breeding. Transferring trapped larvae to protected troughs should reduce predation and increase survival. In addition, the Refuge has increased prescribed burning, which is critical to maintaining salamander habitat.

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