Reflections newsletter is a benefit of membership for Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge. It also serves as an important supplement to
the Friends' web site, www.stmarksrefuge.org. 
Both the newsletter and the web site provide members and the public information about volunteer activities and events at the Refuge.
Interns Really Make a Difference
at the Refuge    
The Refuge is fortunate to be able to provide several different internships to students each year. Two of our interns come to us through the generous donations made by Dr. Ed and Hilda Carney. They assist Refuge biologists and are active on numerous projects at any given time. We also have another intern who gives incredible time and expertise related to the Monarch/Milkweed Initiative.

Finally, two more interns, Lucas Myers and Chloe Osborne (below), are working out of the Visitors Center currently.  Our sincere thanks go to both of them as they provide valuable assistance to us at the Refuge over the summer. We caught up with both of them recently, pulling them away from a children's nature tour and assisting European visitors in the gift shop, to get this photo and a brief bio for each of them. (We will highlight our other interns at a later time when they are able to step away from their work and allow us to interview them.)


Lucas Myers, Education Intern through National Wildlife Refuge Association

Lucas Myers is an Environmental Science Undergraduate who has a concentration in Conservation Biology at the University of Vermont. He has a keen interest in wildlife and environmental education, which has resulted in two years spent volunteering at Mystic Aquarium and institute for Exploration in Mystic, CT, as well as a summer spent working as a naturalist at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT. He is currently a full-time student, and will be working throughout the summer at St. Marks. "I am very happy to be here, and I'm fascinated by the abundant wildlife and the (for a Connecticut resident) strange environment." Lucas hopes that his internship will provide important knowledge about the inner workings of a wildlife conservation effort, as well as valuable work experience.

Chloe Osborne, FSU Leadership Studies Certificate Program  
Chloe Osborne is an Environmental Science Undergraduate student at Florida State University with a minor in Urban and Regional Planning. Her passion for the environment and love for the water has translated into a career focus in environmental policy and planning. She has interned in St. Marks, working with Captain Mike McNamara, in addition to working in a directed individual study opportunity in Panacea at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab. Currently, she works as a lifeguard for FSU and is certified as a Rescue Diver. She is hoping her time at the Wildlife Refuge will foster her career goals and provide her with the experience necessary to stimulate and lead conservation efforts. "I am honored to have the opportunity to work at the Refuge to learn about the natural ecosystems of North Florida. At the same time, I can cultivate skills that will help in my future career path, focusing on environmental efforts."

Article courtesy of Chloe, Lucas and the editor 

Friends' 30-Year History Project
Do YOU want to assist?

One important finding that has surfaced as the Friends began piecing together the 30-year history of the Friends work as a support organization for the Refuge is that we don't necessarily have all the history.  Some early record-keeping and Friends' memories can be scanty over the years, as you might imagine.

Therefore, we are asking our Friends to assist us. If you happen to have any early printed matter related to the Friends' support work, or if you have great recall on specific events/meetings/happenings that took place early on, we ask you to please contact us.

In addition to the above, if you feel strongly about this project and you would like to consider spearheading the project of tightening the history of the Friends, please "reply" to this newsletter/email. We would love to hear from you.

The editor 

Animals and Plants 
That Make Money for a Living

Throughout many, many years, animals and plants have served as graphic models for companies, organizations and more in an attempt to 'sell' merchandise and ideas.  The concept of selling and promoting  seems to work, because the practice is still continued today.  Let's face it, animals can be playful, industrious, regal, and just down-right beautiful. And, plants . . ., well, plants are green, and that is just a pleasant color, and for many people, it symbolizes a certain warmth that works well in promotion and conservation. 

But, we may be preaching to the proverbial choir by mentioning this to our readership. We all love animals and plants. They 'had us from hello', right?  



Courtesy, the editor

Family Fishing Day was a Great Success      
As you can see from all the activity in these photos, Family Fishing Day was well-attended and a lot of fun.  Young anglers pulled in some prize fish, and were able to enjoy the thrill of landing a big one. 

David Moody, Federal Wildlife Officer / Refuge Ranger, was very active during the festivities. As you see below, he is shown demonstrating the proper way to clean a fish. Then, he displayed his culinary skills in preparing the fish for a meal. 

The public came out to show their excitement over the return of this program, and as a result, it will undoubtedly be repeated in the coming years.     
Photos courtesy Betsy Kellenberger  


Milkweed Alert  
Yes, it's that time of year.  Wildflowers are in bloom at the Refuge, and the diversity of floral display is great right now.  As you probably know, the Refuge has a particular fondness for milkweed, due to its importance related to monarch butterfly populations.

If you are a careful observer, you may be able to spot some of the hearty milkweed within the Refuge.  These photos were taken just over the past several weeks, and they are still putting out new blossoms.

To read more about the Monarch-Milkweed Initiative that was launched in the spring of 2015, go to the Friends web site now.


Article and photos, editor 
North Florida Refuge 'Friends' Groups Meet
at Sanibel Island

On June 8-10, several members of the North Florida Refuge Complex Friends groups attended the 2017 Peer to Peer Training at Sanibel Island, Florida, together with Dan Frisk, North Florida Complex Manager.  The training was held for members of Friends groups and staff of Wildlife Refuges around the U.S.  The conference included presentations on a variety of topics of importance to Friends' organizations, including fundraising, nature store operations, selection of Board members, engaging Refuge visitors, and grant writing.  The National Wildlife Refuge Association provided some funding for the conference and provided insight into the potential impacts of the new administration's budget proposal on the Wildlife Refuge system.  The conference provided an important opportunity for Friends and staff to network with each other and share common experiences.

In attendance were (left to right) Debbie Meeks and Mackenzie Russell from the Lower Suwanee/Cedar Key Friends group, Sheila Frisk from the St. Marks Friends, Dan Frisk (complex manager), Mary Smallwood with the St. Marks Friends, and Jim Hughes from the St. Vincent Island Friends.

Article credit:  Mary Smallwood, Friends' Board of Directors' President 

Refuge News

July 2, First Sunday  
First Sunday at the Refuge, 2:00 pm in the Nature's Classroom -  Ice Cream Social and David Moynahan, Landscapes of Florida, promoting conservation through photography.

July 8, Extremely Early Birding Tour
With Don Morrow, from 6-9 am. 850-925-6121 to register.

July 15, St. Marks NWR Photo Club
Meets at 9 am in the Nature's Classroom

August 5, Extremely Early Birding Tour
With Don Morrow, from 6-9 am. 850-925-6121 to register.

Have you considered including the Refuge in your will?  We would appreciate hearing from you if so. The Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge can provide information and guide you through the process. Just call the Refuge at 850-925-6121, and ask to be contacted by the Friends' Development Committee, or email us.

Reflections Editor, Phillip M. Pollock