Help Us Make the
Lighthouse Accessible to Everyone
The restoration of both the keepers' house and the light tower are nearly complete and we look forward to a public opening for our beautiful landmark later this year.  That is the goal.
However, access to this remarkable structure is currently limited.  In order to open our doors to EVERYONE and meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, an accessible walkway needs to be constructed for disability communities.
We are attempting to raise approximately $40,000 to complete this work.  Many of you have already helped us get where we are today, and we are so grateful for that support.  However, if you care to give beyond that, or if you have never made a donation, this is a perfect opportunity. Follow this link to the Friends' website and scroll to "lighthouse" to make your gift choice. What better time to help us help everyone.   
We have the architectural plans (as you see below) needed to finalize the lighthouse dream and "bring the past to light". Now, let's build it - we can with your help.
The editor

Sam Shine Donates 6,200-Acre Land Parcel
to the Refuge  
  "This is the single most important acquisition I've witnessed in my seven-and-a-half years as regional chief, and one of the biggest I've seen in 26 years in the Southeast Region." - David Viker, Regional Chief National Wildlife Refuge System.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently received a gift of 6,200 acres of ecological critical pine lands that adjoin existing Refuge property (shown in red above).  This parcel of land now allows the Refuge to connect with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) land that the FWS hopes to purchase next.  With that prospect, an approximate 100-mile conservation corridor will exist between the Gulf coast and Highway 98. 

Terry Peacock, St. Marks Wildlife Refuge Manager, said, "Shine's property is a critically important watershed. All the water in the Refuge comes down through his property."

For more information about this significant gift of land, go to the Southeast Region, Fish and Wildlife Service website .  
The editor

Looking Backward and Moving Forward
A Note from Past President, Mary Smallwood

With the annual Friends meeting behind us and annual budget meeting ahead, the Friends can be very proud of everyone who has contributed to the Friends successes this past year. We have a number of new members of the Board of Directors who are excited about adding to those successes and we have a wonderful new president in Susan Cason who has been the backbone of our membership efforts in the past.

It's also important to recognize the contributions of those Board members who will be moving on to other endeavors.

As many of you know I suffered from some serious health crises the past eight months that made it impossible for me to fulfill the duties of president. All of us should be very thankful to Tom Baird for stepping in and fulfilling those responsibilities. I'm personally indebted to him.

Tom, of course, has given so much of his time to the Friends and the Refuge that it was no surprise that he would step forward once again to see us through. We also happy to note that Tom will continue to provide invaluable assistance in conjunction with the Lighthouse Committee, as well as other volunteer work.

I hope all of you will join me in thanking Tom personally, when you have an opportunity, for everything he has done. From the bottom of my heart, thanks Tom.

Reflections Newsletter Takes a Summer Break
As we have in the past several years, those of us who piece together this Reflections newsletter take a summer break.  We do this for two reasons: one, it gives volunteers who do this work a chance to rest up for an active fall season upcoming; and, two, there are fewer programs and events over the hot summer period to highlight.

Therefore, we skip the July and August months, only so we can bring a jam-packed September issue your way just a few short months from now. We wish all of you a safe and happy summer. 
The editor

Conservation Milestone
2018 Carney Interns   
Dr. Ed Carney had a distinguished career in medicine, yet he still maintained a broad interest in nature and conservation. He is an avid birder, and supporter of wildlife conservation, and he also breeds, trains and judges German Wire-haired Pointers. After he retired from Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Dr. Carney approached the Refuge Friends group about supporting projects in wildlife conservation. As he toured the Refuge and spoke with our development committee, he came to appreciate that the Refuge's greatest need was more personnel skilled in wildlife conservation. 
Currently, six wildlife conservation interns come to the Refuge each year (three groups of two interns, each group staying four months). This has been made possible by an annual gift from Dr. Carney, combined with some logistical support from the Refuge. This Summer's interns (Kelly Crispin and Rachel Schutes) are the 20th and 21st of the Carney interns who have served in this capacity and who will continue to contribute to the Refuge wildlife conservation initiatives such as population restoration for red-cockaded woodpeckers, flatwoods salamanders, and longleaf pine.
What an achievement!  Our program has become so well known that we are attracting applicants from universities all over the United States, most already having significant conservation experience.  And after they leave us, they are going on to work all over the world on projects ranging from elephant protection in Africa to captive breeding of endangered snakes.  This latter measure of accomplishment reveals an important feature of our program that was under-appreciated at the start, namely that the Carney Interns are undergoing significant development as professionals in their field as a result of their internship experience here.  This surely bodes well for future generations of wildlife conservationists. Please join us in welcoming our two new Carney interns when you have a chance and in celebrating the tremendously valuable support Dr. Carney has been providing to our Refuge.
Editor note: As often happens with our Carney interns, they are kept very busy and thus they are difficult to catch up to for publicity purposes.  That is the case with Rachel and Kelly this summer.  At the time of this publishing, they were in a fire training in Apalachicola. We will attempt to resolve this for our September issue, and provide a photo, and of course, another huge thank you to both of them.    
Article and photo courtesy Paul Hamilton

 Events at the Lighthouse   
The Florida Lighthouse Association based their annual meeting in Crawfordville just this past week on June 8-9.  The association took this opportunity to see the recently restored keepers' house and lighthouse. Refuge Manager, Terry Peacock was the welcoming speaker for their meeting, while former board president, Tom Baird was the keynote speaker. Architect Ken Smith was the guest presenter, providing a history of the restoration process of both the keepers' house and the lighthouse.  
Approximately 120 FLA members were in attendance for this year's meeting. On Saturday, June 9, they met at the lighthouse to view the restoration and were provided a 360 degree view from the top of the tower.  
This beautiful coastal landmark will be open to the public later this year after several logistical concerns are resolved.
Captions: at top, FLA members meet prior to lighthouse visit on Saturday; bottom, young "lighthouse keeper" enjoys his lighthouse visit.
Article courtesy the editor, photos, courtesy Tom Baird  
Restoration Celebration 
The keepers' house and lighthouse restoration completion celebration took place May 23. Approximately 50 invited guests who all shared, in some way, responsibility for restoration came to admire the completed work.  
The event was held to provide a huge THANK YOU to the contractors who gave tireless attention to detail in "bringing the past to light".
Caption directly above: Carol Rippee, Rippee Construction general contractor becomes animated when she discusses her company's passionate attention to making the restoration as precise as possible. 
Article, the editor; Photo, Nick Baldwin



Watercolorists Focus on Landscapes
Another watercolor class is complete, but the color lives on in the painting from May 26.
Attendees were, once again very responsive to trying new techniques and expanding their respective horizons.  Landscape painting was the theme for the the day.  The instructor created a demonstration work from a photo, then the class was given that same challenge using technique and skills shown.  
Great results followed.  One of the rewards in all the watercolor classes is that everyone is willing to share ideas and skills they have learned in the time they have been painting.
We look forward to another class, probably in late August or early September.  Contact the Refuge at 850-925-6121 for specifics on the next class.
Captions: Top, Jennifer Lange is well on her way to a completed work, using soft and deft brush strokes to achieve her goal.  At bottom, Friends board president, Susan Cason, adds some careful details to a grove of trees seen in the photo at right. 
Article and photos courtesy the editor

Refuge News    
June 16, St Marks Photo Club 
9:00 a.m. in Nature's Classroom   
July 14 - Extremely Early Birding
Don Morrow leads this event. 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Meet at the Visitors Center Parking lot. 

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 newsletter is a benefit of membership for Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge. It also serves as an important supplement to  
Both the newsletter and the web site provide members and the public information about volunteer activities and events at the Refuge.

Reflections Editor, Phillip M. Pollock