Monarch Butterfly Festival
October 26 - Save the Date
The Monarch Butterfly Festival is just a couple of weeks away, on Saturday, October 26 from 10am until 4pm.  Soon we'll be seeing the monarchs arrive in all their showy attire.
Each year, the festival is timed with the arrival of migrating monarch butterflies, making their 2,000 mile trip from the northern American boundary to the mountains of central Mexico.  This amazing phenomenon passes through the Gulf coast of Florida beginning about the third week in October, and the migration is observed all along the coast at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.

This fall festival is filled with the evident excitement of people of all ages who come to check out  butterfly crafts, talk with monarch butterfly researchers, to see the many exhibitors, and if you're in the mood, get your face painted.  In addition, visitors are able to learn about landscaping to help pollinators, enjoy Bradley's sausage dogs, watch tagged monarchs take flight, view wildlife on wagon tours, and listen to music.   
Be sure that you have this colorful and exciting, fun-filled Saturday event on your calendar. You won't want to miss it. Visit the Friends' website for more information.  
The editor; art by the editor.    

Re-Light the Light Celebration 
at Proof Brewing October 30 
Join the celebration of re-lighting the newly restored St. Marks  Lighthouse light, in an event hosted by Friends of St. Marks Refuge and Proof Brewing at 1320 South Monroe (across from Cascades Park) from 6-8 pm, Wednesday, October 30.  

A special Proof custom brew will be made available during this fun-filled evening to celebrate this historic event. Join in with Friends at Proof, where you'll be able to purchase your favorite beverage in a glass that features the lighthouse in a special design created just for the evening. Playing trivia, membership sign-up, and food (for purchase) are all part of the event. (Parking at Proof Brewing is available around several blocks near the brewery and also across the street at Cascades Park.)

Please save the date so that you and your family, including those who are under-age, can all be part of this exciting evening that benefits the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Wednesday, October 30.
For more information, go to the Friends' website.  And, remember, if you're not able to attend THIS event, you'll still have the opportunity to attend the actual relighting on Thursday, October 31 at the lighthouse (see the event flyer below). 

The editor 

 Re-Light the Light Celebration
 at the Lighthouse, October 31
Photo credit:  Michael Riffle  

 New Friends' Website is Spectacular  
It is often hard to judge the amount of time and work that goes into building a new website.  Until you try to do it. So, I can safely say from experience that it does involve many  weeks of careful attention to content and design. And, Friends' Board of Directors' member, Bill Everitt (left) accomplished that for us over the summer.  He's had periodic help from a few others, but the vast majority of the work has fallen to him.  Thank you, Bill.  
As the title above says, the end product is "spectacular".   
It's a gigantic step forward beyond where we've been. It's a site that is easily read and intuitive. It now allows viewers to communicate with us electronically in ways we hadn't explored before, through blogs, mail lists and more. It's also a more friendly site for those of us using hand-held devices, such that the content resolves well to match our phones or tablets. We've moved into a new age of web technology with this new site design. If you haven't already, take a moment to look over all the new content available. View the Friends' website now!  
Thank you, Bill Everitt

The editor

The St. Marks NWR Photo Club
New Meeting Plans

The St. Marks NWR Photo Club has made plans for 2019-2020 that include meetings with special topics, wagon tours at the Refuge, and off-site photo opportunities.
  • Weather permitting, on Saturday, October 19, the Photo Club will sponsor an evening of photographing the Milky Way.  Instead of a monthly morning meeting, attendees will meet at 5:00 PM at Picnic Pond, bring their own picnic, and receive instruction about camera settings for photographing the Milky Way before going to the St. Marks Lighthouse to set up.  Sign-up for this evening event is required.  Call the refuge at (850) 925-6121.
  • At the annual Monarch Butterfly Festival on October 26, the Photo Club will be available to photograph visitors at a special Monarch Festival backdrop.  Volunteers are needed and a sign-up sheet will be available at the August and September Photo Club meetings.
  • On November 16 a fall wildlife photo safari - call for reservation (850) 925-6121.
All are welcome to join in these Photo Club activities in the coming months.
Photo courtesy Karen Willes   

Birding Surveys Assist Our Visitors      
Don Morrow, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge volunteer and expert birder takes in-depth bird surveys at the Refuge frequently throughout the year. Don keeps us up-to-date on what we can see from week-to-week. As the administrator of the Friends website, I attempt to keep up with his visits and post his findings here. Go there now to see his latest survey.
Also, here's some more assistance that Don is providing visitors and Friends. He recently published a book titled: Checklist -The Birds of St Marks National Wildlife Refuge. It is informative, accurate and up-to-date.  It's for sale at the Friends Nature Store. Anyone who birds at St. Marks should have this fine reference.
The editor    

Coming Soon

October 20 - Wildlife Tour with Matt & Cyndi Johnstone - call 850-925-6121 for a space - 10 am - 1 pm. Sign up required.

October 26

Monarch Butterfly Festival - 10 am - 4 pm.

October 30 and 31

Proof Brewing Co. evening event on the 30th and Re-Lighting the Light Ceremony
at the Refuge on the 31st. Both of these events promote Re-Lighting the Light.  See separate event details above.  

November 2
- Fall Wildlife Tours with Don Morrow - 9 am and 1 pm - Call  (850) 925-6121 for reservation.

November 8
- Wildlife Tour with Matt & Cyndi Johnstone - call for a space - 10 am - 1 pm. Sign up required.  
November 10 - Second Sunday talk at the Visitor Center Education Bldg - "Wakulla- Mysterious Waters" with Dr. Jim Dunbar - discoveries and scientific protocols from the Wakulla Springs archaeological testing. 2 pm.  
November 24 - Wildlife Tour with Matt & Cyndi Johnstone - call for a space - 10 am - 1 pm. Sign up required.
November 29 - Black Friday wagon tour - 10 am with Neil Hostnick.  Call for reservation.

December 8 - Second Sunday Talk at the Visitor Center Education Bldg - "Birds of St. Marks - Overview of Birds and the Birding Year," Don Morrow, speaker. Learn month-to-month explanation of our bird diversity! 2 pm. 

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