Mary Smallwood  - We'll Miss You 
It is with great sadness that I write to let all of our Friends know of the passing of Mary Smallwood. Mary served as President of the Friends Board of Directors from December, 2015 through, effectively, November of 2017. She was a huge advocate of the Refuge mission, and she carried that commitment throughout her leadership role with the Friends.
When we know someone through their work and volunteerism such as ours, we may often miss the life such a person had beyond our scope of reference.  In Mary's case, her professional and personal life had great depth.   
Mary was a graduate of the University of Florida (and a devout Gator fan), then not long after, she graduated from the Florida State University College of Law, magna cum laude, in 1977. She then served as general counsel for the Department of Environmental Regulation. After leaving the agency, Mary became a partner in a private law firm, and she practiced environmental and land use law for more than 25 years. Throughout much of her life, Mary was immersed in the Florida legal community, significantly at a time when women were just beginning to reach prominence in the legal field.
In addition to Mary's work at the Refuge she also gave time, compassionately, to the Leon County Humane Society. She is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, a brother, and four beautiful cats. We will miss Mary.  (July 1947 - August 2018)   
Article, the editor, photo courtesy, Gail Fishman, Senior Ranger. 

Lighthouse Opens to Public
September 29 
The St. Marks Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters will host its first event for the public on Saturday, September 29, from 10 am - 4 pm. We are calling it the "Grand Reveal." Tickets for the public will be available for purchase ($2/ticket) at the Visitor Center on that day, beginning at 9 am ET. First come,first served. The latest tickets that could be sold will be at 3 pm if any are left. Only 15 tickets will be available for each 30-minute time slot during the event. Visitors must purchase the tickets in person that day only. Climbing the tower will not be permitted.

After the Grand Reveal event, we will begin opening the Keeper's Quarters the first Friday and Saturday of each month from 10 am - 4 pm, with the same ticketing process described above.  
For further information, contact Constance Clineman at the Refuge. 
Article text courtesy Robin Will, Senior Supervisory Ranger; photo, the editor 

Join in the BioBlitz    
So, just what is a BioBlitz?  Basically, it is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many living species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. At a BioBlitz, scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members work together to get an overall count of the plants, animals, fungi, and other organisms that live in a region. 
Friendly competitions are happening throughout the country to encourage "finds" and help "make the identifications" of living organisms. The Refuge is currently participating with other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) in the Southeast Region, and "We want to win this," says Terry Peacock, Refuge Senior Manager.  
An iNaturalist phone app is necessary in order to log discoveries, should you decide to participate in the fun. Once the app is on your phone, check out this tutorial to add an observation to your mobile device.
Now, sit back and enjoy the fun. 
The editor; graphic illustration courtesy National Geographic 

The Annual Monarch
Festival Coming Soon
October 26, 27, and 28 
Be sure that you have this colorful, fun-filled event on your calendar.  Friday, October 26 take advantage of the big Refuge plant sale. Saturday, the 27th, is the day-long aspect of the festival where exhibitors set up. And, Sunday, the 28th, you can visit the Refuge again for behind-the-gates tours.

You won't want to miss it.

The editor 

Fall 2018 Carney Interns   
The Refuge is pleased to welcome two new Carney Interns for the coming several months. Ashley Meade (left) is from the University of Florida and Olivia Wetsch (right) is from Miami University (Ohio). Both Ashley and Olivia bring strong skills with them as they begin work at the Refuge. They arrived here the last week of August, and they have already started building mesh cages for translocation of Red-cockaded woodpeckers from south Georgia to our Refuge.  In addition, they will follow up on the efforts of previous interns by working with our Frosted, flatwood salamanders.   
Once again, thank you, Dr. Ed Carney (below) for your generous support that allows us to provide these internships several times each year.  Take a quick look back at our June Reflections' newsletter article, Conservation Milestones, to read more about Dr. Carney's continued involvement in this program. 
Article and intern photo, the editor; Dr. Carney photo courtesy Paul Hamilton

  Accessibility Ramp in Place at the Lighthouse   
On your next visit to the lighthouse, you will notice that we now have the accessible walkway constructed along the North side of the Keeper's Quarters. Work on this important project has just been completed over the recent weeks. The
Americans with Disabilities Act requires that access to the public needs to be possible for everyone.  And, we are excited about making our landmark light station one that anyone can visit.   
The Friends still need financial help with this project, because, though we made payment for the completed work, it required that a private loan be used.  If you would like to make a contribution, in honor of a loved one who this would be meaningful to, please contact us.  Thank you from all of the Friends and the Refuge staff.  
Article and photo, the editor

Abundant Wildlife Awaits Fall Visitors

Plentiful rains have provided a lush and inviting backdrop for wildlife and wild flowers over the past several weeks. As a result, it should be a great fall and winter season at the Refuge for all our visitors as the year progresses. Whether your eye roams across the expansive lanscapes or you look at the smaller, delicate vegetation, you will not be disappointed. And, YES, our eagles (right) are with us again (thank you, Karen Willes)!
Article and photos above and below courtesy the editor. Eagle photo at right, courtesy Karen Willes 

A Few Friends Notes  
Friends Enjoy Ice Cream Social
Friends enjoyed another members-only event on August 5. This was one of several well-attended, similar events held each year to thank members who support our beautiful wildlife Refuge. This year special thanks go to Board of Directors' members Carol Phillips, Laura Rush, Susan Cason and Karen Willis for their help to make it a great event.  Why not become a member today, and join in on the fun.  
Friends Fiscal Year 2018-19 Budget Approved
At a special Friends Board of Directors' meeting June 23, the 2018-19 budget was adopted and later approved.  We are happy to announce that the Friends have $47,000 available to support Refuge projects (other than lighthouse efforts) in the coming year. Thank you to all who help make this happen.   
Refuge News    
September 22, National Public Lands Day
Free Public Access   

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