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  • 03/11/2014 1:13 PM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    Senator Jeremy Ring of the Government Oversight and Accountability Committee in the Florida Senate is sponsoring a bill impacting all Friends groups in the Florida state park system. A portion of the bill addresses reporting and accountability. If passed, this will tighten reporting timelines for all Friends and Alliances groups. If the fiscal year does not mirror the state's (July-June), we will be required to change it. For revenues of $100,000 and over in any given year, an external audit will be required. There is also a change to the statute authorizing the formation of support groups. This statute will be repealed in 5 years if not renewed by the legislature. If it is renewed, it will still be subject to repeal every 5 years unless renewed each time. There is a corresponding bill in the House at this time. 


    We all can and should let our legislators know how this bill will affect our state parks and our Friends groups. You can read the bill here:

    http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2014/7034/BillText/__/HTML

  • 02/20/2014 5:10 PM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    SEBRING  Local resident Darrel Smith has picked up top honors from the Florida State Park Service, being awarded Volunteer of the Year for 2014. Smith was cited for his work as Museum curator at Highlands Hammock State Park.

    http://www.newssun.com/news/article_38645d31-0e69-51c2-9a91-268eec7add41.html
  • 01/25/2014 9:36 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    Editorial: Park grants would pay dividends

    Florida should take greater advantage of the volunteers and private partners supporting its park system. It can start by restoring a modest grant program to improve park facilities.

    The Legislature has not given any money to the state program known as the Partnership in Parks for the past several years. The neglect is troublesome considering the park system's substantial return on investment. State numbers indicate the park system had a direct economic impact of nearly $1.2 billion on local economies and produced nearly $78 million in sales tax money in 2012-13.

    The nonprofit Friends of Florida State Parks Inc. proposes to take responsibility for the state grants and is asking lawmakers for $1.5 million in the 2014-15 state budget to restart the program. The benefits of the program can be seen at Honeymoon Island State Park. About $560,000 in state and private dollars transformed a former bathhouse into the Rotary Centennial Nature Center in 2007.


    Gov. Rick Scott lauded the intent of the program but vetoed $750,000 for it in 2013 amid concerns about administrative costs. In response, the plan this year is to cap overhead expenses at 5 percent. Encouraging private investment in state parks for boardwalks, trails, nature centers and to make the facilities more readily accessible for the disabled is a worthwhile goal that shouldn't be overlooked again this year.

    Editorial: Park grants would pay dividends 01/24/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 24, 2014 1:32pm]

  • 01/17/2014 7:12 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

    ~Winning photo taken at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys~

    Florida State Parks and Friends of Florida State Parks 2013 Photo Contest Winners: (top) Back to the Island by Gary Oliver

    (left) 2nd Place - Caspian Terns by Priscilla McDaniel


    (right) A Guest While Eating My Lunch by Priscilla McDaniel

    “Each year, we receive hundreds of amazing photos taken at Florida’s state parks and state trails. Each one inspires us to visit our state parks to enjoy our incredible natural and cultural resources,” said Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “Congratulations to the winners and all who entered the contest. I look forward to seeing all the beautiful photos we receive in 2014.”

    Annual photo contest winners are selected from the 12 monthly photo contest winners throughout 2013 selected by visitors to www.floridastateparks.org. The photographs were evaluated by professional photographers John Moran, Lyn Berreitter and Kevin Kolczynski to determine the top three winners. A Florida State Parks Family Annual Entrance Pass will be presented to Gary Oliver for shooting the winning photo. Priscilla McDaniel will receive a Florida State Parks Individual Annual Entrance Pass.

    The Florida State Parks and State Trails Photo Contest allows visitors to share their experiences at state parks and on state trails. Register and submit your favorite photos for a chance to win entrance passes to visit Florida’s state parks. Visit the Photo Contest website for rules and details.

  • 10/10/2013 11:36 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)
    There is cause for celebration for all Florida State Park staff,
    visitors and Friends groups! The Gold Medal Award for
    Excellence in the management of state park systems was
    recently celebrated at Lake Louisa State Park where park
    officials gathered in recognition of this unprecedented honor.
    Florida is the only park system in the USA to claim title to three
    Gold Medal awards.
    “The fact that the Florida Park Service has won this prestigious
    national award three times, while no other state has ever
    won twice shows the dedication of our employees and volunteers to manage the resources that provide vast opportunities for Floridians and visitors to enjoy our natural resources,” said Florida DEP Secretary Herschel
    Vinyard. Secretary Vinyard, Representative Bryan Nelson and Florida Parks Director Donald Forgione were on hand for the gathering where a large group was assembled for the recognition event.
    Since 1935, Florida’s Park Service has been working to provide recreational activities for the community, while preserving, protecting, interpreting and restoring natural resources in the state.
    CONGRATULATIONS TO US ALL!
  • 03/31/2013 3:16 AM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)
                                                                                                                                Jamie began volunteering as a
    Park Host, assisting visitors and
    answering their questions. She also
    helps with the interpretive carts
    in the park. She is often asked to
    be a mentor to other high school
    volunteers. She has participated
    in a bird survey at Egmont Key
    State Park and worked for Fish
    and Wildlife assisting in building
    boardwalks and performing surveys
    at Three Sisters Park. At 16 years
    old, Jamie is a fine ambassador for
    her park.
  • 01/15/2013 3:22 PM | Florida State Parks Foundation (Administrator)

     

    The first place photo in the 2012 FPS and FFSP Photo Contest is wonderfully appropriate for the 50th anniversary of the publishing of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Ospreys were sorely impacted by the proliferation of DDT use in the 1950s and 1960s. Possibly because of the banning on DDT in many countries in the early 1970s, the osprey as well as other affected birds of prey have made significant recoveries. Our continued thanks to Rachel Carson for making this a prominent issue.

     

    Congratulations to the winners! First place winner Jose Ramirez’s photo, Fishing Osprey, was taken at Honeymoon Island State Park.




    Second place went to Looking Up by Carmen Welbon at Blue Spring State Park.






    Third place is Baby Pelican at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park by John Brown.






    Annual photo contest winners are selected from the 12 monthly photo contest winners throughout 2012 selected by visitors to www.floridastateparks.org. The photographs were evaluated by professional photographers John Moran, Kevin Kolczynski and Lynn Berreitter to determine the top three winners.

     

    Thanks to everyone who participated throughout the year and a special thanks to our judges.

     

    The Florida State Parks and State Trails Photo Contest in conjunction with Friends of Florida State Parks allows visitors to share their experiences at state parks and on state trails. Register and submit your favorite photos for a chance to win a Florida State Parks Passport. Visit the Photo Contest website for rules and details.

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