WHAT IS THE WILDLIFE IN STATE PARKS PROGRAM?
Wildlife in State Parks is the Florida State Parks Foundation’s effort to assist wildlife habitat restoration and protection, wildlife care and education in Florida’s state parks.
WHY CHOOSE TO HELP?
Florida State Parks are home to many species of wildlife considered endangered, threatened or imperiled. Sometimes these species need extra help to ensure their survival. Park staff protect sea turtle nests, reintroduce wildlife species and conducts a variety of preservation, protection, and management techniques to restore and protect vital habitat for the wildlife who depend on Florida’s state parks for their home.
WAYS TO HELP
With 175 Florida State Parks there are plenty of opportunities to help with wildlife related needs. Below are some examples split into two categories, Habitat Restoration and Protection and Wildlife Care and Education.
HABITAT RESTORATION AND PROTECTION
Wildlife Monitoring Boat:
Long Key State Park needs a vessel to access remotes areas of the park to conduct shorebird surveys, sea turtle nest monitoring, endangered plant species monitoring, and exotic removal. $90,000
Underwater Restoration and Maintenance:
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park includes 60 square miles of submerged, offshore resources (corals, seagrass, hardbottom) and they maintain a buoy system for designation and protection of these resources. This boat will provide access to accomplish this important habitat protection. $90,000
Healthy seagrass communities are home to many aquatic animals and provide a financial benefit to Florida through both tourism and commercial fishing. Restoration efforts are ongoing to repairs scars from vessel damage at both Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. $30,000 to $300,000.
Florida Grasshopper Sparrow:
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park contains the largest remaining expanse of Florida dry prairie and is home to America’s most endangered bird, the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow. The dry prairie requires very frequent prescribed fire and the items below help manage the habitat and conduct scientific data collection on the grasshopper sparrow.
Fire swamp buggy – $100,000
Specialized Fire Utility Vehicle (UTV) – $20,000
Funding for three biological technicians – $15,000/each
Unmanned Aerial Fire Drone:
Conducting prescribed fire operations in densely covered areas or areas with limited access are a real challenge for Florida Park Service managers. Small drones are now being used for aerial ignition during prescribed burns. This improves the effectiveness of the burn and improves staff safety. $80,000.
Sea Turtle Monitoring and Protection:
Managing a coastal island accessible only by boat presents some management challenges. The purchase of a UTV will enhance the staff’s ability to conduct sea turtle monitoring of the 8 miles of beach at Cayo Costa State Park. Additional funds are to hire interns through Florida Gulf Coast College to perform sea turtle surveys. $35,000
WILDLIFE CARE AND EDUCATION
Injured Manatee Care:
Provide supplies, food, and professional services for the care of injured manatees cared for at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. $70,000/yr.
Nesting Sea Turtle Education:
Sebastian Inlet State Park has significant sea turtle nesting activity which presents a great opportunity to educate visitors about sea turtles. Night-time Turtle Walks required locating nesting sea turtles without disturbing them. Night-vision goggles would assist turtle scouts who walk miles on the beach at night to find nesting turtles and provide interpretive tools during the walk for visitors. This equipment along with video recording and production equipment will enable staff to video document nesting turtles and use the footage for interpretive talks and provide ADA videos for those folks who cannot walk on the beach. $5,000
Bears are increasing present at Dunns Creek State Park and it’s important to protect them from seeking food from man-made sources. Providing bear-proof garbage cans and dumpsters curb their access to garbage and prevent them from becoming habituated to this unnatural food source. $20,000
Contact Julia Woodward, Chief Executive Officer, email@example.com, 850-559-8914, to learn how your gift can help wildlife in Florida State Parks.