South Florida National Parks Trust

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2005
Contact: Don Finefrock,
Executive Director
305.665.4769
South Florida Trust approves $139,000 in grants
for South Florida's National Parks

The South Florida National Parks Trust has approved five grant proposals totaling $139,000 for Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks, the chairman of the trust announced this week.

The grant awards will support the creation of an underwater marine heritage trail at Biscayne National Park, the conservation of a Civil War era cannon at Dry Tortugas, the installation of an underwater camera and 10 wayside exhibits in Everglades National Park, and 12 new episodes of Waterways Television.

“South Florida residents are fortunate to have three national parks in their backyard,” said Trust Chairman Robert E. Chisholm, FAIA. “These five projects will make the experience of visiting one of our national parks more rewarding for tens of thousands of visitors every year.”

The 16-member Trust approved the grants at its meeting on Jan. 21 in Biscayne National Park. The five projects were selected from among 22 proposals submitted by the three national parks.

The Trust agreed to fund the following projects:

Cannon Conservation at Fort Jefferson                      $25,300

The 10 original cannon remaining at Fort Jefferson – one of the most significant collections of 19th century seacoast artillery in the nation – are fighting a contemporary battle against corrosion. The Rodman cannon selected for conservation is the only known Rodman cannon with an extant sight. The Trust funded the first formal conservation assessment of this collection in 2004. The assessment allowed park officials to select sandblasting as the preferred method of treatment.

Underwater Video Camera at Shark Valley             $13,300

Visitors to Shark Valley – one of the premiere places inside Everglades National Park for viewing wildlife – will be able to watch this wildlife as it moves under water through a live feed video camera submerged in the canal behind the Visitor Center.

Underwater Marine Heritage Trail at Biscayne                 $37,860

Four submerged shipwrecks in Biscayne National Park will be mapped and documented to provide the first links in an Underwater Marine Heritage Trail for divers and snorkelers. The park plans to develop detailed site maps and reports for each site, together with educational materials and guides for the general public.

Twelve episodes of Waterways Television                    $30,000

Waterways Television explores the wonders of South Florida’s national parks in 30-minute episodes that air on 19 channels in Florida. The program has a potential audience of 1.5 million people. This grant will help to pay for 12 new episodes of the program. Waterways Television is a partnership between Everglades National Park, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Trust.

Ten Wayside Exhibits at Everglades NP              $32,600

Ten roadside exhibits that explain the park’s ecology in English and Spanish will be installed along the main park road from the park entrance near Homestead to Flamingo.

In addition to these five projects, the South Florida National Parks Trust provides critical support for the Environmental Education program at Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. The two programs together serve over 12,000 school children annually from five South Florida counties.

The South Florida National Parks Trust was established in 2002 by the National Park Foundation to improve the quality of life in South Florida by supporting the region’s national parks.