South Florida National Parks Trust

Press Room

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May 12, 2008
Contact: Don Finefrock,
Executive Director
National Park Service matches $200,000 in Private Funding
for South Florida's National Parks

The National Park Service has agreed to match $200,000 in private donations from the South Florida National Parks Trust to support education programs and a coral reef restoration project in South Florida’s national parks.

Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve will share $400,000 in public and private funding as a result of the decision, announced April 24 by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne in Washington.

The NPS selected two projects backed by the Trust for the first year of matching grants available from the National Park Centennial Challenge. The program matches federal dollars with private donations to benefit national parks in preparation for the 100th anniversary of NPS in 2016.

“The Centennial Challenge offers a tremendous opportunity for donors to double the dollars they give to South Florida’s national parks,” said Trust Chairman Carlos Arazoza.

The NPS will match $163,000 in private funding pledged this year by the Trust, with support from Toyota USA Foundation, for education programs at all four national parks in South Florida.

The project will benefit an estimated 25,000 students annually by funding overnight camping programs and field trips in the four parks, as well as additional teacher training, classroom programs and curriculum development.

The NPS will also match $37,000 in private donations from the Trust to support a coral reef nursery program at Biscayne National Park.

The park has established underwater nurseries in the park to grow coral fragments that can be used to repair reefs. The park’s reefs are part of the third largest coral reef system in the world.

Both South Florida projects were selected from among more than 200 eligible proposals submitted last year by national parks across the country.

The South Florida National Parks Trust is the principal fund-raising organization for South Florida’s national parks. For more information about the Trust, visit