FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2006
Contact: Don Finefrock
South Florida Trust approves $126,000 in
Grant Funding for National Parks
The South Florida National Parks Trust has approved $126,000 in grant funding for the four national parks in South Florida, the chairman of the Trust announced this week.
The grant awards will pay for ranger visits to local schools and libraries, a safe boating campaign in Biscayne National Park, education programs in the Big Cypress and the Florida Keys and 12 new episodes of the popular Waterways television program.
“South Florida residents are fortunate to have four national parks in their backyard,” said Trust Chairman Carlos Arazoza. “These grants will ensure that more people – especially children – have an opportunity to learn about and visit these parks.”
The 18-member Trust approved the grants at its annual meeting in September. Since its inception in 2002, the Trust has provided more than $1 million in direct support to its four partner parks – Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve.
Projects funded by the Trust include:
Roving Ranger ($23,368) – Everglades National Park will hire a park ranger to visit schools and libraries and meet with community groups to talk about the parks and the ecosystems they protect. The Trust funded this position last year with excellent results.
Education Programs at Big Cypress ($25,000) – Big Cypress National Preserve will expand its education and outreach programming in Collier County with help from the Trust. Big Cypress joined the Trust last month as the organization’s newest park partner.
Park Volunteers ($29,225) – Biscayne National Park will hire a volunteer coordinator to develop and expand the park’s volunteer program. Volunteers will help the park protect and repair its coral reefs and develop an underwater trail linking shipwrecks in the park.
Key West Visitor Center ($18,121) – Dry Tortugas National Park will hire a student intern to staff a new multi-agency visitor center opening in Key West in January. The student intern will help to provide educational programming for students in the Florida Keys.
Safe Boating ($6,650) – Biscayne National Park will continue its campaign to educate and inform boaters and the public about the importance of safe boating in Biscayne Bay. This is the fourth grant approved by the Trust to support the park’s safe boating campaign.
Waterways Television ($16,640) – Waterways Television explores the natural wonders of South Florida in 30-minute episodes that air on cable channels throughout Florida. This grant will help to pay for 12 new episodes of the popular program.
Promoting our Parks ($7,476) – Biscayne National Park will produce and distribute rack cards with basic information about the parks in English and Spanish. The cards will be distributed at welcome centers along the Florida Turnpike and in visitor locations in South Florida.
In addition to these projects, the Trust pledged $26,163 earlier this year to help Everglades National Park rebuild Flamingo Lodge on Florida Bay. The lodge was damaged during the 2005 hurricane season and is now closed indefinitely. The park will hold a series of public workshops this month to formulate a rebuilding plan for Flamingo.
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.