The South Florida National Parks Trust has provided more than $5 million in direct support to South Florida's four national parks since 2002 in five critical areas: Environmental Education, Resource Protection, Visitor Programs, Volunteer Activities and Community Engagement. The grants listed below represent a selection of projects funded and/or completed during the year ending June 30, 2013.
Everglades National Park
- Everglades Education. Grant Amount: $102,000. Outcome: More than 10,000 students visited the Everglades in FY 2013 on ranger-led field trips and overnight camps supported by SFNPT and its donors. The funding paid for seasonal rangers to lead education programs and bus transportation for disadvantaged schools.
- Flamingo Eco-Tent. Grant Amount: $17,000. Outcome: Architecture students at the University of Miami designed and built a prototype EcoTent, offering visitors a new option for camping in Everglades National Park. The tent was available for camping in Flamingo for the first time during the 2012/2013 season.
- Nike Missile. Grant Amount: $7,000. Outcome: The park secured a 41-foot Nike Hercules Missile and other equipment to put on display at the Nike Missile Site inside the park in time for the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- Everglades Camping Adventure. Grant Amount: $1,800. Outcome: Two dozen first-time campers from five African-American families participated in a ranger-led camping program in the Everglades with equipment provided with this grant.
- Volunteer Program. Grant Amount: $6,365. Outcome: More than 1,200 volunteers contributed 40,000 hours during the first six months of FY13. Grant funding paid for a program assistant from November 2012 through March 2013.
- Tamiami Triathlon. Grant Amount: $990. Outcome: Everglades & Big Cypress launched a “triathlon” to encourage visitors to complete three park activities: a bike ride, a hike and a canoe trip. Nearly 500 people did so in the first 4 months.
- Canoe Programs. Grant Amount: $1,000. Outcome: The park completed 164 canoe programs for 1,800 visitors with new equipment acquired with grant funds.
Biscayne National Park
- Education Program. Grant Amount: $25,000. Outcome: More than 7,400 South Florida students, teachers and parents participated in park education programs in FY 2013, many of whom (3,600+) spent time in Biscayne National Park on field trips or overnight camp programs. The grant funding allowed the park to hire staff to deliver programs and provide bus transportation for disadvantaged schools.
- Volunteer Program. Grant Amount: $10,000. Outcome: The park welcomed 212 students from 18 participating colleges and universities for its “alternative spring break” program in FY 2013. The students donated 2,900 hours of volunteer labor to clean debris from park beaches in advance of turtle nesting season.
- Citizenship Ceremonies. Grant Amount: $2,600. Outcome: Two hundred new citizens (including 87 children) took the oath of citizenship in Biscayne National Park at two ceremonies funded by SFNPT. Nearly 400 people attended the events.
- Biscayne Shoal Markers. Grant Amount: $35,000. Outcome: The park installed 14 fixed shoal markers at the Featherbed Banks in September 2013 to guide boaters and protect shallow habitat in Biscayne Bay.
- Vessel Grounding Class. Grant Amount: $10,000. Outcome: The park has developed and launched a public education class to prevent boat groundings with support from the SFNPT. The class is offered for free to the public and as a court-directed option for boaters who run aground in the park, much like traffic school.
- Law Enforcement. Grant Amount: $10,000. Outcome: In a pilot project, the park will outfit two law enforcement boats with computers and wireless technology to connect directly with national crime databases and streamline ticketing for resource violations. The technology is used by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers; Biscayne is the first national park to adopt the technology.
- Native Planting. Grant Amount: $500. Outcome: Fifteen student volunteers from Cutler Bay Academy participated in a native planting project at two locations in the park. The funding paid for 139 native plants, supplies and equipment.
Dry Tortugas National Park
- Lionfish Control. Grant Amount: $15,000. Outcome: The park hired two student interns during the summer 2013 to assess the number and range of exotic lionfish within park waters, spearhead efforts to capture and remove lionfish, and establish a database to track lionfish and the success of control efforts.
- Education Program. Grant Amount: $4,500. Outcome: The park has developed a curriculum-based education program for Dry Tortugas National Park with support from SFNPT. Student trips to the Dry Tortugas were funded through this grant.
Big Cypress National Preserve
- Swamp Water & Me Program. Grant Amount: $15,000. Outcome: More than 2,800 students explored Big Cypress on ranger-led field trips during the school year as part of the preserve’s signature education program for 6th-grade students.
- Wildlife Viewing. Grant Amount: $15,000. Outcome: The preserve is working with the Naples Zoo to install a series of outdoor exhibits that encourage people to treat South Florida wildlife with respect, for the safety of wildlife and people.
By supporting these and other projects, the Trust seeks to foster a greater appreciation for our national parks and promote a legacy of stewardship in South Florida. You can support our work on behalf of South Florida’s national parks by making a donation today.