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The SFNPT is having a Birthday… Here’s “15 Reasons to Celebrate”

June 2017 – The South Florida National Park Trust turns 15 this month and we’re celebrating with the top 15 reasons why your support for national parks matters.

Lots of friends groups have been around for 15 years, but few have as many reasons to celebrate as we do. 

The SFNPT has 150,000 reasons to celebrate – one for every school kid who has visited the Everglades or Big Cypress, Biscayne or Dry Tortugas on a national park field trip supported by the SFNPT and our donors.

Environmental education has been our top priority since 2002, but that’s not all we do. The SFNPT funds restoration projects that protect our parks, conservation projects that benefit native wildlife, and ranger programs that connect families to South Florida’s national parks.

As we celebrate our 15th anniversary we also look forward to the work ahead. Our parks need your support now more than ever, and so we invite you to join us in supporting South Florida’s national parks during the month of June by making a contribution to the SFNPT.

Make a gift to preserve and protect our national parks and ensure that a new generation of school children has the opportunity to see, feel and touch the Everglades, Big Cypress, Biscayne Bay and the Dry Tortugas.

Thank you for your support and happy anniversary!

15 Reasons to Celebrate

The SFNPT and its donors support ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION…

1. Parks as Classrooms. More than 10,000 school kids visit the Everglades each year – many for the first time – on national park field trips supported by SFNPT and its donors. That’s 140,000 kids in the Everglades since 2004 when we first began supporting these programs. If you count the kids (and we do) who visit the Big Cypress, the Dry Tortugas and Biscayne National Park annually with SFNPT support, the student head count tops 150,000. How awesome is that?

RESOURCE PROTECTION…

2. Biscayne’s Coral Reefs. Biscayne National Park’s reefs are littered with abandoned lobster traps and other marine debris that threatens fragile corals. The SFNPT supports an annual park effort to remove debris and restore reef tracts in the park. A  team of divers removed 3.3 tons of marine debris from the park’s reefs in July 2016, including 72 abandoned crab and lobster traps, 4.9 miles of rope and 136 other pieces of debris.

3. Turner River Restoration. The Big Cypress National Preserve is working to restore the natural flow of water in the Turner River, one of the most scenic and popular paddling spots in the preserve, with support from SFNPT. The project is now 90% complete with a ribbon-cutting expected in Fall 2017. Stay tuned!

4. Biscayne Bay. Biscayne National Park is restoring two spoil islands by removing exotic vegetation and planting more than 2,000 native plants and trees. The first island was restored in 2015. The second island will be planted in late June, and the park is recruiting volunteers now. Learn more…

5. Florida Bay. Everglades National Park has installed channel markers and aids to navigation in Florida Bay with support from SFNPT and our Florida Bay Committee to help boaters safely navigate park waters and to protect the park’s marine resources.

6. Boater Education. Everglades National Park is developing a boater education and permit program with the support of our Florida Bay Committee to enhance visitor safety and protect sensitive marine habitat in Florida Bay and other parts of the park. Learn more…

RANGER PROGRAMS for the public…

7. Biscayne’s Shipwreck Trail. The park installed bronze underwater markers at six historic shipwrecks in the park with support from SFNPT. The six wrecks make up the Maritime Heritage Trail, a popular underwater diving and snorkeling trail established by the park with a grant from SFNPT. 

8. Everglades Nike Missile Base. Everglades National Park opened its Nike Missile Base for public tours and put a 41-foot missile on display with support from SFNPT. More than 2,800 people visited the former Army base last year, making this the second most popular tour in the park.

9. Everglades CAMP. We love to camp and want to share that experience with others, including those who don’t have the means – or confidence – to camp on their own. That’s why we support Camping Adventure with My Parents (CAMP), a ranger-led program that teaches low-income and minority families how to camp.

10. Tamiami Trail Triathlon. Hike, bike and paddle your way across two national parks as you complete the Tamiami Trail Triathlon on your own or with a ranger. Either way, you’re a winner. This popular program was launched with support from SFNPT. Learn more…

11. Citizenship Ceremonies. Can you think of a better place to take the oath of citizenship than a national park, a symbol of what’s best about this country and its democratic ideals? The SFNPT helps to fund citizenship ceremonies in South Florida’s national parks.

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION projects…

12. Nesting Sea Turtles. Hundreds of college students and other volunteers remove tons of marine debris from Biscayne beaches each year ahead of turtle nesting season, to improve the nesting success of sea turtles in the park. The SFNPT also supports turtle conservation programs in the Dry Tortugas and Everglades (see below). Read more… 

13. BioCorps. Everglades National Park hires university students each year with support from the SFNPT to work alongside park biologists. The students capture invasive tegu lizards, conduct fish surveys and monitor crocodile and sea turtle nests in the park. The students get experience; the park gets some much needed help. The BioCorps program was expanded this year to Biscayne and Big Cypress, with grant support from SFNPT.

And HISTORIC PRESERVATION…

14. Civil War History. Dry Tortugas National Park is restoring Civil War era structures at Fort Jefferson with grant support provided through SFNPT. An earlier grant allowed the park to restore one of the fort’s massive Rodman cannons. Learn more…

15. Flamingo Restored. More than 64,000 people supported SFNPT’s Vote Your Park campaign in 2016 on behalf of the Flamingo Visitor Center, helping to win a $250,000 grant that will allow the park to begin restoration work on a landmark building that holds memories for so many. Read more

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

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