MIAMI (October 18, 2015) – The South Florida National Parks Trust (SFNPT) has approved $236,000 in new grants to fund outdoor education programs, restoration projects, volunteer activities, student internships and ranger programs this coming year in South Florida’s four national parks, the nonprofit organization announced today. The funding will restore coral reefs in Biscayne National Park, protect seagrass beds in Florida Bay, track turtle nesting in the Dry Tortugas, provide outdoor education programs for school kids, ranger programs for the public, and volunteer opportunities for college students, and restore the flow of fresh water in the Turner River in Big Cypress.
The new grants approved by the SFNPT board include:
- $25,000 to remove abandoned traps, stray strands of rope and other marine debris from Biscayne National Park as part of a reef restoration project.
- $15,000 to support education programs for school children in Biscayne National Park as part of Every Kid in a Park, a new nationwide initiative that encourages children and families to get outdoors and discover nature.
- $19,600 to replace channel markers in Florida Bay and aids to navigation in the marine waters of Everglades National Park with support from Friendly Flamingo Fishing Tournament, Atkins, and the SFNPT’s Florida Bay Committee.
- $35,000 in funding to complete a restoration project that will restore the flow of fresh water into the Turner River in Big Cypress, a popular spot for paddlers. This new grant brings SFNPT’s total investment in the project to $95,000.
- $25,000 to repair, replace and install navigational markers, channel markers, mooring buoys and other aids to navigation in Biscayne National Park to aid boaters and protect the park’s natural resources.
- $24,600 to fund two BioCorps interns in Everglades National Park to work alongside park scientists to control invasive species and protect native wildlife.
- $14,000 to monitor sea turtle nesting activity on remote beaches in Dry Tortugas National Park during the busy summer nesting season.
- $23,900 to promote better stewardship of Florida Bay through community outreach, education and enhanced law enforcement on the water.
- $8,900 to support the 5th annual Swamp Heritage Festival, a celebration of the history and culture of the Big Cypress on Saturday December 5, 2015.
- $23,100 to support the Alternative Break program for college students in Biscayne National Park. College students remove marine debris from park beaches in advance of turtle nesting season.
- $6,600 to support a new season of public tours at the historic Nike Missile Site in Everglades National Park.
- $11,000 to provide law enforcement rangers in Biscayne National Park with an infrared radar system and night vision surveillance equipment to enhance public safety and combat poaching activities in the park.
- $4,500 to support Camping Adventure with My Parents (CAMP) in Everglades National Park and other programs for the public. CAMP is a ranger-guided camping program that introduces local families from underserved communities to the Everglades.
The South Florida National Parks Trust was established in 2002 to support South Florida’s national parks – Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve – through fund-raising and community outreach. Since its inception the SFNPT has provided more than $5 million in direct support to South Florida’s four national parks to support projects and programs in five areas: environmental education, resource protection, visitor services, volunteer activities and