South Florida National Parks Trust

News & Events

Big Cypress National Preserve’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Big Cypress National Preserve is turning 40 in 2014 and the South Florida National Parks Trust and the National Park Service plan to celebrate with back-to-back events over two days in December: A Birthday Bash with live entertainment, music and dancing in downtown Naples on Friday December 5 and a Swamp Heritage Festival at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center on Tamiami Trail east of Naples on Saturday December 6.Big Cypress National Preserve

Tickets: Tickets for the Birthday Bash are $75 (cash bar & festival gift), $100 (open bar); and $200 (premium open bar); admission to the Swamp Heritage Festival on Saturday is free.

Sponsorships: Sponsorship packages are available at the following levels:

  • Presenting Sponsor / One sponsor at $10,000: Ten premium tickets to the Birthday Bash, a swamp buggy tour of Big Cypress for ten people; and recognition as “presenting” sponsor at both events and in all event materials.
  • Gold Sponsor / Two sponsors at $5,000 each: Six premium tickets to the Birthday Bash, a custom tour of Big Cypress for six people; and recognition as the “gold” sponsor at both events and in all event materials.
  • Silver Sponsor / Four sponsors at $2,500 each: Four premium tickets to the Birthday Bash & recognition as a “silver” sponsor at events & in event materials.

Net proceeds from all ticket sales and sponsorships benefit the Swamp Water and Me Program (SWAMP), the preserve’s signature environmental education program for sixth-grade students in Collier County.

About Big Cypress: Congress established the Big Cypress National Preserve in 1974 as the first national preserve in the nation, a distinction that allowed traditional activities such as hunting to continue. The Big Cypress National Preserve today represents one of the last wild places in Southwest Florida where swamp buggies and airboats, backcountry camps and chickees preserve a traditional way of life established by native peoples and early settlers. The Birthday Bash and Swamp Heritage Festival planned for December will celebrate the history and culture of Big Cypress and the historic forces that united conservationists, sportsmen, environmentalists and native peoples in the late 1960s in a successful effort to protect a place and a way of life threatened by urban development.

For more information, contact SFNPT at 305-665-4769 or

Summer Tracks: Looking for Turtle Nests in Biscayne National Park

Posted July 2014

The summer nesting season for sea turtles has begun! Endangered and threatened sea turtles are coming ashore in Biscayne National Park to lay their eggs and park biologists are scrambling to find those nests before raccoons can raid them. Finding turtle nests can be a challenge, even for trained observers. Like detectives at the scene of a crime, park biologists look for clues in the sand to determine whether a turtle came ashore overnight to nest on park beaches. Turtle tracks often tell the story, but not always. The park had documented 12 nests as of July and another 10 false crawls - areas of disturbed sand where turtles came ashore but did not nest. After finding a nest, biologists dig to determine the exact location of the eggs. They then place a mesh screen over the eggs to protect them from raccoons. The screen is removed shortly before the nest hatches so baby turtles can crawl free and reach the water. The biologists who monitor turtle nesting in the park are getting some help this year from two UM graduate students and the SFNPT. The SFNPT board, meeting in July, approved a $6,500 grant to support the park's turtle program. The funding will allow the park to operate daily beach patrols, improving the chances of success this year for turtle nests in the park.

Assignment Everglades: A Wilderness Adventure for Student Writers

Posted July 2014

Did you know: Everglades National Park protects the largest designated wilderness area east of the Mississippi River? Named for Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the Everglades wilderness covers 1.3 million acres, roughly 86% of the entire park! By definition, federal wilderness areas are places where "the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." Douglas, of course, is known for writing "The Everglades: River of Grass." What better tribute, then, than to give local students - aspiring journalists, poets and authors - an opportunity to explore the Everglades and write about it? Ten college students will have that chance in 2014, thanks to a partnership involving the park, the SFNPT local universities and other groups. The project is being funded with a Wilderness Writing grant from the National Park Foundation. National Park rangers will lead the students on several wilderness adventures and then invite them to write about the experience. The students' work will be published in the South Dade News Leader and featured at several public events. The project celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, passed by Congress and signed into law in 1964. Watch this space for updates as the project gets rolling!

The Miami Foundation funds Everglades Field Trips for 4,000 School Kids

Posted: July 2014

The Miami Foundation has awarded SFNPT and Everglades National Park a $15,000 grant to bring 4,000 school kids to the park next school year for curriculum-based environmental education programs. The 4th-grade students will ride an open-air tram into the heart of the Everglades to see alligators and wood storks in the wild, climb a 60-foot observation tower and hike into a hardwood hammock with a National Park Service ranger during a 4-hour field trip to the park. SFNPT was one of 73 nonprofit organizations chosen by the foundation to share $1.2 million in community grants for innovative programs that make Miami a better place to live. The SFNPT thanks The Miami Foundation for supporting a program that introduces thousands of local school kids to one of the world's most amazing ecosystems - the Everglades!

New Acting Superintendent Named for Everglades National Park

Posted: July 2014

Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks have a new acting superintendent. Bob Krumenaker, superintendent of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, takes over the top job at Everglades and Dry Tortugas, effective August 4, while the search continues for a permanent superintendent. Former superintendent Dan Kimball retired in March.