The South Florida National Parks Trust has provided more than $3 million to its partner parks since 2002 to support programs and projects in five critical areas: environmental education, resource protection, visitor services, volunteer activities and community outreach. Contributions to the Trust have made the following projects possible:
FY 2010 Projects
The South Florida National Parks Trust made grant payments of more than $1 million to its partner parks for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010. The 10 grants listed below represent a selection of the programs and projects funded during FY 2010.
Biscayne National Park
Education Program. Grant Amount: $45,000. Outcome: More than 2,800 South Florida school children participated in the park’s education programs in FY 2010, the majority of whom (1,500+) spent time in the park on class field trips and overnight camps. The grant funding allowed the park to hire two seasonal rangers and pay for boat transportation.
Volunteer Program. Grant Amount: $24,000. Outcome: The park welcomed 380 students from 15 participating colleges and universities as part of its “alternative spring break” program in FY 2010. The students donated 3,500 hours of volunteer time to the park by cleaning beaches of marine debris in advance of turtle nesting season. The grant funding allowed to park to hire a seasonal ranger to coordinate volunteer activities and pay for boat transportation and debris removal.
Biscayne BioBlitz Event. Grant Amount: $10,000. Outcome: More than 2,500 people participated in a 24-hour inventory of species living in the park, including more than 200 scientists and 1,300 school children. The event was organized by the National Park Service and National Geographic Society. The Trust was one of the principal sponsors.
Everglades National Park
Education Program. Grant Amount: $20,000. Outcome: The free bus transportation provided by this grant allowed 29 schools from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods to participate in the park’s education programs. Grant funding paid for 75 buses which brought 3,775 students to the park.
Lichen Project. Grant Amount: $4,200. Outcome: The park purchased two microscopes to support an ongoing inventory of lichens found in the park. The project is led by volunteers who recruit students and other volunteers to participate in the project.
Nike Missile Base Tours. Grant Amount: $4,960. Outcome: The park expanded its schedule of tours for the Nike Missile Base site within the park. More than 3,000 people took the tour in FY 2010. The grant funding paid for a student intern to lead tours.
Big Cypress National Preserve
Education Program. Grant Amount: $25,000. Outcome: More than 6,000 Collier County school children participated in the preserve’s education programs in FY 2010, including 3,200 students who explored the Big Cypress during classroom field trips. The grant funding allowed the preserve to hire seasonal rangers to staff the program.
March for Parks Event. Grant Amount: $5,000. Outcome: The annual event invites families from low-income neighborhoods in Miami-Dade, Broward and Collier Counties to spend the day in one of South Florida’s national parks. Approximately 650 people participated in the event, held in Big Cypress in March 2010.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Key West Visitor Center. Grant Amount: $28,725. Outcome: The park hired a student intern to staff the park visitor center in Key West, deliver programs in local schools and coordinate student trips to the park funded by the Trust.
Curriculum Guide. Grant Amount: $7,000. Outcome: The park has developed a curriculum guide that teachers throughout the Florida Keys can use in the classroom to teach students about the marine environment and cultural history of the Dry Tortugas.
Previous Projects funded by the SFNPT in South Florida’s National Parks:
Wayside Exhibits in Everglades National Park: Visitors can learn about the Everglades in English and Spanish by visiting nine new wayside exhibits installed along the main park road with money provided by the Trust.
Underwater Marine Heritage Trail: Six submerged shipwrecks in Biscayne National Park are being linked in an underwater trail for divers and snorkelers, with detailed site maps and educational guides for the public.
Saving the Civil War era cannons at Fort Jefferson: Efforts are underway to restore the massive cannons that defended Fort Jefferson from attack in the 19th century. The Trust is helping to underwrite this effort.
Underwater Camera at Shark Valley: Visitors to Shark Valley – one of the premiere places to see wildlife in the Everglades – can look for wildlife under water with a submerged camera installed behind the visitor center.
Sea Turtle Protection Program: Biscayne National Park and the Trust are working to protect sea turtle nests inside the park while educating the public about the threats posed by predators and marine debris.
Recruiting Volunteers: The Trust donated a 21-foot boat to Biscayne National Park to support the park’s volunteer program. The boat will help the park train volunteers and put them to work throughout the park.
Wildlife Viewing Scopes at Flamingo: Everglades National Park installed two wildlife viewing scopes in Flamingo overlooking Florida Bay with funding provided by the Trust.
Junior Ranger Program: South Florida’s national parks expanded the popular Junior Ranger program for children and families by developing new materials in Spanish and Haitian Creole with help from the Trust.
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.