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St. Marks NWR Photo Club

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Mission Statement

To be open to all photographers interested in nature photography. We strive to enhance the outdoor experience for the community, through education and field sessions with respect for the environment and wildlife. We will adlhere to the ethical practices for nature photographers in addition to the policies of the St. Marks NWR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


The St Mark NWR Photo Club is open to all photographers interested in nature photography. We have beginners wanting to learn, as well as experienced photographers willing to share information.  

We meet the third Saturday of every month at the Nature's Classroom (refuge Environmental Education Building) to share our latest photos and exchange information. We share techniques as well as information on related equipment. Check the calendar for current information!  

We plan to schedule field trips every other month with the possibility of a field trip every month as things start happening in the refuge. We also encourage impromptu trips that may arise from group discussions. Got a suggestion? Let us know your ideas.  

Joining our group may improve your photography or you may improve ours — or maybe we all might learn different ways of looking at our surroundings. It will give you an outlet to show your work to people who appreciate photography; make friends with others who share your interest in photography and discover new locations for taking photos.  

Kids are welcome with adults.  

No dues required. If you are interested in more information, please contact Photo Club President Tom Darragh at thomasd@talstar.com.  

The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Photo Club (SMNWRPC) officially began on March 19, 2007, with an organizational meeting that was attended by about 20 people.

We were one of the first, if not the first, photo club to be fundamentally incorporated into a national wildlife refuge in the United States.

  • Meets monthly and conducts member photo sharing, field trips (photography safari), classes (macro photography, backyard photography, camera basics, PhotoShop, etc.), hosts speakers and show videos 
  • Developed Ethical Practices policy for Photo Club members with the assistance of NANPA (North American Nature Photographer Association) 
  • Adopted the Shorebird-Friendly Photography Guide (based on the protocol developed by the Florida Snowy Plover Working Group) 
  • Worked with Nikon and facilitated Nikon's donation of 20 point and shoot digital cameras to the Photo Club for the refuge education program 
  • Sponsors and administers the Annual St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Photography Contest 
  • Sponsors Operation Migration Whooping Crane Miles , 
  • Created a photography tip booklet and photo tip sheets for handout 
  • Donates services and photography for St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge events, Department Of The Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Scenic Byway, Florida State Park Volunteers, VisitFlorida.com and Wilderness Institute. Photos are used in promotions, sales and various websites for local, state and federal information 
  • Created lighthouse viewing/photography site 
  • Makes photo cards, note cards, post cards, bookmarks and matted photography prints to be sold in the refuge Nature Store; donated post cards for volunteer recognition event for Florida Park Service 
  • Taught a seminar on starting of photo clubs at the USFWS Region 4 Visitor Services conference in Fall Creek Falls, Tennessee 
  • Assisted three other national wildlife refuges start their own photo clubs through onsite training, telephone and electronic communication 
  • Produced a documentary including a Lighthouse tour, Whooping Crane flyover, trail tours, and historical interviews for use on YouTube and for sale in SMNWR Nature Store 
  • Purchased a special use camera for local Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement 
  • Purchased a general use camera for St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge 
  • Supports St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge annual Open House Festival by leading photography safaris 
  • Purchased "gopher cam" parts for Fish and Wildlife Service biologists at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge 
  • Taught two day class for FWC's B.O.W program (Being an Outdoor Woman) 
  • Performs community outreach through instructional photo classes at the Senior Center, at a local nursery (three times), Rotary Club (twice), a local photo club in Albany, GA, at the Tallahassee Garden Club, school open house at Desoto Trail Elementary school and for children at the Florida Museum 
  • Assist Fish and Wildlife Service Staff to conduct a monthly photography class at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Nature's Classroom for the general public 
  • Operated refuge and photo club's information booth and food vendor booth at the Wood Stork Festival. Operated refuge and photo club's information booth at the Wakulla Wildlife Festival 
  • Operated photo club's information booths at all refuge festivals; Monarch, W.H.O, Pollinator 
  • Involved in construction of, and maintenance of the Operation Migration Whooping Crane Pen (as one of our work days), the blind at the Whooping Crane Pen, and the Crane Pen Cam; provides volunteer services and logistical support for the Operation Migration Whooping Crane Flyover event, donates photography and videography of the Crane Pen and flyover activities; created video presentation of Operation Migration Whooping Crane program for display in the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center 
  • Involved in Lighthouse Day and Lighthouse Challenge 
  • Exhibited members' photographs at the Gadsden County Art Center, multiple showings at the Tallahassee Senior Center and the Leroy Collins Public Library, local businesses, restaurants and in local, regional and national publications 
  • Worked with AmericasWildlife.org: Conserving the Future Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation Video and Photography contest rules 
  • Raises funds for the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Junior Refuge Ranger Summer Camp 
  • Worked with Cape Romain Red Wolf Breeding Program to install web cam 
  • Serves as a large base of volunteers for refuge events 
  • Acts as envoys for the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge 

It is important to point out that all the donations and volunteering by photo club members are done in collaboration with and for the benefit of the refuge. Essentially, the photo club has evolved because of and around its involvement on the refuge.  

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Last Updated: Nov 18, 2013
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