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Lend a Hand to America's Lands Volunteer at a National Wildlife Refuge


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 17, 2003

Contact:
Tom MacKenzie, FWS, 404/679-7291


Several of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Refuges in the Southeast Region are inviting volunteers to lend a hand this Saturday, September 20, during the tenth annual National Public Lands Day. In addition, refuges that charge entrance fees will be waiving them in observance and celebration of this special event.

"National Public Lands Day is a hands-on effort to improve, restore, and clean-up wildlife habitat and state, local, and federal public lands," said Sam D. Hamilton, the Service's Southeast Regional Director. "On national wildlife refuges, volunteers will be participating in coastal clean-ups in Florida, a homestead restoration in Georgia, and trail maintenance in South Carolina, and Louisiana."

On Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Sebastian, Florida, volunteers will be cleaning up the refuge's spoil islands, salt marsh impoundments, and public access road. For information, please contact Joanna Taylor at 772/562-3909, ext. 258.

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in St. Marks, Florida is hosting a refuge clean-up from 9 a.m. until noon. Free t-shirts and lunch for volunteers. Interactive, educational exhibits will take place in the afternoon. Participants can learn about some of the marine life in the Gulf of Mexico, including manatees, shorebirds, and sea turtles. Please contact David Moody at 850-925-6121.

The historic Chesser Island Homestead on Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Folkston, Georgia, needs restoration work. Tools and a free lunch will be provided to volunteers. Tasks are from 8 a.m. to noon. Contact: Sallie Gentry at 912/496-7836.

On Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in Hackberry, Louisiana, volunteers will be assisting the refuge staff with tallow tree clean-up at the Wetland Walkway Nature Trail. Native vegetation will be planted along the trail later this fall. Contact Diane Borden-Billiot at 337-762-3780.

Santee National Wildlife Refuge in Summerton, South Carolina is hosting a volunteer day and celebration with maintenance activities on the refuge section of the Palmetto Trail from 9 a.m. until noon. A cook-out and an annual volunteer recognition event at the Visitor Center begin at noon. Contact: Kay McCutcheon at 803-478-2217.

A clean-up of the grassy island section of the scenic auto-tour route on Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge in Union City, Tennessee is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact: Christine Donald at 731/538-2481.

In celebration of National Public Lands Day, all southeastern refuges that currently charge an entrance fee will waive it for Saturday, September 20. There will be no charge to visit the following refuges: Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach, Florida; St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in St. Marks, Florida; Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge in Hobe Sound, Florida; J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida; Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge in Hollandale, Mississippi; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Folkston, Georgia; and Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge in Dardanelle, Arkansas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the nearly 100-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological Services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

 


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.


NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.

Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286



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