From its start in 1903, the National Wildlife Refuge System has owed its very existence to concerned citizens eager to protect America's natural resources.
More than 200 nonprofit Refuge Friends organizations support national wildlife refuges, whether they work with a single refuge, a refuge complex or an entire state. Friends members are crucial to conserving and protecting our nation’s wildlife and teaching millions of Americans that their actions today determine the conservation legacy of tomorrow.
More than 42,000 people volunteer their time and ideas each year to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Whether they work on the land, in a visitor center or with youth, they contribute to the conservation mission that reaches back more than a century. Become a volunteer or Refuge Friend to contribute your strength on behalf of America’s natural resources.
Volunteers at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge are an integral part of the staff. They assist with numerous projects ranging from wildlife inventories to presenting interpretive programs, and their help has been instrumental in the accomplishment of a number of refuge projects and activities.
The St. Marks NWR Volunteer Program seeks to combine the interests of the volunteer with the work needed to be accomplished in order to achieve a productive partnership, one which will ensure the preservation of resources within the refuge.
The program is actually made up of three smaller programs, each adding its own uniqueness to the overall operations of the refuge. The programs are made up of the following: General Volunteers, Resident Volunteers, and Internships. Each program offers hands-on, working experience in the day-to-day activities of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.
No special skills are needed to be a volunteer at St. Marks NWR. However, on the job training is provided. While there is no age limit, anyone under 18 years must have written parental approval. Organized group participation is welcome and encouraged.
Volunteers are welcome regardless of race, religion, age, gender, nationality, or disability. U.S. citizenship is not required. The only criteria stipulated when considering the above programs is ownership of your own trailer and/or RV when applying for the Resident Volunteer Program.
For an application and more information about any of the volunteer programs; contact the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Coordinator at (850) 925-6121, Tuesday - Friday, 9am - 4pm (Eastern Time Zone) or write: Volunteer Coordinator, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 68, St. Marks, FL 32355.
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The refuge is actively involved in the recovery of the red-cockaded woodpecker. The Service’s current Red-cockaded Woodpecker Recovery Plan (2003) has a panhandle population goal of 1,000 potential breeding groups, with a refuge goal of 71 active clusters. Active refuge management of the red-cockaded woodpecker population and habitat since 1980 has not only prevented extirpation, but also fostered population growth.