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Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge earn Molly Krival 2021 Friends Group of the Year Award

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT
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ST. MARKS, Fla. (WCTV) - It’s a popular spot to enjoy nature in North Florida, and now, the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge has received national attention. The Friends of St. Marks won a major award: Friends Group of the Year.

The St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, home to endangered species, expansive marshes and broad forests. But, protecting this hidden jewel on the Forgotten Coast isn’t cheap.

This is why the Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge lend a hand, raising money for the refuge.

“They’re a non-profit organization, so all the money that they make comes into the refuge, and these days of declining federal budgets, everybody’s heard about how the federal budgets are declining, and things are going down. They’re actually helping us keep things together on the refuge,” said St. Marks & St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge Manager Terry Peacock.

The award is given to wildlife refuge friends groups each year.

“They base the award based on advocacy, which they’re a huge advocate for us. They go out and do festivals, meet with people. They are posting online about the refuge all the time,” Peacock added.

The non-profit is working harder than ever during the pandemic, recruiting donors and even taking their nature store to the internet.

“Put together a virtual online store, where people can buy merchandise online. So that, didn’t quite meet the normal goals that we have for the work of the nature store, but it does provide help for them,” explained President of the Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge Phillip Pollock.

The friends hope the award will highlight the ongoing battle to protect Northern Florida’s natural habitats.

“Protecting common spaces is a never-ending battle because there are always things nibbling at your heels. People who want to encroach on it, people who want to build this little thing right over here. So the value of having people aware of St. Marks is when the call comes to stand up and be counted and protected. They’re going to be willing to do that,” said Bill Everitt, Treasurer of the Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.

To learn more about the Friends of St. Marks and how to get involved, click here.

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