Last Month's Newsletter


Entrance Fee Increase

The Refuge daily pass price will increase from $5 to $10 starting October 1. The Refuge annual pass, valid for one year from the date of purchase, will increase in price from $12 to $25. The $1 daily entrance fee for bicyclists and pedestrians will be eliminated.

SCHEDULED PROGRAMS        October 2019

Ask the Manager

Wednesday, October 23, 1:00 p.m.
Monday, December 9, 11:00 a.m.

This is your opportunity to meet with Refuge manager Rolf Olson and ask questions, suggest ideas for improvement, bring up any issues or concerns that you might have, and get up-to-date on what is happening at the Refuge. A few other Refuge staff members will also be on hand to help Rolf answer your questions. Meet in the Visitor Center theater.

Early Morning Bird Watch and Walk - Fly Out

Wednesday, October 30, 6:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Join volunteer naturalist Rick Schofield of Audubon Everglades to watch the birds fly out from the interior of the Refuge, then follow them for an early morning bird walk along the Refuge impoundments. Meet in the boat launch parking area at the west end of Lee Road. For more information visit

Sunset Everglades Tour

Tuesday, October 8, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 22, 7:00 p.m.

Experience the unique sights and sounds of the Everglades at night! Meet at the Visitor Center for a guided twilight tour of the Refuge. Try to arrive a little before the tour starts as a courtesy to others. Wear long-sleeved shirt, long pants, good walking shoes with closed toes and heels, and bring a jacket, water, a good flashlight and bug spray. You might also like to bring a hat. Walk is approximately 1 mile.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Call the Visitor Center at 561-734-8303.

Everglades Tram Tours

Every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Saturday, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. except October 6
Every Sunday, Wednesday & Saturday, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. except October 6

Grab your camera and binoculars and enjoy the Refuge on an approximately 1.5 to 2-hour tram tour. The open-air tram can seat 5 passengers and provides a unique view into the wildlife, marshes, and cypress swamps of the Refuge. Your guide will talk about the Refuge, its birds and other wildlife, the ongoing research in the mini-Everglades impoundments of LILA, and answer all your questions in the comfort of your shaded electric tram. Meet at the Visitor Center front desk 15 minutes prior to the tour.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Call the Visitor Center at 561-734-8303.

Photography Tours

Every Sunday, 7:00 a.m.

Explore, learn, enjoy, and record the natural resources and biological treasures of the Refuge with award-winning photographers Dr. Peter Lekos and Lora Lekos on an early morning photography tour. Reservations are required because space is limited to give personal attention to each photographer. Meet at the Marsh Trail parking lot near the gazebo.

Roving Wildlife Photographer

Every Saturday, 9:30 a.m.

Take a guided walking tour of some of our most beautiful spots in the Refuge. View and photograph wildlife in its natural settings with our volunteer roving photographer, Ira Rappaport. Ira will show you areas where some of the most recent sightings of wildlife have been reported and other locations that might make for great photo opportunities. Bring water, comfortable closed-toe shoes or sneakers, a hat to block the sun, sun screen, binoculars, and your camera. The tour can be from 3-5 miles. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Roving Naturalist

Tuesday, October 8 & 22, 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

A volunteer naturalist will be strolling around the Visitor Center, Cypress Swamp Boardwalk and Marsh Trail, answering questions and discussing the plants and wildlife of the swamp. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Guided Canoe Tours

Saturday, October 12 & 26, 8:00 a.m.

Meet at the Lee Road Boat Ramp to enjoy a beautiful canoe tour guided by a volunteer naturalist through a portion of the Refuge interior. Explore the northernmost end of the Everglades on this approximately 1.5 to 2-hour tour. You may rent a canoe or kayak for $35 from Loxahatchee Canoeing or bring your own. (One canoe seats 2 to 3 people.)

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Call the Visitor Center at 561-734-8303.

Enjoy this 3-minute video made on the canoe trail:

Moonlight Guided Canoe Tours

Saturday, October 12, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 9, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 14, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Meet at the Lee Road Boat Ramp to enjoy a guided moonlight canoe tour through a portion of the Refuge interior. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants and bring a flashlight and bug spray. Canoe rental from Loxahatchee Canoeing is $35; you may not bring your own. (One canoe seats 2 to 3 people.)


*** Programs subject to change, for more information on any of the activities and programs, please call the Visitor Center at (561) 734-8303.

Events are listed on the Friends website at

Fee-Free Day - First Sunday of National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 13

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is waiving admission fees at all National Wildlife Refuges on Sunday, October 13, in celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 13 - 19.

10th Annual Juried Art Contest - Loxahatchee Visions

Entries accepted: Saturday, October 26 - Saturday, November 2
Reception and Award Presentation: Sunday, November 10, 1:00 p.m.

The contest is open to all artists. Each artist may submit one or two works of art, inspired by "Loxahatchee Visions." Any media or mixed media may be used, with the exception of photography. (Save your photographs for next year's photo contest!) Each entry must be framed and ready for hanging. Wrapped canvas edges are fine. Size limit is 36" on each side, including frame.

Prizes will be awarded in 2 categories - Novice (through high school) and Adult (age 18 and older).
First prize - $250; Second prize - $150; Third prize - $100.

The entry fee is $10 for Friends members, volunteers and Refuge staff, and $25 for non-members. The fee is waived for Novices. Bring your artwork along with the entry form and entry fee in an envelope labeled "Friends Art Contest" to the Visitor Center.

For the Contest Entry Form and the complete set of rules, go to:

Friends Annual Luncheon with Arts, Crafts & Plant Sale

Saturday, December 7, 11:00 a.m.
Location: Ellie's 50's Diner, 2410 N. Federal Hwy, Delray Beach
    (park & enter at the back of the building)
Guest speaker: Eliot Kleinberg, Historian, Author and Columnist for the Palm Beach Post

All are invited to join the Friends for our annual luncheon at Ellie's 50's Diner with historian Eliot Kleinberg of the Palm Beach Post as our special guest speaker. Meet and greet starts at 11:00 a.m., with lunch served at 12:00 noon. Visit the Arts, Crafts and Plants table at any time, where items made by members of the Friends, Refuge volunteers and local artists will be available for sale.
Lunch is $40 for Friends members, Refuge staff and participating artists; $45 for all others. Cash bar. All proceeds go to the Friends, which benefit the Refuge.

Please RSVP to Cathy Patterson at by Friday, November 29.
Payment can be made online or by mail or in the Visitor Center at the Friends' Nature Store, using check, cash, Visa, Mastercard or Discover.
Make checks payable to "Friends of Loxahatchee Refuge" with notation "Friends Luncheon."
Mail to: Friends of Loxahatchee Refuge, P.O. Box 6777, Delray Beach, FL 33482
To pay online with PayPal: (Select Operating Fund)
Payment by cash or check also accepted at the door.

*** Are you an artist, photographer, crafter or gardener? Let us know if you have items you might like to provide for our Arts, Crafts & Plant sale! Contact Ron Seifer at

Luncheon invitation:
Arts, Crafts & Plant sale info:

Dynamic Composition 1-Day Photography Workshop

Saturday, January 18, 9:15 - 12:00 noon, Visitor Center theater

Back by popular demand, award-winning photographer Lance Warley is presenting a photography workshop on Dynamic Composition: Tools to Create Evocative Images, for any level photographer or visual artist interested in adding greater depth and emotional impact to your photos.

Email one of your photos for an optional critique to Lance by December 28. File size limit 500KB.

Space is limited. Please contact Lance to reserve your spot. Entry fee is $20 per participant, with all funds donated to the Friends of the Refuge.

Lance Warley 561-945-2074

Sierra Club Loxahatchee Group's Thanks and Giving Celebration

Saturday, November 9, 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Location: Community Foundation, 700 S. Dixie Highway #200, West Palm Beach

Join the Sierra Club Loxahatchee Group for their annual fundraising party and silent auction, the Thanks and Giving Celebration. Tickets are $35 through November 1; $45 after November 1 and at the door. Enjoy musical entertainment by Jamie Rasso, along with hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, soft drinks, beer and wine, and meet longtime environmental pioneer Maggy Hurchalla, 2019 Environmental Champion of the Year. To buy tickets, visit their website at

Auction proceeds benefit outreach programs for underserved youth, Inspiring Connections Outdoors, the Elaine Usherson Camp Scholarship Fund and the Loxahatchee Group's conservation efforts.

Save the Dates! (Details to Follow):

21st Annual Everglades Day Family Festival

Saturday, February 8

Plein Air Art Contest Reception and Awards Presentation

Sunday, February 16

Birds in Flight 3-Day Photography Workshop

Saturday, February 29th, Sunday, March 1 & Saturday, March 7

2020 Calendars Are In!

Our lovely 2020 calendars filled with photos of the Refuge from this year's photo contest are now available for sale in the Friends Nature Store in the Visitor Center. Stop by and pick up one for yourself and for everyone else on your gift list!

Friends Recognized by Palm Beach County School District

The Friends were awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Palm Beach County School District on August 21 for their financial support of the District's "Field Research Ranger" program. Over the past three years, the Friends have raised $18,000 through grants and donations to provide bus transportation for students to participate in hands-on environmental learning activities at the Refuge. Dozens of field trips involving thousands of students, who would not otherwise have had the opportunity, have been made possible through this partnership with the School District. Special thanks go the The Jim Moran Foundation, who awarded a $10,000 grant to the Friends last year, and to the members of the Friends, who provided the additional funding through their generous donations.

Refuge Photographer Selected as Artist in Residence at Smoky Mountains NP

Award-winning photographer Phoenix has spent years taking photographs in National Parks throughout the country, but as a native of Miami, her primary focus has been South Florida's wetlands and the Everglades. Now she has been awarded an Artist in Residence at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, starting in two weeks. And Phoenix tells us that to her, "it was extra special to know that an image I took at Loxahatchee helped influence the selection panel." Check out that photo and her other selected photos on her blog:

"Working at a National Park was a childhood dream ever since I experienced Yosemite National Park at 13 years old. I just didn't know it was going to play out this way," Phoenix says. "Being selected for this Artist in Residency has me extra excited because it allows me to further my personal mission: using the power of photography to raise awareness and inspire conservation of the fragile beauty of nature, especially those environments and species threatened and endangered, for the enjoyment of generations to come."

Congratulations, Phoenix! Check out some of her photos taken at the Refuge over the years:

Local Artist's "Life at the Refuge" Now On Display at FAU

Karen Rosenblatt's depiction of Roseate Spoonbills and a Great Blue Heron in "Life at the Refuge" is now on display through October 13 as part of the Living Room Theaters show on the FAU campus, 777 Glades Road, in Boca Raton. Catch a movie there or just stop by and view the art of Signature Members of The Artists Guild of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
You can view "Life at the Refuge" here:
And here is a sampling of Karen's artwork inspired by the Refuge:
Ask Refuge manager Rolf Olson about her painting that now adorns the wall of his office!

Butterfly Counts on the Refuge

The North American Butterfly Association Atala Chapter conducted its annual butterfly count at the Refuge on June 15. Here are the totals, for this year as well as for the past 23 years:

Video: How Refuge Tree Island Study Led to Alligator Bite

For all of you who have been asking, "Who got bit by the alligator???" you'll want to watch this interview with Kelsey Pollack:

Incentives Offered for Hunting Pythons on Refuge

The South Florida Water Management District governing board voted to dedicate about $1 million annually to removal of invasive pythons from the Everglades, more than tripling the current python budget. Since March 2017, hunters have removed more than 2,500 pythons from the Everglades in Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Collier and Hendry counties. The increased funding provides for doubling the number of python hunters from 25 to 50, using detection dogs and GPS-tracked snakes, soliciting ideas for better hunting techniques and continuing monitoring programs with the University of Florida. The funding also provides for a pay increase for hunters willing to stalk pythons in hard-to-reach areas of the northern Everglades. Our Refuge is one of the newly designated premium-pay hunting spots.

A 2011 study that looked at small mammal populations in Everglades National Park found declines of between 87 and 99 percent for raccoons, opossums, white-tailed deer and bobcats. No rabbits or foxes were seen in park surveys between 2003 and 2011. University of Florida wildlife ecology professor Frank Mazotti said 3 to 4 years worth of surveys on levees in the Refuge have shown a decline in small mammals here as well. This year, UF researchers also set up cameras on tree islands to count sightings. A scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey tested water throughout the Refuge for python DNA between 2014 and 2016, finding the amount of positive samples "consistent with the pattern expected for a resident python population as opposed to sporadic, transient individuals..." Most of the water that tested positive for python DNA was near the center of the Refuge where people would be less likely to spot a snake.

COBWRA Objects to Proposed Weakening of Preservation Rules in Ag Reserve

COBWRA, the Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations, recently hired land-use lawyer Richard Grosso, former legal director for 1000 Friends of Florida, to file an "objection letter" with the Palm Beach County commissioners, urging them to reject a developer's proposal that would exempt a 186-bed congregate living facility in the county's Agricultural Reserve from complying with the rule that at least 60 percent of its property be preserved. County voters in 1999 overwhelmingly agreed to spend $100 million to acquire about 2,400 acres in the Ag Reserve, a 22,000-acre farming and conservation area located west of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, just east of the Refuge. That purchase, along with development restrictions in the remainder of the Reserve, were intended to preserve the land's viability for farming. "The constant pressures and applications to carve up the Ag Reserve will not stop unless and until the BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) makes clear that it is not willing to entertain them," Grosso told the commissioners.

Lake Worth Beach Hopes to Harness the Power of the Gulf Stream

Lake Worth Beach (the city formerly known as Lake Worth) wants to build a facility to harness the power of the Gulf Stream. The city is ideally located along the Atlantic coast where the current is concentrated in a 60-mile channel between Florida and the Bahamas. A lab at Florida Atlantic University has been testing the ocean's energy capability at that site for 12 years. The proposal would tap the underwater current to turn a series of turbines and capture the energy of the ocean for transmission to the mainland. All they have to do now is find the money. The city plans to lobby the Florida Legislature and the federal government for financial help.

State Appellate Court Sends Amendment One Lawsuit Back to Trial Court

After 75 percent of voters approved the Water and Land Conservation Amendment - Amendment 1 - in 2014 to allocate 33 percent of revenues from real-estate documentary stamps to the state's Land Acquisition Trust Fund, the Florida Legislature instead used much of it to cover administrative costs and other things unrelated to conservation. Lawmakers' spending choices spurred a lawsuit from the Florida Wildlife Federation and other environmental groups. Despite an initial court victory in 2018, which found 185 appropriations totaling more than $420 million unconstitutional, an appellate court has now sent the case back to the trial court without deciding whether the funds are being misused. The appellate court focused its decision on a narrow aspect of the initial ruling, rejecting the original judge's determination that the funds could only be spent on lands purchased after the constitutional amendment took effect in 2015. So, the court battle continues. The amendment is set to expire in 2035.

Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Lands Transferred to Army for Border Barrier

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced last month the transfer of 560 acres of Federal lands to the U.S. Department of the Army to build 70 miles of border barriers. As much as 300 acres in Arizona are within the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, home to the endangered Sonoran pronghorn. The acres that will be impacted are extremely remote and contain critical wildlife habitat, which could soon be bisected by an impenetrable 30-foot wall.

Hurricanes Bring Some Silver Linings

If you were looking for a positive spin on catastrophic hurricanes, here are three semi-good news stories:

Coral bleaching in the Florida Keys and the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico:
Hurricane Dorian pulled up deep water to end a heat-driven coral bleaching event in the Florida Keys, while Hurricane Barry stirred up the water in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana and broke up what scientists thought was going to be a (more) huge dead zone this summer.

Sargassum seaweed:
The knee-deep piles of sargassum seaweed that smothered Palm Beach County's beaches since spring are noticeably absent in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. The hurricane probably gets some credit, although seasonal swings in seaweed abundance may be the bigger factor. The seaweed can be beneficial to beach stabilization and sea turtle nesting in moderation, but a smelly nuisance in abundance.

Native fish in Puerto Rico:
Hurricane Maria was disastrous for Puerto Ricans, but some Puerto Rican fish have actually evolved to thrive in severe weather. Numerous exotic fish, introduced by humans over the past century, compete for limited food and habitat with Puerto Rican native species. After Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017, thousands of non-native river fish were flushed far downriver during the hurricane, even into the ocean. Many died from blunt force trauma or exposure to salt water. Native river fish, in contrast, were unaffected.

Wild Bird Numbers Dropped by 3 Billion Over Last Half Century

A comprehensive study published in the journal Science by a Cornell University conservation scientist found that the number of wild birds in North America has dropped from an estimated 10.1 billion in 1970 to approximately 7.2 billion today. The study did not try to determine causation, but past studies have blamed habitat loss as the primary reason for bird loss. Other reasons include predation and collisions with windows and cars.

Entrance Fee Notes

Did you know that despite increasing costs and the expansion of recreational opportunities, today's increase in entrance fees is the first in over 20 years? The Refuge currently retains nearly 100% of fees collected, which are used for educational programming improvements, road and parking lot maintenance, brochures, passes and envelopes, trail improvements, interpretive signage and maintenance of visitor facilities. Refuge passes may be purchased at the Visitor Center from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Daily passes may also be purchased from self-serve kiosks at various locations around the Refuge.

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Or, if you don't have the link handy, just go to and select "Friends of the Arthur R Marshall Loxahatchee Natl Wildlife Refuge" (You can just search for "Loxahatchee" but don't try to spell out "National" or it won't work!)

Like Us on Facebook!

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Please spread the word and ask the folks you know to "Like" us!

Join the Friends!

If you're not already a Friends member, why not join now? Your support helps fund Refuge programs and special projects, and helps make our annual Everglades Day possible. Dues are only $25 per person or $40 for a family membership. All members receive our biannual newsletter Gator Tales and a 10% discount in our gift shop. You can sign up online at:

Help Us Grow!

Tell your friends about this hidden treasure! How many of them know we have a piece of the Everglades right here in Palm Beach County? Bring them out, and encourage them to join the Friends. Better yet, give them a gift membership!


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Elinor Williams
Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

"There are no other Everglades in the world." ~Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Celebrate with us, The Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, 1982-2019



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