Friends Finances for 2017 Fiscal Year Oct. 2016 - Sept. 2017
The Friends support the Refuge in a variety of ways. Ongoing annual commitments include co-sponsoring Everglades Day, contributing to the Exhibit Maintenance Fund, providing Internet service for resident volunteers and interns, and spreading the word about the Refuge through the Friends website, Facebook, email newsletter, Gator Tales newsletter, annual calendar and promotional brochures.
In the fall of 2017 the Friends donated $4,000 to the Palm Beach County School District to bring students out on field trips to the Refuge, where they can learn about and experience the Everglades first hand. The Refuge is a favorite destination for teachers and students alike, but transportation money for field trips runs out early in the school year, so many students never get the chance. Friends members and donors provided the funds for this donation that enabled hundreds more students to visit the Refuge. This was the second year in a row that the Friends were able to make a donation to the school district, in addition to a $9,000 grant from the National Park Foundation that the Refuge received and transferred to the school district early in 2016.
In 2017 the Friends provided funding for a biology intern to help Refuge staff with water quality monitoring and other needs. For 2018 the Friends have received a $12,420 grant from the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County to help fund an education specialist to help Refuge staff with visiting school groups.
The Friends have developed and continue to support our self-guided smart phone and cell phone tours on the trails of the Refuge. Eight listening posts are located around the Marsh Trail - Introduction, Everglades Communities, Water Management, Wading Birds/Waterfowl, Raptors, Reptiles and Amphibians, Alligators, Invasive Exotics and Fire; one post is located across the footbridge at the edge of the LILA impoundments; two are near the Visitor Center - Cypress Swamp, and Butterfly Garden; listening posts are also located at each of the three boat ramps. We are hopeful that this project will increase public visitation and enjoyment of the Refuge for years to come.
The Friends are all volunteers; until 2018 we have had no paid employees. In 2018 for the first time we hired an associate to work full-time with visiting school groups and other groups from the local community who come out to learn about the Refuge and the Everglades. All of our income comes from store profits, donations and Friends like you. Please consider a gift to the Friends today! Donate