Friends of St. Joseph State Parks receive Grant Funding
The Friends of St. Joseph State Parks recently received a grant for $13,464 from the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program, which is funded by the sales of the sea turtle specialty license plate.
Friends of St. Joseph State Parks received the grant to support the sea turtle nesting program at T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Funding was used to purchase a new Honda UTV for staff and volunteers completing sea turtle nesting surveys. Friends of St. Joseph State Parks was chosen for the award through a competitive application process that is open to coastal county governments, educational institutions and Florida-based nonprofit groups striving to improve the livelihood of sea turtles and conserve Florida habitats. The new vehicle replaces a 2017 UTV that went through Hurricane Michael and has reached the end of its serviceable life.
“With nine miles of shoreline to cover, a reliable UTV is essential for daily sea turtle surveys,” says Jessica Swindall board member with Friends of St. Joseph State Parks. “We are thankful the Sea Turtle Grants Program continues to support local sea turtle conservation efforts.”
Launched in 1996, the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate raises money for two important programs that benefit Florida sea turtles- the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Marine Turtle Protection Program and the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which distributes money back to the local level for turtle conservation projects.
The sea turtle specialty plate is currently number two in sales, having sold 104,059 plates in 2022.
“It’s rewarding to know that so many people share our concern for Florida’s sea turtles,” said David Godfrey, Sea Turtle Conservancy Executive Director. “What we do in this state has a dramatic impact on sea turtle populations around the world. By purchasing the sea turtle specialty plate, Floridians are voluntarily funding important programs to save these amazing creatures.”
To learn more about the Sea Turtle Grants Program and the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” specialty license plate, please visit www.helpingseaturtles.org.
Friends receive funding from florida state park foundation
Friends of St. Joseph State Parks is one of five Florida State Parks Friends groups receiving the Florida State Parks Foundation small grants award for 2022. The $5,000 grant will fund a volunteer golf cart to be used by resident volunteers who maintain the campground and cabins.
Launched in 2021, the Foundation allocates $25,000 annually to its small grants program, which awards up to $5,000 to Friends groups, or citizen support organizations, that advocate for their local state parks and provide direct park operations assistance. The grants are used to complete projects that enhance visitor experience, as well as support accessibility projects and park improvement efforts.
”Volunteers are essential members of the park staff and will be critical to re‐opening the campground and cabin facilities,” said Aaron Miller, Park Manager of T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. “Having a vehicle dedicated for volunteers will be a huge benefit to the park. We can’t thank the Friends and the Florida State Park Foundation enough for their support!”
Previous equipment used by volunteers was lost in 2018 when the park suffered significant damage from Hurricane Michael. Many construction projects are underway at T.H Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Cabin renovations, two campground loops and two new day‐use areas are being renovated or built. Additional projects will follow in the next few years.
“We congratulate Friends of St. Joseph State Parks for being a 2022 small grants award recipient,” said Tammy Gustafson, Florida State Parks Foundation President. “Since the launch of our small grants program, diverse projects have been funded that make a positive impact at state parks locally and ensure the continued award‐winning experiences visitors know and love at Florida State Parks.”
The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award‐winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.
It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy. This grant is through the Florida State Parks Foundation Services LLC, which is a limited liability company affiliate of the Foundation.
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