What We Do
We are an all-volunteer group of nature lovers.
Email us to volunteer for any of our projects below, and please note that some of these activities are limited due to the pandemic.
Friends staff the Welcome Desk at Refuge Headquarters, answer questions, and direct visitors toward refuge adventures, allowing refuge staff to concentrate on other duties.
The Pepper Busters are a 12+ year grant funded team of volunteers joining refuge staff to provided the necessary labor to check the spread of the invasive Brazilian Pepper on the refuges. They contribute hundreds of hours of difficult work in harsh conditions to control this extremely invasive plant.
Local Friends wildlife experts offer guided nature walks.
Friends members also provide tour guides during Seahorse Key open house events.
Friends assists with trail improvements and helps maintain existing trails including the River Trail and Tram Ridge Trail near refuge headquarters. Activities include building and repairing boardwalks, placing benches at critical rest stops, and producing and installing informational signs. Trail map brochures are here...
The Lower Suwannee NWR was created to protect the water quality of the Suwannee river. Friends sponsors and participates in river cleanups each year to support the underlying spirit of the refuge.
With over 500 subscribers, the monthly emailed NewsBrief updates subscribers on refuge research projects, wildlife sightings, road conditions and more. Read past issues...
The Friends website features a wealth of refuge information and is frequently updated.
Friends designs, publishes, and maintains 21 brochures highlighting refuge-specific wildlife and nature activities to educate and guide the public. See them all...
Friends operate local festival tables to promote our refuges and provide maps and information and offer promotional merchandise for sale.
Restoration plans for the historic 14-acre Vista property are underway. Friends secured grants from the state of Florida for a comprehensive Historic Structure Assessment Report by Bender & Associates Architects. Based on the report, plans to stabilize the most at-risk structures have begun. Read More...
The Shell Mound Interpretive Trail, a popular refuge attraction and important historical site, draws hundreds of visitors each year. It was spearheaded, designed, and co-funded by Friends in partnership with the Laboratory of Southeastern Archaeology at the University of Florida. Read More...
Friends, along with along with Cedar Keys Audubon, co-sponsored an electronic tracker that tagged Suwannee, a male swallow-tail kite. The tracker furthers research by the Avian Research and Conservation Institute in Gainesville, Florida, demonstrating that swallow-tail kites migrate to Brazil and back to the same part of our refuge each year. Read More...
Friends helped create a pollinator garden near the visitor center with a $5,000 grant from the Cedar Key Garden Club.
Provide financial support to the Cedar Key Library and the Town of Suwannee Tech Center for nature-based lecture series topics.
Contribute data to the iNaturalist app and website by the California Academy of Sciences. iNaturalist is an open-access database where anyone can add natural history information and customize it for specific regions of interest and intended uses. It is a great way for people who enjoy wildlife, birds, wildflowers, and nature photography to make a lasting contribution to the Refuges. Read More...