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NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AND STATE PARK
Friends of the Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges promote conservation, awareness, and appreciation of the Refuge Complex and provide assistance to the mission and programs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world’s premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
In Tampa Bay, we are fortunate to have three National Wildlife Refuges: Egmont Key, Passage Key, and the Pinellas Refuges. The Refuges’ natural areas provide prime habitat for migratory and beach nesting birds to safely “nest and rest” free from human interference. At Egmont Key, increasing numbers of sea turtles also find suitable and secure habitat for laying their eggs each breeding season, and a large and growing population of gopher tortoises safely move about the island, constructing burrows that protect them and many other species during severe storms.
As Friends of the Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges, we:
- Encourage membership through opportunities that support the efforts of the Fish and Wildlife Service at the Tampa Bay Refuges.
- Raise money to fund conservation, preservation, and educational projects in support of the Tampa Bay Refuges and the National Refuge System.
- Provide environmental education programs to elementary age students that takes them out of the classroom and into the school yard where they learn to relate conservation and sustainability concepts to their daily environment.
- Sponsor periodic Refuge clean-ups of exotic plants, debris, and mono-filament that are damaging to wildlife and habitat.
- Offer public educational programs on conservation and preservation topics, the Tampa Bay Refuges, and the national Refuge System.
- Provide bird stewards at Egmont Key who monitor secured areas and ensure that birds can safely nest and rest during periods of high boater visitation to the island.
- Survey nesting and resting birds at the Pinellas Refuges each month to measure changes in population and evaluate effectiveness of conservation programs.