Volunteers and staff of the St. Marks NWR recently held a workday to prepare the pen for the visiting whooping cranes which are expected to arrive, led by ultralight.planes, sometime in late December.
Terry Peacock, Refuge manager, directed the group in various cleanup activities including clearing the trail, attaching electric fence wire, putting more oyster shells on the reef, making repairs to the blind, and putting up the camo screen. St. Marks Photo Club members, as well as other Refuge volunteers and staff mucked about in the water and mud to get ready for the important and well-anticipated flock.
A group of students from the Wakulla High School Advanced Placement Science class joined in by stringing electric wire as their part of the project. Holly Peacock brought friends Danni Hutto, Autumn Porter, Kara Smith and Kristie Hodges to learn about this special effort to protect the cranes while they are wintering at the Refuge. “It was a lot of hard work, but the effort was worth it to protect an endangered species," said Holly Peacock, after a day in the sun getting wet and dirty. All the students agreed it was fun and they’d like to do it again.
The cranes are brought here by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP), the team dedicated to returning a sustainable population of Whooping cranes to the Eastern Flyway. This will be the third year that half of the ultralight flock has spent the winter at St. Marks NWR. A flyover when the public can see the birds will be announced when the flock is ready to move into their newly refurbished pen.
Keywords:Florida, Florida Panhandle, St. Marks, St. Marks NWR, St. Marks Refuge Association, Visit Florida, Whooping Cranes, cranes, refuge, volunteers, whoopers, wildlife
Well done, Lou! Great collection of photos... I think they really capture the spirit of the day. Thanks for taking them.
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© Original Photography by Lou Kellenberger