STC has been an active supporter and advocate for the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge since the idea was first conceived over 25 years ago. Our organization played a significant role in establishing the refuge in 1989, and STC was a founding member of the Archie Carr Working Group, a coalition of public and private entities set up to expand, protect, manage and promote the Refuge. STC continues to help secure funds for land acquisition and management, and we directly coordinate a number of habitat improvement programs in the Carr Refuge, including dune restoration projects, beach clean ups and a program that helps beachfront residents convert their lights to the latest turtle-friendly technology. Our annual migration tracking studies of turtles in the refuge are yielding important information about what these turtles do when they leave the Refuge, which helps direct conservation and recovery efforts.
Over the years, STC has worked with Florida lawmakers and county governments to restrict coastal armoring in the area, and we lead ongoing efforts to increase awareness and public support for the Carr Refuge by distributing educational materials, generating media attention, staging public events, conducting guided sea turtle walks and giving presentations to local groups and schools. STC’s educational efforts related to the Carr Refuge expanded further in 2008 with the opening of the Barrier Island Center (BIC), an environmental education center located in the heart of the Carr Refuge that is jointly managed by STC and Brevard County’s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program. With staff and volunteers based year-round at the BIC, STC conducts a variety of programs in partnership with the local community that are building coastal awareness and stewardship for the Carr Refuge and the entire barrier island ecosystem. Without question, STC’s long-term commitment to the Archie Carr Refuge and all the turtle nesting sites in Florida has contributed to the recovery of green turtles we are seeing now. We share in celebrating the good news about green turtles with numerous public and private partners that have also contributed in their own ways—and with STC’s loyal members who have supported our efforts so strongly.