St. Marks Refuge Association, Inc.
PO Box 368
Saint Marks FL 32355
Contact Information
Address PO Box 368
Saint Marks, FL 32355
Telephone (850) 925-6121
Web and Social Media
Donate Directly to this Organization
Donate to this Orgs Endowment Fund at Community Foundation
St. Marks Lighthouse
At A Glance
Organization DBA
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, SMRA, the Association, the friends group
Friends of St. Marks Wildlife Refuge
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Name of supporting organization St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
EIN Number 59-2811456
Year of Incorporation 1987
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $124,785.00
Projected Expenses $118,200.00
Mission Statement
The St. Marks Refuge
Association, Inc. (SMRA), a friends group, which supports and promotes the
mission of the St. Marks N.W. Refuge. SMRA was organized in 1987, has bylaws, and a friends agreement with the
St. Marks N.W. Refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. SMRA supports the refuge by providing funds to
help the refuge with environmental education, biological, visitor services, and
other programs, and also provides outreach, volunteers and advocates for the
St. Marks Refuge and the national refuge system.
The refuge, as a federal agency, is not allowed to accept donations. SMRA accepts donations and grant awards on behalf of the refuge, handling bookkeeping and documenting the dispersal of funds. The Board of Directors is a working board rather than an advisory one. All directors take on duties that are important to SMRA as well as the refuge. SMRA has a membership of over 400 dues-paying members, most of whom, give beyond membership dues. We run a gift shop inside the refuge visitor center. All directors and the gift shop manager are volunteers; we have no paid staff. The majority of the refuge volunteers are also members of SMRA.
Needs Statement
Since we are a nonprofit with a single focus, the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, our pressing needs are those of developing ways to help the refuge more. Since government funding for national wildlife refuges has continued to be reduced, the money we contribute is even more important to St. Marks Refuge.
1) Fundraising for the Lighthouse preservation, maintenance and operations
2) SMRA capacity building: more SMRA volunteers so more work can be accomplished; possibly a part-time paid administrative assistant especially with lighthouse capital campaign coming soon
3) Increase public awareness of the St. Marks Refuge and the friends group
4) Increase the amount of funds raised so we can donate more to refuge programs
5) On-going: continue to add to the Endowment Fund.   The interest will be folded back into the fund until $1 million is reached. The endowment is for sustaining the refuge in the future.

Impact Statement
Recent Accomplishments:
1) In the fiscal June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015, we provided $17,800 to the refuge environmental education program, $21,500 to the refuge wildlife & habitat conservation program, $12,800 to refuge Visitor Services programs and $44,000 to St. Marks Lighthouse restoration efforts.
2) Our Development Committee renewed an annual donation of $10,000 to be used to bring four interns per year to the refuge for the biology program. The interns, supervised by a refuge biologist, conduct research  concerning threatened and endangered species such as red-cockaded woodpeckers and gopher tortoises and work to restore habitat to promote the expansion of these species on the refuge .
3) The St. Marks Lighthouse was transferred to the refuge in October of 2013. SMRA is involved in helping the refuge in all aspects of the lighthouse preservation and eventual public use, such as museum displays, etc. SMRA has begun a fund raising campaign to restore the lighthouse and attached keeper's quarters in a historically accurate manner. We will soon
1) Run a successful capital campaign for the preservation of the St. Marks Lighthouse. At this time (before the feasibility study) we are guessing we will need to raise between $1.5 and $3 million dollars.
2) To improve member retention and gain more new members: a) provide more and different types of activities for members, such as kayaking, hikes, and indoor social events; b) send monthly email updates to members and c) promote the SMRA friends group on the refuge and in the community.
3) To publish and disseminate information about making bequests to SMRA that will benefit the refuge in the future.

Background Statement
The St. Marks Refuge Association, Inc. (SMRA) is an independent, 501(c)(3), public corporation, friends group that was organized to support the mission of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. It was organized in 1987, has bylaws, a board of directors and over 400 dues-paying members. It has a “Friends Agreement” with the St. Marks N.W. Refuge and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The board committees, usually chaired by a director are Membership, Communication, Photo Club, Development and Nominating/Board Support. We use ad hoc committees as needed.
SMRA has flexibility not inherent in a federal agency (e.g., the refuge may not solicit or accept donations, cannot sell merchandise, etc.), so we solicit and accept donations, write and/or accept grants on behalf of the refuge and financially administer the grants. We run the Nature Store gift/book store inside the Visitor Center and hold an annual silent auction during one of the refuge festivals. In the next year we will begin a capital campaign the raise the funds the preserve the historic St. Marks Lighthouse.
SMRA supports the mission of the Refuge by providing funds to Visitor Services (festival food, travel funds) Environmental Education (summer salary for the Education Specialist and supply funds), and the Biology program (equipment, intern funds, travel funds), and we provide funds for other miscellaneous needs that can’t be purchased with federal funds (e.g., wifi for the education building, printing the newsletter and annual passes).
SMRA partners with the Refuge to provide opportunities for members to engage in wildlife conservation through volunteerism: field based work (remove invasive plants, collect and plant wire grass seed, maintain the whooping crane pen), public use (keeping trails open and clean), educational tours (birding, behind the gates, informational walks, history) Ambassadors (provide information to visitors at the lighthouse area), Visitor Center (greet, provide information) and SMRA Nature Store (buying, managing, restocking).
SMRA is an all-volunteer organization; we have no paid staff. SMRA volunteers make up the board of directors, recruit and retain members, maintain the database, send member renewals, host member only events (annual meeting, hikes, tours, presentations, potlucks, ice cream social, etc.), write and send out the monthly email Update, and maintain the SMRA Website and Facebook. We also make up the majority of the volunteers for the refuge!

Service Categories
Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Wildlife Preservation & Protection
Single Organization Support
Areas of Service
Areas Served
State of Florida
SMRA serves the refuge, its visitors and
friends. The refuge is in the Florida panhandle, spanning Wakulla, Taylor and
Jefferson counties, and is 25 miles from Tallahassee in Leon County. Most SMRA members live in one of these four
counties, but we do have members from central and south Florida, south Georgia,
and a few from other states. National
and international visitors enjoy the refuge for its beauty, renowned birding
opportunities and because of the historic lighthouse.  

Board Chair Statement As a leader (president) for SMRA and a volunteer for the refuge, I get to combine both my major passions. My experiences in religious education, hospice and counseling psychology have allowed me to help provide opportunities to others for personal growth. I found I really liked doing this and was pretty good at it. I also care deeply about the environment and protecting natural ecosystems for threatened and endangered plants and animals.
Over the last three years the SMRA Board has made a concerted effort to grow and develop professionally. We were awarded a capacity building grant and with these funds purchased a computer, printer, the database program, Gift Works, and the email program, Constant Contact. We also used some of these funds to bring in a consultant to work with the board on ways to recruit new directors and how to grow the organization professionally so we could do even more for the refuge.
We now have a board of directors with a larger range of professional experiences and want to continue in this direction.
Directors are now taking on more projects and recruiting new volunteers to help. The more active and engaged volunteers that we have the more we can accomplish for the refuge.

I see our challenges as opportunities for sharing the wealth and allowing even more people to get involved and feel that they, too, are making a meaningful difference for the future and for our grandchildren.

Something we hope to accomplish this year that would help us focus long-range and for the future are a Strategic plan, and 5- and 10-year plans. These would help keep us on task, and allow us to complete an annual evaluation of how much we accomplished in the past year, where we might have missed the mark, and what we could have done better. Then we can develop a more realistic plan for the next year(s). It will be a learning process, but one that we need to go through. One of my goals will be to keep us from getting discouraged if we don’t do as well as we hoped and we will celebrate what we have done right.
Our biggest challenge for the next three to four years concerns the preservation of the St. Marks Lighthouse in partnership with the St. Marks NW Refuge. As a federal entity, the refuge cannot accept or solicit donations. SMRA can and does and will!
A capital campaign is a new and unknown project for us. We are trying to do it the right way: obtaining information from other lighthouses, having an architect/engineer develop a preservation plan, hiring a consultant to help us plan a campaign, having a feasibility study conducted, and getting input from the public. At the same time, keeping in mind that US Fish & Wildlife (owner of the lighthouse) has many rules and regulations about what can be done with government buildings on government land, so the refuge has the final say.
Contact me if you want to be part of our noble endeavor to help the refuge!


Refuge environmental education programs reach 12,000+ children per year. These include school classes, as well as participants in the Tots on Trails and Families in Nature programs. SMRA pays for supplies, partial salary for the education ranger, and transportation scholarships for schools lacking funds for field trips. First Sunday at the Refuge presentations and a monthly Digital Nature Photography class mainly serve adults. Adults and children participate in the dozens of educational tours we run during festivals, as well as the 12-15 special tours and hikes we offer each year to Refuge sites of special biological, historical or aesthetic significance.

Budget $12,000.00
Category Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Adults,
Program Success Monitored By The Education Ranger assesses the interest level of area teachers in having their students complete Refuge programs, year after year, and also the degree to which teachers have completed pre-program activities in their classrooms, designed to prepare students prior to their Refuge visit.
Examples of Program Success Program has grown by 1,000 children/year from 2004 to present, and now serves over 12,000 children/year. Students are also better prepared for their visits.

Refuge efforts to protect at-risk species focus on specific animals (Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Whooping Crane, Gopher Tortoise). Basic protection is provided for recovering species (Bald Eagle, Alligator). Water levels are managed to provide habitat for at-risk birds that are overwintering or in transit, and large areas of habitat are kept wild for numerous at-risk species (Black Bear, Fox Squirrel). Where possible, invasive species are removed and native plant communities are restored. SMRA provides many volunteer hours and funds for equipment and supplies not covered by the Refuge budget. SMRA also seeks to raise funds for internship support.

Budget $7,000.00
Category Environment, General/Other Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Population Served Adults, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years),
Program Success Monitored By Increase in specie population size over time.  
Examples of Program Success Red-cockaded woodpecker population increased from 5 to 32 clusters in 13 years. Bald eagle nests increased from 3 to 21 in 40 years.

The Refuge holds several annual events to educate the public about our heritage. The WHO Festival (Wildlife Heritage and Outdoors) celebrates wildlife, traditional crafts and outdoor skills. The Monarch Butterfly Festival centers on their stunning migration, when number per acre can go from 0 to 1,000 overnight. Visitors learn about ecology, climate and geography. Lighthouse Day and the Lighthouse Challenge weekend stress history and life in isolated locations. The typical event involves displays, food, and docents in period costume. SMRA provides many volunteers, plus funds for everything from food and portable toilets, to publicity and supplies.

Budget $4,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Cultural Festivals
Population Served Adults, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Families
Program Success Monitored By Annual post-festival evaluation of general participation, and interest in specific activities.
Examples of Program Success More shorter duration (60 min vs 90 min) tours behind the gates lead to more visitors electing to take tours, and hence being exposed to details of Refuge qualities, operation and management issues.

The St. Marks Lighthouse, a beautiful masonry lighthouse with intact keeper’s quarters, is a National Historic Site located on the Refuge. It is an icon for Florida panhandle counties, and attracts visitors from all over the world. Ownership has been transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Refuge. A multi-million dollar restoration will be undertaken, with the eventual goal of operating it as a museum. The SMRA is expected to have primary responsibility for raising funds for restoration. 

Budget $75,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Historic Preservation & Conservation
Population Served Adults, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), Families
Program Success Monitored By Success will be determined by obtaining funds to allow engineering assessment, then funds to conduct the restoration, and then funds to support annual operation as a museum.

The Refuge currently consists of about 70,000 acres distributed across some 40 miles of Gulf of Mexico coastline. Using management tools such as replanting, reseeding, and prescribed burning, native plant communities (such as longleaf pine-wiregrass) are gradually being restored. SMRA volunteers have helped with this restoration. Purchasing 16,000 acres of undeveloped adjacent land is part of the Refuge’s approved Unit Management Plan. Public hearings have been held and willing sellers have self-identified. Over coming years, SMRA will advocate for acquiring federal land-acquisition funds for this project, and will also solicit private support.

Budget $0.00
Category Environment, General/Other Land Conservation
Population Served Adults, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years),
Program Success Monitored By Success will be measured by acres acquired over time. 
Examples of Program Success Several modest-sized parcels have already been acquired. The largest one was about 300 acres.
Program Comments
CEO Statement/Executive Director/Board Comments
The St. Marks Refuge Association is led by an all-volunteer Board with no paid staff. 
All of our programs indicate “Support of’” which reflects the fact that the actual programs belong to the Refuge, and that our role is support of these programs. Support can involve providing funds, volunteer hours, or both. 
SMRA support is absolutely critical for most programs. The Education program, for example, probably serves 10 times more students with financial and volunteer support than would be possible otherwise. The manpower involved in many programs typically involves 5-15 volunteers for every refuge staff person involved. Festivals involve 40-50 volunteers and only 3-4 rangers. Some activities, such as harvest of wiregrass seed for restoring a native plant community, have involved 15 volunteers with no rangers. 

We are taking steps to strengthen our Board, expand our membership (currently about 400), and enhance our ability to provide financial support. These efforts have involved Board training facilitated by a consultant, establishment of an endowment, formation of a development committee, and other measures.


Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Betty Hamilton
Company Affiliation Retired
Term June 2014 to May 2016
Board Members
Darren Allen Moore Communications
David Bailey Retired Engineer
Mr. Tom Baird Retired Educator
Susan Cason Retired
John Haines Retired
Ms. Betty Hamilton Retired Grants and Compliance Administrator
Ms. Melissa Jacoby Community Voluntee
Ms. Betsy Kellenberger Community Volunteer
Eric Mason FL Trail Association
Nicole Zampieri Student representative
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 74%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Standing Committees
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
CEO Comments The St. Marks Refuge Association has a hands-on Board of Directors who not only attend board meetings, direct the operations of the organization and engage members but also volunteer at festivals, citizens science projects, nature store management and youth environmental education activities.

We seek more opportunities to expand the SMRA membership and extend our community outreach.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Betty Hamilton
Term Start June 2014
CEO/Executive Director Current Compensation 0
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 90
Contractors 0
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation N/A
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
NonManagement Formal Evaluation N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start June 01 2015
Fiscal Year End May 31 2016
Projected Revenue $124,785.00
Projected Expenses $118,200.00
Endowment Value $33,331.32
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage (if selected) 4%
IRS Letter of Dtermination
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$6,179$11,503$16,182
Individual Contributions$60,258$17,321$12,574
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,123$397$798
Membership Dues$8,616$8,738$6,119
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$123,222$123,015$124,328
Administration Expense$3,351$2,702$3,189
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.371.171.13
Program Expense/Total Expenses97%98%97%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$260,591$214,341$188,627
Current Assets$260,591$214,341$188,627
Long-Term Liabilities$2,933$4,206$0
Current Liabilities$363$461$1,427
Total Net Assets$257,295$209,674$187,200
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities717.88464.95132.18
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets1%2%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose Restoration of St. Marks Lighthouse
Dates May 2015 to May 2017
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of July 2015
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Organization Comments As federal support for the National Wildlife Refuge system faces continuing budget challenges, the St. Marks Refuge Association is dedicated to increasing membership and developing alternative streams of income, which will allow us to support important goals of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge staff.
Foundation Comments Financial figures were taken from the IRS Form 990's.Contributions from foundations and corporations are included with total for individuals, as they were not separated in the 990.Top 3 funding sources are not reflected above as they are not indicated in the 990.Has an Endowment at the Community Foundation.
Additional Documents
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
Nonprofit St. Marks Refuge Association, Inc.
Address PO Box 368
Saint Marks, FL 32355
Primary Phone 850 925-6121
Donate with a credit card
Donate to Endowment Fund at Community Foundation
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Betty Hamilton
Board Chair Ms. Betty Hamilton
Board Chair Company Affiliation Retired
Year of Incorporation 1987