Help REI Grow the OptOutside Movement

November 14, 2017
National Wildlife Refuge Association

For the last two years, REI’s award-winning #OptOutside campaign has encouraged more than 7 million people to #OptOutside.  REI's campaign is "designed to provoke discussion by exploring nine ‘brutal truths’ juxtaposed with nine ‘beautiful possibilities.’  Together, they paint a picture of what could happen if we stay inside as a species, or #OptOutside."

Their new report, to further their campaign, is entitled "The Path Ahead: Without realizing it, we are becoming the world's first indoor species.  Are we too late to change course?"

Camera Ready

Nature operates on its own schedule but these photo contest winners were waiting

Vero Beach Magazine, July 2017

Some photographers went for the big picture and others focused on the small stuff, but a common trait among winners of the Pelican Island Preservation Society’s photo contest was patience.  

Nathan Adams was on his daily walk combing the beach for something to shoot when he noticed the interesting way a wave kicked up over a tiny shell. So he readied his camera — and waited. An hour later, he got the shot that would become the contest’s best-in-show winner, which he called “Seeking Shelter.”

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Anne Michael's Crusade to Educate About the Barrier Island's Correct Name

Vero Beach Magazine, July 2017

Mrs. Joe W. (Anne) Michael is on a crusade to educate full and part time residents and visitors as to the correct name of Indian River County’s barrier island — and to convince them to use it. 

It is Orchid Island. This is the name officially stamped on maps, signs and into the hearts of those who waged a hard-fought battle some 100 years after the island’s pioneers named it for the tiny wild orchids growing on live oak trees. 

In 1985 she and her late husband, Joe, along with other civic leaders won that battle and restored the rightful name, Orchid Island, at the time when the county’s barrier island was indiscriminately labeled “Hutchinson Island” along with the barrier island in St. Lucie and Martin counties.

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Protecting Pelican Island

March 10, 2017
Ken Warren, Public Affairs Specialist
US Fish & Wildlife, Ecological Services Office, Vero Beach

Dozens of people got their feet wet in the Indian River Lagoon in Florida recently while building an oyster reef breakwater. The reef is designed to prevent further erosion of iconic Pelican Island, which has already decreased in size 60 percent from its original 5.5 acres.

Over a span of about six hours, staff and volunteers from several agencies transported (by truck and by boat) about 600 bags of fossilized shells and stacked them around a small mangrove island near Pelican Island proper at the national wildlife refuge that bears its name.

“We expect oyster spat, that is very young oysters, to attach themselves to the reef, but it remains to be seen if they survive to become adults. Regardless, the shell we’re laying today will provide habitat for a variety of oyster community species and will provide a breakwater to protect Pelican Island,” says biologist Patrick Pitts of the Service.

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Wildlife Refuges Are for People Too

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuges near urban areas provide easy escapes for city dwellers

By Reed McManus
"Sierra," March/April 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking it to the streets. Known for its khaki-clad rangers dedicated to protecting habitat for grizzlies, roseate spoonbills, butterflies, and lizards, the USFWS's National Wildlife Refuge System has, since 2011, also been focusing on the human communities near many of its refuges. Some 80 percent of U.S. residents live in urban areas, and more than 100 of the system's 562 refuges are located within 25 miles of 250,000 or more people.

But sometimes those people don't know a nearby refuge exists. The solution for a relatively small federal agency: Team up with nonprofit groups already working in urban neighborhoods to introduce schoolkids and other residents to their local wildlands, then get them out to discover, appreciate, and care for the natural world.

Click here to read the full story.