PIPS is always happy to have our members become more involved, to support both our organization, and the Pelican Island NWR. Our needs range from greeting visitors to the Refuge itself, to participating on our Board of Directors. So whether you like getting you fingernails dirty, or just answering a question or orienting a first-time visitor to the Refuge, We Need You!
National Wildlife Refuges primarily depend on funding from the federal government - most refuges are free to visit - therefore staffing and public services they may provide, are subject to the vagaries of the political process. Refuges rely heavily on their dedicated "Friends" support groups for many services and activities available to the public. Therefore, the more people a Friends group can engage, the better the Refuge, and the public can be served.
The primary mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is as land stewards to conserve native habitat for the benefit of wildlife. Secondarily, refuges allow for public wildlife-dependent uses, where compatible.
The ultimate goal for many Friends groups, from the public-use aspect, is to provide a Visitors' Center, to provide education, interpretation, and to tell the story of the history and mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Pelican Island, being the first refuge in the United States, lacks such a facility for now. Our Refuge is part of the heritage of the Sebastian community and ultimately, PIPS would be proud to be able to provide for and support a proper Visitors' Center for our Refuge. Please consider how you may be able to assist us and our community in attaining that goal!
Below is a list of possible ways you can help out. This is just a partial list, so if you have ideas or special expertise and would like to offer your assistance, please contact us.
- Participate on our Board of Directors or a committee
- Publicity/public outreach/newsletters/facebook/press releases/website
- Volunteer/event coordination
- Special events
- Refuge field work/maintenance/butterfly garden
- Wildlife counts/monitoring
- Refuge tours
- Historical research
- Greeting the public/orientation/information