Friends Newsletter, May 2024

Some Upcoming and Ongoing Activities:

A major ongoing project for The Friends, working with the assistance of the Buffer staff, is the creation of interpretive signs to help visitors identify plants and environmental information along our newly developed interpretive trail.  This short loop trail runs along the Bay just north of the observation tower at the Buffer headquarters buildings. The Bay views from the trail are stunning. When fully developed the trail will be an important educational addition congruent with the Buffer Visitor Center and the Bay Observation Tower.  Currently we are looking for interested people to assist us with this project in regard to sign design, fund raising support and continuing trail design.

We just concluded our Winter “On the Buffer Deck” stargazing program which will resume in the Fall on October 10th at 7:30PM, November 7th at 6:30PM and December 5th at 6:30 PM.  Our favorite astronomer, Skip Marlin, a NASA Solar System Volunteer and a member of Dark Sky, will have his large Newtonian telescope along with others set up on the deck of the Buffer and will provide a tour of our astronomical environment.

The Buffer Preserve will be hosting a tour exploring the Preserve environments in cooperation with the Florida Wildflower Foundation on Saturday June 8th beginning at 10AM. The natural coastal landscape of the Preserve has one of the highest concentrations of rare plants in the southeastern United States, including globally imperiled species. Participants will board the tram and travel into the preserve, with a focus on areas of recent spring burns. The tram will stop at different sites so participants can explore them up close. Trip cost: Free for members of the Florida Wildflower Foundation and $10 for non-members. Proceeds from the field trip will go to Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves. To sign up for this unique experience visit:

Friends Board members and volunteers are getting ready to participate once again in the Annual Forgotten Coast Turtle Festival on Sunday June 30 in Port St. Joe from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. ET located at George Core Park. This event will include music, food, beverages, Sea Creature Parade and will allow the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves the opportunity to educate the public about the importance of the Preserves and the role they play in helping to maintain a healthy ecosystem.  Our booth will distribute educational literature, sell Preserves related merchandise, and provide us the chance to visit directly with the public.

Another developing program that the Friends are looking forward to sponsoring is Birding Seminars presented by Nelson Mongiovi beginning at 7PM at the Buffer on September 12th, 2024, December 12th, 2024, March 13, 2025, and June 12, 2025. Possible topics include: An Overview of birding along Florida’s Forgotten Coast; The latest free birding apps and technology; Shorebirds along the Gulf Coast; Birds of Prey in our area; The Owls of Florida; and Wading birds found around our area.  These seminars would be offered free to the general public and we are also looking to forward expanding the number and timing of these presentations.

We are beginning a new project at the request of visitors who like to hike in the Buffer Preserve.  The Friends, working in conjunction with the Buffer staff, are designing and planning to build and install walk-overs for low water crossings.  These crossings will assist visitors walking the Buffer main road when water runoff can be too high for foot traffic.

As you know, The Friends of the St. Joseph Bay Preserves holds two Bay Day events each year on the first Saturday in February and October.  These Bay Day celebrations serve as our major fundraisers. We are currently beginning our planning for our upcoming October Bay Day. If you have any questions/comments or would be interested in volunteering to assist us with our upcoming October Bay Day or any of the projects described above, please let us know at

Richard Trahan, President
Friends of Saint Joseph Bay Preserves

The Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves, Inc., is a non-profit Citizen Support Organization established in 2003 to protect and preserve one of the most ecologically significant areas in the Southeastern United States, and to support the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve and St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve.