About
the
 Friends

We are a group of dedicated individuals from all over the nation who are passionate about saving the Florida panther.

Our Mission

 

Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge supports and promotes the goals of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and promotes a better understanding and appreciation of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

We work to safeguard the Refuge through education, outreach, advocacy, and being an active partner in Refuge projects. We are also focused on protecting the native flora and fauna found in the Florida Panther NWR and its partner refuge, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Our projects center on restoring the Florida panther and its habitat within its historic range. 

The Friends of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge is a

non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. 

Meet the Team

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Mac Hatcher

TREASURER

Mac retired in 2012 from Collier County where he was a Senior Environmental Specialist. He worked for Collier County for 26 years in the Environmental Services, Natural Resources, and Pollution Control departments on growth management and water quality projects. Mac has resided in Collier County for 42 years and currently serves on the Boards for the Estuary Conservation Association, and Backcountry Fly
Fishers. He edits the Florida Panther Update newsletter for the Friends and has recently assumed the role of Treasurer. Mac earned a B.S. in Fisheries Science from California State University, Humboldt.

Why a Friends Group?

A Friends group is a non-profit organization that is a representative of the community and offers assistance to a principal organization. So why have one for a National Wildlife Refuge? Refuges are threatened by insufficient funding, oil and gas exploration, development, and roads.

 

Budget cuts in the past decade have left the National Refuge System understaffed, and underfunded, resulting in cuts to educational programs, closed offices, and negative impacts on wildlife monitoring and recovery projects. 

Friends groups help support local refuges by advocating for funding, conducting public events and connecting with the community, raising funds, restoring habitat, maintaining trails, and coordinating volunteers. You can read more about the role of Friends groups on National Refuges here.

The Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge helps provide funding for important biological projects and outreach events. We also provide funding for an intern Outreach Ranger position on the Refuge. 

Partners

We work closely with our local community and many other organizations throughout Florida. We couldn't do what we do without the help of our partners!

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