The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge (ECWR) is the Emerald Coast’s nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the area’s flora and fauna. Serving five counties, including 85 miles of Gulf Beaches and 350 miles of shore line, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, ECWR  and its talented staff and volunteers work to rehabilitate and release all orphaned and injured wildlife across the Florida Panhandle.  ECWR is the NOAA certified response team for protected animals for the Panhandle. These highly trained volunteers and staff members respond stranded and injured marine life, especially dolphin, along the Gulf Coast. In most cases, the Marine Stranding Team, made up of three veterinarians and other marine specialists can reach the distressed or stranded animal within two hours.  The staff and volunteers are trained to treat and transport the animal as well as remove and dispose of fatalities.

The ECWR is also dedicated to education the public about environmental stewardship and local conservation. The ECWR works with local law enforcement handling the rescue and recovery of injured wildlife and presents educational programs for local schools and community organizations about the importance of local wildlife.  Trike, the three-legged squirrel is always the star of the show.  The work of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge is supported entirely by donations and contributions from individuals and local businesses.

The Southern Star is proud to host a fundraiser for the Emerald Coast Wild Life Refuge on May 4th. This private, two hour  cruise will allow contributors to relax and enjoy Destin’s Historic Harbor and Choctawhatchee Bay while looking for dolphin and other native wild and marine life.  Food and beverages, including beer and wine, live music, door prizes, and a 50/50 raffle are available on board.  Boarding begins promptly at 1:45 for the 2:00 cruise.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $30.00 for adults and $15.00 for children under ten. You can purchase tickets on line and all contributions and donations are tax deductible.  Animal and marine rescue is an unfortunate, but very necessary service along the Emerald Coast.