This week’s #MarkerMonday discusses the history of the Okefenokee Swamp in honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week, October 13-19, 2019. The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer the conservation, management, and restoration of habitats within the United States. Each wildlife refuge is built around its own mission that is considered in all decisions. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is the largest blackwater swamp in the United States and one of the world’s largest intact freshwater ecosystems. It was established to provide a refuge and breeding ground for birds and other wildlife that live and migrate there, especially its threatened and endangered populations.
President Theodore Roosevelt established the first federal bird reservation in 1903 and by 1909 he established 54 more reservations and national game preserves. These reservations served as the precursor to the National Wildlife Refuge System in place today. In 1934 the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, allowing funding to be directed into the Refuge System. The Duck Stamp Act, as it was also called, requires hunters over the age of 16 to purchase and carry a Federal Duck Stamp to hunt waterfowl. The duck stamp is purchased by hunters for use, stamp collectors as a collectible, and by conservationists as a donation. Ninety-eight percent of the cost of the Duck Stamp is used to fund the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The increase in funding allowed for the creation of more National Wildlife Refuges, like the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge in 1937. Since then, the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge has worked to preserve a habitat for the threatened indigo snake and gopher tortoise, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, and an abundance of other species living there.
Explore the links below to learn more:
Full Marker Text: Charlton
Full Marker Text: Ware
Marker Monday: Okefenokee Swamp
New Georgia Encyclopedia “Okefenokee Swamp Folklore”
New Georgia Encyclopedia “Human History of the Okefenokee Swamp”
New Georgia Encyclopedia “Swamp Water”
GHS houses several collections related to the Okefenokee Swamp:
The Georgia Historical Quarterly has published several articles relating to the Okefenokee Swamp which can be accessed on JSTOR. If your library does not have access to JSTOR, you can go to www.jstor.org and create a free MyJSTOR Account.