One Man Can Make A Difference…
On March 14th, 1903, the dream of one man with a boat became reality. Sebastian resident, Paul Kroegel, had fought hard to protect the birds of Pelican Island from relentless "feather seekers."
Through Paul's vision and the help of many friends over one hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt declared Pelican Island to be America's First National Wildlife Refuge.
Marking the birth of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Pelican Island is celebrated as a habitat of splendor for Pelicans and many other bird species, as well as becoming a living legacy.
Come discover the Centennial Trail Boardwalk which officially opened on March 16th, 2003 for the Centennial Celebration - the official celebration of the birth of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
- 14 federally listed threatened and endangered species.
- 16 different bird species nest on Pelican Island proper
- Over 30 different species of birds use the island as a rookery, roost, feeding ground, or loafing area.
- Beyond the tiny rookery of Pelican Island proper, over 130 species of birds use the refuge as a rookery, roost, feeding ground, and/or loafing area.
Located in the Indian River Lagoon on the east coast of Florida, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is both the name of the refuge and the name of the original 5.5 acre rookery island, which supports important bird rookeries, key fish spawning sites, and a globally important juvenile sea turtle nursery. Primarily comprised of lagoonal waters, the refuge includes aquatic, transitional, and upland habitats supporting a diversity of species, including 14 federally listed threatened and endangered species. This complex ecological system also supports hundreds of species of birds, fish, plants, and mammals. Today, at least 16 different bird species nest on Pelican Island proper, including brown pelicans, wood storks, egrets, herons, ibises, anhingas, oystercatchers, and cormorants. Beyond the tiny rookery of Pelican Island proper, over 130 species of birds use the refuge as a rookery, roost, feeding ground, and/or loafing area. Further, federally protected West Indian manatees and sea turtles inhabit the lagoonal waters of the refuge, alongside some 30,000 annual boaters.