News Archive


(ARCHIVE 2017)

"Spring for the ARK - 11th Anniversary Celebration!!"
Posted: March 6, 2017

Don't miss this event!!!

Join us as we celebrate the 11th Anniversary of Friends of the ARK which benefits the Animal Rehabilitation Keep at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute located in Port Aransas.

Spring for the ARK will be held Saturday, March 11th, at the Port Aransas Civic Center at 710 Avenue A. The party begins at 6:00 pm with music by Gary Moeller, a cash bar operated by members of the Rotary Club, and dinner by Coastal Catering.

A Trip Magic Springs Ranch donated by The McAllister Family that includes four days and additional special auction of items donated by My Coastal Home are only a part of the treats offered at the live and silent auctions!!!!

Call 361-332-6361 for tickets & info or stop by Gratitude at Beach and Station Streets in Port A. Table Sponsors are $500, $400, $300 and individual tickets are $40 each.

Click to view/print a poster for this event.




(ARCHIVE 2016)

"10 Anniversary - Diamonds and Daffodils"
Posted: April 8, 2016

The Friends of the ARK Spring for the ARK 2016 "Diamonds and Daffodils" 10th Anniversary will be held Saturday, May 7 at 6:00 pm at the Civic Center, 710 West Avenue A in Port Aransas. This event benefits the Animal Rehabilitation Keep at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.

Join us as we celebrate with music by Gary Moeller, a cash bar sponsored by the Rotary Club of Port Aransas and dinner catered by Coastal Catering.

Table Sponsorships are $500, $400, or $300. Individual Tickets are $30 each.

Call 361-332-6361 for tickets and info or stop by Gratitude in Port Aransas to make your purchase.

Click here to view/print the flyer for this event.



(ARCHIVE 2015)

"Tony Amos Trash to Treasures AND Friends of the ARK Garage Sale"
Posted: November 19, 2015

Rain or Shine!

The "Tony Amos Trash to Treasures & Friends of the ARK Garage Sale" will be held Saturday, Nov 21st from 8:00 am – all gone at Roberts Point Pavilion near the ferry landing in Port Aransas.

All proceeds to benefit the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) of the UT Marine Science Institute.



"Spring for the ARK"
Posted: October 28, 2015

"Spring for the ARK 2016", our annual fundraising event, was held May 7, 2016 at the Port Aransas Civic Center.



(ARCHIVE 2014)

"Fall for the ARK 2014"
Posted: October 7, 2014

Time to get ready for "Fall for the ARK 2014". This year's fundraising event will be held Saturday, November 8th at the Port Aransas Civic Center located at 710 West Avenue A. Tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased at Gratitude gift shop at 316 North Station Street in Port Aransas or by calling 361-332-6361.

Activities at the event include:

5:00 pm - Presentation by Tony Amos
6:30 pm - Dinner catered by Coastal Catering
7:30 pm - Live Auction

There will also be music, a cash bar, and Silent Auctions!

Click the link below to print the flyer:

"Fall for the ARK" flyer

Call 361-332-6361 to reserve your ticket or get more information about group tables and sponsorship opportunities.



"Turtle Release May 26"
Posted: May 22, 2014

The ARK will have a turtle release at Marker 35 on Mustang Island on Monday, May 26th (Memorial Day) at 10:00 am. Several turtles have been rehabilitated at the ARK and are ready to go home! Bring your camera!

Here are the directions for getting to the location:

  1. Take 361 to Port A

  2. Turn right @ golf course where over pass is and drive on to the beach.
  3. Turn right on beach
  4. Follow signs to Marker 35 in dunes.

Click the link below to print the flyer:

Turtle Release Announcement

Call 361-332-6361 for more information.



"Volunteer to be an ARK Turtle Patroller"
Posted: February 10, 2014

To volunteer at the ARK or to be an ARK Turtle Patroller from April 1-July 15, you must have health insurance and complete the following packet for the University of Texas Marine Science Institute:

Volunteer Packet

To be on the Turtle Patrol on Mustang Island or at the Padre Island National Seashore, you must attend training in March 2014. Call 361-332-6361 for details.

For more information about being an ARK volunteer, see the Volunteer page of this website.



(ARCHIVE 2013)

Posted: October 1, 2013

Mark your calendar: "Fall for the ARK" is Saturday, November 9th at the Port Aransas Civic Center, 710 West Avenue A, from 5:00 to 10:00 pm. Come and enjoy the tropical music of Triggerfish, cocktails and hor d'oeuvres, silent and live auctions, and a Tony Amos presentation.

Sponsored by the Friends of the ARK, this event benefits the Animal Rescue Keep (ARK) at the U.T. Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. Have fun doing your part to support the continuing effort to protect the marine and wildlife in our Coastal Bend community.


Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased in advance by phone, on the Make a Donation page of this website, or at Gratitude gift shop at 316 North Station Street in Port A. For reservations for sponsors and individuals, call 361-332-6361.



(ARCHIVE 2012)

"ARK Gift Shop Opens"
Posted: November 16, 2012

Friends of the ARK opened a gift shop Thursday November 8 for a three month fundraiser to benefit the ARK.

Hours of operation: Monday – Saturday 10 am to 4 pm
Location: 315 S. Alister St, Port Aransas
(across from IGA in Alister Square)

Volunteers will be staffing the gift shop that will feature beautiful photography by Tony Amos. The gift shop will also sell ARK and Friends of the ARK t-shirts, many kinds of jewelry, candles and gifts of all kinds. Anyone wishing to donate hand made items or beach type gifts for the store can call Friends of the ARK at 361-332-6361. Donations are tax deductible.

Friends of the ARK will be running videos in the gift shop of Tony’s many rescues of animals on a continual feed to show the amazing work being done by Tony and ARK personnel. Many of the videos were filmed with the infamous “Tony Cam” video camera he wears on his head during rescues and bird/turtle releases.

A reception honoring the official unveiling of Tony's photography was held Thursday Nov 15 featuring a meet-and-greet with Tony and Lynn Amos.

Friends of the ARK Executive Director Lee Harrison stated, “We could not be doing this unusual fundraiser without the wonderful business owners in Port Aransas who are donating the rent. November is sponsored by Mike Hall of Family Center IGA, and Mary & Murray Judson of South Jetty Newspaper. December is sponsored by Nancy and Keith Donely of Coastal Texas Properties and January is sponsored by Deb Trumpy of A Mano. We can never thank them enough for their generosity!"



"Look Whooo's 30" - ARK 30th Birthday Party"
Updated: July 5, 2012

This year's annual dinner benefit celebrates the 30th birthday of the ARK with the "Look Whooo's 30" party held at the Port Aransas Civic Center on September 15, 2012!

Join us for this Texas Luau catered by Coastal Catering. The cash bar opens at 6:00 pm and the dinner and auction follow at 7:00 pm. Enjoy an ARK update by Tony Amos and music by Brian Winfrey.


Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased in advance by phone, on the Make a Donation page of this website, or at Gratitude gift shop at 316 North Station Street in Port A. Call 361-332-6361 for more information.



"Turtle Release Video"
Posted: July 5, 2012

If you haven't ever been to an ARK turtle release, you have missed an exciting and emotional event! Now, we are able to share this experience with you via video. Click the link below to view this ARK March 2012 turtle release on Mustang Island:

Watch the Turtle Release video.

Our thanks to Dan Parker and the Port Aransas South Jetty newspaper for filming and sharing this event.



"Success at the 2012 Whooping Crane Festival"
Posted: April 1, 2012

Friends of the ARK had a fantastic weekend at the Civic Center in Port Aransas during the Whooping Crane Festival. Between the booth at the festival and tours at the ARK, we raised over $1800 for the ARK!

Thanks to all our many friends who supported the event. It was a blast!



(ARCHIVE 2011)

"Next Turtle Release"
Updated: August 31, 2011

The next Turtle Release is scheduled for Saturday, September 3rd at 10:00 am at Marker 35 on Mustang Island.

To get to the release site, come onto the beach at Access Road 1A (not 1 because of construction at Access Rd 1) and go 2 miles south to Marker 35.


"Art for the ARK Hosted by Artist Louis Garcia"
Posted: June 30, 2011

You are cordially invited to purchase beautiful art for a worthy cause! Over 40 artists are donating an original piece of art to benefit the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK). Art will be for sale June 30 – July 4, 2011 at Coffee Waves, 1007 State Hwy 361, Port Aransas, TX. For more information, please visit the Art for the ARK website at

Special reception: Meet these generous artists and Tony Amos at a reception on June 30, 2011 from 5-7 pm. For more information, please contact Louis Garcia at (361) 232-3663.

Click here to view and print the flyer that contains more information about this event: Art for the ARK flyer.


"Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute Receives Gulf Guardian Award"
Posted: June 30, 2011

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the Animal Rehabilitation Keep or ARK located at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas will receive a Gulf Guardian Award for 2011 in the Civic/Nonprofit Category...Click here for more information.


(ARCHIVE 2010)

"Herons Happen! Great Heron Release Dinner and Auction"
Posted: November 4, 2010

Join us on November 12th from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Port A Gallery, 345 North Alister in the Pelican Landing shopping complex in Port Aransas for Preview Nite, a special free preview showing of the 34-inch heron sculptures that will be auctioned off at the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) fundraiser the following night.

All 40 of the herons in the "Herons Happen" fundraiser will be released for sale to the public at the ARK fundraising dinner and auction on Saturday, November 13 at the Port Aransas Civic Center. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Dinner will be served at 6:45 and the auction will follow at 8:00.

Tickets for the dinner and auction are $50 and can be purchased at Gratitude Gift Shop at 315 North Station Street in Port Aransas or by contacting Lee Harrison at 361-332-6361. Those wishing to attend the auction only can purchase tickets for $20. Sponsorship tables for 10 people at $500 are also available.

Click here to view and print the flyer that contains more information about this event: Great Heron Release flyer.


"Large Loggerhead Turtle Release"
Posted: October 6, 2010

The ARK will release two large loggerhead turtles from the beach at Marker 7 (near SandCastle) in Port Aransas at 10 am on Saturday, October 9th. You are invited to witness this event and help the ARK celebrate our success in rehabilitating these wonderful turtles. Contact Tony Amos at 361-442-7638 for more information.


"Herons Hatchings Update"
Posted: June 17, 2010

Heron Hatchings are social gatherings where we unveil the latest artistic herons that will be auctioned off at the Great Heron Release on November 6, 2010 to raise money for the ARK. These events began May 20 and continue through October 2010. Hatchings are free to attend so be sure to come to our next gathering! For more information call (361) 332-6361 or visit

Click here to see a flyer and print the current schedule of Heron Hatchings.


"Friends of the ARK 2010 Brochure"
Posted: January 6, 2010

The Friends of the ARK 2010 Brochure is now available for distribution. Click this link to print your own version or email it to a friend:  Friends of the ARK 2010 Brochure


(ARCHIVE 2009)

"Herons Happen"
Posted: December 7, 2009

Friends of the ARK is thrilled to announce that Kris Wimer of Portland, Texas is sponsoring "Herons Happen," a fabulous fundraiser for the ARK!

For just $100, you can purchase a Heron and then pay an artist $200 to create a masterpiece that will be auctioned off November 6, 2010 at the Civic Center in Port Aransas, Texas. For your $300 commitment, we hope to bring in thousands of dollars to help rehabilitate sick and injured critters at the ARK. Many thanks to Kris Wimer!

Click here to view/print a flyer.


"September Bird and Turtle Release Report"
Posted: October 7, 2009

In early September, two royal terns joined a group of their kin south of access Rd #1 on the Mustang Island Gulf beach. The baby especially soared royally in the breeze for a long time before settling down with the others. A Chuck Will's Widow went off at dusk the same day on the UT grounds and another was rescued from a cluttered Port Aransas garage after a long stumbling back-and-forth with a net trying to get her out of the rafters. A Common Yellowthroat that flew into an uncommon store window was revived and sent on her migratory journey. 

The baby Black-necked Stilt was first carried into the alligator-infested reeds adjacent to the Port Aransas Birding Center but after a ten minute slog on treacherous footing the releaser had to recover the bird as the terrain turned out to be completely unsuitable for the novice stilt's survival. After holding the stilt in one hand while trying to reassemble the carrier in the other - and hearing imaginary alligators converging - a more suitable place was found. Several hours later near dusk, baby BNS had been joined by several others but I'm not sure he knows he's a stilt. We will monitor this bird closely.

In turtle news, a green sea turtle named Lemon II (the second green found this year entangled in a mass of stuff that included a ReaLemon plastic container used as a fishing float) and another named Nub (whose right front limb literally fell off after getting it entangled in fishing line) were released from the UT Pier area in mid-September. 


Also released were Boudreaux and Amanda, both hawksbill sea turtles. Loggerheads Rex, Iggy, and Brady were released near a platform where they will be able to feed on the organisms associated with the rig.

Tony Amos
ARK Director


"Most Ambitious Public Turtle Release"
Posted: September, 2009

The Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) had its most ambitious rehabilitated sea turtle release to-date on Saturday 5th September 2009. Four large loggerhead sea turtles went into the sea at Marker 35 on Mustang Island Gulf Beach. Marker 35 is 0.9 miles south of Gulf Access Road #1 next to the Pioneer R/V Park Walkway over the dunes. Each of these turtles weighs in at more than 100 lb.

The ARK has treated an unprecedented number of large loggerheads recently. It takes months to get them ready for release (One, named Bette, had been with us for 17 months!). Each of them consume up to 30 large squid every day.


"SandFest 2009"
Posted: April 24, 2009

SandFest 2009, the largest sand sculpting competition in the United States, was held in Port Aransas Friday-Sunday, April 17-19. This event is extremely popular, drawing international professional competitors and huge crowds. It is held in partnership with non-organizations, including Port Aransas Community Theater, Art for the Islands, and the Port Aransas Food Pantry. Visit the SandFest official website at for more details. 


"Judy's Journey Ends Mysteriously"
Posted: April 23, 2009

Everyone was all smiles and filled with hope on April 5th, the day of Judy's release, as seen in this photo from the event. Unfortunately those hopes came to a sad and mysterious end on April 21st when Judy was found dead near Mile Marker 9 on Padre Island National Seashore.

Wildlife authorities found cuts to the turtle's trachea and a flipper, but are not sure exactly why Judy died.


"Judy's Going Home"
Updated: April 7, 2009

UPDATED RELEASE INFORMATION: A new release date was set for Sunday, April 5, between 3 and 5 pm at mile Marker 35 on the beach. Unfortunately due to high winds on Sunday, Judy was unable to be released on time. Her satellite tag has been affixed and she is now scheduled to depart Mustang Island on her journey home from MM 35 at 1 pm on Tuesday April 7. Please call 361-332-6361 for updates.

Judy is a 120-lb Loggerhead sea turtle who was stranded September 17, 2008 on Padre Island National Seashore and is being rehabilitated at the ARK in Port Aransas, TX. She will be fitted with the satellite tag and released on Mustang Island. The satellite tag will allow us to track her future journeys for up to 450 days and then it will fall off.

The Friends of the ARK was able to raise the $2000 for the satellite tag for Judy thanks to a final fundraising push at a booth that was set up at the Family Center IGA in Port Aransas on Monday March 30th.

Once Judy enters the ocean, a signal will be transmitted each time she surfaces. Everyone is invited to track Judy through the following Internet site: The travels of Judy and Slabby, a loggerhead released last year by the ARK, as well as turtles from around the world, can be monitored from this site. 

Watch our Friends of the ARK website for more information on this exciting, educational event!


"Mark Your Calendar: Beach Treasures Sale on March 7th"
Posted: February 23, 2009

Tony Amos' Beach Treasures Sale will be at Moby Dick's on Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 9 am. Items will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. All items have been found by Tony while he researching Mustang Island.


"Mark Your Calendar: Cajun Shrimp Boil on March 8th"
Posted: February 23, 2009

On Sunday, March 8, 2009 from 4-7 pm, Moby Dick's will be hosting a Cajun Shrimp Boil to benefit the ARK. Tickets are $10 for dinner, & music. Details will be out soon!


"Peregrine Falcon Release"
Posted: February 22, 2009

A Peregrine Falcon, that was found Dec 1 with "abnormal behavior," was treated
at the ARK and released January 27th. This photo was taken by Rick Reichenbach. Click to see a larger image.


"A Tribute to Marsha Owen's Father"
Posted: February 22, 2009

Marsha Owen, one of our most diligent workers, recently lost her father Neil Pugsley who was the Divisional Captain of the US Coast Guard. He was 74 years old and a life-long visitor to Port Aransas. 

Donations in his honor can be made using our Tribute Donation plan in which the Friends of the ARK generates a sympathy card which is sent to Marsha indicating that a donation was made in his memory. Click here to read more about Tribute Donations.


"Kickoff Meeting for 2009"
Posted: January 23, 2009

Mark your calendars! Sunday, January 25 at 6 pm at Gulf Shores, we will be kicking off the new year with a dinner meeting for our first Friends of the ARK meeting in 2009. The meeting will be held on outside on the building’s deck area. In the event of bad weather, we’ll have it inside in the party room. We’ll provide the main course if everyone can bring a side dish. We’ll eat at 6 pm and have the meeting immediately following.

Please RSVP to Lee Harrison if you are coming to the dinner meeting and let her know what side you can bring. 

This will be a planning session, so please bring all your ideas to add to items already scheduled on the agenda. 

Tony will make a presentation to us on upcoming renovation plans for the ARK, plans for the Turtle Trails 2008 funds, etc. Also on the agenda will be a report on the $1000 we donated after the hurricane, the year end financial report, upcoming events to include Tony’s Beach Sale that will happen at Moby Dick’s, Whooping Crane event, IGA gigs, SandFest and more. 

If you have more topics, please email them to Lee Harrison at! As always...meeting not to exceed one hour!


"City-wide Garage Sale"
Posted: January 23, 2009

Saturday, January 31st is the Port Aransas Citywide Garage Sale. Joni and John have offered their front yard, although they will not be home. They have donated some great stuff and we’ll be collecting nice things from anyone who wants to participate. 

Our location will be on the map for the town and we can sell good stuff donated from the Friends of the ARK members or friends of members. We will also have our t-shirts, etc. 

The sale is from  8:00 am to 2 pm. If you can work the yard sale, please email Lee Harrison at


"Tony Rescues a Bald Eagle"
Updated: January 23, 2009

An alleged Bald Eagle was sitting on the road in Tivoli on Wednesday afternoon (1/07/09) in some sort of distress, when he was spotted by a concerned citizen, who called Tony to the rescue. Ninety miles later, Tony confirmed it was truly a Bald Eagle and drove another 90 miles back to Oso Creek Animal Hospital to place the bird in the tender loving care of Dr. Tim Tristan and Amanda Terry, Registered Vet Technician. 

Xavier Harrison was dispatched to PetCo to buy the largest crate they had and two tennis balls which needed to be placed in the bird's talons and taped for safety during the exam. Lee Harrison arrived with camera in hand to photograph this majestic bird while Kiii Channel 3 filmed the exam. The story is slated to be featured as the lead story in the evening telecast and be repeated the next morning. 

Here are of few photos:

Bald Eagle is transported to the Oso Creek Animal Hospital. The talons are closed around a tennis ball for safety. Dr. Tristan gives the eagle a thorough examination.

Click to see a larger image.

Marsha Owen, who is tending the eagle, named him Sam. At last report, Sam, who weighed in at seven pounds, is resting comfortably at the ARK. At this time, we are still not sure what's wrong, but fascinating x-rays show nothing broken. Lab results may show more clues. 

It was quite an exciting afternoon! 


Below are photos of x-rays from Dr. Tim's examination. As the last x-ray shows, there are apparently not broken bones in the wing. Click each photo to see a larger image.



(ARCHIVE 2008)

"The Great Turtle Release Auction and Dinner"
Updated: November 13, 2008 

The Great Turtle Release Auction and Dinner was held on Saturday, November 8th at the Port Aransas Civic Center. More than 200 supporters of the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) of Port Aransas enjoyed a lovely dinner, music by jazz clarinetist Jack Towbridge, and a lively auction of the 41 decorated cast aluminum turtles featured in the "Turtle Trail 2008" collection.

The event raised over $43,000 that will go directly toward renovations at the turtle and bird rescue facility located on the campus of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. 

The Friends of the Ark would like to thank all the attendees and extend congratulations to all whose winning bid made them the proud owner of one of the turtles. A special thanks goes to Nancy and Keith Donley of Port Aransas who placed a top bid of $4,000 for "Sir Henry the Navigator" and another $2,000 for "Tiki Turtle" and his surfboard. A full list and photos of the turtles, the sponsors and artists, and the new owners will be posted soon on this web site.


"ARK Turtle Release Report"
Posted: May 19, 2008 

On May 17th Tony Amos, director of the ARK, was joined by volunteers at marker 35 on the beach for a release of rehabilitated turtles. Approximately 200 supporters were present for this exciting and educational event. 

The event began with Master Sculptor Mark Landrum teaching children how to make sand turtles. Mark kept the crowd entertained until the trucks with the turtles arrived.

Two turtles were released back to the ocean: 

Lump - a 20 year old Loggerhead weighing 252 lbs. Lump had been found floating in Redfish Bay in Aransas Pass. He was rehabilitated at the ARK for one year and was treated for an infection. 

Tivoli - a 142 lbs Loggerhead found in Lavaca Bay. He was treated at the ARK for one year. When found, he was a "floater" as are 90% of the turtle patients at the ARK. 

A third turtle named Petunia, a Hawksbill, was also scheduled to be part of the release. She was found in 2004 weighing only 9 lbs. At that time she was treated, tagged and released. Several months ago she was rescued again, this time weighing 33 lbs. Petunia was treated again and sent back to the ocean, only to swim parallel to the shore. After a short distance Xavier Harrison, a Friends of the ARK volunteer, realized she was in trouble and retrieved her from the ocean. She is now back at the ARK for continued observation.

Here are some photos from the event. Click a picture to see an enlargement. 

Before the release, Mark Landrum, Master Sculptor from SandFest, teaches kids how to make sand turtles.  The crowd cheers on the next release. 
Tony Amos assists a frightened turtle.  The release is a success!


"Did You Know"
Updated: May 19, 2008

Did you know that there are two ways to reach our site? You can use either of these web addresses: or


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Friends of the ARK
P.O. Box 755
Port Aransas, Texas 78373