By Dawn Krebs
SEBASTIAN -- More than 100 years ago, German immigrant and Sebastian resident Paul Kroegel stood guard over the thousands of pelicans and other birds that called Pelican Island their home.
Now, his story, and the story of Pelican Island, will soon be heard worldwide, as the documentary "America's Gatekeeper: The Story of Paul Kroegel" is scheduled to be broadcast soon not only in the United States, but in Europe as well.
At the May 8 Sebastian City Council meeting, Barbara Hoffman, the director of the Indian River County Cultural Council, and Kevin Landry with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, gave a brief presentation about the documentary and shows a promotional video to the council.
The video is being done by Marvo Entertainment Group.
Mr. Kroegel's diligence about protecting the birds from hunters and poachers looking for their feathers caught the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt, who signed an executive order in 1903, making Pelican Island the first federal bird reservation in the United States, and Mr. Kroegel the first national wildlife manager.
This isn't the first time Mr. Kroegel has been recognized. In 2003, the Indian River County Historical Society wrote a 15-page periodical entitled, "One person can make a difference: A story of Paul Kroegel and Pelican Island."
In 2011, Mr. Kroegel received Refuge Manager of the Year Award from the National Wildlife Refuge Association.
"This award is given in honor and memory of Paul Kroegel, the first manager of the first refuge," the award stated. "His dedication and effectiveness set a high standard for those who followed."