PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE 2012/2013              August 2013

Hello Four Rivers Audubon,

As we get ready to start our new season, it is good to look back and reflect on what we accomplished last year.    Thank you for your engagement and support in making our year the most successful yet!

Our monthly Alli-walks continue to be popular and we love seeing members come together to enjoy nature, birding and each other.  Other walks are held throughout the season, for example, to the Fort White Mitigation Park, and the Osceola National Forest and other nearby special places.  We rely on our e-list to plan and notify folks about these outings, so if you would like to receive these periodic messages, please contact Jacqui Sulek at jsulek@audubon.org to be added to the list.

The Fourth Annual Alligator Lake Spring Festival was a great success this year!  We had an enthusiastic crowd who enjoyed Walking Workshops to learn about birds, plants and butterflies, and shopping with many nature related vendors.  We have made a concerted effort to keep the displays, vendors and activities relevant to our purpose of underscoring the Park as the headwaters of the Ichetucknee River and the premier birding spot in Columbia County.

Last year, we decided to feature a conservation effort of the chapter.  We installed five bluebird houses at Alligator Lake Park.  Jerry Krummrich, our Field Trip
Coordinator, built and installed eight Prothonotary Warbler nesting boxes in the
Cypress Swamp.  This “golden swamp warbler” is in serious decline and we are grateful for Jerry’s efforts.

We applied for and received a $1000 Collaborative Grant from National Audubon that allowed us to partner with the Fort White Middle School to plant a native plant garden.
Through this partnership between FRAS, and the Sparkleberry Native Plant society, the students learned through hands on activities about the benefits of native plants for both wildlife and the environment.  The bountiful summer rains allowed the plants to thrive, and the number of birds, butterflies and pollinators is amazing to see!

With the changing of the guard-new manager and assistant manager-at Ichetucknee
Springs State Park, we are invigorated and will contribute our local energies to working with our partners there.

For those of you who would like to hear the details about birds spotted and observed
In our region, we will continue to share notes about what you and others see and hear as our feathered friends go about their daily lives.  We share our bird tales with those interested, so contact v.thomas57@gmail.com if you would like to be added to
the list. 

Thanks for your support.  We hope to see you out at Alligator Lake this season!

Valerie Thomas, President
and the Four Rivers Audubon Board of Directors


Important Action item:  Please complete the enclosed Florida Water and Land Legacy Petition 

Four Rivers Audubon has been working hard to gather signed petitions for the Florida Water and Land Legacy Campaign.  Audubon Florida, Four Rivers Audubon, and 41 other Chapters around the state are some of the 300 organizations that believe in supporting our public lands and natural resources.  We have gathered over 1300 signatures and will continue to do so through November 2013.  We need your help!  If you have already signed the petition please find a friend or neighbor to do the same. We have enclosed a copy along with a mailing envelope for your convenience.   Find more information or to request additional copies (please do not duplicate this one) visit http:\\floridawaterandlegacy.org.  Please join us in supporting this important initiative.
If you would like to volunteer, contact Jacqui Sulek at jsulek@audubon.org.   

How Can I Become Involved With Four Rivers Audubon?

· Join a fun bird walk, an “Alli-Walk”, the first Saturday morning of each month, September through May.  Make new friends, learn new birding ID skills, and enjoy nature.

· Participate in a Christmas Bird Count or the Great Backyard Bird Count - become a Citizen Scientist.  See Audubon.org or contact Valerie Thomas v.thomas57@gmail.com for details.

· Volunteer to help our chapter organize and conduct our signature event, the Alligator Lake Spring Festival.  If you can’t volunteer, please come out and enjoy a fun, nature-based and educational day in Lake City on April 12, 2014.

· Work with other chapter members to enhance Florida’s Special Places, like Alligator Lake or Ichetucknee Springs State Park.  Watch for calls for volunteers.

· Save your Audubon magazines and other nature related publications to donate to others who might enjoy them.

· Create a wildlife habitat and certify your yard as bird and wildlife friendly.  Contact Lauri Shubert at gatewaywho@gmail.com to learn more.