Oceanographer Jeff Chanton and nature writer Susan Cerulean will share what they've learned over two decades of studying and exploring St Vincent Island, a national wildlife refuge west of Apalachicola. They will talk about how the River's flow affects the configuration of the island, and some of the wild creatures who call it home.
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Arrive at the Indian Pass boat ramp adjacent to Indian Pass Campground at the end of SR 30B between 8:15 and 8:30am (EST). The last shuttle to the island departs at 8:45am and we want to have everyone shuttled to the island by 9am. There is usually good birding at the boat ramp while we are waiting to cross and there is a public toilet as well.
We will take a commercial shuttle to the island. Although there is no fee for the tour, the shuttle has a cost of $10 per person cash, payable on the return shuttle. If you kayak or arrange another way to get to the island, please check in first with the greeter on the mainland before going.
St. Vincent is a refuge. The welfare of the wildlife on the island is of primary importance. Please keep in mind:
1. Pets are not allowed on the Refuge.
2. There is no potable water, so please bring water, snacks and lunch with you.
3. You must be able to walk short distances over sand and possibly muddy terrain so
please wear appropriate footwear.
4. Bug spray and sunscreen are recommended. A hat and clothing appropriate for
direct sun may be helpful. It can be chilly in the mornings so please check the
weather and choose appropriate attire.
5. There are two composting toilets, one at the start of the tour, one at the midpoint
of the tour. Please carry out all trash.
6. The tour is conducted from an open wagon with stadium style seating. Bring a
boat cushion or towel for padding if you so desire.
7. Tour ends between 1 and 2pm depending on circumstances.
This is a fantastic opportunity to travel the length of St. Vincent Island, observing its
flora and fauna and learning of its history with Carol Brown who is the Tour Coordinator
with St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge.
Group size is limited to 22 people. Call Donna Legare to sign up (850) 386-1148. We
will most likely have a waiting list, so if you sign up and then find out you cannot be
there, we need to know right away. Also, whenever I take this tour, I bring along my
checkbook to support the Friends of St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge. They do such
good work. Don’t forget your camera and binoculars!
Should weather cause cancellation, you will be informed the night before, so please
check your e-mail if weather looks to be a potential issue.
Learn about the shorebirds of the Apalachicola System with Jennifer Manis and Paula Muellner of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
11th Annual Wildlife-friendly Yards Tour
Interested in making your yard more attractive to birds and other wildlife? The Apalachee Audubon Society invites you to take a self-guided tour of local yards that are wildlife havens.
Each yard has unique features to attract a variety of birds and other wildlife such as wintering hummingbirds, orioles, tanagers, finches, and pine siskins as well as our year-round residents. You will be inspired to maintain your own yard or green space for wildlife, whether it is one bird feeder, one nest box, one wildflower bed, one garden path, or one natural area.
Make a difference for wildlife, one yard at a time! Join us in our 11th annual Wildlife-Friendly Yards Tour and fundraiser to benefit Apalachee Audubon Society.
For more information, please contact Tammy Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org, (850) 933-8154.
Tickets are $10 per person and will go on sale in early January 2018 at the following stores.
1661 Centerville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308
Mon – Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
2098 Thomasville Rd
Tallahassee, FL 32308
Phone: (850) 576-0002
Mon – Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sun: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
INFORMATION FOR DAY OF TOUR
- Please wear or show wrist band for admission to yards.
- Please do not block driveways.
- Please walk only in designated areas.
- Less noise and motion in the bird feeding areas will result in more wildlife viewing.
- Sorry, no public restrooms will be available.
- Additional tickets may be purchased day of tour at sales locations. Exact cash or check payable to Apalachee Audubon needed.
- Rain or shine. Dress for the weather. Bring binoculars.
- Tour may be done in any order.
- No pets! Please leave dogs in the car or at home
Using Native Plant Landscapes to Restore Habitat with David Mizejewski from the National Wildlife Federation
Retired biologist Dana Bryan will speak about Florida's favorite bird--the Limpkin--at our annual banquet. In addition, Rob Williams will provide a wrap-up on our conservation efforts for the Apalachicola River.
Location and menu to be announced.
This will take place at the Nature Conservancy's Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve.
Join our November speaker, Todd Engstrom, for a hike on the well-known Garden of Eden trail to search for birds, unusual ecosystems, and scenic views. The trail can be steep in places and is 3.75 miles round trip.
The trail takes you through an enchanting area that local legend claims is the original Garden of Eden. Beginning in longleaf pine/wiregrass uplands, the trail soon skirts the top of a dramatic steephead ravine, descends steeply through the slope forest to cross a seepage stream and then ascends the slope forest back to sandhills. Eventually, it opens to a spectacular view at Alum Bluff. At 135 feet above the Apalachicola River, Alum Bluff is the largest natural geological exposure in Florida.
Participants will meet at 9:00 a.m. EST in the parking lot for the trailhead, just north of Bristol, Florida (Directions below, link to map on the left.) For more information, visit the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve website or email email@example.com.
- Take I-10 west to exit 174
- Turn left on State Road 12 and continue for 20.3 miles (turning left at the blinking light in Greensboro). As you near Bristol, look for at large "Apalachicola Bluffs — Garden of Eden Trail" sign on your right.
- Turn right on Garden of Eden Road. Travel 0.4 miles to the trailhead.
- From State Road 20 in Bristol, take State Road 12 east (toward Greensboro) 1.6 miles to Garden of Eden Road. There is a large "Apalachicola Bluffs — Garden of Eden Trail" sign on the left.
- Turn left on Garden of Eden Road. Travel 0.4 miles to the trailhead.
Increasing human demand for freshwater has affected flow seasonality and volume of rivers around the world. The Apalachicola River drainage with records of over 330 species of birds is examined to document how river health affects birdlife.
After receiving his PhD at FSU in 1986, Todd Engstrom's first job was with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology working on avian monitoring programs. He came back to Tallahassee to be a staff ecologist at Tall Timbers Research Station, where he focused on conservation biology of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, response of vertebrate populations to prescribed fire, and animal communities in old-growth longleaf pine forests.
He left Tall Timbers to direct the Greenwood Project for The Nature Conservancy in Thomasville, Georgia, and, after conducting a search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker on the Apalachicola River, he had a short stint as Associate Director of the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. Currently he is an independent researcher and a Research Associate at Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and Courtesy Faculty in the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University.
Field trip to Spring Canyon, land owned and managed by Audubon members Tom and Helen Roth. Their property is in the Apalachicola River Basin and is being restored ecologically by the owners.
Meet at the entrance to the property at 9:00 a.m. (directions will be provided upon registration). Or carpool from the DEP/Commonwealth Coppertop Building parking lot, leaving at 8:15 a.m. Helen Roth will go early to the property to greet people at the gate. Donna Legare will meet the carpoolers. The field trip is free, but please call Donna at (850)386-1148 to sign up so we know how many to expect and how many plan to carpool.
About Spring Canyon:
Spring Canyon is a 100 acre tract of land located within the Appalachicola River basin along the headwaters of Crooked Creek in Southwest Gadsden County. It has steephead ravines and seepage streams that divide the sandhill uplands into four separate sections.
When Helen and Tom Roth acquired the property in 2008, they began a continual process of learning what they need to do to be good land stewards. The good news was that there were a lot of mature, flat-top, and cat-faced longleaf pines and existing wiregrass, but the bad news was that the ecosystem was suffering from a long period of fire exclusion resulting in so much hardwood encroachment that one could barely see the longleaf pines.
The goals of their restoration projects for the 50 acres of uplands involves repeated prescribed burning and brush management techniques to remove the encroaching hardwood trees in order to get more light on the ground so natural regeneration can occur and the ground cover can flourish. This is a work in progress that began in 2011 and is still ongoing. Restoration has been completed on around 25 acres, another 10 acre section is waiting on an upcoming dormant season burn to consume the stacks of cut hardwoods and return nutrients to the soil, and the final 15 acres are still in their original condition. This allows for multiple “before, during, and after” views of adjacent sections to illustrate the ongoing restoration process which is providing improved habitat for gopher tortoises, birds, and other wildlife.
About the Hike:
It is approximately a 2 mile hike to make a loop around the property… will probably take around 3 hours… involves walking up and down slopes so wear good hiking boots… bring insect repellant, sunscreen, and a sun hat… bring water and a snack for the hike… bring lunch for after the hike… bring trekking poles or help yourself to a gift of a sparkleberry hiking pole (reusing some of the cut trees)…Also there are no toilet facilities so be prepared to “use the woods”. There are picnic tables.
Natural Treasures of the Florida Panhandle: Importance of the Apalachicola Watershed with Bruce Means
Recently, the southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain—a vast natural area ranging from Martha’s Vineyard of Massachusetts to the Rio Grande River in Texas—has been recognized as one of the Earth’s top 35 biodiversity hotspots. Nestled in this 2,000-mile-long region lies a smaller area about 50 by 180 miles that supports the highest biodiversity in the larger regtion that is widely recognized as one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the U.S. and Canada. There live the most native frogs (29 species), most snakes (43 species), most turtles (18 species), a high salamander richness (30 species), a high number of birds (about 300 species), the forest type with the most tree species (up to 35), very high plant species richness (over 2500 species), and probably more carnivorous plants (30 species) than any similarly sized area in the world.
Largely passed over until the middle of the 20th Century, this main ecosystem, the longleaf pine savannah—accounting for about 60% of the original landscape—has shrunk to less than 2% of its pre-Colonial extent and yet, the region still boasts of a large treasure trove of native ecosystems such as remnant patches of longleaf pine savannah, hardwood forests, swamps and springs, river bottomlands, flatwoods, carnivorous plant bogs, numerous first-magnitude springs, caves and much more. Based on his more than 50 years living in and studying this special region, Dr. Means displays its biodiversity treasures with captivating photographs of its many native ecosystems and unique animals and plants. Because this priceless region is under multiple threats, he discusses why we should care.
Hint for residents of the Florida Panhandle: this fantastic place is somewhere near you!
Dr. Bruce Means is the President and Executive Director of the Coastal Plains Institute and Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization he and others founded in 1984 that is dedicated to conserving the rich biodiversity--and elevating public awareness and appreciation--of the vast Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. He is an Adjunct Professor of Biological Science at Florida State University where he has taught courses the ecology of upland, wetland, and coastal environments of the southeastern U. S. and courses on vertebrate biology, ichthyology, mammalogy, herpetology, general biology, tropical ecology, and conservation biology. His research includes a wide variety of topics ranging from ecosystems of the southeastern U. S. to fire ecology, the natural history of South American tepuis, biogeography, conservation, endangered species, and the evolution and natural history of amphibians and reptiles. He has published more than 235 scientific articles, technical reports, and popular articles on his research in National Wildlife, International Wildlife, Natural History, BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, Fauna, South American Explorer, and other magazines. His books include two on the ecology of Florida and “Herpetophilia, Love of Creeping, Crawling Things.” From 1998 to the present, he and his research have been featured in documentary films for National Geographic Television (King Rattler; Quest for the Rainbow Serpent; Into the Lost World; Saving the King of Snakes; Diamondback Survivors, etc.), BBC Television, and PBS. Bruce Means lives in Tallahassee and relishes his time in the woodlands, swamps, and bogs of the Florida Panhandle—and making expeditions into the vast wilderness of northeastern South America
Apalachicola Riverkeeper outings leaders will guide an 8-mile, downstream paddling adventure from Donar Landing (south of Torreya State Park) to Bristol Landing. We will pass Alum Bluff, that rises 130 feet above the river. Alum Bluff is the largest natural geological exposure in Florida.
* * * * * Group size limited. Registration is required * * * * *
- Pay by cash or check on trip day or credit card prior to trip at ( $45 with boats)
- Pay Online
- Duration is 3-4 hours for a scenic 8 miles of on the Apalachicola River
- Trip is capped at 12 people. Snacks provided.
- Wear clothes that can get wet. No jeans or flip-flops. Hat & sunglasses suggested.
- Meet at the Bristol Boat Landing at 9:00 a.m., EDT. Directions provided with trip confirmation. This is the takeout area. We will caravan to the put-in and leave most cars at Bristol. We will be off the water by approximately 12:30 - 1:00 p.m.
- Funds support the outreach, research, education and advocacy work of Apalachicola Riverkeeper.
- RiverTrek volunteers will guide this group down the river.
Contact, Georgia Ackerman, trip leader at 850-321-6262 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The evening will begin at 7:00 PM with a social and brief meeting. The program will begin at 7:30 PM.
Dan Tonsmeire will give an overview of the condition of the Apalachicola River and Bay and also provide an update on litigation and restoration concerning these waters.
Dan has served as the Apalachicola Riverkeeper since 2004. He is passionately committed to saving not only the Apalachicola River, which is truly an American treasure, but to protecting and restoring the Apalachicola Bay, one of America’s last great estuaries. He is an expert on the flora, fauna and hydrology of the Apalachicola’s estuary. “We’ve got sturgeon, rare mussels and other extraordinary animals in the river,” he says. “Plus herons, osprey, eagles, swallowtailed kites – in fact, the Apalachicola has the highest biodiversity of any river system in North America.” Dan was a backcountry guide in Idaho, a commercial fisherman in Alaska, and the owner/operator of a small marine construction company in Alabama and Florida. He graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Civil Engineering and currently holds a United States Coast Guard Ocean Operator’s license. “I’ve lived in magnificent landscapes in Alaska and Idaho, and worked in other parts of Florida,” he says, but he cherishes Apalachicola’s wildness and authenticity: “There are a lot of places in Florida that would be as pretty as Apalachicola; but they’ve all been developed and covered up. People here still make a living from the water. It’s not only a beautiful place; it’s a real place.”
Apalachee Audubon members historically have cleaned the Bottoms Road area. This road passes through refuge property in coastal Panacea marshes. It is off of U.S. 98 Highway (Panacea, 32346) (watch for it as you are going south on U.S 98, shortly after the U.S. 319 cutoff).
Some volunteers will walk along the road, picking up empty bottles, empty cricket/worm containers and flotsam and jetsam, all the while listening to the tinkle of marsh wrens, and seeing some shore birds. Intrepid volunteers can also walk along the coastline bordering Bottoms Rd dragging out flotsam and jetsam, including light bulbs, old rafts, toilet seats, and boaters' debris.
We will meet at 8:00 a.m. about 1 -2 miles in from U.S. 98 on the north side of Bottoms Road. Watch for Judy and Harvey Goldman, who are coordinating our effort and will have plastic bags. For more information, email email@example.com.
Wakulla County picks up the filled bags left along the road. After a couple of hours we are pretty well pooped out. Wear old shoes or boots, old jeans, yard gloves, bug spray, sun screen and bring a trash picker stick if you have one.
Other participating coastal sites in our area include Bald Point State Park, Shell Point, Mashes Sands, San Marcos State Park, TNT Hideaway, Lanark Beach, and the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. For further information see Keep Wakulla County Beautiful at kwcb.org.