Friends Annual Meeting will be on Saturday, February 29 at Refuge headquarters off Route 347. Meet and greet will begin at 9:30 a.m. The Friends merchandise tent will be open. The meeting will begin at 10:00. Lunch will be catered by Ken and Rose McCain. In the afternoon we will visit the historic, private Vista property, which is adjacent to the headquarters.
If you want to purchase any items of Friends merchandise, remember to bring your check book or cash. We are not yet set up to accept cards.
Dr. Ken Meyer, Executive Director of the Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) will discuss tracking studies and conservation issues of Swallow-tailed Kites through their annual cycle. ARCI has been studying Swallow-tailed Kites since 1988, discovering their migration routes and winter range and all aspects of needs and threats along the way. The Friends sponsored the tagging of a Kite, Suwannee, who spends part of his year on the Refuge. Ken will be able to let us know how he is doing on his migration.
After lunch, we will be able to visit the Vista property. Many thanks to Friends life members Richie and Sandra Smith, and Linda Roe Alexander for making this possible. They will open it exclusively for this event. See more about Vista here.
Dr. Ginessa Mahar is one of the potential new members of the board of directors of the Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys NWRs. She is well known to many in the region because of her longtime work on the archaeology of Shell Mound and surrounding areas. Recently, with the help of several local residents, Dr. Ken Sassaman, Ginessa, and other archaeologists initiated a project to reconstruct the impacts of past climate events on the greater Cedar Key area. Click on the image below to read a newsletter about the first phase of the project.
PROPOSED BYLAW AMENDMENTS
Friends of Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges, Inc.
February 3, 2020
At the annual meeting of the membership of the Friends of Refuges coming up on February 29, the Board of Directors will be proposing a set of amendments to the corporate bylaws. Most of the amendments are housekeeping in nature and will not substantially change the way the corporation is run. The membership will be asked to approve the changes at the annual meeting.
The proposed bylaw amendments are attached with changes shown by underlining indicating new language and strike-out indicating language to be deleted. Questions about these changes may be directed to John McPherson, President, 352-317-7431, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A summary of the proposed changes:
Art. I, Section 3:
Corrects the mailing address for the corporation.
Art. I, Section 8:
Adds a statement of non-discrimination.
Art. III, Section 1:
Non-discrimination language deleted in favor of new language at Article I, Section 8.
Art. III, Section 3:
Changes the period of annual membership to work better with our current membership software.
Art. III, Section 4:
Adds requirement that a member of corporation can be removed by the Board only for good cause.
Art. V, Section 1:
Clarifies the make-up of the Board of Directors and the minimum and maximum number of Board members.
Art. V, Section 8:
Clarifies that in the absence of the President and President-Elect the Secretary shall chair a meeting of the Board of Directors, and that in the absence of all three, the Treasurer shall chair the meeting.
Art. V, Section 12:
Deletes language relating to Standing Committees, in deference to actual practice of the Board creating committees as needed for as long as needed.
Art. VI, Section 3:
Changes the time-line for the nominating committee’s work to make it more realistic and consistent with actual practice.
Art. VI, Section 4:
Deletes redundant language.
Art. VIII, Section 1:
Adds clarifying language relating to allowable use of Corporate funds.
Art. VIII, Section 3:
Deletes redundant language.
Adds a new article adding conflict of interest policies as required by state and federal law.
Adds a new article adding procedures relating to electronic security.
Many of the presentations at the Cedar Key Public Library are on topics of interest to Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges. Below is a list of those scheduled as of January 6, 2020.
Note the talks on Manatees on Jan. 9, Bats on Jan. 23, Brazilian Pepper control on Jan. 25, and GOMMAPS on Jan. 27. All are Refuge-related topics. The GOMMAPS presentation is sponsored by the Cedar Keys Audubon Chapter and presented by Jeff Gleason who is headquartered at the Refuge.
Vista is a 14-acre area remaining of the land where Cummer Industries had its headquarters, a sawmill, and an executive retreat. It is located near Refuge headquarters. Friends life members Sandra Smith and Linda Roe Alexander donated the property to the Refuge in 2011, with a life tenancy agreement. The property includes several iconic structures that the consultants are now evaluating for restoration potential and, possibly, for eventual public access.
The history of the Lower Suwannee Refuge is integrally linked with the timber industry of our region. The Refuge was established in the late 1970s to protect the wild plants and animals that depend on the healthy habitat of the Suwannee watershed. Much of the land that is now the Refuge had previously been lumbered.
With funding from a grant from the Florida Division of Historical Resources, Friends hired the architectural firm Bender and Associates to conduct historical research and perform a structural assessment on the Vista property.
The consultant's historian has toured the residence, has been locating and reviewing pertinent materials, and has been meeting with people who have inside knowledge of the property.
In January, Friends received its first report from the consultants, including the historical data and measured drawings of the site and buildings.
The family is making the Vista property available for Friends members to visit during the afternoon of the Annual Meeting on Saturday, February 29.
On Monday January 6, Friends life member Donna Thalacker will lead a nature walk on the Barnett Creek Loop Trail at the Lower Suwannee NWR. The trail is on high ground and Donna expects it will be dry. It is a 3-mile round trip walk in one of the prettiest parts of the Refuge. One mile will be along Barnett Creek Road and the remainder of the walk will be behind the gates along a broad grass pathway through mostly hydric hammock. If you are interested in joining the walk, please let Donna know. You can email her at email@example.com
A group will car-pool from Cedar Key Park. Gather at 9:30 a.m. Leave at 9:40 a.m.
It would be good to wear long pants, long shirt, comfortable walking shoes and bring along insect repellent. As anywhere in this area, the no-see-ums can be a problem if there is not a good breeze. Ticks can be expected, although they are not usually too bad in this area of the Refuge.
For the third year in a row, the sunset hid behind thick clouds at Shell Mound on winter solstice. Heavy rain threatened and held off. The rain threat did not stop the Friends Gathering. We still enjoyed our cookies, hot herb tea, and guided walk on the Shell Mound trail.
Shell Mound was built on one arm of a U-shaped, parabolic dune formed in the last ice age. Palmetto Mound, a now-destroyed native American burial site, was located on the other arm. The dune aligned with the winter and summer solstices, making it sacred ground and a marvelous place to celebrate the longest and shortest days of the year.
The native Americans who lived and gathered at Shell Mound to honor their ancestors also probably had many years with no visible sunsets. We will be back to share their special place.
The Refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk.
The Refuge Manager Andrew Gude can be reached by text or phone at 703.622.3896.
Hunting Information from the Refuge Manager
The print version of the 2019-2020 Hunt Regulations Brochure is now available at Refuge headquarters. For a digital version,
click on the photo below.
For Information about getting a Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge Hunt Permit and a Deer Bag Report, Click Here
To Apply for a Permit to Hunt on the Lower Suwannee Refuge,
For a copy of the Deer Harvest Log, Click Here
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