The Bill Kilborn Photo Contest had 36 entries and sales of the entries brought almost $500 in revenue that will cover the cost of the new benches on the Tram Ridge Trail. Thanks to all the photographers and the bidders on the photos. Before they went up for sale, we all got to vote on our favorite photos. The winners were Ben West in first place, a tie in second by Ann Kamzelski and Frank Morgan, and Don Gambrell for 3rd place. The rest of us who entered were happy to be part of it, and to have many of our photos sold to help fund the benches.
The meeting itself was entertaining and got a nice write up in the Cedar Key News. Donna Bushnell led a fun installation of officers, as usual. Newly elected President Maria Sgambati highlighted the year's accomplishments and future plans. Featured speaker Dr. Tom Hoctor gave us an overview of the Big Bend of Florida as a key component of the state's conservation picture. Kenny McCain and lots of Friends members provided great lunch fare and desserts.
And then came lunch, with Kenny McCain's ribs and chicken, Bushnells' baked beans, lots of slaw, broccoli, and swamp cabbage, and desserts brought by the members.
By the time lunch ended, the sky had cleared. Nevertheless many of us chose to stay indoors and hear the presentation by Refuge staff about history, prescribed burning, sustainable forestry, and wildlife preservation. Friends member Jerry Lawrence, who provided the photos below, spoke for all of us saying he found the whole day to be highly informative, especially in regards to how the refuge was acquired over time, its strategic importance to wildlife and resource preservation in the State of Florida, and the vision to take care of the land and water for future generations.
Others of us walked the River Trail, or the Tram Ridge Trail with Friend member Donna Thalacker and President-elect Russ Hall as guides.
It was a great day and we are already looking forward to next year's event.