Travelers on the Dixie Mainline, one of the favorite trails on the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, can now enjoy new bridge murals by Old Town resident Clint Wynns.
Wynns, a 66-year-old former professional chainsaw carver always wanted to paint murals to enhance the Mainline bridges. He hunts in the Refuge every day from archery through regular gun season and is always looking for ways to help out on the land he knows so well. Yet he hesitated because he thought a mural would attract graffiti and didn’t want to waste his time. When Debbie Meeks decorated one of the bridges with an alligator painting last year—and it went unmolested—he decided to try.
Clint says his ideas just come to him. “Hogs and deer because that’s the Refuge. Then there are turtles, a manatee, and an alligator. Someone suggested an otter so I added one.”
He cuts templates out of thin luan plywood. This technique shortens the amount of time he spends on the bridge. First he tapes up the inner shape and paints the background. Then he reverses the template by taking down the inner shape and protecting his painted background with the surrounding plywood sheet while painting the animal. Once the whole painting is dry he ties both pieces of the template together which allows him to spray paint the cut line for a dark outline without hand tracing.
"So many people have stopped while I was working—all classes of people—to tell me how much they appreciate what I’m doing. Kids get out to look and I show them how they can help.” Clint says.
More murals are needed. You can adopt a bridge by calling Larry Woodward, Deputy Refuge Manager, at 352-493-0238.
With an estimated 150-170 attendees, good weather, great food, a flash sale of logo merchandise, and the all-time favorite speaker, University of Florida archaeologist Dr. Ken Sassaman, the March 10 event met and exceeded all our expectations.
Save the Date: The Friends of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges Annual Meeting and Refuge Open House will be
Saturday, February 23, 2019
We all know Shell Mound, or so we think!
However, as our featured speaker, Dr. Ken Sassaman of the University of Florida, may change our minds about what we think we know. He has amazing new information for us about this site in our backyard, on our own Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. A few of the amazing details --
Soft-Opening of the Expanded Interpretive Trail
After lunch, those of us who want to, we will travel on our own to Shell Mound. The new interpretive trail has nine stations. Interpretive panels are in preparation for each station. They will not be ready for this soft-opening. However, we will have docents at each station to explain what is important about the spot. Six of the nine stations are along the current Shell Mound trail. The other three are along a new piece of trail that will need to be more substantially developed over the next year.
Friends will have laid it out well enough for walking it but it will not really be ready for prime time yet by the Annual Meeting. Docents will be able to provide much of the story from a location on the developed trail for any who want to skip this more primitive trail section. The entire Shell Mound trail will remain less than a mile in length.
The trip to Shell Mound will conclude the Annual Meeting for this year, and hopefully be the beginning of many more visits to the site by all of us over the coming year.
Soon the Shell Mound Archaeology Trail will have new interpretive panels. The ones in the photos above are draft versions. But, they will not be ready in time for the soft-opening of the trail on the afternoon of the Friends Annual Meeting, March 10.
Therefore, we need 10 volunteers who will stand along the trail for about an hour during the opening. Each volunteer will talk to the Friends who come from the Annual Meeting about the information that will be on the interpretive panel at that spot.
Training and a narrative will be provided.
Are you willing to be one of the volunteers, a human interpretive panel? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!