Much more than a conference, Friends Academy was the best summer camp ever. The information-packed seminars made every day feel like a week. We covered a range of Friends-related topics including board governance, merchandise, expanding membership through diversity, and advocacy. But I learned the most by sharing problems and successes with fellow attendees. I came away knowing that our work for the Refuges is appreciated and that other Friends members are an infinite source of inspiration.
Matthew Emmer, an academy Friend from Savannah Coastal Wildlife Refuge, said it best below.
Pre-pandemic the Friends assisted Refuge staff with visitor orientation at Refuge headquarters but that office is now occupied by staff and we miss interacting with visitors.
We are considering a mobile welcome center that will allow us to go where the people are. Being mobile has several advantages:
Recently, Friends learned of an opportunity to apply for a $15,000 grant to improve access to recreational activities at the Refuges.
National Wildlife Refuges, such as our Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys Refuges, are established primarily to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. In conserving the wildlife and their needed habitat, the refuges also provide wildlife-centered recreational opportunities, such as hiking, cycling, bird-watching, butterfly-watching, photography, kayaking, hunting and fishing.
We are brainstorming ideas for projects we might propose that would increase access to our wildlife-centered recreational activities without creating more work for the refuge staff. We need them to manage the habitat and wildlife, not our recreation. Any cool ideas? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment.
Hunting is a popular use of the Lower Suwannee Refuge. However, the area around the headquarters building, including the River Trail and the Tram Ridge Trail are never open to hunting, as noted with slash marks on the map.
Archery Season on the Lower Suwannee Refuge is Saturday, September 17 to Sunday, October 16, 2022. Both archery and crossbow equipment are allowed. Hunters can take antlered or antler-less deer, wild hog, coyote, gray squirrel, rabbit, armadillo, opossum, and raccoon. Archery hunters can hunt all refuge lands open to hunting during any season. There are also archery-only areas that are open during all hunts with approved archery equipment only, as noted in green on the map.
Hunting regulations are available on our Hunting page. To keep everyone informed, here is a list of this season's hunt days.
Sept 17 to Oct 16, 2022
Oct 22 to Oct 30, 2022
General Gun No. 1
Nov 5 to Nov 13, 2022
Thanksgiving- General Gun
Nov 18 to Nov 20, 2022
General Gun No. 2
Nov 21 to Nov 27, 2022
Wild Hog Hunt
Jan 28 to Feb 12, 2023
Jan 28 to Feb 12, 2023
Youth Spring Gobble Hunt
Mar 11 and 12, 2023
Turkey, Spring Season
Mar 18 to Apr 9, 2023