Save the Date for Annual Meeting
Our annual meetings are regularly held on the last Saturday of February. However, because of continuing concerns about Covid and because Refuge manager Andrew Gude cannot be sure that the refuge will be allowed to have an event in February with more than 50 attendees, we are postponing the meeting until Saturday, April 2, 2022.
We still plan to hold the meeting in-person at the Refuge, following the Covid protocols in place at the time. Pre-program activities will start at 9:30, including signing-in, renewing your membership if you wish to do it that day rather than online, chatting with other members, and shopping for Friends merchandise.
Dr. Minno has studied the ecology, systematics, and biogeography of butterflies and moths for much of his life.
He received a B.S. degree in entomology from Purdue University, a M.S. degree in entomology from the University of California at Davis, and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Florida.
He currently works as an ecologist for Eco-Cognizant, Inc., a home-based consulting firm operated by spouse Maria Minno.
Since moving to Florida in 1982, Marc and Maria Minno have worked toward conserving the state’s rare, unique, and imperiled plants and animals.
Marc frequently gives presentations and workshops on butterflies to local chapters of the Florida Native Plant Society, North American Butterfly Association, Audubon Society, and other conservation groups.
He is a past president of the Southern Lepidopterists’ Society and is a research associate with the McGuire Center at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. (as described by Quick Reference Publishing)
Lunch will be catered by Ken and Rose McCain. Following lunch we will have a field trip to visit the Vista property.
These links will bring you to posts about the in-person Annual Meeting 2020 and the Zoom Annual Meeting 2021.
John Stark - New Deputy Manager
The Refuges have a new Deputy Manager, John Stark.
He started working in the federal government in 1999 in the U.S. Army as a 63B20 “Light-Wheel Vehicle Mechanic” and operated an M936A2 5-ton recovery vehicle. He was stationed in Europe for most of his time on active duty, including a 202-day deployment with NATO into Kosovo (2000), and a 455-day deployment as Section Sergeant into Iraq (2003-2004). He was also briefly a Section Sergeant at MacDill Air Force base in Tampa.
His work with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started at Alligator River NWR (2009), Subsequently, he worked at White River NWR in Arkansas, and most recently at St. Vincent NWR where he has been Deputy Refuge Manager since 2015. At St. Vincent, he worked with endangered red wolves and Asian elk, as well, he says, as with awesome Friends and other refuge supporters.
We are happy to have you here. Welcome aboard, John.
What a perfect day to give a shout out to our Refuge law enforcement officer, Sterling Valentine!
Read about her work and how she came to this important career on our Meet the Refuge Staff page.
Vic Doig has retired! We wish him the best but hate that he is no longer with us at the Refuge.
He has been the Refuge's Fire Management Officer and a Wildlife Biologist, for almost 20 years, leading and participating in prescribed burns and wildfire response activities across the state, region, and country as a field supervisor, instructor, and helicopter manager. He was a Division Supervisor with the Southern Area Tp 1 Blue incident management team and trained in wildlife management at the University of Florida and N.C. State University. Prior to coming to Lower Suwannee NWR, he worked for the State of Florida for 15 years . . . seven years with the state park system as a biologist and land manager, and eight years for the state Fish & Wildlife Commission as a biologist and land management supervisor.
With Vic, Friends members worked to control invasive species and to do flight line bird counts. It was Vic who spotted the first Roseate Spoonbill in Cedar Key several years ago and called all of us to attention as they started become regulars here. The national and international media turned to Vic to help puzzle out the reasons behind the abandonment of the Seahorse Key Rookery in 2015. His presentation skills built strong relationships between the community and the refuge.
We miss you already Vic. Thanks for years of service to the people of Florida and the nation. Best wishes for your future adventures.