Currently, Friends has about 210 members, down from 260 before the pandemic. We would like to rebuild the membership base to increase our strength as advocates for our Refuges.
If you took a membership break during the pandemic, please consider renewing your membership. If you don't know whether your membership lapsed, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will let you know.
In hopes of encouraging you to participate in Friends accomplishments, here is a long overview of what has happened in 2022.
Members and Visitors
Outreach and Advocacy
Be a Friend. Support our Refuges. Thanks!
On Saturday, November 19, Friends hosted the Paynes Prairie Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society on a nature walk led by Refuge Manager Andrew Gude. The walk was a follow up to a talk Andrew gave at the Native Plant Society's meeting in Gainesville a few days earlier. About 25 participants walked from Gate 14 along the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge's Nature Drive to Fletcher's Landing on the Suwannee River.
In August, speaking for the board and Friends, our president Debbie Meeks wrote to Congressman Neal Dunn, and our Senators to advocate for improving the internet at the Refuge.
In this day and age, no organization can work efficiently and effectively with weak internet connections. We had already bumped into connectivity issues with internet when Friends had volunteered to staff the Welcome Desk at Refuge headquarters before the pandemic closures. We'd known that staff were required to use cloud-based software programs for map-making and other functions. However, the internet connections were often not reliable enough to do the work.
In October, Congressman Dunn replied that he had made inquiries of the Fish and Wildlife Service in response to Debbie's letter. It looks like there is now some hope for improvement. Friends is delighted and hopes it is not long in coming to fruition.
Friends of Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys NWRs and the Paynes Prarie Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society will hold a native plant walk on the Lower Suwannee Refuge on Saturday November 19 at 10 a.m. All are welcome.
Meet at Gate 14 along the Lower Suwannee Wildlife Refuge Nature Drive. The gate is about 7 miles from the south entrance to the Nature Drive, off Rte 347. Refuge gates are yellow and numbered. The GPS coordinates for Gate 14 are 29.351035, -83.052415. Click here for a map of the entire Refuge. Click here for a guide to the Nature Drive, which notes Gate 14.
The walk is 1/2 mile long on a compacted secondary Refuge road that is grassy and muddy in spots. Sunny open flatwoods transition to shady floodplain and the road ends with a view of the Suwannee River.
Cell service is poor in the area. Ticks are abundant if you venture off the mowed road. Sand gnats or mosquitoes might be a nuisance depending on the amount of breeze. Despite those adventure-related issues, it promises to be a lovely walk.