Alan Davidson here. I am a long-time member of the Friends of the Lower Suwanee NWR. I live in the Tampa area, but my ties are to Dixie County.
When I was seven years old my grandpa or Papa, as he is called around our family, purchased some land on the Suwannee. He brought me there shortly thereafter. Ever since then I have been making trips to the Suwannee River and all along the Gulf Coast, from Cedar Key to Steinhatchee. It's in my blood. It’s a part of me. Which is why, when I discovered the Friends of the Lower Suwannee Refuge, I had to participate and partner to be a steward for what Mother Nature gave us.
However, other than take care of my property it is difficult to play a day to day role in the Friends because we live in Tampa. But in a stroke of good fortune, my company just instituted a “Volunteer Day,” in which each employee is given eight hours to volunteer at his or her non-profit of choice. It was a no-brainer for me: The Friends of the Lower Suwannee Refuge.
Contact was made with Debbie Meeks who then connected me with Bill Dummit. Bill emailed me saying that he needed an extra pair of eyes on a brochure being created for the Friends. The brochure pertained to the Refuge Loop road, which runs 8.5 miles from the north to south end.
I struck out with my trusty companion, a brindle seven year old boxer, who loves being in the woods “playing” with every anole he finds. We made our way through the Loop Rd., lined with cypress, pines, and oaks, taking pictures and documenting GPS waypoints and significant landmarks for the brochure. Being out in the woods was just the thing I needed as I sit behind a desk most every other week. And it was fulfilling to give to the Friends in another way other than giving small monetary donations once a year.
I’m looking forward with anticipation for the next “Volunteer Day” to roll around so I can get back to the Friends, back to Suwannee, back to my roots, back to my childhood.