Members of the Cedar Key’s fledgling Audubon Society met with Tiffany Black of the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission) and Dr. Savannah Barry University of Florida biologist on Thursday to discuss how to better serve injured birds in Cedar Key. Chamber of Commerce’s Sue Colson foresees the success of such a program emanating from a partnership between the City and County, with participation also from the Audubon, the FWC and the U of F Biological Station currently operating here in town as well as on Seahorse Key.
Short term goals include the posting of signage explaining what to do if a bird is hooked by a fish hook or is otherwise in need of medical attention. In addition, Audubon Society president Bill Rucker stressed the importance of creating a volunteer list, where locals could assist trained professionals in the rescue and transportation of injured fowl. Also in the works is a training program for those interested in how to approach and handle the birds.
Colson further announced that she would be adding a unit in the Summer Youth Programs dedicated to instructing junior high and high school students in bird rescue. Anyone interested in either the volunteer/training sessions or the Summer Youth program should be alert for further announcements on these and other developments. Information is also available on the Audubon Society web page at http://www.cedarkeysaudubon.org.
FRIENDS OF COUNTY ROAD 347
FIRST MONDAY OF EACH MONTH
9 to 10 AM
C 347 FRIENDS
Come on by the sign located near corner of SW 77th Place and C 347 to get trash bags, gloves, and a vest. Join the fun J on Monday, May 2. All suggestions welcome.
To an audience of well over seventy people, Doug Maple presented “Cedar Key Shore Birds” on Thursday, April 21, at the Cedar Key Library. The newly formed Cedar Keys Chapter of the National Audubon Society hosted the event which focused upon Cedar Key’s population of migratory shorebirds and other birds commonly found here. Many of Maple’s incredibly beautiful photographs were taken by Frank Morgan.
Maple’s discussion presented many interesting observations to the novice birder and many opportunities to identify birds for the expert birder. Helpful information for the novice included Maple commenting that the Cedar Key area has fewer birds than in prior years. Some 70% of the shore birds seen in the Cedar Keys nest in the Arctic tundra. When and where birds are seen depends upon the tides: at low tides, birds are out on the flats feeding upon all the critters that live in the sand and shallow waters; on high tides, they rest, sleep and preen. Maple, responding to a question about why so many birds are seen hopping on one leg, said, “It’s a bird thing.” Most, indeed, have two legs, but they frequently hop on one, he explained.
The expert birders were thoroughly engaged in identifying the birds in Morgan’s fine photographs. They recognized plovers, sandpipers, avocets, dunlins, willets, godwits, curlews, and more.
Maple reminded his audience not to disturb birds they see as all birds need all their weight and energy for the long migration to nest.
In addition to the Jane Veltkamp’s raptor presentation, Doug Maple’s Cedar Key Shire Birds presentation, and hosting the Alachua Audubon group here, the Cedar Keys Audubon Chapter is keeping busy providing some consummately useful, meaningful services to the community.
President Bill Rucker outlined the chapter’s efforts in his visits to Cedar Key organizations this past several weeks. An abbreviated description of these efforts follow.
Leslie Sturmer, a shellfish specialist with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, presented the third program in the “Think Water, Think Cedar Key”* initiative on Saturday morning, April 23, at the Cedar Key Library; her talk was titled “Water for Industry.”
With her Bachelor of Science Degree from North Carolina State University and her Master of Science Degree from Auburn University, Sturmer has managed several large aquaculture projectss along the Gulf of Mexico coast. She has worked in hatchery development for marine fish stock enhancement with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and intensive nursery systems for penaeid shrimp with Texas A and M University. With Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, she was instrumental in the establishment of a hard clam aquaculture initiative centered in Cedar Key.
Currently, Sturmer directs the statewide shellfish aquaculture program for the University of Florida working with some 300 clam growers. Since 1990, Sturmer has served on the Florida Aquaculture Association Board of Directors. She also serves on the National Shellfisheries Association and the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association Boards of Directors.
The “Water for Industry” presentation informed the audience about the clam industry’s development, relevant statistics, the industry’s components, water quality, and environmental benefits. Memorable facts from the presentation were many; some follow.
*The TWTCK program is a series of five events focused on heightening the public’s awareness of the criticality of water, both salt and fresh. The program is punctuated with a three-dimensional physical model of downtown Cedar Key’s complete with City Hall, the Island Hotel, and more. The model, placed within a large tank, will show the various flooding effects from storm surges, sea-level rise, and hurricanes. Further capping the program is a presentation by Cynthia Barnett, a former Cedar Key resident and award-winning environmental journalist, “Water in the Future: Cedar Key as a Model for a Twenty-First Century Water Ethic.”
Levy County 4-H is proud to announce the 2016 Summer Day Camp schedule. Day Camps will be hosted all summer on a wide variety of topics. To register or find out about pricing, deadlines, age limits or times, please call the 4-H office at 352-486-5131, visit our website at www.levy.ifas.ufl.edu or stop by the Extension Office at 625 N. Hathaway Ave, Bronson, FL 32621, to pick up an informational page and enrollment form.
Shooting Sports I Day Camp, June 13-17. Participants have the opportunity to earn their Hunter Safety Certification during this week and learn to shoot archery, rifle, shotgun, and/or muzzle-loading.
Sports Fishing I Day Camp, June 20-24. Participants will learn to rig and use simple fishing tackle including cane poles and/or rods. This camp will include fishing trips to various sites and a fish fry on Friday!
Shooting and Fishing II Day Camp, June 27-July 1. This camp is designed to take these two activities to another level. During Shooting Sports days we will hone the skills learned in the Shooting Sports I day camp. During the Sports Fishing days we will improve upon the skills learned in the Sports Fishing I day camp and take an extra fishing excursion to a new destination.
Marine Science Day Camp, July 5-8. In this day camp, participants will learn more about the marine environment. It will include boat trips, seining, cast netting, crabbing, and specimen identification.
Beginner ATV Course Day Camp, for ages 12 and up, July 18-20. Designed for all kids ages 12 and up, who are interested in earning a Rider Certificate. This day camp does not include the e-course, youth should have taken the e-course prior to this camp. This camp is limited to 12 youth. Youth will be taught safe operation, riding practices, and general maintenance of your ATV. This day camp will be taught by American Safety Institute instructors for the purpose of completing the ASI ATV Safety Certification.
ATV Day Camp, for ages 12 and up, July 20-22. Designed for all kids ages 12 and up, who have obtained a Rider Certificate (can be earned in the Beginner ATV Course Day Camp). This camp is limited to 12 youth. We will be taking trips with our ATV’s during this day camp.
Games Day Camp, July 18-22. This day camp is designed to enjoy the fun of old school games! Some of the games include bean bag toss, jacks, and much more!
Outdoor Adventures Day Camp, July 25-29. Come ready for anything! During this day camp we will be combining entomology and insect collection with canoeing, hiking, exploring our natural resources, and many other activities.
We are very excited about all of the opportunities that will be offered in the summer of 2016. Please note that space is limited, so register early. All campers MUST be at least 8 years old by the date of the camp they attend unless otherwise stated. All camps have strict enrollment limits and increased late fees, so sign up soon. Camp fees are non-refundable and include breakfast, lunch, snacks, field trips, and recreation each day. As a reminder all day camps, prices, and class sizes are subject to change. Please join us as we have fun and learn at the 2016 Levy County 4-H Day Camps!
UF/IFAS Extension in Levy County is an Equal Opportunity Institution.
“The only obligation of a storyteller is to tell a story” says Katurian (Kennan Liston) to his good cop/bad cop interrogators (Michael Glover and Adam Lishawa) in the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre’s production of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, running through May 8th in Gainesville.
This play- a blistering and often brutal examination of the ramifications of the creative process, is certainly not for everyone-rate it R for language and violence. But if you like lively, confrontational theatre – something without clever songs and neat endings-which forces you to consider troubling ideas and the darker inclinations of human consciousness, then this production may be just your thing.
For McDonagh, an Irish playwright/screenwriter whose plays have garnered him numerous Tony nominations, and whose screenplay- In Breuge- won numerous European film awards, The Pillowman represents a departure from his earlier work, almost all of which took place on the Aran Islands -, just off the west coast of Ireland.
This play takes place in an un-named totalitarian state and involves a writer named Katurian whose short stories, most of which involve the murder and mutilation of children, may or may not have been the inspiration for actual crimes. Liston’s Katurian is occasionally too shrill and manic, and we lose some of McDonagh’s biting dialogue. But when this actor is calmer, quieter, he retells his strange stories with an impressive intensity and intelligence. Glover and Lishawa make effectively menacing inquisitors, and Bradley T. Hicks gives a nuanced and layered portrayal of Katurian’s addled older brother, who may have acted on the writer’s stories. In McDonagh’s world, killing adults is sometimes justifiable, but to ever harm a child will have swift repercussions.
The Pillowman continues this theme, but since it is set in such a brutal police state, one wonders if Katurian’s stories are any worse than the world these characters inhabit. Or the one we all inhabit, for that matter. But if you are one of those Cedar Key citizens who occasionally travels down SR 24 53 miles to sample whatever is playing at the estimable Hippodrome Theatre, you might give this production a try. It may lack some of the Hipp’s polish, but this play has a kick to it that’s difficult to forget.
Grandchildren of Keith and Debbie Maynard, Event Coordinators of the Gulf Hammock Wild Hog Canoe Race to be held Saturday, April 23rd waiting for the ACL caboose to be moved. Left to right: Savannah, Christian, Jonathan, James, and Felicity holding baby Hudson. Proud parents are Justin and Katharine Maynard.
The women did a fine job with hauling in 13 nice speckled trout and 2 big mackerel. I cleaned all of them back at the dock and the girls from the Villages took home many fresh fillets. I hope they ate them all that night. They're best fresh, sure enough.The 1st pic is of Pat in classic fighting pose and the next one is Pat with a nice trout. Ida and Judy face out to sea awaiting a strike on their rods and then Judy holds up her big speckled trout. Look at Helen from Minnesota studying her line as it twitches and tugs out and down.
The “Think Water, Think Cedar Key” program presented its second program on Saturday morning, April 16, at the Cedar Key Library with Dr. Maria Sgambati’s and soon-to-be Dr. Savanna Barry’s presentation, “Water for Natural Resources.”
The TWTCK program is a series of five events focused on heightening the public’s awareness of the criticality of water, both salt and fresh. The program is punctuated with a three-dimensional physical model of downtown Cedar Key’s complete with City Hall, the Island Hotel, and more. The model, placed within a large tank, will show the various flooding effects from storm surges, sea-level rise, and hurricanes. Further capping the program is a presentation by Cynthia Barnett, a former Cedar Key resident and award-winning environmental journalist, “Water in the Future: Cedar Key as a Model for a Twenty-First Century Water Ethic.”
Maria Sgambati, currently Education and Outreach Manager at the University of Florida Seahorse Key Marine Lab, hails from Palm Beach where she grew up spending countless hours on the beach. Sgambati, a biologist and physician in medical oncology, spent ten years at the National Institutes of Health in Washington D.C. Her life-long interest is in environmental work; indeed, Sgambati is now most certainly in the right place. Sgambati functions as president-elect of the Lower Suwannee River and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.
Savanna Barry, currently the Regional Specialized Agent with Sea Grant is based at the University of Florida’s newly established Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key. Barry, from Virginia, spent vacations on the Chesapeake Bay as a youngster. Her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology is from the University of Virginia; her Master’s Degree of Science in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences is from the University of Florida. Barry will graduate with her doctorate from U/F in May of this year.
Sgambati began her presentation by immediately involving her audience with the engaging questions, “What does water for Natural Resources mean to you?” and “Why does water matter?” In answer to these questions and with input from listeners, she made the meaningful points that: the earth’s surface is 75% water; the underground water is not included in that percentage; the human body is 72% water. Further, she took her audience further through the water cycle and estuarine environments. Sgambati related the eco-restorative successes occurring in the Chesapeake and Tampa Bays to recapture their man-made failing ecosystems; conversely, she discussed the troubled Indian River Lagoon.
Sgambati further spoke to the complexity of the food web, from phytoplankton to humans, and the adaptions both flora and fauna to process salt water, citing ibis and mangroves are examples.
Sgambati reiterated former speaker John McPherson’s observation that the largest uses of water are thermonuclear power and irrigation, both things that humans can manage better than they presently do.
Savanna Barry spoke about the research being done all along the Suwannee River. The University of Florida Nature Coast Biological Station considers part of its mission driving research in the area. Before citing specific research projects, Barry spoke about water quantity, flow, quality, and nutrients and their impacts in general and as they occur along the Suwannee.
Currently, research is being conducted to ascertain salinity stress on the slow-growing, long-lived bald cypress along the Suwannee. Gulf sturgeon abundance and telemetry tracking of the fish to determine specific preferred habitats are being studied. The critical health of sea grasses, Barry hopes, will continue to be researched.
Barry also presented information about recent research grants awarded by the Nature Coast Biological Station, structured as competitive matching graduate research assistantships.
Further, the NCBS is “collaborating with US Fish and Wildlife and other agency partners to identify optimal management strategies for viewing manatees in Crystal River. The collaboration will identify the economic, social, and ecological aspects of a range of management options in the region.”*
Drs. Sgambati and Barry relayed weighty information to their forth-plus audience members.
Mark Gluckman, expert professional kayaker, led a parade of ten University of Florida-affiliated folk in a five-mile paddle from the Suwannee River Water Management District-owned Lukens Tract on Monday, April 18, 2016.
At approximately 11 am, the group gathered at the end of the Lukens Tract at Lutterloh Ditch and met their kayaks, supplied by Cedar Keyan Tom Liebert. Many kayakers sported cameras; some mounted Go-Pros; all wore life vests.
Gluckman’s plan is to lead the paddlers from the Ditch, past the Number Four Bridge, under the Number Three Bridge, to luncheon at Cemetery Point Park, to rest at Cedar Key City Park. The paddle would take approximately three hours.
When asked what she will miss most about CKS, Alora said, “The smell of the elementary hallway, eating in class without a worry, and of course the sports.”
Alora’s favorite teacher is “Coach David Tomlin, because he makes me laugh when I’m mad.” Coach David was Alora’s basketball coach as well as business teacher. Growing up in Cedar Key, Alora has learned “that small schools are so much easier; do not cuss in class when it gets quiet; and it’s okay to laugh at people when they get physically hurt.”
In 10 years Alora sees herself eating pizza on a beach, watching turtles swim in the ocean, having one child, and being married to CJ. When asked what quote she wants to leave CKS with, Alora said “It’s a very good question, very direct...and I’m not going to answer it.”
Below are two more irresistible pictures taken at the First Lukens Nature Walk on Monday April 18. The twenty-three Donna Thalacker-led people consummately enjoyed their excursion into the area.
Twenty-three people enjoyed perfect weather for our first Lukens Tract nature walk. Donna Thalacker and several others on the walk had Special Use Authorization (SUA) from the Suwannee River Water Management District so we could introduce our beautiful Lukens Tract peninsula to visitors to Cedar Key and long-time residents as well.
We spent a delightful hour or more walking along the SRWMD right of way admiring hundreds of butterflies, including the smallest Florida butterfly, the Eastern Pygmy Blue and our state butterfly, the Zebra Longwing. The butterflies were in abundance, probably numbering in the thousands, nectaring on nearby blooming wildflowers.
Though we heard more birds than we saw, there were Northern Parula Warblers, Blue-grey Gnatcatchers, Yellow-throated Warblers, Cardinals, Snowy Egrets, White Ibis, Clapper Rails, White Pelicans flying overhead, and Great Crested Flycatchers sharing the property with us this morning. Sometimes it was difficult knowing where to look because there was so much beauty to see.
We walked out to the end to see the kayak launch pad and a terrific overlook into the extensive salt marsh. While we were on our way back, a group of kayakers were driving out to the launch pad to begin their kayak trip into the Waccasassa Bay.
Please, use the Lukens Tract property to kayak from and explore the salt marsh and bay, and to bird and butterfly watch. This is a beautiful and ecologically rich property that is close to Cedar Key. Most of this is public property and should be utilized by the public. One needs a Special Use Authorization (SUA) form to properly access the Lukens Tract. The form is simply a sheet of paper that you may obtain by telephoning the SRWMD at 382-362-1001 and asking for Mr. McCook. Leave a message with your name and mailing address and Mr. McCook will mail you an SUA in the US Mail.
THE COMEBACK OF THE CHICKEN
Chickens have been domesticated for thousands of years all over our planet. At one time, just about every farm and many city residences had chickens. Then, starting in the 1950s, small towns and cities wanted to have a more progressive image so they banned all livestock and mistakenly lumped chickens in with pigs, cattle, horses, and sheep. As happens so many times, the pendulum of history swings back the other way and now more and more cities allow chickens once again. Folks realized the valuable resource that they lost and asked their city government to once again have chickens with reasonable restrictions. Today, over 65% of large cities once again allow residents to have chickens.
The codes for once again allowing residents to have the amazing chicken are usually simple and straight forward; most go something like the following:
So why are so many cities and towns once again allowing the beautiful chicken? Well, a lot of reasons.
So, if you would like to once again be allowed to legally have chickens with reasonable restrictions, go to your local government officials and ask them to change the code so that chickens can once again be legal in your town and your yard. Of course, you need to be well informed, so here are some websites that provide tons of information.
The first is thecitychicken.com, a really fun website to look at lots of pictures and information. Two other websites that would be good to look at are backyardchickens.com and urbanchicken.org.