As spring approaches, I find myself staring out into the world in admiration of what the Earth has to offer. I have seen many places on this planet and each one has its own beauty. And one of the most beautiful sights is watching spring unfold before our eyes. As winter fades, everything comes back to life. The grass becomes greener, the trees become full of new leaves, the flowers begin to bloom, and birds start singing cheerfully. It’s like watching a miracle unfold....the rebirth of our planet. My favorite time of day during spring is daylight. I love being in the woods, especially early in the morning. Watching and listening to the world wake up also awakens and restores my soul. I love just being in the woods, enjoying the peace and quiet, hearing the noises we were intended to hear. I strongly urge everyone wake early, to leave your devices at home and to watch the sunrise on a crisp, spring morning. You can watch the sunlight dance slowly across the dark while listening to the animals, bugs, and birds say "Good morning world" in their own way. I promise you will not be disappointed. And you may just find that something in you awakened and was renewed in the dawn of a new day.
When summer rolls in and school gets out, we, as parents, are always looking for something for our children to do that they will enjoy and from which they can learn. In this blog, I want to give a huge shout out to the Summer Camp Programs hosted by FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). During the different weeks of camp, youth come out to the BTYCC to learn safety skills, gain hands-on knowledge and participate in different areas of hunting and fishing. The best description comes from the brochures put out by FWC on each camp.
“Come cast a line with us at the BTYCC Pond! Our Fish Camp provides valuable instruction regarding fish and their habitat, teaches various fishing techniques, and cultivates a new crop of responsible anglers. All aspects of fishing are covered, including fish identification and biology, boat navigation, and angling techniques. Jon boats with electric motors will be used to explore areas of our ponds not accessible for shoreline fishing. Campers gain an appreciation for the sport of fishing, as well as the knowledge required for ethical angling. The week will conclude with a fishing tournament and fish fry.” (Courtesy of FWC.)
“Become certified in hunter safety at the BTYCC! Campers participate in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Hunter Safety Certification program learning about outdoor ethics, wildlife conservation, habitats, wild game, and hunting skills. Classes are led by a certified hunter safety instructor in a controlled environment. Participants are instructed and supervised in the use of shotguns, muzzleloaders, .22 rifles, and archery.” (Courtesy of FWC.)
“Getting Youth Outdoors” with the proper safety skills and knowledge of what our environment has to offer is the best way to ensure the future of our planet. Knowledge today is leadership and sportspersonship for tomorrow.
I cannot thank FWC enough for working so diligently all summer, and all year, long to help get our youth outdoors. If you have not checked out their summer camp programs, please do so. I hope to see your children there!
Please visit www.myfwc.com to learn more about their camps!
Wow… just wow! I cannot say enough about the Outdoor Experience at the BTYCC on May 2nd. It was such a success!! From everyone who came out to everyone who volunteered, it was a fun filled family day! To those who came out, we are so glad you stopped by and shared time with us! And to those who planned the event and who worked the event, thank you very much for your effort, dedication and time!
I want to say “Thank You” to FWC for all their hard work organizing the event and for all the countless hours and dedication they show to helping our youth get outdoors. Their hard work and commitment are very much appreciated and can be seen in everything they do with our kids. Don’t forget about the upcoming summer camps which are also a huge success!
To all the FWC and the BTYCC volunteers that donated their time to help out, I cannot thank you enough either! You all make the Outdoor Experience run smoothly and help make memories for families!
I love that the Outdoor Experience has something to offer kids of all ages. From bounce houses and slides to fishing, from shooting to archery, from live exhibitions to great food, there was something for all ages to enjoy. Even the parents had a great time! We had three special performances this year: The Gould Brothers, Randy Oitker, and Flight of the Raptor. We appreciate their time and their participation with all of the guests!
Events like this show everyone how much the outdoors has to offer. Although the event is fun, the education that occurs, whether about the Gopher tortoise, the alligator, the raptor or about outdoor activities is what instills the knowledge that protects and preserves species and habitat for generations to come.
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart to all of those who came out to enjoy the day with us to all of those who helped host the event….each of you made the day awesome!!
Spring means so many things to all of us. As an avid outdoorsman, I love everything spring has to offer, especially turkey season. Not just because of getting a bird, but because it’s a great reason to get outside before the sun comes up. There is just nothing like being in the woods before daylight and watching the world come alive.
As with any type of hunting, conservation and management are key components. I cannot say this enough. Sometimes these necessities are overlooked and underappreciated. One organization that realizes the importance of conservation and management in relation to the wild turkey is the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF).
Founded in South Carolina in 1973, the NWTF has grown to have local chapters in every state and is the leader in upland wildlife habitat conservation. NWTF is so successful because of the people involved in it. People like you and me who are avid outdoorspeople…men, women, and children who love the outdoors and everything it has to offer, including turkeys. From the first memory of a gobbler strutting in a field, there is something that sticks with us that drives us to experience it over and over again. It becomes a motivation, a passion, and a part of our makeup to have these experiences and to share them with each other and to protect them for generations to come.
NWTF branches out in many areas of the outdoors. They have programs for everyone as they believe that everyone should have the chance to enjoy their passion for the outdoors. Their JAKES program is only for kids, a Women in the Outdoors program is just for the ladies, and they founded the Wheelin’ Sportsmen to provide any with a disability the opportunity to get outdoors.
Here in the Monticello/Tallahassee area, we have two chapters of NWTF: the Apalachee Longbeards in Tallahassee and the Kings of Springs in Monticello. These groups host yearly banquets and fundraisers designed to bring us all together to promote conservation and stewardship as it relates to the wild turkey.
Explore the NWTF website at www.nwtf.org. They have sections on saving habitat and promoting conservation along with tabs related to their programs, mission or how to volunteer. If you are local, visit www.kingsofspring.org or www.apalacheelongbeards.org. If you live elsewhere, check the NWTF site for chapters in your area!
With springtime nearing, I want to use this blog to give credit to the Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy. They are one of the premier land trusts in the nation. Organizations like Tall Timbers go above and beyond to ensure the conservation of our land and its resources so that it will be available for future generations. Between recreational lands, farms, and working forests, Tall Timbers now has more than 140,000 acres in conservation easements across southwest Georgia and north Florida. WOW! What an accomplishment! Along with land conservancy comes the task of maintaining the land. Tall Timbers not only provides conservation easements; it also provides the resources to educate us on proper land management. Believe it or not, much of the land that is placed in land conservancies is used for recreational purposes. One of these pastimes is something I enjoy….quail hunting. I love quail hunting, not just because of the sport, but also because I love being out in nature and taking in everything about the land and what it has to offer. As quail season ended, I reflected on how very important it is to maintain land properly in order to have the sustainable ecosystems that provide not only a quail habitat but new growth for trees, grasses, and all other types of wildlife and am glad that Tall Timbers is available to promote quality land management.
Dixie Plantation is one of the many properties acquired by Tall Timbers Research & Land Conservancy. Dixie Plantation began in the early 1900s as a cotton plantation and eventually became a privately owned quail hunting plantation. In 1937, Dixie Plantation began hosting The Continental Field Trial. This year marked the 120th running of the trial and it was still hosted at Dixie. Participants from all over came to the Field Trial to experience the beauty of a well preserved and maintained property that is home to wild bobwhites. Please visit www.dixieplantation.org for more information on the field trial, the property, and its relationship with Tall Timbers.
As you look at that website, remember that Dixie Plantation is only one of the many properties involved with Tall Timbers. Managing so many acres and properties takes hard work and dedication. Tall Timbers’ devotion to properly maintaining ecosystems is an integral part of land management in Florida and Georgia. Please visit www.talltimbers.org to learn more about everything they offer. You will become more educated and leave feeling thrilled that there is an organization so dedicated to our land.
Happy New Year everyone! Wow, what a year 2014 was! As we begin the New Year, I would like to take a minute to reflect back on last year. 2014 was awesome! I have been blessed to be in the position that I am to be able to get our youth involved in my passion, the Outdoors. Kids these days are so technologically driven so it is very special to witness firsthand what some time outdoors can do to and for the youngsters. I have watched some of the kids from our first mentored youth group grow up into avid outdoorspeople with a genuine love and appreciation for all nature has to offer and this truly makes me happy. I watch some of them help out around the Center and volunteer with upcoming events and programs; seeing them making a difference is outstanding. Our youth are the future of our world and seeing and being a part of their growth and love for Mother Earth is definitely a sign of many good things to come.
2014 was great and I have no doubt that 2015 is going to be even better! Thanks for sharing it with me and I look forward to seeing you along the way this year.
Summertime is a time for vacations, road trips, outdoor excursions, and many more memory making times. Starting today, I am partaking in a special memory maker for my son and myself. We begin are taking a fishing trip solely based on the catching and releasing of tarpon. We are looking forward to a fun filled few days and hopefully we will have the opportunity to fight with one of these magnificent ocean kings on the other end of our rod and reel. In speaking with the guide the other day, he said they had caught and released one a few days ago that was close to 110 pounds!!!! WOW!!!! What a catch and I know that angler was tired after wrestling with that beast!
Florida is home to an amazing abundance of fish, whether it’s saltwater, freshwater, inshore, or offshore, the possibilities are endless. Some are catch and release; some are catch and keep for dinner. Either way, take a drive and hit the water to catch some fish, some sun (wear sunscreen though), and make the memories with your family that will last a lifetime. Hopefully I will have some great pictures and a great story to share when I return. Happy Fishing!! Cheers!