Category Archives: Events

15th Bay Day! Outstanding Sponsors!

It all started in 2003 when the first Board of the Friends of the Preserves decided to have a thank you for those who had supported their tireless efforts of establishing a committed group of citizens concerned with helping the health of the bay. Charla Boggs was the first president of this illustrious group of citizens. That first group and each group who have followed have displayed extraordinary desires to restore the land, protect the water, and preserve for the future.

Lynda White is the current president who has been blessed with an outstanding board and wonderful opportunities during her term in office. Purchasing 25 lots contiguous to the Buffer Preserve will help continue to help protect the quality of the water and wildlife in and near St. Joe Bay. Lynda says, “It has been a privilege to serve on the board and as its president. Opportunities have been presented and funds from our previous Bay Days allowed us to make these purchases. The 5,025+ acres benefit the entire community. Improvements made in the buffer and aquatic preserves contribute to the mission of the Friends.”

Would you believe that over 300 attended the first “Low Country Boil”? How about this fact? There were 7 prizes donated to be given away in a drawing at that first event. Yes, you read it correctly. Seven prizes were given and of that seven — four of them are still donating prizes for the Bay Day Live Auction, Silent Auction or for the Raffle. Original sponsors were: Dead Fish Charters at the Indian Pass Campground, The Entrance, Happy Ours, Debbie Hooper Photography, Indian Pass Raw Bar, St. Vincent Island Shuttle Service and Richard and Anne Ingram.

THANK YOU to the 200+ local business sponsors for 2018!
Our Fall Bay Day, Silent Auction and Live Auction would not be possible without the generous donations of desirable goods and services made by our local business sponsors.
When you are considering making a purchase use a business who knows the value of the bay to the citizens of Gulf County and the surrounding area. Go to the Donors & Sponsors page on this website for a complete list of our donors and sponsors.

For an authentic experience (the Atlanta Magazine says), come on out to the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve on Saturday, October 13th. You can participate in a great Birding Tour led by Ron Houser of the Bay County Audubon Society, beginning at 8:00 am ET. There will be four TRAM Tours: 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm. Twenty-four seats for each time. Both are free however, you must sign up to participate.

We will ask for a $10 donation for each shrimp plate and what a bargain that is. The first plates in 2003 were $7 so you can see they are still reasonable and most delicious.

While you are enjoying Bay Day, stop by our Silent Auction tables and check out the Silent Auction Bid Items.

You will not want to miss our Live Auction event Thursday October 11th starting at 6:30 pm ET at the Preserve Visitor Center. This is an excellent opportunity to make donations to the preserves while having a lot of fun. Our Auctioneer Frank will entertain you while encouraging you to go ahead and plan that charter fishing trip or enjoy that stay at the beach, take a day to recharge and be pampered. You can find a multitude of choices for that experience. Your house needing some repairs? Look at our home improvement section for help.

Want to see what your choices are? Go to the Live Auction Bid Items page on this website and see the entire list of donations made by our awesome sponsors. All to help protect the bay, the natural communities and wildlife in the preserve.

Look for hand-outs of the Live Auction items in retail stores in the area and check them out online. Christmas is right around the corner and you can get started early. You will be so proud of yourself for getting that head start and in such an outstanding way – helping the preserves.

If you have questions please call 850-229-1787, Ext. 1 for more information.

 

Volunteers Help Businesses and Preserves

They did it again, volunteers at the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve thanked local business owners for their help in the last two previous Bay Day Celebrations. They also happily accepted donations for the Fall Bay Day and Live Auction which will be on Oct. 11th and Oct. 13th. The gift certificates are under lock and key for next February. Pat Caruana and Carl Janish have performed their magic – helping to promote local businesses with an outstanding Sponsors Display in the Visitor Center. All donations are used to raise funds for various projects during the year by the Friends of the Preserves Citizen Support Organization. Many locals are members of the group and membership is encouraged. Attending the Live Auction on Thursday before the Saturday Bay Day event helps the CSO even more. Come on out and be ready to be floored by the gifts and services available. Donations will be accepted in the form of cash or credit card.

Board President Lynda White “sincerely hopes everyone will attend the Live Auction on Thursday night and Bay Day on Saturday.  Birding and TRAM Tours, Low Country Shrimp Boil, Live Bluegrass music, Silent Auction and Raffles. You will have a great day and be glad you got out to enjoy the beauty of the preserves.”

This is an excellent opportunity to give unique gifts to family and friends for birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas. Think how relaxed you will be in December when your Christmas shopping is almost complete! Shirts and ties are out of vogue and charter fishing trips are in. Your spouse will thank you profusely and you will make points for the whole year.

Want to know what kind of items you might find at the Live Auction, Silent Auction or Raffle? These items are listed on the Friends of the Preserves website.

So, if you have a fear of attending auctions just relax. Friends of the Preserves Board Members will help you so you can enjoy the night. Another site volunteer, Frank Hermanek will serve as auctioneer for the second time and he makes the event enjoyable even if someone outbids you on an item. There is wine and cheese to enjoy also.

Remember, your donations by membership or participation in the auctions, raffles, or by attending Bay Day are used to assist the Aquatic and Buffer Preserves exclusively. Keeping St. Joseph Bay in outstanding condition is a priority for the CSO. The 5,025 acres surrounding the bay serve as a water recharge area naturally cleaning the waters coming down the watershed before it reaches the bay. We are not just talking about the bay for our use now but for the next generations to follow.

Dylan Shoemaker, Preserve Manager “invites everyone to come to the preserve and enjoy being outside. Listen to bluegrass music and enjoy an authentic experience with a Low Country Shrimp Boil prepared right on the deck. Local wild-caught shrimp make the boil extraordinary for a mere $10 donation.”

The mission of the Friends of the Preserves is: Restoring the Land, Protecting the Water, and Preserving the Future! How can you help? Attend the Live Auction on Thursday, October 11th and Bay Day on October the 13th!

The LIVE Auction on October 11th and the Fall Bay Day on October 13th are two events it will be worth your while to participate in while you are helping the Aquatic and the Buffer Preserves.

Raising funds to help in YOUR backyard! The mission of the Friends of the Preserves: Restore the Land, Protect the Water, Preserve for the Future. You can help!!

Lester Stars at Turtle Fest

John Ehrman, Lynda White and Lester the Loggerhead

The Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves were well represented at the 3rd Annual Sea Turtle Festival on Sunday, July 1st. Even though it rained most of the day, there were many tourists and residents who stopped by to learn more about the Buffer and Aquatic Preserves.
Lester the Loggerhead, our education ambassador for sea turtles, enabled us to educate visitors about these remarkable creatures nesting on our beaches.  Lynda White

Annual Membership Meeting

Annual Membership Meeting of the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves January 6, 2018, 11am – 2pm 3915 State Road 30-A Port St. Joe, FL.  All Friends members are encouraged to attend and bring a not-yet member!
Agenda: Presentations by President, Lynda White, Aquatic Preserve Manager, Jon Bruckner, and Buffer Preserve Manager, Dylan Shoemaker.
Members will have the opportunity to nominate members to serve on the board.
ENJOY a chili dinner with Friends!
Bring a dish to share with others and learn about the accomplishments of 2017 and the plans for growth for 2018!
Be prepared to have a good time and meet fellow FRIENDS members!

Bigger Better Sea Turtle Fest

Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves had lots of visitors to our booth at the 2nd annual Sea Turtle Festival, held on July 2 at George Core Park in Port St. Joe. Our most popular exhibit by far was the skeleton of Lester the loggerhead sea turtle. He resides in the Buffer Visitor Center, in case you missed seeing him last Sunday.

The Sea Turtle Festival is fun for everyone, with a marine life touch tank from Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, lots of crafts vendors, and informational booths like ours about the natural environment and parks in our area, and of course about the Turtle Patrols. There were also hot dogs, ice cream, and live music!

Thanks to our volunteers at the Sea Turtle Festival: Sandra and Sonny Chafin, John Ehrman, Linda Flynn, Lillian Hughes, Don Maples, Nancy Thomson, Lynda and Jim White Tim Nelson, and March Ard.

Bay Day a Terrific Fund-Raiser

The Live Auction, Feb. 2, and Winter Bay Day ,Feb. 4, brought in over $9,000 in net donations, after deducting our costs. Please be sure to thank our commercial sponsors who gave items for the auctions and raffle! Business owners from Mexico Beach to Apalachicola responded to requests by site volunteers Pat Caruana and Carl Janish, and most local businesses donated valuable merchandise or services for our auctions. You can find their business cards and brochures on display at the Buffer Visitors’ Center. Please thank our sponsors!
All of you volunteers deserve a huge Thank You, too! Here’s a breakdown of net funds received from some of the Winter Bay Day activities you helped with:
Shrimp Boil, 491 plates sold, $4,911
Live Auction, $3,648
T-shirt sales, $1,091
Silent Auction, $872
Memberships, $860
Raffle, $696
Cookie Sales, $287

Splash Trash Tour

What happens when trash hits the splash? As we all enjoy the beautiful Florida ocean and beaches, we are also facing an enormous challenge – trash in our oceans. It is having devastating effects on our sea and wildlife, our beaches, our local economies and our human health.

 Special Events include:

Trash in the Oceans and You – April 6, 10:00 – 11:00: What is the status of plastic trash in our oceans and what can we do to make a difference?  Is recycling the answer?  Is ocean clean-up technology the answer?  Join Splash Trash creator, Bette Booth, in this interactive presentation to learn the answers to these and many other questions about trash in our oceans.

Splash Trash Family Day Saturday April 1 – 10:00 – 2:00.   Join artist Bette Booth while she is making a new art piece –  “Catch of the Day”.

This is the final stop on the Splash Trash 2017 Florida Tour and the response has been overwhelming.  As one visitor summarized, “Everyone needs to see this show.  The message is that important.”  Another commented, “It’s beautiful.  It’s disturbing.  It’s inspiring.”

Splash Trash Tour Hours
March 31:  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
April 1:  10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
April 3 – 6:  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
April 7:  9:00 a.m. – 12:00

Annual Meeting News & Reports

Annual Membership Meeting, January 7
First, the nearly 30 members present voted by acclamation to install two new Directors on the Board. They are Linda Palma and Tim Nelson. Both Linda and Tim spend a lot of time volunteering at the
Buffer center, helping with ongoing projects and creating new enhancements for the Visitor Center. Among their many contributions, Linda has recorded a self-guided audio tour of the exhibits by Sandra  Chafin, now available any time in the Visitor Center. Tim and Allix North have produced a beautiful drone fly-over tour of the Buffer Preserve. You can watch it on the television in the Visitor Center.

A $500 check from the Florida Scallop and Music Festival of Port St. Joe was presented by Guerry Magidson, Chairman of the Board of Gulf County Chamber of Commerce, to Friends President Lynda
White.

Buffer Preserve Manager Dylan Shoemaker presented a PowerPoint talk on the issues facing the Buffer Preserve this year. He reminded us that the mandate of the Preserves is “To Conserve and Protect.” Six current issues were discussed:
I. Restoring the hydrology (natural water flow) within the Buffer’s three watersheds. The focus now is on the Money Bayou watershed.
II. Protecting plant and animal resources.
III. Controlling invasive species, both plants and animals.
IV. Protection of the 18 cultural and historical archaeological sites in the Preserve.
V. Promoting conservation and responsible use of the natural area by the public. The Preserve has recently added a new staff member, Shana Hale, who specializes in education and outreach.
VI. Promoting scientific research that contributes to conservation and protection of native ecosystems.

Central Panhandle Aquatic Preserves Manager Jonathan Brucker presented a talk about current projects of the Aquatic Preserves. Volunteer opportunities were emphasized. Aquatic Preserves volunteers are needed to help with water quality monitoring in the four bays, St. Joseph Bay, Apalachicola Bay, Alligator Harbor, and St. Andrews Bay. The water is tested for nutrients and for harmful algal blooms. Volunteers may also help with seagrass monitoring at around 25 sites in St. Joseph Bay and others in Alligator Harbor and Apalachicola Bay. If you want to volunteer, please email Jonathan.Brucker@dep.state.fl.us , or call the Aquatic Preserves, 850-670-7723.
Several important restoration projects are underway in the bays of the Preserves. Seagrass restoration is an important one since many marine animals depend on the seagrass. Scars in seagrass beds will be filled in using a sediment tube method, beginning this summer, and 49 buoys have been deployed to prevent motor boats entering shallow areas of the bays. Other restoration projects include oyster clutch replacement and the Living Shoreline Project, funded by BP oil spill payments, which will add beneficial vegetation along shorelines.

To Our Bay day Sponsors: Thank You!

Friends have the absolute BEST SPONSORS — anywhere! We are hoping our fantastic sponsors of our Live auction, Silent Auction, and raffle will join us for a little celebration, Thursday, Nov 17 at 4pm. At that time you may join a group for a TRAM Tour to the Uplands of the Preserve. Manager, Dylan Shoemaker will lead this tour. At 5:15pm those unable to make it to TRAM Tour may join us in the Visitors Center for refreshments and visiting with other sponsors and Board members. A highlight of the evening could very well be the sun sinking over St. Joseph Bay Our sunsets are breathtaking.RSVP and let us know if you are coming please so we will have enough refreshments.

June Starts Busy! Call Out for Bay Day Volunteers!

Well, we have been busy at the Buffer Preserve. Prepping for prescribed burns and conducting actual Rx fires keep personnel busy, busy. Almost every bed has been full with researchers and/or interns. We are excited to have everyone and always enjoy hearing about their work.
A group of Boy Scouts planned a project involving weeding and putting out pine straw. Their efforts greatly helped our curb appeal in front of the Visitor Center. We always love having younger environmentalists-in-training at the Preserve.
Some of our latest visitors include a nest, eggs, baby birds, and of course, a mama bird. Right on our deck railing mama bird built a nest and laid 4 eggs. They hatched — much to our delight. We have loved watching them grow on a daily basis and will be sad when they fly away.
Our Visitor Center has been the site for several meetings for groups who do not have a meeting facility. Turtle Patrol groups and the Coastal Training Program from the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve met here and we are happy to be able to offer our site for their use.
T.S. Colin helped getting thinking about our Hurricane Disaster Plan. We are thankful it was just a mild test however we were happy to review our plan of action even we sincerely hope we never need it. Always be ready – in case – is our motto!
Friends of the Preserves are starting now to plan for October Bay Day. Want to be a part of this wonderful celebration of the Bay and Buffer Preserves? Just email us at admin@stjosephbaypreserves.org or talk to any board member. These board members each have a committee and they are always needing good help. John Ehrman, Dewey Blaylock, Gene Cox, Sonny Chafin, Jeff Ross, Lillian Hughes, Lynda White, Nancy Thomson, March Ard, Shannon Lynch make up this super star group of volunteers!