November 14 program change: "Cavity Nesters", 6:45 at Trinity Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 204 SR 26, Melrose.


SFAS Program Meetings
Active: Sept - April
Annual Report
When: Program Meetings are held the Second Tuesday of each month at 6:45pm.

Where:Trinity Episcopal Parish Hall, 204 SR 26, Melrose

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Ordway-Swisher Biological Station field trip
September 2016
Fourteen people from Santa Fe Audubon Society and one Ordway-Swisher volunteer climbed aboard the Ordway-Swisher’s tram for an informative talk on fox squirrels, the nuances of timing prescribed fire to manage long-leaf pine habitat and the variations of that habitat for different species, and the reptiles and insects of the ephemeral ponds. Steven Coates, Associate Director of the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station, led the discussion and was joined by Catherine Frock, a graduate student at UF. Dick Franz, a member of Santa Fe Audubon, retired Herpetologist and long-time researcher at the Ordway also joined the conversation.

The group was able to see first-hand the differences made to the environment by altering burn schedules even slightly and Coates explained how the fire teams worked to mimic natural lightning ignited fires to achieve stunning restorations. All the while the fire teams are paying close attention to protocols to achieve safety for the fire team members and for the neighbors of the property. “Fire is welcome to come in from the neighbors, but we don’t want it to leave.”

Frock, who is researching fox squirrels, displayed one of the radio collars describing its capabilities and limitations for providing data to the research team. Franz told of a flightless grasshopper found only in one pond at Ordway and one other pond nearby. Coates described how various animals have adapted different strategies to survive (and capitalize on) the periodic fires. One day after a recent fire, turkeys were first on the scene to feast on invertebrates.