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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Photo Credits
Photographs displayed on this website are copyrighted and were provided with permission by:
Ann Stodola
Dr. Jeff Smith
John Sloane
Richard Segall
Carol Sallette
Anne Pierce
Ida Little
Joyce King
Ray Franklin
Bill Chitty
Sallie Carlock
Jan & Bill Bolte
Keith Bollum
Bob Bird

Programs are presented at the program meetings on the second Tuesday of each month September through April.
Field trips and walking workshops are on scheduled Saturdays.

About field trips
Come early and be ready to LEAVE at the times listed.
Bring water, binoculars, hat, sunscreen, and raingear.
Wear sturdy walking shoes. Binoculars are available on loan.

Fall-Winter 2017, Programs and Activities
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Program: “Five Main Means of Bird Communication: the Titmouse Speaks”
Speaker: Katie Sieving, Ph.D. Ecology, Ethology & Evolution, University of Florida

Dr. Sieving will discuss the 5 voices and diagnostic behaviors of birds, how to recognize them, and what these cues can tell us about nature's activities around us. Bird Language is an ancient artistic science that helped keep our ancestors alive and can enrich our experiences in nature today.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Field Trip: Gold Head Branch State Park
Meet at 7:30 am at Melrose Heritage Park (west side) to carpool or 8:00 at Gold Head’s Rec. Hall. ($5 per car entrance fee.).
Leader: Joyce King 352.475.1999 or

Inspired by Dr. Sieving’s presentation, we’ll tune in to the vocalizations of birds to identify species and the messages they’re sending. Developing a keen ear to bird sounds allows us to eavesdrop on what’s happening around us, and offers a new dimension of nature awareness and appreciation.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Program: “Coyotes: Answering Opportunity"
Speakers: Sarah Helm, Wildlife Assistance Biologist, FWC

Coyotes are now found in every county in Florida. These highly adaptable animals are comfortable in every type of habitat, from forest to heavily urbanized. Few animals evoke such strong reactions in people, both positive and negative. This program may surprise and educate about coyotes, their role in the ecosystem, and how people can avoid problems with them.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Field Trip: Hague Dairy
Meet at 7:45 AM at Melrose Heritage Park to carpool or at 8:15 AM at the dairy’s outdoor classroom parking.
Leader: Laura Berkelman 352.475.2023 or

UF owns this working dairy farm just north of Gainesville. Birds abound. We’ll have easy walking on dirt farm roads (approx. 1.5 mi.) and we might spot Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Cooper‘s Hawks, or Painted Buntings! (Duration: 2 hours at dairy.)
Tuesday, October 31, 2017.
Fun Work Day: Annual Etoniah Rosemary Survey, Etoniah Creek State Forest (See previous years.)
Meet at Etoniah Creek State Forest Office, 8:30 am
Leader: Joyce King, (353) 475-1999

Found nowhere else, and listed as an endangered species. A census to assess the health of this rare plant population is held each October when the plants are in bloom. Volunteers are invited to participate; training is provided. (Also Halloween candy!) Call Joyce King to volunteer.
October 20-21, 2017
Event: Annual Statewide Audubon Assembly

World Golf Village, St. Augustine, Florida. Visit for details.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Program: “Cavity Nesters”
Speaker: Leslie Straub, Florida Wildlife Care Center, Inc.

Saturday, November 18, 2017, 5 PM to 6:30 PM
Field Trip: Private visit to the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium at Santa Fe College
Meet at 4 pm at Melrose Heritage Park to carpool or 4:50 at the planetarium.
Leader: Gloria Sheffield at 352-475-5758 or

“Florida Skies” Show lasts about 50 minutes followed by night sky viewing. Wheelchair accessible. $5 per person.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - Conservation Celebration and Silent Auction
Program: “Creative Birdscaping”
Conservation organizations from our area will join us for this celebration. Live music and a silent auction that features local art, nature-related crafts and great Christmas gifts. Join us for a chili supper beginning at 6 pm. (Pictures of past events)

Speaker: Ron Robinson, Alachua Audubon
Some birds come in the winter, some in spring, others stay all year. Who are the visitors to your feeders and bird bath? What brings them to your yard? How can you provide bird-friendly habitat? Bring your questions. Ron has taught birding classes at Santa Fe College for several years.
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Melrose Circle, 118th Christmas Bird Count (Previous years)

The oldest citizen science project in the world relies on volunteers to collect data that contributes to bird conservation and indicates the movement of birds, declines and advances in bird populations numbers, and the possible results of climate change. No need to be an expert birder! Each team will have experienced leaders who can help newcomers. If you can count, you can participate! Call Joyce at (352) 475-1999 for information or to participate.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Program: : "Creating Wetlands in N. Central Florida”
Speakers:Debra Segal, Environmental Scientist

Gainesville (with GRU) and Lake City have built wetlands to improve water quality before discharging back to nature. Segal will describe how these treatment wetlands operate using native wetland plants to remove nutrients & pollutants from water & now recharge our aquifer with cleaner water. Aquatic and wetland-dependent wildlife are prospering. Gainesville’s Sweetwater Wetlands Park has benefits of passive outdoor recreation, an environmental learning center, & drawing out-of-town visitors for Gainesville's growing ecotourism-economy.
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Field trip: Ron Robinson’s Backyard and Property
Meet at 7:45 am at Melrose Heritage Park (west side) to carpool.
Leader: Joy Segall 352.214.3111 or

Ron has attracted many birds to his property for years with landscaping & many innovative, homemade bird feeders and water features. We’ll see a variety of winter migrants as well as resident birds. (Approx. ½ mile in a yard including some uneven ground.)
January Saturday TBA, 2018.
Event: Yesterday’s Festival, 9 am to 4 pm, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

Experience the Florida of days gone by! Re-enactors, Historic Demonstrations, Cast Iron Cooking, Live Music, Antique Cars, Steam Engines and Tractors, Park Ranger Tram Tours and so much more. Free with park admission. Call (352) 473-4701 for more information.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Program: “The Amazing Kestrel”
Speaker: Allan Hallman, Biological Scientist III, FWC

The Southeastern American Kestrel is a colorful and fierce little falcon listed as “Threatened” in Florida. Learn about the behavior and life cycle of a non-migratory subspecies of kestrel and how FWC is working to restore this amazing bird. Hallman will share his 15 years of experience with boxes, bandings, eggs and chicks at both Camp Blanding and Jennings State Forest.
NOTE: Our program will follow the Boy Scouts’ Pancake Dinner. Come early for pancakes and toppings.
Friday-Monday, February 16-19, 2018
The Great Backyard Bird Count

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.
Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.
We invite you to participate! Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 16-19, 2018. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world, for as long as you wish!
Log on to for complete information and how to get started.