Programs and field trips resume in September. Have a great summer!

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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More detail on SFAS
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Audubon Society

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 2016 - Spring 2017, Programs and Activities
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Program: “Tall, Dark, Handsome & …Furry: Fox Squirrels of the Southeastern Coastal Plain”
Speaker: Wesley W. Boone IV, Ph.D. Student, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida

The decline of fox squirrel populations due to habitat loss led the FL FWC to list the fox squirrel as a Species of Special Concern. Join us as we discuss what is known about fox squirrel population trends, statewide distribution, habitat management and the ramifications of possible delisting.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Field Trip: Ordway-Swisher Preserve
Meet at 7:45 am at Melrose Heritage Park (west side) to carpool.LIMITED SEATING.
Contact Laura Berkelman at 352-475-2023 or to reserve your spot.

Join us on this private tour of the Ordway-Swisher Preserve designed to complement our program on fox squirrels. We’ll see the fire-prone habitat they need to thrive and with luck, we’ll see one of the handsome beasts.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Program: “Owls: Can We Live with the Three Brothers?”
Speakers: Nan & Joe Soistman, Wildlife Rehab Specialists, Florida Wildlife Care Center, Inc.

North Central Florida has several owls including the fierce Great Horned Owl, the unfussy Screech Owl and the sedentary Barred Owl. The Soistmans share their insights into these amazing birds & they will bring three live representatives from these owl families as they describe what makes them thrive and what we can do to help. WARNING: Service dogs must be quiet and sit at the back for this program.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Field Trip: Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park NIGHT HIKE
Meet at 5:30 pm at Melrose Heritage Park (west side) to carpool. Park entrance fee at gate: $5 per car.
Contact Sandy McGee at 352-214-6523 or to reserve your spot.

Gold Head Branch State Park ranger-led interpretive night hike: Hike begins at 6:30 PM. Limit 15 people; reservations required. Bring your flashlight – red light is best.
Late October, 2016 Exact date to be announced.
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. Call Joyce King to volunteer.
October 28-29, 2016
Event: Annual Statewide Audubon Assembly

Sirata Beach Resort, St. Petersburg, Florida. Visit for details.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 (3rd Tuesday)
Program: “Darners, Dashers, Damsels: Odonates of the Lake Region”
Speaker: Mike Drummond, Sr. Environmental Planner, Alachua County EPD

Mike Drummond shares the life story of the dragonflies and damselflies, important and beautiful indicator species. Learn about some of the 150 species of damselflies & dragonflies and how we can help these mosquito killers thrive.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Workshop: Odonate/Dragonfly Identification
Meet at 2 pm at Melrose Bay Park, 25500 Devonia Street, Melrose, Florida 32666.
Contact: Gloria Sheffield at 352-475-5758 or

We’ll try to identify the dragonflies we learned about in November’s program meeting. Feel free to bring a chair.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Field Trip: Paddle Prairie Creek
Reservations required: call (386) 454-0611 (Adventure Outpost in High Springs) SFAS members $39 per person (usually $50), includes boat rental, paddle, vest & shuttling. Bring your own equipment, $25.
Note: The destination may be changed if there is insufficient water in Prairie Creek.
Contact: Anne Pierce 352-481-4099 or

Paddle PRAIRIE CREEK with guide & naturalist Lars Anderson. If there is sufficient water, we’ll meet at 10:00 A.M. at the launch site.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - Conservation Celebration and Silent Auction
Program: “Florida Audubon: From Feathers in 1900 to Conservation Today”
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: Dr. Leslie Poole, Assist. Professor, Environmental Studies, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida
Dr. Leslie Poole, author of “Saving Florida: Women’s Fight for the Environment in the Twentieth Century,” will discuss the 1900 founding of the Florida Audubon Society and its work to help the state’s conservation movement.
Thursday December 15, 2016
Melrose Circle, 117th 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 10, 2017
Program: “Imperiled Birds of Florida”
Speakers: Adam Kent, past president, Florida Ornithological Society and Gina Kent, Research Biologist & Coordinator, Avian Research and Conservation Institute

Adam & Gina will discuss the Wood Stork, Snail Kite & Crested Caracara among other species & what we can do to improve their prospects.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Field trip: LaChua Trail, Paynes Prairie State Park
Meet at 7:45 am at Melrose Heritage Park (west side) to carpool.
Contact: Lynne Peterson at 805-706-0301 or

Lots of big alligators up close & personal! Also great birding! Entrance fee, $5 per car.
NOTE: In the event that LaChua Trail is flooded, the field trip destination will be Sweetwater Wetlands Park 325 SW Williston Road, Gainesville, FL.
Saturday January 28, 2017.
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 14, 2017
Program: “Night Skies”
Speaker: Mike Reynolds, PhD, Prof. of Astronomy, FL State College, Jacksonville and Executive Director (2015-2017) Assoc. of Lunar & Planetary Observer.

Mike will alert us to the changes in our night skies, the costs of the changes and some of the ways this impacts wildlife. Stick around after the meeting and, skies permitting, we’ll do a little observation!
Friday-Monday, February 17-20, 2017
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 17-20, 2017. 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.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Field trip: Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve
Meet at 7:45 am at Melrose Heritage Park (west side) to carpool.
Contact: Laura Berkelman at 352-475-2023 or

Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve's lovely trails loop through an excellent mix of habitats with a wide range of native plants. Join us to look for avian winter visitors like the Hermit Thrush, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a variety of warblers and sparrows. Chances are always good for glimpses of year-round residents like Downy, Pileated and Red-bellied Woodpeckers or cardinals as well.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
SFAS 7th Annual Meeting & Pot Luck Dinner
Program: “Living with River Otters: the Fast and the Furious"
Speaker: Sarah Helm, Wildlife Assistance Biologist, FWC

Sarah shares information on these fast and frolicking creatures including their habits, habitat and the impact of urbanization. We may also learn how to prevent human-otter conflicts.
Bring a dish for 6-8 people to share at this potluck meeting and program. We’ll present the SFAS Conservationist of the Year Award, elect 2017-2018 Officers & Directors of the Board and celebrate 7 great years of Santa Fe Audubon, winner of Audubon Florida’s 2016 “Small Chapter of the Year”!
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Field trip: Cedar Key Eco-Cruise
2 to 4 PM • Tidewater Tours, # 4 Dock, Cedar Key. Pre-paid Reservations by March 15, 2017
Contact: Joyce King (352) 475-1999 or for more information and reservations by March 15, 2017

On this cruise you are likely to see numerous birds and probably bottle-nose dolphins.
10 person minimum up to 30 maximum. Price varies from $26 to $20 depending on the number of sign-ups.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Program: “Wild Turkeys”
Speaker: Ricky Lackey, National Wild Turkey Federation Regional Biologist

Join us as Lackey discusses the wild turkey’s biology and ecological necessities. We will talk about the identification, behavior, life cycle, and habitat needs of the wild turkey. We will also touch on beneficial habitat management practices to improve wild turkey and other ground nesting bird habitat.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Field trip: O’Leno State Park
Meet at 7:45 am at Melrose Heritage Park (west side) to carpool.
Contact: Sallie Carlock at (561) 809-6525 or

We’ll take about 2 hours to hike a two mile loop to see what migrant species are in town. Last trip our sightings included a wood thrush, a great-crested flycatcher, a black-throated blue warbler and an Eastern towhee; even a cuckoo was spotted!
Entrance fee, $5 per car.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Event: Dunn's Creek State Park Earth Day Celebration