My route after Charleston will take me down to Savannah and then into Florida where I will be spending at least 3 full weeks. I have yet to sort out my exact route, but I would love to hear from any Florida birders who might be willing to house me at any point between around February 20 and March 20 (firstname.lastname@example.org). I need people all over the state so it would be great to hear from everyone in Florida at this time. Please don't assume I have an option in your area already!
I would also like to take a minute to remind everyone that I am doing this entire year as fundraiser for bird conservation. Two of the areas for which I am raising money to preserve are located in Florida. Here are descriptions of the two projects provided by my primary fundraising beneficiary, The Conservation Fund.
Johnson Tract, Sugarloaf Key, Florida. This 1312-acre tract is the largest private ownership within the Florida Keys. It contains some of the nation's most imperiled natural communities and is home to numerous listed species including Key deer, Lower keys marsh rabbit, White-crowned pigeon, Mangrove cuckoo, American Crocodile, West Indian manatee, and at least two species of sea turtle. Surrounded by conservation lands, the Johnson Tract has been a high priority for state and federal agencies for years. Protection of this large, undeveloped tract will help reduce development pressure in the Keys and prevent impacts to water quality that would result from development.
Florida Keys Mangroves
Kanapaha Prairie, Alachua County, Florida. Kanapaha Prairie is a 685-acre property near Gainesville, Florida owned by The Conservation Fund. It is part of a unique ecosystem of freshwater marshes in north central Florida which form the central wintering ground for migratory birds including Sandhill and Whooping crane, Wood storks, and Bald eagles. The Conservation Fund is trying to restore the prairie to a more natural condition using cattle as a management tool. To reach this goal, The Fund will implement the steps recommended in the grazing plan prepared by the Natural Resource Conservation Service. These recommendations include, but are not limited to, fencing off the major wetlands to protect water quality and prevent tramping, and the installation of one or two water wells as alternative water sources.
If you have donated already, I sincerely thank you. However, if you have not, please consider doing so. Even small amounts can add up if everyone participates. As of today, the blog has 61,000 hits and only 70 donations. There is clearly a huge disconnect between these numbers. All of the money raised will go to The Conservation Fund (80%) and the American Birding Association (20%); None of it will be used to finance the actual adventure since I am financing the entire year myself. If you like preserving the natural world and its wonderful array of birds and other living things, please, please, please make a donation. I thank you for participating.