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Field Trips

St. Augustine Historical Hitchhiker Tour for SFS Families and Friends

Time: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 9:00 am departure, 3:00 pm return
Location: Depart from hotel’s Newnan Street entrance
Cost: $59.00 per person (lunch not included)
Minimum/maximum registrants: 20/30
Contact: Michael and Sue Barbour (michaelsuebarbour@comcast.net)

Our trip to St. Augustine will have a most unusual beginning – picking up a hitchhiker! Don’t be alarmed when our driver pulls over to allow a disoriented stranger to join our tour. It’s only crazy Ida Alice Shourd Flagler – the oil and hotel baron’s second wife! Through the eyes of this colorful woman, we’ll learn much about the area and its history, as well as all the dirt on Mr. Flagler! Our tour will begin where the history of Florida began, at the Fountain of Youth, and will include the Mission of Nombre de Dios, birthplace of Christianity on this continent. At the Castillo de San Marcos, we will step off for a few moments to walk around this fort, which is the oldest of the nation’s monuments. Next, we will see the heart of St. Augustine with its magnificent Spanish Renaissance architecture. Mr. Flagler began to turn this sleepy little town in the late 1880s into a resort by creating fabulous hotels and churches. After hearing his complete life story, we will pay our respects to Mr. Flagler when we visit his mausoleum behind the college named for him.

Once we have learned the more than 400 years of the area’s history, we will have time for lunch (not included in registration cost) and shopping! St. George Street, a shopping “mecca” well-known as a pedestrian walking street with over 240 gift shops, ice cream parlors, and restaurants, is just four short blocks long. Shop, stop by the Pirate & Treasure Museum, the Oldest School House or just relax until it’s time to board the coach for your return trip.

Okefenokee Swamp Canoe Trip

Time: Friday, May 24, 2013, 8:00 am departure, 6:00 pm return
Location: Bus departs from hotel’s Newnan Street entrance
Cost: $99.00 (includes transportation, canoe rental, and box lunch)
Minimum/maximum registrants: 20/30
Contact: Alan Covich (alanc@uga.edu)

Explore the Okefenokee Swamp by canoe! The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is composed of approximately 162,000 ha of freshwater wetlands in southeastern Georgia and northern Florida. It is the second largest wilderness area and wetland (after the Everglades) in the eastern United State and is recognized as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

This day-long trip will provide an excellent opportunity to see a great diversity of wildlife, especially birds and other charismatic vertebrates and invertebrates. During this time of year, young gators are under the protective care of their very large parents who sun themselves along the waterways. The flora is remarkably diverse with islands of cypress surrounded by open-water marsh and scrub-shrub forest. The water balance is maintained primarily by direct inputs of rainfall (annual average of 1.5 meters) and to a lesser extent by runoff and subsurface inputs from uplands. About 80% of the rainfall is returned to the atmosphere by evapotranspiration. The main outflows are the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers. The macroinvertebrates include those planktonic and benthic species adapted to low-nutrient and acidic (pH 3.5 to 3.9) waters rich in dissolved organic carbon. Utricularia feed on the zooplankton and bubbles of methane rise to the atmosphere among the water lilies. Peat deposits in some sections of the swamp are approximately 3 to 4 m deep and 6,000 to 7,000 years old. Some of these peat deposits recently burned during the prolonged drought of 2011. The vegetation in and around the swamp are growing back in many locations after a series of wildfires. This iconic ecosystem has been well-studied over several decades and is under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The trip will be based out of Okefenokee Adventures in Folkston, Georgia (http://okefenokeeadventures.com/canoe-and-kayak-rentals/).

Ichetucknee Springs Kayak Trip

Time: Friday, May 24, 2013, 7:30 am departure, 5:30 pm return
Location: Bus departs from hotel’s Newnan Street entrance
Cost: $102.00 (includes transportation and kayak rental; lunch not included)
Minimum/maximum registrants: 20/30
Contact: Matt Cohen (mjc@ufl.edu)

Kayak the gorgeous Ichetucknee River, a large artesian spring-fed system! The river starts at a complex of 6 springs boasting some of the clearest freshwater in the world, and winds 5 km through a spectacular state park. See karst features, wading birds, otters, turtles, the occasional manatee, and waving beds of submerged grasses during a 3-hour kayak float. Bring your mask for some subaqueous exploration and see the Floridan Aquifer springs that were the focus of some of the earliest forays in aquatic ecology (H.T. Odum’s work in the 1950s).

We’ll bus from the conference hotel to the north entrance of the State Park, rent kayaks (http://www.ichetuckneecanoeandcabins.net/), check out the head spring (picture below), and float down the river. There is an outstanding restaurant (Great Outdoors Café, High Springs FL) near the river, but it's a little out of the way. We will plan a stop there or another location for lunch (cost not included in registration fee). Plan on bringing your own river gear (sandals, swimsuits, masks). Food or drinks are allowed on the river only if in non-disposable containers. Bring something to keep your valuables (phones, wallets, etc.) dry. Towels and a change of clothes are good, because even if the weather is hot, the water is not!

SFS Golf Funament - CANCELLED

Time: Friday, May 24, 2013, 7:45 am departure, 3:45 pm return
Location: Bus departs from hotel’s Newnan Street entrance
Cost: $148.00 (includes transportation, golf course fees, and post-funament lunch at golf club)
Minimum/maximum registrants: 16/28
Contact: Nick Aumen (nick_aumen@nps.gov)

The first annual SFS Golf Funament has been cancelled because of low registration.

Guided Kayak EcoTour - CANCELLED

Time: Sunday, May 19, 2013, 12:00 - 5:00 pm
Location: Fort George River
Cost: $95.00 per person
Minimum/maximum registrants: 20/30
Contact: Melissa Martin (melissa_martin@fws.gov)

The Fort George River Kayak Eco-tour has been cancelled because of low registration.

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