News From the Chair December 2016

By Maryvonne Devensky

Hello everyone,
Since the elections results are known, I have decided to spend more time in nature, to enjoy the beautiful weather we have now, the cool morning walks, and the sunny weather in the afternoons: “Time to tend your garden” as Voltaire suggested years ago… Looking forward to the return of the Sandhill cranes at Paynes Prairie, I went to La Chua trail last Sunday and joined with the people watching the herd of bisons peacefully grazing across from the water, and the wild horses far away in the distance. The calmness of the place was soothing at some level… With the holidays coming up, I wish that you can spend time with your loved ones, and be grateful for what and who we have in our lives.

Encouraged by the failed Amendment #1, at our Executive Committee meeting last week, we discussed how to push for Solar Energy by increasing our education of the public and promoting renewable energy at all levels. So at the first SSJ General Meeting we will have on January 5, 2017, we will show our members and anyone interested the Power Point presentation on Solar Energy that some of our members have created and that they offer as a program to civic groups, HOA associations, garden clubs, and so forth. So if you have any interest, please come on January 5, at 7:00 p.m. at the UUFG on 34th street.

On a positive note, we had a successful Open House last Saturday, November 12. We did not have a crowd at Rum 138, in Ft. White, but the several members who came wanted to be more involved with Sierra Club. That is good news for me because we am working on creating a North SSJ Working Group in our northern counties: Hamilton, Suwannee, Union, Bradford, Baker, Gilchrist, and Columbia. If you live in these counties and want to be more involved in protecting our springs, rivers and aquifer, please contact me at That group can meet in the Sierra Club office at  Rum 138, and be more involved with issues pertaining to these counties. We have a Tri-County group covering Marion, Levy and Citrus counties that is very active and very involved, and the idea is to start a similar group in the northern counties. The Suwannee St. Johns Sierra Club is one of the largest in Florida so to be more productive, we need to be more organized. For example this past Tuesday, I went to speak up for Sierra Club to a Zoning and Planning Board meeting of the Columbia County, in Lake City, to voice our concern about a 40 sites RV construction on the Santa Fe River at River Rise…Some of you may want to be involved and come to the next meeting, either Zoning and Planning or County Commission, that will address this issue. Check their websites and come to that meeting (possibly December or January).

On the fun side, Rum 138 – Sierra Club office has a wonderful art gallery with so many artists, it is hard to name them all, John Moran, being the most famous, so it deserves a visit from Sierra Club members. Merrillee Malwitz Jipson, at Rum 138 is also planning to have music every Friday night, and start environmental film screenings as well in 2017. So stay tuned…

Last but not least, keep sending your ballots for the SSJ elections,or bring them to our last General Meeting, on December 1, 2016, at 7:00 pm. We will have Mike Byerly and County Commission staff with a short presentation on the Stormwater issue, plus an Awards ceremony, and a pot luck dinner (as Sierrans, bring your plate and utensils if possible).So, I certainly hope to see you there!