News From the Chair

By Whitey Markle

The Suwannee-St Johns Group is, “the largest SC group east of the Mississippi “, possesses 1000 springs, and is approximately the size of Massachusetts. Needless to say, we have a massive chunk of the most environmentally-endowed land, and we have the responsibility of protecting it for future Floridians (and visitors).

We try our best to protect our resources with our more than 2000 volunteer members. We have a plethora of serious activists who devote much of their time and energy  in our collective efforts, and we often find ourselves planning, funding, and implementing several major projects at the same time. We are fortunate to have good activists volunteering to make these projects effective and hopefully successful.
Subsequently, we are continuously reaching out to our members (and many nonmembers), seeking their help, and occasionally we reach out to secure funding when it is necessary. Without this voluntary activism and financial help, we would not be able to accomplish our mission as effectively. So let me say that we will indeed be conducting a fundraising campaign in the near future.  Last year’s fundraiser (the first one of its kind in my experience with the Sierra Club) was somewhat successful ($1800 net).  We are hoping that this year’s fundraiser will be even more successful  as we were learning the procedure last year. This type of fundraiser is dependent upon 2 major efforts:

  1. We must secure donations of “prizes” for the donations we solicit. The more prizes we acquire, the better the chance of success., and
  2. Promotion of the fundraiser.  Effective promotion reaches a larger potential  number of ticket purchasers. All we have t do is get the word out to as many friends as possible.

We sincerely hope our members and their acquaintances will join us in our efforts by both contributing good prizes, purchasing lots of tickets, and by helping us promote their sales.  We can accomplish a lot more with just a little help from our members and friends.

I am personally happy to see out North Florida Working Group launch 2 great projects for the near future: Solar Rocks for the Equinox, a day-long day of fun and educational events at the Sierra Club North Florida Headquarters north of High Springs on September 23rd, and a collaborative effort  in collaboration with the Citizens Against Phosphate Mining which will be a campaign to educate the public about the phosphate mining proposals in Bradford and Union Counties. This working group is comprised of a bunch of great activists who are well-organized and apparently eager to make this campaign a success. We wish them the best in their efforts.
Stay informed about these projects by checking out the Sierra Club Suwannee-St. Johns Group Facebook page and watch our calendar for upcoming events you may wish to attend.

See the Conservation Report for details on our efforts, Lead by the Tricounty Working Group, to convince 2 Water management Districts that proposed Minimum Flows and Levels are too lenient for the Silver and rainbow Springs.
Through the efforts of EXCOM member-at-large Kathryn Taubert, the Tricounty Working group will launch a pilot outings program for handicapped members and friends on the Rainbow River  on April 5th. Kathryn was able to solicit a river tour by pontoon boat, donated for the pilot project by Capt. Britt Cottrell’s Rainbow River Water Taxi and entry fee to K.P. Hole courtesy of Marion County. Hopefully this “pilot” excursion will lead to more of the same for our handicapped friends.