News from the Chair: October 2015, Another Busy Month

September 3, 2015 we had Peggy Macdonald, Executive Director of the Matheson History Museum, as a speaker for our general meeting. We watched her lively presentation on the fascinating life and work of Marjorie Harris Carr, not just the “housewife from Micanopy”, but a scientist and leader of citizens who opposed dredging a canal across the state….If you missed Dr. Macdonald’s presentation, you can visit the Matheson History Museum and see the current exhibition on Florida Women activists, titled “Saving the Sunshine State: Women Leaders in the Twentieth Century” that will last until October 31, 2015. Another suggestion: read the life of Marjorie Carr by buying the book written in 2014 by Peggy Macdonald “Marjorie Harris Carr, Defender of Florida’s Environment”.

September 10, 2015 was the date for the Alachua County meeting pre-session Legislative public meeting. Here is the statement I read to our representatives: Senator Bradley, Clovis Watson, Elizabeth Porter and Representative Perry, hopefully they heard me. Maybe they need to hear thousands of us with a similar message to take some action. So please contact them by phone, email, letters, and postcards if you feel that this is important.

“Dear Senator and elected representatives, as a member of the Sierra Club, I want to remind you that the Sierra Club support national policies such as the “Clean Water Act” and the “Clean Air Act”.

As you know: Amendment 1 was voted with 75% of voters requesting protection of land and water. As elected officials, you need to feel compelled to do a better job next year, for the next 20 years and the future.Kidswithbuckets

With Amendment 1 money, buy land near springs and rivers, to protect our watersheds. Water is basic to life, we cannot drink polluted water. The word “nutrient” is misleading to many people, there is no “nutrition” in that water, these are pollutants… Nitrogen and phosphorus are polluting the water to levels unsafe to humans. (Refer to Bob Knight’s book and his data). We request more tests, and actions to reduce these pollutants:
• Pass state legislation to limit the use of fertilizers (residential, agricultural and golf courses) especially during our rainy summers months, and especially near the springs, rivers and lakes.
• Give financial incentives to people to update their septic systems.
• Oppose multi-use park management (such as cattle grazing, hunting, logging, low impact agriculture) in all of our State Parks, but particularly in the Paynes Prairie Reserve State Park.
• Give Amendment 1 money to the State Park system, as they need more money to manage these parks. About 33% of the staff is volunteers, so you could create new jobs as well.
• Restore the Oklawaha river – it is long overdue.
• Ban Fracking all over the state of Florida. Natural gas is still a “dirty fuel” that creates methane and pollutants to be release in the atmosphere…and the process requires millions of gallons of water – water which is necessary for our human needs.
• Several cities and counties have passed Bans on Fracking, so do it at the State level.
• Oppose the Sabal Trail pipeline that could damage our watershed going through the state and our fragile Northern Florida ecosystem.
• Address Climate Change right now by adopting renewable energy policies such as solar, and wind. Other states and other countries have done so and have created many thousands of jobs in the process.

We appreciate your desire to hear the public comments, but so many times, we come and say the same things: “Protect our natural resources”. Now it is time to take action to promote policies and projects that will improve the well-being, health and economy, of all citizens of Florida. Listen to us, not just corporate lobbyists.



– September 17. Meeting with the Protect Paynes Prairie Coalition – PPPC. We do not know the date of a public hearing which is supposed to be coming up this fall. Stay tuned for information on a rally in Gainesville before that public hearing. Go to the site for information and to sign the petition if you have not done so. We are planning an outing for students and for Audubon and Sierra Club members. Next meeting will be on October 1, 2015 at 1:30pm at Oak Hammock.


– September 15, we had an ICO outing to Morningside Nature Center with the Cone Park Library Center students. The theme was Farming and History, and the little group we had really got into the excitement of farming: feeding the chickens and Nellie the cow, pumping water at the old pump, washing laundry, and watering tomatoes and peppers growing in the heirloom garden. Then it was like “Show and Tell” in the porch of the old farmhouse where the students had to guess the use of some old wooden items that Lindsey, Bricky, David and Justin where showing them….It was definitely a fun learning experience. Thanks to all the staff at Morningside Nature Center…Next outing will be on October 20 for a hike in the park, looking at plants and flowers.

– September 19, 2015. We had our Garage Sale as a Fundraiser for the ICO program. Lots of phone calls and emails, an ad in the Gainesville Sun, lots of “stuff” stored for a week and finally Saturday morning with the help of many volunteers (a BIG thank you to all of them) we were able to raise $400.00 and will probably make more after some items are sold on craigslist. Team work paid well and the money will help pay for van rentals, gas and park fees.



  • Besides our meeting, you can plan to attend UN Day on Thursday October 22, 2015 (from 9:00 to 2:00pm). “Looking at Past, Present and Future” Guest speaker is Cynthia Barnett and the cost of the lunch is $17.00. Please contact Lisa Renner at for information and to register.