Gopher Turtles and Sign Posts!!

Trip Start Nov 19, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Gamble Rogers State Park

Flag of United States  , Florida
Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15th - May 7th

Time is flying as we get into a routine of working and playing.  Getting up early enough to be at the break room for our directives from Tony is challenging after two + years of following our own internal time clocks.  The morning air and temperatures are lovely for working outside.  The smells of flowering trees float to us as the sun dries up the dew.  

Planting the Bull Rush plugs was so much fun I asked Laura to let me know when any other extra volunteering projects came up.  She emailed me with a fence fixing project to help protect the Gopher Turtles during the North Peninsula Restoration Project.   While the restoration is in process the turtles have been relocated to a protected area in the .Scrub Jay Preserve.  To keep them from walking away and possibly getting onto the road, a containment fence has been constructed.  Unfortunately there are places where the bottom of the fence had not been dug into the sand allowing the Gopher Turtles room to get under the fence and out to unprotected habitat.  Laura to the rescue.  I met up with her at the Ranger Station and off we drove to Smith Creek Park.  There we were joined by Sam and Libby who were all ready to dig in.  Our job was to pull the soil up against the bottom of the plastic fencing in an attempt to discourage the turtles from going underneath and wandering out to the road.   We got a good amount of fencing prepared properly for good protection for our brother and sister Turtles.  We got to uncover a Florida Rat Snake and I got to understand why those ants are called "Fire Ants"!!  All fun in the sun with Laura and her troop of volunteers.

Mike and Jeanine who Hosted with us at Fort DeSoto County Park over the winter arrived for a visit!!  They had never been to Gamble Rogers before and we were so proud to show them all the attributes of Florida's North East Coast.  During the couple of days they were here, Mary and John, our other Host friends from the Fort drove over to make it a full blown reunion.  I failed to get pictures of us all together which is out of character for me!  We all went to THE TACO SHOP for lunch and John said it was the best since his first Fish Tacos out west!!!!  YES!  We agree.  I especially like the burrito in a box which features all the burrito ingredients in a small waxed box instead of a tortilla wrapper.  Fabo!!

Back to work we are asked to fill in for the incoming Hosts as they are being delayed by RV troubles.  Being experienced hosts from the Fort....we gladly accepted the position.  For a week we enjoyed being over on the Ocean side of Gamble and got to rake sites and meet and greet campers.   Bob and Lil arrived and we scooted on back to our jungle site with Josee and Raymond.   Tony and Marc asked us to trim the overgrowth on teeh Fire road/nature trail cut firewood and Barbara wanted her nature trail sign plaques to be mounted and set at the designated spots along the trail.  Andy got to use some of the well equipped workshop tools and I got to be miss helper.  It felt great to my Andy Man to be working with wood and tools again!!  Then to be using a chain saw and log splitter!!  Oh yeah!  Nothing better than to watch that log peel in two as the splitter does its work.

Barbara and Marc and Tony are lovely people to have as our "bosses".  We have been made to feel a part of something wonderful as well as an extended family.  Everyone we have worked with has been dedicated to making Gamble Rogers, Smith Creek, and North Peninsula the best parks in Florida.  As you all know by now, Andy and I are huge fans of Florida State Parks in general.  The Rangers, Americorps, and many local environmental groups such as WAV and "Friends of Gamble Rogers" take real pride in their work.  It is evident in their attitudes and upbeat, hard working styles.  As our time here came to a close we began to feel sad to be leaving....Reagan and Kevin and Sylvia and Richard and "the other" Tony, "the other" Barbara, Karen and Pete all became part of our experience.  We lucked out by being volunteers with Josee and Raymond and hope to meet up with them again and again.  The Rangers put on a pot luck dinner as a goodbye to us and a welcome to Bob and Lil who have been hosts here for many a year!    I brought three types of tofu dishes with some fun responses from the rangers!!  All gamely took bites and mostly said they will go back for macaroni and cheese or the great sausages and sauce or the crock pot ham or hummus or good grief...the table was laden with yummy dishes of every description.....then the desserts!! Holy Moly!  Not a joke, one could hurt themselves there was such generosity displayed in the dishes brought to share.  Great food, and great conversations topped off with Tony presenting us and Josee and Raymond with a bag of gifts and an appreciation certificate from Gamble Rogers.  We were very touched by the appreciation and kindness.   Thank you and we will be back to work again!!! 

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Barbara Larson on

love the photos, as usual! thanks Jodie for sharing all those moments with us. The flower close-ups..stunning! You two look and sound like you're having a ball,,glad to see that Andy gets to work with power tools.. LOVE IT!! and YOU!~**

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