January in rural Central Florida provides a beautiful experience to watch a variety of birds on the ground and in flight.
Geneva and the many communities along the St. Johns River are fortunate to have front row seats to observe our many feathered friends.
I confess that I am not a bird watcher, but I am lucky to live within binocular range of an eagle’s nest whose residents we have watched with interest for nearly two decades.
Residents across Seminole County are used to seeing the sand hill cranes making their stately way through neighborhoods, across four-lane highways, and even on corporate grounds along International Parkway.
Last week we watched nearly three dozen such cranes take flight over Lake Harney, aloft in clusters, and trumpeting back and forth on their way to rest for the night.
The best part was standing quiet, looking up and hearing the powerful woosh, woosh, woosh of their wings, illustrating such a marked contrast to their fragile gait on the ground.
Of course the fact that we can even walk down to Lake Harney is still a bit amazing, after Fay’s visit last August.
The brown watermarks several feet above our heads on the cypress trees prove that we did not imagine it. Our eagles circle and swoop, cry their staccato message, and grab a fish they proudly bring home to their nest.
Alighting in the very top branches of the trees they are our sentinels and we hope they have babies again this year. Owls, hawks, mockingbirds, redbirds, osprey, woodpeckers, and many, many more abound in our woods and gather along Lake Harney, and we love sharing the land and air with them.
Two organizations that work tirelessly to help these feathered friends are Audubon of Florida and Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, the latter located in nearby Maitland.
The center will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary this year and offers many opportunities for you and your family to be educated, to volunteer, and to donate time, money, and energy to this worthy cause.
The Nestlings program for children 2-5 years of age provides activities and exploration with an adult that includes stories, songs, crafts and raptor encounters.
Older kids and adults can participate in the Wetland Warriors program on January 24th by helping to remove nonnative, invasive plants.
Finally the EagleWatch Program needs more volunteers to monitor, verify, and record activity, disturbances, and threats to active eagle nests locally; see website at www.audubonofflorida.org/who_center_CBOP
Lots of meetings and events are upcoming in the next few weeks in Geneva so don’t miss out!
January 21, Wednesday - The Rural Heritage Center will have its first Annual Meeting at 7 pm.
Elections are being held for the Board of the Directors of the newly formed 501(c)(3) Island and Village of Geneva Rural Heritage Center, Inc. (www.simiosys.com/geneva) that will be renovating the Historic Geneva Elementary School.
Jan. 22 – Fight cancer and help celebrate cancer survivors at Geneva/Chuluota Relay for Life -Team Happenings Meeting- 6 pm at the Geneva Methodist Church; committee meeting to follow at 7 p.m.
We still need more teams to make this year’s event a huge success.
If you are interested in starting a team or being on a team please visit our website at www.relayforlife.org/genevachuluotafl. The relay will be held May 15-16th.
Feb. 2 - Geneva Citizens Association Annual Meeting will be at Geneva Community Hall, 161 First Street 7 pm. The agenda will include: Election of Officers: new and old business; President's and Treasury reports; and Honored guest - Mr. Bob Dallari, Chairman of the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners.
If you have a question concerning County business, here is the perfect opportunity to have it addressed without having to make the journey to town.
February 7, Saturday Don’t miss your chance to attend the ninth annual Geneva Historic Bus Tour. Seats are still available, call 407-349-2288 or email TatmanRanch@bellsouth.net and leave your name and number and bus time you desire.
You will receive a return call or return email for confirmation. The bus fills up quickly each year, so don’t delay. There are two tours - 8:30 am and 10:30 am. Seats are a $9 donation per person.