One of my favorite things here is our library. They have a great selection of books, especially children's books, and they don't charge fines. We use it a lot!
Another wonderful thing in Gainesville is Wards' grocery store. They get a lot of their food from local growers, and it's fresh. They have the best milk! And the orange juice...they have these fantastic juicing machines that you can watch as each orange rolls down and gets squeezed. Then you can buy fresh squeezed orange juice! They have organic tortillas and fresh-baked baguettes. It's a real people's place, with chitlin's and tofu. The store is the hub of a genuine community. There aren't any strangers there.
This area has great parks. Payne's Prairie , Devil's Millhopper, and San Felasco Hammock are state parks, and they're impressive. But the best park to visit in Gainesville is little ol' Morningside Nature Center. You can find sandhill habitat there, with wildlife like gopher tortoises, turkey oaks, and longleaf pines. Morningside also has acres of pine flatwoods, with cypress domes, orchids, and even pitcher plants. The park mixes nature with culture and history. They have a model homestead, with a log cabin, farm, and barn full of animals. There is even an old one-room schoolhouse that they moved from a place by the name of Half Moon, which is too tiny to be called a town.
I have two children, Angie and Ivan . Angie is 14 and goes to Buchholz High School. Ivan is 8, and goes to Second Grade in Ms. Sperring's multi-age class (K, 1 & 2) at Littlewood Elementary School. I do some volunteer work for the PTA, for the ACCPTA, and help lobby in Tallahassee for the Florida PTA. Marc and I like to help the science teachers if they're interested in bringing their students outside for nature study, or any teacher interested in schoolyard naturalization.
I work at home. I own and operate an environmental consulting and environmental education firm called Eco-Cognizant, Inc. My husband, Marc, works with me in addition to working full time at the St. John's River Water Management District. Depending on the project, we do species surveys, especially plants and invertebrates, and help people figure out how to manage habitats to improve biodiversity. It gets us outdoors a lot, and we all enjoy the work. We also do education projects, like teaching schoolyard nature study workshops for teachers, and writing trail guides and books on butterfly gardening. We try to "think globally and work locally."
One more thing about Gainesville that's really great is the Alachua Freenet. This page wouldn't be here without it!
That's enough for now - if you want to know more, drop me a line. If you bothered to read this far, I'd like to hear from you.
The Florida Native Plant Society
The California Native Plant Society
The Gainesville Association for the Creative Arts
EE Link for environmental education stuff
Environmental Organization WebDirectory
League of Conservation Voters
People for the American Way
FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting
Contacting the Congress
Sonoran Arthropod Society, Inc.
Environmental Working Group
Rachel Carson Council
The Tree of Life
PANNA, for information on pesticides
Thomas, the U.S. Government
especially endangered and rare ones.
Florida scrub habitat, and any kind of desert.
Helping people learn about the plants and animals in their backyards.
Schoolyard nature study.
Planning nature trails and designing trail guides.
How plants and animals interact.
Medicinal and edible plants.
Toxics, and how to avoid them.
Landfills, and how to avoid them.
Health, nutrition, breastfeeding, and childbirth.
Writing, editing, and layout.
Travel and exploration.
Reading, especially true stories.
Cooking and eating.
My family. I'm so lucky to have them!
That's enough for starters!