It feels like summer just started but in-fact (sniff, sniff, cry, cry) it’s almost over! I take summers “off” from work and I sorta float around like a gyspy making it my mission to take in as many sunsets as possible, while relaxing and spending quality time with my family. This summer was perfect!! It was filled with long visits with our family, dinners with friends, days on the water, a couple Jimmy Buffett concerts, tons of fishing, lots of shelling, hours of needlepointing and so much reflecting! I saved and fostered a Wood Duck this summer, took tons of photos and made all of my sons favorite foods! I look forward to summer starting in January and mourn it’s passing for several months after it’s gone. I love the calmness and easiness that comes with those 8 weeks of not being tied to a schedule and soaking up the Florida lifestyle. It’s a true treat to be able to explore the Gulf Coast and spend so much time taking in all it has to offer. I can only hope next summer is just a fulfilling as this summer and past summers have been!
On the volunteer front…this year has been AWESOME for both the sea turtles and the shorebirds! We’ve had tremendous sea turtle nesting success with record numbers for nests on our entire beach – Anna Maria Island, my section – Section 7, as well as myself!! I participated in the capturing of a nesting sea turtle for purposes of tagging with Sea Turtle Conservancy (you can follow her here) which was a really cool experience! As for the shorebirds, Passage Key has fledged tons of Laughing Gulls and was home to nesting American Oystercatchers as well as a few Black Skimmers (quite the oddity) not to mention a comfortable space for many shorebird species both locally and those passing by! This was my first complete year monitoring that island and it has been a pleasure to watch it grow and see it’s changes over the last year. Volunteering is such a rewarding experience. Especially when you know you are making a difference and aiding in a cause that couldn’t survive without your support. I encourage you to consider finding an organization in Florida Conservation that you feel drawn to and give a few hours if you can! Every little bit makes a difference and helps contribute to saving and preserving our wildlife and nature – as it was intended to be!
I can’t summarize summer without saying that the sunsets have been magnificent as well as the lightening storms, the morning sunrises and the sweet sea air that has been a true joy to wake up to each day! I woke up at 3AM for some reason last night and looked out over the sea to see a beautiful orange moon resting close to the waterline. It was SO gorgeous that it made my sleepy eyes water. The treasures we have here in this great state are just too many to count! As I spend these final days of summer in Boca Grande with my loved ones, I am reminded that the coast of Florida has been and continues to be a place for my family to reflect on tender memories while we continue to make more each year. I am reminded as I look out to the sea, that this truly is a gift and I feel more grateful and inspired each year to do what I can to preserve this special place that I call home!
Summer may be ending and that fact makes my heart a bit sad however, the gifts of nature are here all year. Soon, various birds will be passing through and the wonder of migration will start and our version of fall will bring changes to the landscape around us. My intention for the next season is to embrace it with the same openness and eagerness I have for the summer and enjoy the gifts that each season brings! I hope you’ll do the same! – XO