Annual gathering celebrates preserves



One Buffer Preserve and one Aquatic Preserve. Together their importance is remarkable, and the Friends of St. Joseph Preserves is dedicated to assisting with projects to benefit both and keep them remarkable.

The Friends will host its annual meeting Saturday, Jan. 6 at the Preserve Center.

With a humble beginning in 2003 the Friends have grown from a handful of supporters to a group of over 300. While many members live outside the limits of either preserve yet visit here at least once a year, more and more locals are becoming involved and realize the ecological importance and the economical and historical value of protecting the bay.

The St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve provides significant habitat for many rare, endangered and threatened species. Migratory bird species stop off at the Preserves during the spring and fall trans-Gulf migrations. The Buffer Preserve serves as a water recharge area and buffer to St. Joseph Bay, helping to protect the bay’s water quality.

Did you know the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve manages 5,020 acres around St. Joseph Bay? That number will go up shortly as 20 lots contiguous to the Preserve near Country Club Road will be added to the total acreage.

How about 55,673 acres in St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve? Why are these entities important? Join the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves to find out answers, ask questions, and identify ways to help the Buffer and Aquatic Preserves. Your membership is important and necessary to achieve the goals set by the Board of Directors.

It has become a tradition to enjoy homemade chili with all the fixings after the once a year meeting. Be prepared to enjoy different kinds of great chili dishes, possibly other stews, soups or one-pot wonders. There’s cornbread, various flavors of crackers, and toppings galore to compliment your choices for lunch.

There will be presentations by Dylan Shoemaker, Manager of the Buffer Preserve and Jon Brucker, Manager of the Aquatic Preserve. Meeting will be led by Lynda White, President of the Friends of St. Joseph Bay. Lynda will update you on the Friends’ accomplishments of the past year. You will have the opportunity to nominate new board members; accept the slate of nominees from the nominating committee then vote for new board members for 2018.

If you are interested in showing your support by becoming a board member please call Lynda White at 407-719-2642 or Sandra Chafin at 229-1787, Ext. 1.

You are encouraged to join Friends of SJB Preserves and become an active member in 2017. If you feel like you cannot do much by yourself joining the Friends is a perfect solution. Becoming a part of the group will provide opportunities for you to grow and expand your knowledge of the Buffer and the Bay.

You may 229-1787, Ext. 1 if you have questions. Hope to see you on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.