Special to The News

    Special to The News

  • Bird watchers and nature lovers were given the chance to take a ride down the Wakulla River on a Wakulla Springs’ river boat with host and well-known bird enthusiast Pete Dunne on Jan. 24.
    Dunne was in the area for several days and made a stop at Wakulla Springs, a place he had never been before.
    “This is a world class destination,” Dunne said. “This is a life birding location.”

    The challenge of trying to find a shortcut into the Wakulla-Leon Sinks cave system has been one that the Woodville Karst Plain Project has been trying to overcome for years.
    On Friday, Jan. 7, divers with Global Underwater Explorers, an affiliate of WKPP, visited a sinkhole on the Park Subdivision property hoping to find that shortcut. But, no such luck.
    Two divers explored the sinkhole that was discovered by Cal Jamison.
    The water was clear, they said, but contained a lot of mush.

  • D.R. “Pee Wee” Vause says he feels blessed to have been able to raise his family on a farm.“There’s a beautiful part of life that we have here on the farm,” Vause says as he sits on his porch overlooking his land.
    “You can’t sit here and not feel peaceful.”The Vause family was named the 2010 Farm Family for Wakulla County.

  • The Coastal Cleanup, held Saturday at locations around the county, was aided by volunteers such as Isabella Perry, Rowan Mathers, and Kaylynn Perry who picked up trash along the Wakulla River in St. Marks. A group of Scouts help gather debris. By 11 a.m., volunteers converged on Woolley Park in Panacea for lunch and awards ceremony.

    Samantha Carpenter is like most eighth graders, excited about class field trips and going to places she has never been.
    One trip she is really hoping to go on is the class trip to Washington, D.C.
    But, unlike most of her classmates, Samantha’s mother will have to attend with her.
    Samantha was born without legs and gets around by a wheelchair. Her mother must accompany her on the trip to help with her medical needs.

  • Zingiberaceae, commonly known as Ginger, is a family of 40 genera and over 1,000 species of tropical flowers. The southern region of the United States is well-suited for growing these beautiful jewels and mid- to late summer is the time to shop for the many varieties.  
    Gingers grow from one foot up to 10 feet or more and come in a rich array of colors. All prefer shade to dappled sunlight and are wonderful in tropical floral arrangements.  
    Alpinia, Curcuma, Dichorisandra, Globba, Hedychium and Kaempferia are some of the easily found genus.

  • Eric Ecklund’s backyard isn’t typical. While there are trees, grass, and other plants that most people might have, he also has a 1/2” - 1 foot scale G-gauge model train running throughout his backyard.

    As you walk out the back door of the Ecklund’s home, the first thing you see is an eight foot waterfall flowing into a koi pond surrounded by papyrus plants, ferns, succulents and a train track.

    The train track runs around the pond through Ecklund’s train shed.

  • A good-sized crowd was on hand for the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office’s annual Sept. 11 memorial service on Saturday to honor the victims and survivors of the terror attacks of 2001.

    A color guard from Wakulla High School’s Junior ROTC program and a sheriff’s honor guard raised the flag to half-staff.

    Shortly after, a ceremony was held at the new county community center to dedicate a new flag donated by Woodmen of the World. A memorial plaque memorializes the flag as a tribute to the victims of Sept. 11.

    Photos by William Snowden.

  • As the night draws near, chimney swifts begin to circle and fly above the Wakulla Springs Lodge to prepare for their descent into one of the lodge’s inactive chimneys for the night.

    The chimney serves as a roost for the birds leading up to their migration to warmer climates in South America.

    The event is quite a spectacle and lasts about an hour as hundreds of chimney swifts gather and begin flying around the lodge forming a large circle.

    On Sept. 11, the Wakulla Springs State Park held, “A Swift Night Out.”

  • A former Wakulla County resident is the owner of an Atlanta landmark known for its southern cooking – and he decided to share the restaurant’s recipes with others.

    John Ferrell bought the iconic Mary Mac’s Tea Room in 1994 and this year the restaurant turns 65 years old.

    Although Ferrell did not start the traditions that make Mary Mac’s Tearoom, he is the one who continues them.

    Keeping the restaurant’s traditions isn’t a challenge, Ferrell said.


    Wakulla Springs State Park

    I have often referred to Wakulla Springs as the “liquid heart” of Wakulla County.

    People and the resource have been inextricably connected for a millennia.

    Just as swallows return to Capistrano, people return on annual pilgrimages (some more frequent) to the billowing waters of one of the world’s deepest freshwater springs.


    Special to The News

    A growers market is forming in Sopchoppy, with plans for it to be held outside of Posh beginning at the end of October.

    The market is planned to be weekly – on Fridays and Saturdays – and would offer produce that has either been organically grown or unsprayed by pesticides.

    Growers interested in participating in the market should contact Jennifer Taylor, coordinator of the Small Farms Program at FAMU, at (850) 241-3873 or (850) 412-7065.

  • One hundred visitors from all over Florida went to the city of St. Marks on Friday, Aug. 20, visitors who were intent on enjoying the outdoors the area offers.

    The visitors were members of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA), who came to Wakulla County as part of their annual conference.

    The association is the largest and oldest state writer’s association in the country.

    Groups went out fishing and kayaking and then met at Shields Marina for lunch.

  • The Wakulla County Senior Citizens Board, Staff and senior citizens are deeply indebted to everyone who participated in our Christmas in July luncheon and auction on July 28.

    At a time when funding is declining from all our traditional county, state and federal sources, it was wonderful to see the strong support from our community. Our United Way funding has also been declining in recent years. However, our community support of our older populations is not matched anywhere else in our state.

  • Give back what you can.

    This is a philosophy that Panacea resident Lynn Metcalf lives by.

    He set up a food bank in Panacea where he gives out food and clothes every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    “He’s spending a lot of his own money,” said friend Linda Perkins. “He’s kind of doing it on his own.”

    Metcalf said he is helped by 17-year-old Wesley Kester.

    “I wouldn’t be able to do it without him,” Metcalf said. “He’s really gotten into it.”

  • A group of 63 kids crowded the TNT Hideaway recently to take a canoe ride on the Wakulla River.

    The group had come a long way. They were campers and leaders from Camp Morasha in Lake Como, Penn.

    They were on a seven-day, seven-state trip that started in New Orleans. Then they made their way to Florida and stopped in Wakulla County for a day of canoeing.

    “It’s a different state every day,” said Natan Farber, division head for the boy’s campus.

    Farber said the campers travel along the East Coast as they make their way back to camp.