2425 County Rd. 13 South, Elkton, FL 32033. This is where my chapter (Ixia) was meeting for a Saturday morning field trip, lead by Mike Adams. Adams is the owner of Adamscience (an environmental resource management company) and purveyor of "one of the finest examples of sustainable multiple-use forest management in Florida." I plugged the address into the GPS on my cellphone and hit the road. Little did I know just how out-of-the way this place was. To describe it as being just north of Hastings (potato capital of Florida) and due east of Bostwick (the blueberry pancake hot-spot) might give you a clue. I lost my cell signal a few minutes after exiting I-95 (uh-oh), but after a good bit of guessing, and a few turns determined by a coin toss, I finally arrived at my destination.
|Sign from early grant.|
We reached the hardwood swamp and the dense tree canopy filtered out the blinding sunshine, which gave the scene an ethereal glow. As hardwood swamps are subject to fluctuating water levels, and occasionally home to water moccassin (one of which we walked by as it showed us its pearly whites), he had a boardwalk built over it which extended out into the St. Johns river. "What good is it to live on this fabulous river if there's no place to do a cannonball jump from?" Adams said, his son behind him with a mile-wide grin. Among the natives we spotted in the swamp were titi (Cyrilla racemiflora), red maple (Acer rubrum), giant leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium), and an enormous overturned live oak (Quercus virginiana), which I was convinced was mooning me.
|In the hardwood swamp|
|This is a male crab|
|The Adams' Home.|
All photos and graphics by Laurie Sheldon
Adams was named Timber Grower of the Year in 2005 by the St. Johns County Timber Growers' Association. Four years later, he, his wife Carole and son Tommy were honored as the Forest Steward Landowners of the Year. The following year, Adams received the Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award, which was presented to him by (then) Commissioner of Agriculture Charles H. Bronson. To see a video and to learn more: http://www.florida-agriculture.com/news/agen_saturiwa.htm
Going to the 2013 FNPS Conference in Jacksonville? Lucky for all of us, Adams has agreed to run a guided field trip of Saturiwa. Check out Field Trip W for details.